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Race Result

Racer: Brady DeHoust
Race: Vineman Full
Date: Saturday, August 12, 2006
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Race Type: Triathlon - Ironman
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 10:13:00
Overall Place: 7
Age Group Place: 3
Comment: Simple, Less, & Flexible

Race Report:

On the Vineman race website, the last paragraph says,

"Whatever your reason or motivation for competing,
the Full Vineman and its friendly staff of more than
800 volunteers look forward to making your experience
a great one."

The second part of that statement is truth. It's the first part that was the question consuming my mind in early July when I was debating whether or not I wanted to sign-up for this race. What was my "reason or motivation"?

This year has been about keeping things simple, less regimented, and more flexible --- I owe that to my family after a strung out 2005 with two "vacations" centered on Ironman races. The "simple-less-and-flexible" approach meant less training days that required travel, bagging weekend training for quick out of town trips to my in-laws in Southwestern VA, skipping out on the epic training week in South Carolina with Dave and Steve, and being ... well, just being more flexible and considerate of things outside of triathlon.

Sitting at our kitchen table in early July, Deidre casually asked, "So, are you doing Vineman?" We talked a bit about it. I couldn't really pinpoint my reason or motivation. I had trained, but not with the volume and preparation for ironman racing. I was hoping that Deidre would be more against than for me signing up ... that would make the decision easier. But she was excited about it. We talked about making it less of a trip for the race, and more of a vacation that included a race. On July 5th, I registered for Vineman.

To stay in line with "simple-less-and-flexible", we arrived a day later than normal. This way, there would be less build-up to race day which often results in more anxiety and stress.

Brad Rex would man the mic for the day. His humor, stories, and overall demeanor helped keep things relaxed on race morning. He started our wave at 6:45am - males 34 and under and pros.

The 2.4 mile swim is 2-loops in the narrow Russian River. One section of the swim was shallow enough that my hands would graze the bottom, and I wondered how a taller swimmer negotiated the shallower parts. Deidre, Kyle, and Steve got settled on a bridge with an overhead view of the entire swim course. Navigation was easy with the narrow paths between the buoys and land. I tried to tuck in for a draft a couple times, but it seemed to require more energy to stay with the zigzagging feet than it was to swim my own line. With feet on the ground, it was a pleasant surprise to see a 1:02 ... a PR by 3 minutes.

The 112 mile bike is two loops traversing through countless vineyards on rolling roads. You first have to ride an 8-mile stretch from Johnson's beach to the start of the loop that has a little of a bumpier ride than the loop roads. Just around mile five, it was evident that the bumpy road surface had repositioned the spare tire on my seat post, causing it to hit the back of my thigh on each pedal stroke. I was worried that it may fall off completely, so I pulled off to the side and made the appropriate adjustments. I worked hard to catch back up to the few that were in sight before my stop, but it was too much effort that early in the race. As the time ticked and pedals turned, the ride took form of a long, solo training day --- often riding mile after mile with no one in site.

Coming through town halfway done, I was a bit over the time I had given Deidre earlier that morning. Pace and effort felt good, but I wondered how things would feel at the four-hour mark, where I may start to pay the price for missing the big volume training.

Around mile 85, I started feeling "deflated" (more later). Every so often, I'd get passed by someone who clearly had more energy than I did. I thought the "simple-less-and-flexible" approach to this race would allow me to accept this, but that was not the case. I started having negative thoughts about what the rest of the day may hold. "Am I bonking?" "Is the 'simple-less-and-flexible' plan unfolding on the Sonoma County roads?" "Is this marathon going to be torture?" I had anticipated the likelihood of a slower bike time, but hoped that I could keep it at or below the 5:30 mark. Things held together, pulling into Windsor High School with a 5:37 ride.

The Vineman run is a 8.7 mile out-and-back done three times. There was little to no shade and a few significant humps along the way. Early on, I managed to pass a few of those who had passed me on the bike but didn't gain too much time. I was curious to see how friends David Glover and Dan Frost were holding together.

I felt good, given my troubles late in the bike. Dave passed first, and looked to be in the lead. "Hold it together.", I'd shout as we slapped hands in the middle of the road. Close to the end of the first loop, I passed Frosty who expressed some encouraging words before shortly fading off in the background. I began to slow during the second loop, but was still managing to pass a few ahead of me and held off any run specialists behind.

It was nice to pass by Deidre, Kyle, and Steve at the beginning and end of each loop.

Steve: "Relax those shoulders." I dropped my hands down by my side.
Deidre: "You look good." Liar.
Kyle: "Go Daddy! Mommy, where is Daddy going?"

With all the out and backs, it was easy to gauge progression on those in front. Each loop, I had one or two new targets. Starting the third and final loop, there were two ahead that I had made significant time on and felt that they would not be able to match my pace as long as I held it together. The first target I passed in the early parts of the third loop. This kid was 19 years old, participating in his first iron-distance triathlon. I hoped a solid surge would crush any chances of him trying to hold on and I'd soon be off around a turn and out of site. This worked, until a couple miles later, as I crested one of the hills, I looked over my shoulder and there he was. "Shit.", I said out loud. I did not want a re-pass, because chances of rebounding from that are slim to none. Again, I surged (at mile 21 of an iron-distance race, "surge" is relative term, more in line with a gut-deep effort to pick up the pace for 30 seconds) and hoped he wouldn't match the effort - he did not. One more target on the way home and my position was locked. A marathon time of 3:26 and 7th place overall.

The (more later) ...
About an hour after finishing, Steve and I rolled over to transition to grab my bike. Steve said, "Dude, check out your rear tire." It's a guess, but it probably had about 50psi of air pressure (full pressure is 140psi). I was certainly tired and fatigued at mile 85, but a little of that may have been from pushing a rear tire low on air.

Team D was exhausted from the long day as spectators --- from what I hear (and heard), Kyle was quite the cheerer out there. After many wrong turns and one stop at a gas station for direction, we pulled into the drive thru of the "golden arches". I fell asleep in the hotel room chair shortly after polishing off a McDonald's value meal and chocolate milk shake. It was the best night of post IM sleep I have ever had.

The rest of our California days were spent in vacation style; visiting the Kendall Jackson vineyard, taking the Alcatraz tour, shopping and eating down at Fisherman's Warf, sourdough bread from Boudin's, Irish coffee from Buena Vista, and riding the cable cars.

The theory was to keep things simple, be less regimented and less tired, and be more flexible. I can't say that I was completely anxiety-free, but my attitude was certainly more relaxed come race-day. I appreciate my family allowing me the opportunity to put this theory to test --- I think we all benefited in one way or another from it.