Race 31 brought us back to Georgia for the second time in a few weeks. This race was right outside of downtown Atlanta in the suburb surrounding Chastain Park. I read the race description prior to the event and saw that I could expect rolling hills on the bike and the run. I was happy to see that there would not be any real serious hills as I am still working my way back into shape.
Well, I came to find out, as I headed down into the race venue, that the definition of rolling hills in Atlanta must be pretty different than mine in Nashville. These were some real hills that I was going to face. The swim start and transition were in, what felt like, a hole down at the bottom of a funnel. Even the transition was on an incline.
We got ready to start the race. I was starting 17th in the time trial swim start. The swim was another snake swim course through a heated pool. Fairly uneventful swim with just a few bumps along the way as everyone made their way across the pool..lane by lane.
Out of the pool and into the fridge. Another cold morning on the bike. The weather was a balmy 45 degrees or so. Gloves on, down the hill to the very bottom of the funnel..onto the bike and off we went. We started climbing right away. The hills were unrelenting throughout the entire race. You would climb a “hill”..catch your breath…scream down the backside…hit a flat section….start climbing again. I will say this for the race, they did a very good job controlling traffic throughout this race. These hills would bring us through many intersections which would have been very precarious at the speeds we were traveling in certain sections. However, the downside of the bike course came in the quality of the roads. The roads were fairly chewed up. Speed made certain sections dangerous. You really had to pay attention to the direction of your front wheel to ensure that you did not drift into trouble.
Coming off the bike and off to the run through the sloped transition was different. You are coming down the hill braking the whole way. You climb off the bike and start the downhill run to the rack. This was a unique experience for me because the transition was generally empty as I came in. Since I started at the front of the race there wasn’t much traffic in transition to navigate. Bike racked..shoes on…downhill back to the base of the funnel.
The run had 4 real hills on the course. This made for a painful run for a big clydesdale working his way back into shape. Fortunately we were racing around a beautiful golf course and the weather, at this point, had become very nice. The run finished and race 31 was all done.
This race was hard. Not the hardest I had ever done but still one to remind your legs and lungs that you were doing work the whole way. This race was 18.5 miles. Bringing the Team Chad annual race miles up to 685.9 miles. More to come later.