Pleasant Prairie is one of my favorite races, this was my 8th time competing at Pleasant Prairie. I enjoy doing it because it provides an objective point of view on my year-to-year progress. Last year I was 3rd Overall, and my goal for this year was to equal that or better.
19:28 (4th OA)
Pleasant Prairie does not have an elite wave, so this year I had to start in the second wave since I aged up. I actually thought this would be a bit of an advantage as I would be able to get some sighting assistance from the field of swim caps in front of me, which would be better than last years experience of following a kayaker that couldn’t paddle straight.
At the horn I ran to the water and started swimming a pretty stiff pace, I was surprised to see two guys right next to me. One of them started to swim away, so I scooted over and got on his feet. Around the 500 meter mark, I decided to let the guy go as he was swimming a bit harder than my body wanted to. The remainder of the swim was pretty uneventful.
I don’t normally include transitions in my right up, but this one is noteworthy and I need to remember it… When I got to my rack and remove my wetsuit, my race belt had come unlaced and fell off. Not thinking clearly – I took the time to relace it before departing. I ended with a transition almost 50 seconds slower then the faster folks, and I’m usually one of the quicker folks in transition.
59:15 (16th OA)
I manager to finally get out of transition within eye sight of Matt, I told myself to stay calm and just keep Matt insight, he’d be my carrot to pull back the time I lost in T1. Within about 3 or 4 minutes on the bike, Matt was gone, and although I had passed a couple of people, my speed was just not good. I would push 300+ watts for a few minutes and would be doing 21 miles an hour – but it did not feel like I had a flat. A quick glance at both tires confirmed that they both had pressure.
I began to struggle a bit mentally, and let my watts fall a bit – why kill myself for what was sure to be a sub-par effort. Thoughts of DNFing at T2 (or earlier) began to enter my head. I had already suffered through a couple of terrible races this year – why add another to the list.
Towards the end of the second loop, having fought off some of the negative thoughts, hoping and praying that something was not right with my bike – and that the problem wasn’t me – I stopped and physically checked my tire pressure – Good. Spun the front wheel – spins freely. Spun the back wheel – PHVVVVVVVVVVVVF. My rear break was rubbing. I quickly opened the caliper up – made sure it spun and then got back on my way.
The difference was noticable immediately, I could actually tell the difference in how much bike felt. I finished the first loop in 31 minutes and change – and figured I could probably salvage a decent bike split if I could do 27 and change on the second loop.
Motivated I put the hammer down and pulled into T2 in a much better mental state – and ready to run.
38:43 (7th OA)
I started the run just behind two folks, one guy doing the sprint and the other doing the international – who had passed me early on the bike while I was not doing so hot. I managed to pass them both before the sprint distance turn off, and headed out onto the highway to the first turn around – a chance for me to find out where things stood. There were only a handful people in front of me, but not knowing who was in what wave I didn’t know where I was exactly.
I burned through the first 3 miles in a little under 18 minutes trying to dig myself up to a money spot. By about mile 5 I was starting to hurt pretty badly and was feeling the agressive running. At that point I shifted to damage control – trying to force an acceleration whenever I felt like I was starting to slow.
2:00:44 (4th OA)
I was a bit disappointed to finish out of the money, but the consolation prize of having a strong run – after a couple bad runs at this distance was enough to cheer me up. All-in-all it left me feeling good about my prospects at Ironman Wisconsin and beyond.