Looks too nice to be Lubbock, doesn't it? Well, the course for this tri is just east of Lubbock in Buffalo Springs Canyon--thus the change in scenery, and you'll see more what I mean as I work my way through this post. Be warned, there will be many BSLT posts between now and the 4th of July weekend. Why so long? Because there will be as much post race talk as there is pre-race of course! :) So, bear with me. This is the biggest race I've ever done distance wise. I was more on edge for the Austin Marathon because I trained for that for literally over a year (thanks to an extended trip in the Iraqi desert..). But, come race day, and while I'm out there on the course for, I expect nearly 6 hours, I know I will be feeling it and mental, not just physical, toughness will be required. I signed up for this race after some peer pressure from some fellow triathletes and, well, because I wanted to do it. I wanted the challenge, I wanted to see what it felt like to take my body 70.3 miles of swimming, biking, and running. It's the challenge that draws me to it all. But then, once my moment of challenge insanity has passed and I look at what I have signed up to do, I am convinced I am crazy--but I sort of like that, and again, the challenge and adrenaline that comes with racing tells me I've done a good thing.
THE SWIM: It is a 1.2 mile swim, or nearly 2000 meters on a rectangular course counter clockwise, entry at beach area and exit on cement boat dock area, within 20 yards of the transition area. The water is typically between 70-74 degrees, even when it is hot out (which, it will be), so wetsuits will be legal. I will be wearing my Wetzoot.
THE BIKE: The Bike Course is 56 miles, modified out and back, out of town farm to market roads, limited traffic, flat with 8 challenging hills, ranging from 2.9% - 8.9% grade and a quarter of a mile to 1.2 miles in length. The majority of the course is flats, and I personally excel at flats. The rest are some steep uphills and some steep downhills. I've had some friends from out there say it's not as bad as it looks, but here is an elevation chart--and the first hill is right out of T1 (first transition from swim to bike). This will be a challenge for sure, and the downhills, while usually awesome and time gaining may be a little scary to due to HOW steep they are. Remember, this is in and out of the CANYON!
THE RUN: After what I hope is a fast, safe, and enjoyable bike ride I'll role into T2 and trade my bike for my running shoes and my helmet for a running hat and hit the pavement running. The site describes the course as 13.1 miles, asphalt, flat with 3 challenging hills, ranging from 6.4% - 7.6%(not the same hills as found on the bike course) grade. The hills are approximately 300 yards to 880 yards in length. Partially shaded, tough, scenic course. Yep, a 1/2 Marathon to round out the mileage to a healthy 70.3.There you go! That's the course. That is what I will be headed out to do next weekend. Between now and then there is a little thing called taper that I must go through (and a few hundred miles of driving)...but we'll talk about taper, goals, keys to succes, etc. throughout this next week. Can't put it all out there at once. Besides, this Sunday there is a race TWICE as long (140.6 miles) in a beautiful piece of America in Idaho called
So, I am wishing safe and speedy races to all the soon-to-be Ironmen!! I may have to go to this race next year (not to race it--I have another Ironman I'm eyeing for '09)...but to cheer on some friends that are going to race it!