Battleship North Carolina and then drop off my bike at T1 in Wrightsville Beach. Then we stopped for dinner at Mellow Mushroom and had an early night involving me going through all of my bags again.
I got up at 5:30 on race morning and had a bagel with peanut butter and a banana along with a water bottle of Camelbak Elixir. Then I headed downstairs for the bus to Wrightsville Beach. We stayed at the Hilton and that is really the place to stay for this event. The bus went from the hotel to Wrightsville Beach for the start and from the Battleship to the hotel at the end. The sea taxis also went from the Battleship to the hotel. It was a very convenient location.
The bags - All half participants had three bags for their gear. One bag was for before/after items. You know, the things that you want at the start of the swim but don't need again until after you cross this finish line. I had sweat pants that I wore before, a long-sleeved T for after and a sweatshirt for before, Crocs and wetsuit and other swim stuff. The next bag was T1 so bike shoes, bike gear like gloves, helmet, sunglasses, socks. The final bag was for T2 (not the same location as T1) and it had running gear including shoes, number belt, hat and socks. All of the bags went on the bus with me. (Next time, they will be pre-deployed. I'll double bag them if I am worried they will get wet from dew.)
After the bus ride I dropped off my T2 bag and went to T1 to set that up. The bikes were all checked in on Friday night so it was more of a preload the Bento box, pump tires, make a final decision on what to wear (I went with tri shorts and tri top that I wore under my wetsuit and added arm warmers and a 2 gallon zip lock bag under my shirt as a temporary vest.) I met up with Sherry and Scott from BT and I saw Jerry and Fred from CSH. Once that was all set, I took the shuttled to the swim start.
Once I was at the swim start I watched some of the full participants swim by (the full started at 7:00, the first wave of the half started at 8:30). I went to the parking lot across the street from the start where it was sunny and sat Lisa, John, Stan and Jerry C. We visited. I had a Lara bar while I was waiting. It was actually relaxing -- until the announcer started and then everyone kind of started to freak out. The water was advertised at "mid-60s." When my wave was called, I got into the water -- totally submerged myself when I got in. And it BEGINS.
For me, the swim was uneventful. I thought 45 minutes on the swim was reasonable so going a minute faster was fine with me! T1 was slow partly due to cold hands and feet and the run over. I should have used the wet suit strippers. All were busy so I continued. I should have waited 10 seconds and used them though. I had some minor issues with cold hurting feet on the run to T1. The way the swim worked, you get out of the channel by climbing ladders and then un down a dock and then run about 400 yards to T1. The sidewalks were OK to run on but I did not like running on the blacktop one bit.
After much debate over several weeks and frequently checking the weather forecast, (actual weather data: 52 when I got on the bike, 67 when I got off the bike, hit 70 during the run) I wore arm warmers and put a 2 gallon zip lock bag under my tri top for the bike. Also wore bike gloves and mtb socks. My feet felt funny when I clipped in -- like there was something in my shoe besides my foot and sock -- but I continued. It turned out they were just cold.
Great Bike! Exceeded my expectations!
The bike was good. I loved riding on 140. It was FAST! Just after we got off 140, we had the first water station. My plan was to drink one bottle of Camelbak Elixir before the first water stop. Dump the empty, move bottle #2 forward and grab a water. I figured if the bottle grab didn't go well, I had another chance this way. Got the bottle with no problem. I was able to execute this plan with no problem. Shortly after the first aid station I took the baggie-vest out and put that in my pocket to drop off at the next water station. (You are not allowed to litter, the rules call it abandoned equipment. You can, however, get rid of trash, etc. at aid stations.)
After getting off 140, we took 421 north and jogged over to Blueberry Road where we continued north. We had some headwind on the 421/Blueberry section. Then a turn onto another road for a short while before the turnaround. Ah, a little tailwind! Oh, and that was a false flat heading UP so things are GOOD!
On the way back on Blueberry Road I saw a cyclist down and then I saw an ambulance. I hope the rider is OK.
Overall, I was pleased with the bike segment.
When I got to T2, I remember to removed Garmin, handed bike to volunteer and headed to my gear/rack space. Shoe/sock change, hat on, kept the sunglasses. Where are the portapots? Oh, there is a line. Run to Run Out and GO!
I felt great coming off the bike. There was a line for port-a-pots in transition so ran to first aid station and went there (in other words, run time includes potty break). Ran well for the first bit and faded. There was a lot of crowd support downtown! It was great!
The run course started off with crossing a Big Bridge, cross a little bridge -- the Northeast Cape Fear River Bridge which is relatively flat, run along the Wilmington waterfront and then head up a hill to Front Street to Greenfield Park. Turnaround and head back.
Just after we got to mile three I was thinking, "Almost a quarter of the way done! Woo hoo!" Then a spectator said, "They have 10 miles to go."
I thought we would never get around the park. We got on the path and kept going and going and going. I had a Hammer gel just before the turnaround. I saw Stan, Lisa and Fred before the turnaround and then spotted John and Jerry after the turn around. Seeing my friends was really nice.
I got water at most but not all water stops. My stomach started to rebel with 3-4 miles to go on the run.
The run heading back to downtown seemed faster. I got over the little bridge OK. Then I saw the Big Bridge. Oh my! When I saw that last bridge I wanted my mommy. OK, not really. It just looked very intimidating to me and I kept on thinking that I wanted to run the whole thing so I kept on trucking.
The finish chute was great! I heard the announcer call my name. As soon as I got across the line and they took my chip, I got my medal. It is really cool. Maybe even better than my Donald Duck!
Stan and Lisa were there and I talked to them a little bit. DH was there and that felt great! He got some nice pictures too :-)
I loved this event and I'll be back!