June 15, 2009
Ironman Eagleman 70.3 Race Report
Confessions of a Bike Pee-er
Your favorite vertical swimmer is back. This time we are going to go in a different direction. This time, we shall divert our attention to Satin's other child ... the bike. Not to worry though, no race report is ever complete without the anti-Christ (the swim) making a mandatory appearance.
Before I begin, I want to throw out some props for some of the volunteers out there whom I recognized from the hood. There was Sacha who greeted with her bright and beautiful smile at 5:30 AM at the entrance of the transition area. She said "hi Tuan" with great enthusiasm. I said "WTF, who knew that I was here ?"
I saw Bryan a few minutes later and we discussed my swim/walk strategy. I already swim in the vertical position anyway, what harm would there be to make it official and walk it ? He told me to manned up and swim the entire thing. Needless to say, he is now off of the Vietnamese Bar Mitzvah invite list. The was also Hugh who was giving out fluids to all of the athletes at the finish line decompression area. Physically he looks like a stud ... like he is doing a full Ironman next week or something. And of course, who can forget the twins (Julia and Sandy) who were taking more pictures than a boatload of Japanese tourists. I have no idea how people can tell them apart. They both walk with a slight limp.
IT WAS THE WORST TO TIME, IT WAS THE BEST OF TIME
You know, whenever you start off with an article or a book that is entitled "Confessions of xxxx", it always sound mysterious and exciting. Doesn't "Confessions of a Serial Killer" or "Confessions of a Geriatric Lover" sound like best selling books or some trashy romantic novel? Isn't it something that just makes you want to lock up your children in a truck of a car so that you can have some "me" reading time ?
Take that phrase and now replace the xxxx with "a bike pee-er" and somehow it no longer sounds as sexy or romantic but then again no one ever said that the nitty gritty of the bike ride during a triathlon was ever sexy or romantic. Hi, my name is Tuan and I have a confession to make.
Before I bare my soul to the world and bring shame to my family, please go lock up your children in the basements and hide your women in the closets for this is a confession that no child or woman should bare witness to. It is a shame so great that no man should shoulder, let alone a drop-dead handsome Vietnamese. It is my shame and it shall be my confession. It's time to unload. Forgive me father for I have sinned. Hmmm ... are born again Buddhists allowed to say that? Oh, who am I kidding, even the Buddhist monks have told me to stay away from the temple during normal business hours.
As a reminder, this race report is part of a series documenting the road to my first IM. To fully appreciate this report, you should read up on the other three parts. The complete series are as follow:
Part 1. Making Love to Buoys at the Luray Sprint
Part 2. Vietnamese Saigon Tango with a Naked Anna Kornakova at the IM Longhorn 70.3
Part 3: Plight of a Vertical Swimmer at the IM California 70.3
Part 4: Confessions of a Bike Pee-er at the IM Eagleman 70.3
Part 5: TBD
The series is a part of a serious outlook into the world of triathlon from a Vietnamese gigolo point of view. It's an in depth analysis by an author that Triathlete Magazine once called "the vertical freak show in the water among all vertical freak shows in the water."
My goals for this race are the same as the goals for all of my other races.
Swim: Not drown, not scare any children, and not attract any liberal freaks
Bike: Fast enough to produce a bike PR but so fast that I will never be able to reproduce
Run: Hear the wind, feel the wind, be the wind
The anti-Christ leg of this triathlon began in waist deep brackish water of the Chesapeake Bay. I'm not sure what brackish water is. It's supposed to mean a little bit salty and a little bit sweet. That's like my Ho Chi Minh Daycare Center's counselor telling me that what he's about to do to me will hurt a little bit on my back side and a little bit on my front side. WTF!?? How about not letting it hurt on either side ?!!
My criteria for all triathlons is that they must be counter clockwise swims. I'm not a switch handed batter when it comes to breathing. I breath on one side and only on one side. Don't judge me ... that's how I roll.
I can barely survive by breathing on my strong side. I ain't going to test the wills of the gods by being a switch hitter in the water. When I signed up for this race it was a counter clockwise swim. Two months before this race, it was announced that the course was changed to a clockwise swim. I've said it before and I'll say it again, triathlon is a communist sport invented by communists for communists. Are you freaken kidding me ? That's like Hillary Clinton marrying Bill and getting Monica as a special bonus.
Do you know what it's like to breath on your left and have the buoys on your right ? It's a terrifying experience to come out of your stroke and see nothing. No buoys, nada! Or see 100 other swimmers staring back at you ? It's like watching a Jaws movie where everyone sees that the shark is coming except for the guy that's about to become lunch. I was THAT guy. I couldn't understand why people were swimming away from me. It took me a few minutes to realized that they weren't swimming away from me. I was just the only idiot that swam counter clockwise while the rest of the field were going clockwise. Again, WTF !? Why are triathlons so anti-Tuan ?
One of the things that you are taught about open water swimming is that you should sight other swimmers if you can't locate buoys. It's a sound advice but when dead fish can swim faster than you, there aren't too many other swimmers around for you to locate. Here are what I saw when I came out of my to stroke to try to locate and sight: a bridge, a boat, and a vast body of water.
I tried doing the smart thing before the race and counted the number of orange buoys out there. The race had yellow and orange buoys. The yellow ones mean that you keep swimming straight while the orange ones mean that you make a turn. I counted three orange buoys prior to the swim ... let's just say that there more than three buoys out there by the time that I finished. Everytime that I hit one of the orange ones, I looked up expecting to see land and all I saw were a bridge, a boat, a vast body of water. To all of the sharks out there that are reading this ... don't toy with me. Eat me quickly and get it over with. Don't make me swim 2,000 meters then decide that you want take out Vietnamese. I'm like noodles in a bowl of pho. You leave me in the water for too long and I'm no longer delicious.
Serenity now, serenity now... Hear the wind, feel the wind, be the wind
Swim time: 49 minutes. The pros and I have now have something in common. We both can go sub 50 minutes in the swim leg.
You should know something about me before we begin. I am a competitor. I bring my "A" game to every race that I enter, even if that game plateau at "B". It does not matter to me that over half of the field (and then some) have passed me during the course of the day. I compete not for myself but for the children.
I believe the children are our are future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride ... that's what I believe. Send your children my way and I will show them the ways of the people.
As I have stated previously, my goal for the bike ride was to be fast enough to produce a bike PR but so fast that I will never be able to reproduce. I've analyzed the results of my previous two 70.3 bike rides and had come to the conclusion that I was too friendly with the port-a-johns. The Christy Wellingtons of the world see no need for them during a race. If Christy does not use the port-a-johns then the Tuanman does not either. In order to compete with the best, you have to do what the best does.
Do those 30 seconds that it take to use the port-a-johns really matter ? Does coming in at 1,456th place instead of 1,451th really matter in the grand scheme of things ? Well, when you are a competitor like me ... yes it does. I want to be a role model to children. I want them to know that they should always compete at 100% and if that means that they need to take indecent liberties with the bike then so be it.
Relieving yourself on the bike is a lot tougher than it sounds. I know that you are not supposed to do anything new on race day but how heck do you practice peeing on the bike during a training ride ? I mean, do you hook yourself up on a bike trainer outdoor and just go at it ? I just told myself to hear the wind, feel the wind, be the wind. After that, it just became natural. Overhydrating no longer became an issue for me. My strategy worked because I PRed on this bike ride. That's right, I peed and I PR ... and I'll do it again if it can get me another PR. Real men don't use port-a-johns. Real triathletes pee on their bikes. There, I said it!
Bike Time: 3:11. We learned from this bike ride that not only does the Vamboghini not like hills but it does not care much for strong headwinds either. I've accepted the fact that I would be nature's bitch in the water but on the bike ? Oh, come on!!
The swim and the bike ride were in as perfect air temp as you could hope for. It was in the lower 70s under very overcast skies. By the time the run started, the skies opened up and I once again became nature's little bitch. It was bright sunny skies and in the mid to upper 80s. About 95% of the run was under the blazing sun with no shades to be found.
I'm a Vietnamese. I was born with a tan. I think that I got more Asian by the time I finished the run. Is that possible ? Is it possible to be a little bit more pregnant ? Apparently, it is. Today, I sit in my office with a suntan burn. For that reason alone, I've decided that it's better to write this newsletter and bitch than to actually work.
The run was very flat, some of which were in local neighborhoods and some of it were next to cars on highway. Except for the sun, I had a good time. I saw a bunch of familiar faces out there ... Adam (going at about 7 min/mile), Becky, Emily, Karen, and Shannon. Some of the folks were looking quite ravishing while others were just surviving.
I felt somewhat decent coming off of the bike. I must say that I got one of the biggest cheers leaving the transition area to do my run. As I was leaving, I saw the twins (Julia and Sandy) yelling emphatically at me. They were waving emphatically and taking my picture. I thought that they were telling me to hop over the fence and skip the 13.1 mile run. I was like "cool, the bouncers are letting me in for free." Then to my horror, they pushed me back as I attempted to climb the security barriers and cross the finish line. Talk about bait and switch. Women are evil ... always been and always will be.
The twins and Bryan were volunteers at the finish line. They were the people that put the medals around the athletes's necks as they finished, they were the ones that gave them fluids, and they were pretty much the Sherpas of the finishers. I knew that they were there waiting for me at the end so I wanted to give them something to talk about.
Boys and girls, the Tuanman broke out the Vietnamese Saigon Tango as he approached the finish line. Well, it was the modified version. Obviously you can't do the full version without a naked Anna Kornakova next to you but I gave the ladies and Bryan a little show that they can one day tell their children about :) The finish line announcer also got a big kicked out of that. For me, just finishing isn't enough. You have to put the fans in the bleachers. You have to them a show to remember.
Run time: 1:56 and some change.
Add in all of the transition times, my final time was 6:05 which is a PR by 10 minutes for me. If I had one shred of swimming talent, I would have come in under 6 hours like I've always wanted. Of course, I also spent a combined of 8 minutes in the 2 transitions. WTF was I doing for 8 minutes ? How long does it take to put on a freaken pair of shoes ?
Serenity now, serenity now... Hear the wind, feel the wind, be the wind.
Until next time, take care.
Thanks for the morning entertainment and congrats on your PR!
I can't wait for your next race.
You are the Tuanman! You were awesome out there. Great job and congrats on the PR. Given your confessions, I'm glad I was just taking down numbers and not one of the people hugging you or ripping your timing chip off. :)
But you made it sub 50 on the swim! That means I should still be on the Vietnamese Bar Mitzvah invite list. You manned up and swam that and still did sub 50. That's what counts. (BTW, there always were 4 orange turn buoys. ;) ) Just be glad you didn't swim into the rock jetty as so many other people seemed to collide head on with.
Congrats again though. :)
I can't believe it - I made the race report! Sweet. My day is complete :)
Congrats Tuan and all others who competed yesterday!
I just think we need to sponser the Tuanman for a whole mess of races, ecause the race reports are so worth it. Awesome job brother. Let's get fired up for IMFL.
Tuan, Tuan, Tuan...where do I start.
First, congrats on a great swim. I don't think you can continue calling yourself the vertical swimmer with a time like that. Great work!
Second, let me express my deep disappointment in your confession. I recall your race report where you informed the world that you would never pee on your bike. You earned my respect. Now, well, I just don't know what to say. Where do your antics leave the rest of us? Who will be our leader now?
Third, I love the report and am impressed by your stellar performance.
Way to go! Rock on, my friend.
Congrats on an awesome PR, Tuan! And yes, your finish line dance is definitely one that I will be telling the kids about.
Now if I could only erase the thought of you (and probably countless others) who pee'd on their bikes, and who I put medals on and hugged. Eww....
-The more Asian-looking twin (with a much slower limp)
Tuan, you looked like a breath of fresh air coming across the finish line. Congrats on kicking that course's clockwise butt!
Can't wait for the next installment... please tell us you have something else in store before IM.
-The twin who wore latex gloves to remove your race chip
Tuan, if I could learn how to pee on the bike, believe me, I'd join you (well, not exactly "join" you, but you know. Follow the leader. Well, not exactly "follow," cuz, eww.) you da man!
Excellent work! I don't know why people are always messing with your head by switching things around! bastards.
i'm glad you had the girls there to cheer you on. you done well, my son. now go, and sin no more.
Great race report, very inspiring. Nice to read about someone else that has alot of fun participating in sweaty insanity... and paying big bucks to do it. Actually, it sounds like we have the same racing style/lack of speed, perhaps a grudge match is in order?
Also, if you think peeing on the bike is tough, it'll be a few years until you're ready to poop on the bike. Seriously, dropping a nuTuan bomb at 18.624113 mph is no simple task my friend, especially going downhill with a tailwind. Do not, I repeat, do not come out of the aero position. I've been doing it for 17 years and still haven't perfected my bike pooping form, which is why I haven't bought a new bike since 1992.
I hope our paths cross one day, a vertical swimming death match may be in our futures. Yes, I'm talking smack!
first of all, glad to run into you at panera on Saturday and to see you Sunday morning and walk the swim with you counting buoys - good to see a friendly face to calm my A+++++ pre-race/pre-first HIM nerves down.
Now, on to what matters: great job on the swim! Hmm... we will have to work on your bilateral breathing... baby steps.
Knowing you were only 18 minutes behind me, I thought of you on the bike and our last training ride where we prayed for the weather we had... and it looks like God was smiling on us. We got tremendously lucky to have most of our ride behind us before the clouds parted and the wind picked up. So, glad to hear you PR'ed and glad to hear you may still be able to reproduce in spite of your PR!
Pee'd on the bike? Wow. That's a bit nutty. I'm not sure if I could relax enough to do that - more power to you (I guess, hmm... I really don't know how to respond. Does hallmark make a card for that occasion? Maybe you could start your own line of potty-training spin off books for bikers looking to shave a minute off their race times). I stopped at mile two on the run. I can't believe I lasted that long.
Great to see you on the run! Glad you had a fabulous day! Glad we both PR'ed (granted, it was my first, so all I could do was PR... well, assuming I finished. And having the "twins" there to hug me and Hugh to hand me a gatorade... I had to finish).
congrats. best of luck on your road to IM success. Hope to ride with (or in front of -- now that I know you can teach an old Vietnamese new tricks) you soon.
I knew it! I KNEW you were a pisser the moment I met you. Why do you think that the Freak and I busted our butts to stay in front of you on the Memorial Day ride?
Seriously though, congratulations on a great race.
Am I the only one who was attacked by jellyfish during the race? Note to self: Full wetsuit next year.
Notes from the race:
1. Jellyfish suck
2. Wind sucks
3. Don't forget sunscreen
4. Put in much more mileage before re-attempting a half
5. Learn to pee on the bike (really? Can girls do that?)
Thanks to all the volunteers! And did anyone notice that Natasha Badmann was still smiling as she ran past? I'm soooo jealous, but what an inspiration!
Natasha Baman is always smiling on the run. Even the IM World Championships when she had leg issues. She gritted though the pain and still smiled. The following year when she crashed, she tried to ride on, but had to stop. She smiled and waved to passer bys on the bike. She is awesome.
She was smiling as she came across the finish line at Eagleman. The announcer even made some comment about her "wearing her trademark smile" as she came down the chute to the end.