The road home…

Home has a lot of meanings to me. There’s the house I grew up in, where my parents still live, which will always be home. And of course, wherever Rachelle lives is home to me now. But in a way that Buie’s Creek never will be Columbus will always be home to me as well. And so it’s back “home” I’m headed tomorrow to race this weekend.

I wanted to race the Giant Eagle Multisport Festival since the announcement of the inaugural event almost two years ago. I never actually did a tri in CBus; my Ohio races back in my first season were in smaller towns closer to the corners of the state than the middle. So when I learned that this race was sponsored by INFINIT and that it would be a signature race of the Eleonore Rocks team, I had to do it. I get the chance to see a couple of friends in the area, and Rach and I get to race through areas we’re pretty familiar with, including down the main street in Columbus (High Street).

Rach is racing the “girls tri too” super sprint on Saturday Morning. She’s been wanting to race a women’s only event for quite a while, and we had planned for her to race one earlier this summer, but her work schedule never allowed it. She’s then racing the Sprint distance race on Sunday, while I’m racing the Olympic distance. The Sprint distance is longer than many with a 30k bike so that sprint athletes get to experience the same ride down High Street into downtown.

I’ve been so busy with work, packing the house, looking for a new place to live and the logisitics of the move that I’ve not really had much time to think about goals, but I’ve been really strong in my training over the past two weeks. I have set PR’s for my 500 yard swim in each of my last 3 swims, and I’ve had 500s later in those same swims that would have broken older PRs. My biking is getting stronger, and I’ve either set PR’s or moved up in KOM rankings on Strava during most of my rides over the past couple weeks. My run, that will be interesting to see this weekend.

Reading the athlete guide, I saw that the race has a cutoff time of 11:15 AM. Based on my start time (6:49), That gives me 4:26 to finish. That’s 5 minutes less than my current PR for the Olympic distance, set at Belew’s Lake at the start this season. I’m not letting that race be my guide as I was fully sick and fighting what turned out to be Exercise Induced Asthma and allergies without the benefit of knowing what I was up against. I’ve trained hard since then, and I’m stronger and faster now.

Swim: I’m setting a conservative goal in the swim goal of just about 45 minutes. That’s basically my best 1 mile time right now, and I’ve done a good bit of distance (1900 yard and 2500 yard swims) over the past few weeks so I think I’m ready, and hope to come in under that time, but swimming a straight line and sighting aren’t my strengths.

T1: No socks on the bike, likely no wetsuit to peel (water temperature is 77.2 degrees and a warm weekend is expected) and new easier shoes to work with ought to make for a quick T1. I’m not sure how much running is involved but I’m saying 3 minutes for T1

Bike: The bike is interesting, the first 5 miles are basically downhill with a few very small rollers, then it climbs about 160 feet over the next 4 miles, before dropping 260 feet over the next 15 miles. As long as I’m geared and hydrated properly for the short climbing section, I think this will be a new 25 mile bike PR. 1:40 would be a 15 MPH average, I’m going to shoot for a little better than that with all the downhill over the second half of the ride, so I’m going for a 16 MPH average, and a 1:33 bike time.

T2: Switching shoes and putting my CEP Compression Socks on will probably take a couple minutes but I’ll be glad for the time as the run gets on. I’m guessing 3 minutes for T2 also

Run: I would love to break 4 hours for my Olympic, which if everything else is as expected would mean I could run a 1:35:59 and still make that time. I’m hopeful I can run a 1:31 or so and give myself even more clearance. Other than a pretty solid hill right out of T2, the run course looks like it could support that time. I’ve run some of this course in the past during 5ks back when we lived there, so it should be pretty familiar.

If you’re in the area, I hope you get a chance to come out, support the racers, and consider stopping by the Eleonore Rocks/INFINIT booths. I’ll be around all weekend, and checking my twitter @Ben_m_Berry, so if you’re around I’d love to meet you.

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