Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ever Raced in the East Sea? I HAVE :) :)

12-14 August-

I will forewarn you that this will be one of my longer blogs. If you want the short version here it is: I drove 4 hours, got on a ferry for 3 hours, checked in, woke up, raced, ate lunch, took another ferry for 2 hours, swam 800m total going to and from both Dokdo islands, took a ferry 2 hours back, awards, beers, slept, rode for 3 hours, relaxed, took another ferry back for 3 hours, got stuck in traffic for 6 hours, got home at 330am, went to work...............Now for the long version, if you care, I will say this is one of the coolest things I have been able to do.

And if that wasn't short enough here are the 2 media releases so far. There is suppose to be a documentary coming out in September of the weekend.

Video in English (starts at 2:30)
News Article in Korean

Thursday afternoon I headed out for a short training ride here in Osan, easy 1h30m then back for a short run. Right before coming back on base some guy flung his door open in front of me and I went over the bars. Got a little banged up but nothing was broken and the BIKE was fine :) So I still got in my run and then packed up for the weekend adventure.

Friday was an early wake up of 0430 so I could meet up with my Korean friends and we could make the 4 hour drive out to the east coast. Once there we got on the ferry for 3 hours and headed out to Ulleung Island. The ferry was just a passenger ferry and was setup like an aireliner. The water was pretty smooth on the way out there and I caught a little bit of sleep. Once we arrived to the island it was race check in and getting our bikes to transition area. It was a point to point swim, so T1 was in a different place than swim start. I wanted to get in a pre ride but they were wanting to transport our bikes to transition area, it took me a little while but I convinced them I would get my bike there. So I got checked into the hotel, put on bike kit and headed out to pre ride the course. The roads were HORRIBLE, my one big complaint of the weekend. But how can you complain when you are on an island in the middle of the East Sea and the view is gorgeous. The ride was good, got the bike to T1 and then headed to the race briefing.

I had a friend of a friend that came on the trip as the foreign assistant, but his translating skills were not all that great, or in his defense my Korean is about as good as his English. So I heard a girl speaking a bit of English on the boat and went and sat with her and her family at the race briefing. We got to chatting and she actually lives in NY but her parents live in Seoul. She was out here visiting and her mom signed the both of them up for their first tri. Pretty cool place to do a first tri, but a damn tough one for a first one. She helped me out quite a bit with translating for the race briefing. This is where the interviews started and were pretty much continuous throughout the whole weekend. Being one of two foreigners there, they took a lot of footage of me and asked a lot of questions. It was kind of interesting, and to say the least I am glad I am just a normal guy at all the big races, because I need some work on my interview/speaking skills.

Waking up bright and early Saturday morning for the race was no problem. Got down to the race start and sure enough more cameras, more questions. Asking about the competition was kind of interesting, I knew who the 2 pros were that were there and was already told they were going to be my competition. It was kind of cool to be included in the "pro wave", although there were only 4 of us, to be held in that regard is an honor. I knew the ITU guy was going to take it ot me on the swim and the only way I had a shot at beating him was if he flatted or had a mechanical. It is hard to go into a race knowing that but when you know your competition it is easy to figure out a strategy. So knowing what I knew here is how the race went:

Swim 2K- Well that sucks when you are swimming against an ITU guy and the swim is longer than the typical Olympic distance. I bet he would but 6 minutes into me on the swim. Sure enough after the race the splits came out and he put 6m27s into me. We all know that I am not a great swimmer by any means, well if you didn't now you do. But I was second out of the water, and had 2 minutes on third. Kind of a crappy transition as it was confusing and I got to my bike then they directed me back to a mat. No big deal took my time and made sure I had everything.

Bike 40K- Here is where I thought I could make up sometime on the pro and possibly give myself a shot at putting some doubt into him. Well the roads were bumpy, the scenery was beautiful. I took some splits on course and I was slowly gaining on him. At mile 15 my Garmin popped off from the bumpy roads and I had to stop. I would assume this cost me 1m30s. Slowing down, turning around, picking it up, getting back up to speed. At that point I knew I just need to keep riding strong and stay out of trouble and not crash or flat. There were some sections of dirt and rocks and some through tunnels so I took it easy there and just kept it upright. Had a good transition to the run and off I went.

Run- The first 8K was a 4 out and 4 back. Then the fun begin and it went up 800m then down 1.2K to the finish. At the 4K turn around I was able to get a split and he was up on me by 5m30s. Hmmmm what could possibly happen for me to catch this guy? He would have to get cramps and not make it up the beat of a hill. I kept running hard and got to the hill. Then reality set in and there was no way I was catching him and this hill was a beast, I had a big gap on 3rd so just settled in and power walked up the hill. It averaged 9.5% incline and was brutal! The downhill to the finish was nice and fast but then you get to the finish area and have to go up some stairs into a high school track. Luckily no one was around to make a sprint finish with because up those steps would of been crazy, but the last 200m was on a track with a small seating area. There were quite a few people in there and when I was heading for the finish line my translator friend (the friend of the friend, Soon Kim) told me to jump over the banner/ribbon. It actually turned into a pretty cool picture.

Swim 2K- 29:17
Bike 40K- 1:09:13 (Included T1 and T2) Garmin had the bike at 1:03:48
Run 10K- 44:12
Overall: 2:26:21-2nd Overall/112 starters/92 finishers
Gap between 1st-me=8mins36secs Me-3rd=14mins59secs

Overall I was extremely pleased with my results. Some may have read earlier that there was suppose to be prize money but due to the lack of participation in our "elite" wave they pulled 2nd and 3rd place money. I wrote a post on SlowTwitch about this . What it comes down to is in reality I am not fast enough to be earning a $2,000 pay check for that performance. They advertised the money and did not pay out, but at least they said something Friday night and not after the race. I can't complain as they paid for everything and I was taken care of while I was on this trip.

So after the race on Saturday we had about 3 hours before the next adventure began. We headed out on another ferry ride for 2 hours to an island called Dokdo. These places were so special to the Korean's and I felt very honored to be able to go to both Ulleung and Dokdo . We were suppose to swim 2K around Dokdo but the water was really rough so we swam between the two "rocks" in the middle of the ocean. The water is absolutely beautiful in both Ulleung and Dokdo, clear and you can see the bottom most of the way. We only got to swim about 800m but it was really cool and a once in a lifetime experience. I told some of my Korean friends back here at Osan about the weekend adventure and they were all in shock that I had went there. Many Koreans never have the opportunity to visit either of these places so I feel really lucky for this opportunity.

Saturday night was the awards ceremony and there was a big stage set up down in the harbor and they put on a short performance. It was really cool and sat around afterwards and had a few beers and just enjoyed the night. Don't be fooled though, not to much beer as coach wanted me to "see some more of the island" via a bike ride in the morning. Up bright and early Sunday morning to get in some time on the bike. There was some really good climbs so I headed out with Tom, the other foreigner and we explored the island. It was a good time and road some really rough but great climbs. The rest of Sunday we just hung out and relaxed and caught a ferry back Sunday afternoon.

The journey back home was not a fun one at all. The ferry ride was very rough and a lot of people were getting sea sick. My stomach was not happy but I was able to hold it all in. We got back to main land about 9pm and headed for home, it took 6 hours to get back due to traffic. By the time I got to bed it was 0330 and I had to be up at 0530 for work. To say the least Monday was not a fun day at work. But the adventure of this weekend made it all worth it!

I just want to say thanks to everyone for all the continued support and for following along on this journey!


Here is a link to the Photo Album on Facebook from this weekend as I have a lot of cool photos. But below are a few of my favorite:
The Map

Where we had lunch on Saturday, this guy wasn't to sure about taking a photo with me but the tree was pretty cool how it went through the restaurant.

Eveyln and myself. She won her AG in her first tri ;) And she has even said she is going to train harder to beat me next time. She was pretty close to me on the swim........
The top of one of the climbs on Sunday!!
Jumping across the finish line, this white boy still has hops ;)

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