Monday, August 27, 2007

Chicago Race Report


Donna and I arrived in Chicago on Friday afternoon and spent the night with Donna’s sister’s family. I took off in the early afternoon to meet John and Mira at the Race Expo and Packet Pickup. The packet pickup was painless and I headed back out to the Diltz’s for dinner and some Wii Golf. I am not much of a video game person, but that game just rocks.

Saturday afternoon we headed back to the race hotel where we had a room and Donna with all her travel status got us checked in early, a room with a great view and we did not have to pay for parking. A dinner at Due with some great Chicago pizza, a pedal cab ride back to the hotel and then off to bed.

I was up at 3:50 after having some bad dreams. I do not usually have dreams about race day, but since transition opened at 4:15 and closed at 5:45, I was nervous. I met John and Mira at the hotel entrance and we did the 1.5-mile walk with our bikes to transition, racked them in the mud, and came back to the hotel for some coffee and food.


Mira was in wave 30, and John and I were in wave 34 which went off at 8:33. The announced water temperature was 68 degrees. When we jumped in it took my breath away even in a full wetsuit. As an aside, I met a guy at the Chicago airport who told me it was a complete swag at the water temp. They did not have a thermometer and everyone wanted to know the temperature so they just guess.

The swim started and it was not too physical. This is the first race where I was the one actually swimming over people. The lake was incredible clear and you could see fish and all the underwater flora. Once I warmed up the swim went very well. There were a lot of slow people and lots of back-strokers in this race due to the large size. I was helped out of the water, climbed the ladder and headed off for ¼ mile run to transition. My final swim time was 36:53, but at least 3 minutes of that was the run to transition.

I took a while in transition to get undressed in the mud and then run my bike up the muddy hill and on to the course.


Chicago’s bike course is along Lake Shore Drive which is very flat with lots of potholes. The biggest hill was the ramp out of transition and on the main course. The course is the left two lanes of the 4 lane road, so you ride to the left and pass on the right, which was confusing at times. I got my speed up and looked down at my bike computer and saw I was doing 24 mph. Since I had just replaced the battery and I had to make sure I was not registering in kph, because I did not feel like I was working that hard. I hit the first turn around and started back into town. I was picking off lots of riders and feeling really good. At the second turn around, I had to slow way down due to the right turn and congestion. I continued to pick off riders and was only passed by the really fast guys on their $3000 bikes. LOL. I finished the bike in 1:15:39 with an average speed of 20.1 mph. I am very happy with my bike.


Out of T2 and one the run. My shoes were muddy and somewhat wet so I was concerned about blisters. The first mile of the run was along the water front and it was great to have all the energy from the fans. My left calf was cramping some, which it had done in the swim so I stopped at pole and stretched it out. I felt better after I started running again. I was drinking Gatorade at the aide stations and dumping water on my head to help me cool off. I saw Mira at about mile 2.5 and she was heading back in. She looked really strong and it did not appear she was sweating at all. I ran into John about mile 3.5 at an aide station. I almost did not see him, but he yelled out my name. Its always good to see your friends on the course. About mile 4 I started to feel really good and picked up my pace. I was hurting, but my legs felt much, much better. The course lead us back around Soldier Field and under a tunnel the finish line. I saw Donna right before the finish line, gave her a high-five and I was off to the finish line. The announcer called out my name (which is always a thrill) and I was done.

I was awarded my finisher’s medal and got my free beer. Damn did it taste good.

All in all it was a good race. The swim was about what I expected, I was very pleased with the bike, and I still have to work on my run. But I have at least one more race this year and the Nation’s Triathlon course is flat also. I still have the chance to break 3 hours.

Now its off to St Thomas for some diving, eating and fruity drinks!!!


Jenn said...

Congrats on a great race!!! But where's the overall time and the placing?? Tri geeks love to see that stuff :) Either way, it looks like you had a strong race, that swim can be pretty scary for folks, I know lots of people who've gotten pretty beat up in it and refuse to do that race because of the huge crowd.

Xena said...

Great job!

Simon said...

Awesome Job Kevin!
Great pics and sounds like you and Donna had a great time. Enjoy the fruity drinks.