Hagg Lake, A nice, quiet day to myself
"I have seen some very beautiful things through my anger, and what consoles me a little, is that through my anger I do not stop looking..." - Degas
So. I had written this entire post. However, in my infinite wisdom I closed my browser before any sort of saving was done and lost the entire thing. Moron. Thats what I am. My technocrat father would be disappointed.
Hagg Lake 2015 was my first race back from living in England and I was understandable in my large amount of nerves before that sortie. It panned out well and this year's end result would be no different. A win by a solid margin, this time almost 8 minutes and the fastest time on the course in many, many years.
Right off the bat, the swim would be a bit of an interesting ordeal. I stormed out of the gate and took the lead by the first buoy. I would never lose it. I pushed hard and my arms felt surprisingly dead. Probably due to the warm water and the large amount of chop being generated by passing boats and wind. Then the interesting bit. The waves of the older folks were allowed to start the course just as I was beginning my second lap of the swim. It was a scrum as I frantically tried to keep speed up and also avoid the bodies around me.
However despite the crowd, I made in out of the water in about 19 minutes flat and booked it through transition to really capitalize on my lead.
Hagg Lake is hilly. Not brutal just moderate but they never end. The course is the epitome of rolling hills. I focused on steady power and working the hills up and maintaining speed down. Although I was going quick I didn't feel great. Mostly the hills I think. I just kept pushing hard keeping my head down.
Then, disaster struck. With 1 meager mile to go... B A N G. I looked down in total dismay to see my rear tubular had blown up.
But in these moments I have learned to stay calm. If this had been my first rodeo I likely would have gotten very upset, but I didn't. I looked down, swore to myself and just rode on, bouncing and trying not to crash. I quite literally slid around the last corner, briefly hopping off the bike to run around the bend and then rolling into transition. I figured the flat would only cost me about 30 seconds and I remembered checking the gap to 2nd place about 8 miles back on the bike and counted the lead to be around 5 minutes. I figured I was safe but I don't believe in sandbagging especially on the run.
I took it easy into the first mile of the run and started picking up pace. I felt surprisingly well! Everything was operating at proper levels and despite the hills, I was really rolling through the course. The sprint race was happening as well on the same course and I tried to mutter a few words of encouragement and acknowledge the kind words I was getting back.
I rolled through the halfway mark in 18:10 and looked back and saw emptiness. Always a good sight.
All the way back to the start I focused on steady pace to keep up the good form I was showing already. Indeed I would cross the line with a very solid 36:30 split for the hilly run leg. And with that run split I would seal my victory from wire to wire. Fastest split in every discipline including transitions.
So despite a potential catastrophe on the bike, my obvious anger, I managed to just look through it. It wasn't a moment of amazing self strength or self discovery, but rather just a moment of grit, putting my head down, just looking forward. There was nothing I could do
once it had already happened. Degas was right, it is always a consolation to never stop looking. Keep looking for something in those crappy moments, you just may have a solid day anyhow.