For the two weeks leading up to my taper week, I was able to get in some solid training. My injuries were still lingering but not as strong, and I did a sort of reverse taper. I started slowly and built up to about 10 or 12 hours of training the week prior to race week.
Saturday, July 13 – the day before the race
Since all of the trails in the area were closed due to the unusual amount of rain in the Charlotte area, my kids were somewhat disappointed and ready for a bike ride. To compromise, I decided to take them for a ride around a really big parking lot near our hotel. It was a weekend, so the businesses were closed, which provided a ton of safe space to ride around, and there was a slight bit of elevation gain to get my legs going. We rode a few laps, and with each lap, I kept reminding them to slow down on the descents and be safe. At this point we were rolling downhill to the end of the lot and coming to a turn; out of nowhere, my son Gabe, 4 years old, came crashing into me. He was crying; I was freaking out. He was ok. I was ok. But then I spun my front wheel and found disaster. The rim was tacoed. Needless to say, I was furious and showed it. Less than 24 hours from the start of the race, and my $450.00+ DT Swiss rim was ruined.
Luckily, I’d had a rim trued the day before at the local Trek bike shop, and they were about to open. I took a long walk (recommended by my wife, Jen), grabbed a quick bite to eat, and was off to the bike shop to figure out the options. After a bit of time and realizing that the rim was not able to be trued, we started to look for parts: a new rim to be built, an entirely new wheel, etc… These all seemed out of reach and they did not have what I needed. I left the bike with them and headed off to drop the family off at the Carolina Raptor Center, a really cool rehab etc… facility for birds of prey. When I returned to the bike shop, they had discovered a couple options, neither of which were that good. But suddenly, the mechanic materialized a Bontrager wheel that would fit and would work with my brake system. The rim was over $450.00 – not something I had planned for. But once everything was said and done, they were having a huge sale and the wheel was about $100.00 off. Much better. Bike reassembled and working well. Stress level = through the roof. Race time > about 18 hours away. Need to wind down and rest.
Now, it was time to check out the race venue at the US National Whitewater Center, sans bike, trails still closed. The transition zone was easy to find, and I took some time to acclimate with the scene. We all walked down to where the modified swim was to start. While checking out the whole site, I had an iPad that I borrowed form work with the race map on it, which helped a ton to get my bearings. The bike and run courses were straight forward and would be marked well, so I did not worry too much there, but for the swim / run, I needed a mind map and to test the terrain, as I would be running bare foot between each leg. We walked all the way around the rafting course, which is where the swim was moved. It was going to be in the Catawba River, but again, the conditions prevented this. The swim leg became five swims and five runs – the last run was uphill to transition. Weird but better than having no swim. I tested the ground; it wasn’t too bad, and I knew I could run each leg without too much danger to my feet.
Next, which I don’t recommend the day before a race, we headed to the bar and had a couple local micro brews and some chill time to put the day to rest.
Forecast for race day – looks like more rain…
I’ll get to my race report as soon as possible. We’ve been moving, and I haven’t had much time to write. It was a really tough day out but went quite well.