Note: I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in this post. All products listed below were purchased with my hard-earned money and are provided for informational purposes only.
I bought the damn race photos so I may as well write a recap so you can enjoy way too many photos of my spandex-clad self :).
Similar to my Oceanside recap, I’ll try to limit the personal narrative/internal monologue and focus on preparation, strategy, and other helpful tidbits. This won’t be a literary masterpiece but hopefully it will be useful!
I have a fairly standard set of gear I pack for races now. To make sure I don’t forget anything, I start packing a couple days beforehand and mentally simulate all the gear changes I’ll make during the race.
I drove to Windsor early Saturday morning to get the mandatory pre-race briefing and packet pick-up out of the way. If you haven’t raced Vineman before, plan on spending a couple hours at the high school. Their packet pick-up process is more time-consuming than most other races. Oh yeah, parking can also be a nightmare.
After packet pickup-up, I rode the run course to make sure my bike was working properly. The road quality is still very poor in that part of town, so be careful. I saw a few people dealing with flats out there. Fortunately, The White Knight survived the short ride unscathed.
Although I had many friends racing that weekend, I opted to be anti-social for my pre-race dinner. Since I’m vegan, my options can be very limited depending on the restaurant of choice for the group and I’ve had some spectacularly bad races in the past as a result. I went to town at the Whole Foods in Santa Rosa then headed to the hotel to put my feet up and stuff my face. I had no GI issues on race day thanks to my dinner of sushi (one tofu roll and one avocado roll), potato bolani, vegetable soup, and bananas with nut butter. Before bed, I drank a bottle with 2 scoops of osmo preload.
This year, my age group was the last wave, starting at 8:42 am (FYI the pro men start at 6:25). To avoid any parking issues or potential race morning panic, I chose to arrive in Guerneville when transition opened at 5:30. This worked out really well for me. Parking was easy, I snagged a great spot in transition, and saw most of my friends before they started their races.
After watching the pros head out on the bike, I literally sat on my ass in transition for the next hour and a half to save my legs/feet for the race. The late start time also allowed me to eat much more than I normally would on race morning. (I consumed about 700 calories)
During my swim warmup, my goggles started leaking. Fortunately, I brought a spare pair and had time to swap them out and continue my warmup.
Tip: Always bring extra goggles!
As a former way-back-of-the-pack swimmer, the constant contact of swimming in a pack is a relatively new experience for me. Basically, I was kicked and punched for 1.2 miles but didn’t have any moments of panic. I spent a lot time swimming in open water during this training cycle (1-2 times per week) which has helped me overcome my swimming anxiety.
Swim time: 39:04
On the bike, I focus on safety (there are a couple sketchy bit on the course), hydration, nutrition, and having fun.
To keep my hydration and nutrition on track, I have an alarm set on my bike computer that goes off every 10 minutes. I aim to consume at least one 24 oz bottle of green tea Skratch and a smooth caffeinator Picky Bar every hour. Before the race, I put 4 oz tick marks on each of my 3 water bottles and cut each picky bar into 6 pieces so I knew exactly how much food and drink to take at each alarm.
**TMI alert** I lost a bit of time on the first half of the bike slowing down and trying to relax enough to pee while riding but it didn’t work. Once I hit the aid station in Geyserville, I decided to make a pit stop so I could ride the rest of the course properly. Please feel free to share any advice on how to pee on the bike! 🙂
Just before the high school, I saw my training partners/super cheerleaders, Allison and Jenesse and got a big boost of energy from them.
This year, T2 was longer than usual so I opted to remove my bike shoes at the dismount line and run to the bike racks barefoot.
Bike time: 3:03:14
Although the weather was mild by Vineman standards, it still felt effing hot by the time I started running. The plan was to drink a bottle of Skratch every hour on the run, stuff ice in my bra and shorts at each aid station, and shamelessly expose my jiggly bits to stay cool.
I stuck to the plan… except for the running part. Between miles 3 and 11, I gave myself too many excuses to walk. Still need to work on that whole mental toughness thing…
Run time: 2:35:14
Total time: 6:26:00
No peeing on the bike – that’s what the lake is for! Seriously though, I held it for 30 miles yesterday till I could hit a john… only to find it locked. Watered a pine tree and rolled on happy after that. I can’t fathom having to clean up the bike after peeing all over it… too gnarly.
I agree that is gross but you can end up losing a lot of time in a race if you don’t do it. Peeing on the side of the road gets you disqualified in most triathlons and the lines can be quite long at the aid stations. Also, Ironman port-a-potties tend to look like brown Jackson Pollock paintings inside and are best avoided if possible 🙂
Ah… Yeah, if I had a chance to win the thing, maybe. Otherwise, ain’t no chance. I wish you well in that endeavor though.
Haha thanks. I’ll be sure to keep you updated!
Great race! Who looks that good coming out of the water?! 🙂 Peeing on the bike… I find it’s easier on a downhill with no one behind me. Ha! Love the stealth top, too… won’t race without mine!
Thanks for the tip! I’ll try it on my next group ride 😛
I’m a big fan of the stealth top too. I’m not fast enough to enjoy the aero benefits but I use it for sun protection.