Sunday, June 01, 2008

Dear Portland Weather Gods
You call this June?
Monday: Occasional drizzle.
Tuesday: Showers likely.
Wednesday: A 20 percent chance of showers.
Thursday: Mostly sunny.
Friday: A chance of rain.
Saturday: A chance of showers.
Sunday: A chance of showers.
T-Minus Three Weeks
CDA draws near. Yikes. After five days in New York last week, I arrived home Friday afternoon in time to get in a 2000-yard swim. Saturday, it was 60 on the bike along flat and fast Marine Boulevard, followed by a six-mile run. Today, I headed out to Hagg Lake for the Gecko Tri Club's open water races. It occurred to me yesterday as I began to get my stuff ready for the early morning outing that I had never before worn my new wetsuit. So I tried it on. Easy on and easy off, that was nice, in contrast to my previous suit. But it felt all tight and I didn't like the fact that due to the cold water (64, I'd heard), I wouldn't be advised to wear my vest and instead would have to go with the full-length sleeves. I hate swimming in full-length sleeves.

So instead of doing one of the longer swims -- 2000 or 4000 meters -- I decided to break in the suit with the sprint, the 800-meter race. Which I did, though getting to the start was a bit of a comedy. First, as I left my car to do day-of-race registration, I tore out a check to pay. But by the time I got to the reg table, the check was gone. I retraced my steps, but no dice. Gone. So back to the car to get my checkbook. Oh, no! Lost check was also last check. Throwing myself on the mercy of the volunteers, I was allowed to register with a promise to send in my check afterward. Geckos, you rock.

OK, so now it's time to put on the suit. A little Body Glide here and there, boom-boom-boom, suit on. But it feels funny. Hmm. Oh. Forgot to pull bibjohn straps over my shoulders. Off comes the top of the two-piece, up go the straps, on goes the top. OK, to the lake I trundle. "Yo, dude," I hear someone say, and it sounds a lot like the voice is aimed at me. I turn. "You dropped your goggles."

Finally, I swam. Under deep gray skies, the calm water was actually not too cold -- I could have worn the vest top. And I wished I had. The suit felt a little tight up top on the chest and toward the throat. It wasn't drastically wrong, but I didn't feel totally comfortable. Well, anyway, I swam the 800 meters in 16 and a half minutes, which is fine. Then as the 2000-meter folks went out, I put in another 1000 yards or so, looking for a decent workout and a better comfort level with the suit.

Out of the water, it was onto the bike. I figured two or three 10.5-mile loops around the lake would be a nice follow-up to the previous day's 60 miles. And it was. This was a really good ride. Pretty much all my riding on The New Bike has been on flat terrain; my goal has been to try to get used to the aero position, and straight, level roads have allowed me to do that. Hagg, however, gave me a great taste of what I'll face at Coeur d'Alene. Lots of curves, and lots of ups and downs -- no huge climbs, but a little more than rollers. I felt pretty good going up and down and staying aero, and did three loops, each of them in 33 minutes.

The ride

By the time I finished, the Geckos had the post-swim grill going (even as the 4000-meter swimmers soldiered on), so I built myself a burger. I ate it sitting beside the lake. Munching away, I peered out at the buoys, laid out in a 2000-meter sort of triangle with a very long hypotenuse. Two loops, 4000 meters. That's what I'll have to do at CDA. Gulp.