sexta-feira, 20 de fevereiro de 2015

1st day - The Swim

Friday finally came. Having the race start postponed to 09:00 made us able to get breakfast in the hotel. I couldn´t eat much, I was too nervous/anxious/tense. We left the hotel at 07:30 and got to the race site almost 1 hour before the start.

It was hard not to be worried with that temperature close to 0 C (32 F)! I went to the lake to feel the water temperature and I heard it was around 12 C (53 F), that wasn´t so bad since the water was hotter than the air. No matter what, that would be the the coldest open water swim I´d ever done.

Guilherme and I took the bike to the stands in the transition area and filled up the "fuel cell" with water and GU Brew, a sports drink with a higher carbohidrate concentration. With the cold weather I wouldn´t sweat so much but I´d still need those carbos.
Guilherme and André (back) taking the kayak to the water.
I got my wetsuit on, putting a lot of lubricant in it in order not to have much shafting. This could be very harmfull for the entire race. With the swim cap, gogles and gloves the checklist was OK, let´s go to the start line!

André had the kayak a few feet from the water. I pulled the kayak to the lake for him not to get wet. I showed him the detais of my wetsuit so he could locate me in the water. He rowed away and waited with the other 38 kayaks for the race start.

At the ramp we were asked to join hands in a circle because they´d make a prayer. Sway, the race director, read a few nice words, wishing us luck and evoking whatever entities we believed in to protect us, guide us and take us to the finish line 2 days later.

Last words of good luck from  Sway..
Oficial picture of the 39 just before race start.

Oficial pictures were taken and we slowly went to the water, we could cut the tension with a knife! The 10 second countdown started and before I could think I was diving in that cold water and starting the first phase of that journey.

10, 9, 8 ... 2, 1, GOOOOO!!!
The kayaks waiting for us.
Race start viewed from the transition area.

The start was very calm. I started in the back of the pack with no hurry. Very different from an Ironman race start, with 2000 athletes fighting for a little space, we rapidly pulled away from each other. The neoprene gloves and boots were full of water and were making too much drag. After I started moving, the body heat I was generating made me feel "not so cold" and that made me calm.

After about 400 m (440 yds) André appeared on my right side. I stopped to give him the gloves and boots. My feet was really cold but my hands soon got used to the temperature.

Our strategy was to André make all the navigation. With him on the Kayak he´d play the part of a "swim lane", just like in a swimming pool. That was the best strategy. I saw a lot of other athletes that had the kayaks in front or behind them that were swimming in zig-zags. 

The nutrition during the swim was done with a stop every 1000m (1100 yds), that was the same strategy I had during training. A sip of GU Brew, a GU Rocktane Gel every other stop. With 5000 m (5500 yds) I´d have half a sandwich with cheese and jelly. On the 3rd and 7th stop I´d have half a Powerbar.

We crossed the 1st 1000m with 17 minutes, a fast pace compared to what we were expecting. That made André worried. We planned to complete the 1000 m in 20 minutes. He asked me to take it easy, we still had 9000m (9900 yds) to go!

Lake Conway´s view, kayaks and athletes.
To swim 10000 m in Lake Conway it is necessary to swim very close to the margin, the biggest advantage of that was that it looked like a panoramic tour. I´d distract myself with every new house or backyard we´d pass by. In some open water races we swim so far from the shore that we have the feeling we´re not moving forward. Another great advantage was the possibility to see the bottom of the lake in many parts of the course. That gave me the feeling that I was really going somewhere. Some little fish and the vegetation would take my mind of all that distance swimming..

After 2000m we made the 2nd stop. It was almost under the bridge where many team crews were. Carol and Guilherme were there cheering for me. It was so good to see them!

Passing the 2000m mark.

We kept swimming/rowing and the lap times were still between 17 and 18 minutes/1000 m. With 5000 m we took a bigger break to eat the sandwich and re-apply more lube on my neck. After that even though I wasn´t feeling tired we slowed down a little. There was still a long way to the finish line and I´d play safe on the swim in order not to get burned out soon.

We postponed the 6000 m stop in some minutes, this way we´d stop under the bridge again and I´d have a few more seconds close to Carol and Guilherme.
The bridge with the crews cheering for us
Carol enjoying Florida´s "warm" weather while waiting for me and André

At the 6000m stop Guilherme told us that we were in 13th place. That was a good surprise! All that due to good nutrition, good pacing and the André´s perfect navigation.

Every stop we´d say a few words and André would make some tests to see if I was ok and not getting into hypothermal state. I´d count from 0 to 10 or 10 to 0 in portuguese and english. Even though that may seem silly all this preocupation showed how much the team was worried and commited to get to the finish line.
Where´s that buoy??? Has anyone seen it?

After about 8500m (9350 yds), before the last buoy, we were pretty close to the opposite shore in a very shallow part. I stood up and took a few steps with the water on my knee. It was good to vary the position and stretch my arms and shoulders a little bit. I talked a little with André and he showed me where the finish line was.

Following André´s orientations I did some breaststroke and some backstroke in order to change the movement a little.

I got out of the water after 5470 strokes, in 10th place overall and very, very satisfied and relieved (the Garmin 910XT counted every stroke, no kidding). In the last few days the swim made me very tense because of the low temperatures and it was finally over! The whole team, my parents, the Baylors and Phil Sagona were there, waiting and cheering for me at the ramp. As I was leaving the water Guilherme told me about the excelent results of the othe Brazilians, Renato was the first out of the water and Bernardo 4th.

The water exit.
The transition was in the back of the Rock´n´Roll van. They left the heater on and it was so good to be in a warm place! I removed the wetsuit and Carol helped me dry. The temperature rised to 9 C (48 F) but it was too cold to start biking wet. Being very careful in order not to get any cramps in the arms or shoulders I started to get dressed. Arm warmers, 2 cycling shirts, 1 wind breaker, a full finger glove and the compression socks. We opened the trunk of the car so that I could enjoy a little more of everybody´s company. Between one and another piece of clothing I´d get one more spoon of boiling hot cup noodles, delicious!

Renato leaving the water in 1st place

Nenhum comentário:

Postar um comentário