My family and I arrived in Richmond, Indiana on Friday, the 29th of May, and immediately went to Middlefork Resevoir, where the race was to be held. It was nice and warm out so we walked around the park, checking out the lake and the transition area. After a nice talk with some of the race support staff, we loaded back in the care and headed out to drive the bike course. The course was well marked and it was easy to see where the turns were located. The first hill of the course is about ¾ of a mile from the transition area. It is not a steep or super long hill, but it is a good climb. I would have to climb the front and backside twice. The bike course looked to have some nice rolling hills and beautiful scenery to take one’s mind off the grinding out the miles on the bike. The course has a lot of turns, but runs mostly north to a loop and then back down south. This was important to note when I was driving the course, because I had looked at the forecast and noticed that as the day went on Saturday, the wind was projected to be our of the south at up to 10mph. I made a mental note that I needed to get the miles in on the bike leg as soon as possible in order to spend less time fighting a headwind the day of the race.
After driving the course, we went and checked into a hotel. I ate some food and relaxed for a little bit before heading to the race expo to pick up the packet. The expo was small, but it was very easy and quick to get the packet picked up. After looking over the course map, I headed out the door to go get some dinner with the family. We ate a good pasta dinner and then headed back to the hotel to prepare for the race. The first thing I did was get my food and liquids in order, and then I make sure that I had my singlet, bike, and other gear ready to go. By that time it was around 9pm and I was ready to get some sleep.
On race morning I was up and out of bed at 4am. You have to love this sport! For breakfast I had 20 ounces of coffee, a banana, and two Cliff bars. We left the hotel at 5am and it was a quick 15 minute drive over to the race site. I was a little disorganized while getting my transition set up, but was completed by 6:30am, just in time for the prerace briefing. After the meeting I got lined up on the boat ramp, for the swim, which started ten minutes late. I was lined up at the very back of the pack of athletes, who were waiting to get into the lake. It was a rolling start with athletes getting in the water every five seconds.
I started off the swim at a pace that was too quick, and red lined within 200 meters. I slowed down to get my breathing under control. It took me until the halfway point of the swim to get comfortable. I knew my swim would be off; I have not done the swim training that I needed to have the swim that I wanted. I felt really good after the halfway point, but could not stay in line with the turn buoy and I swam quite a bit off course. My Garmin had me swimming .16 of a mile extra, which is more than 10 percent more than the actual swim leg. You can see this in my Garmin file: (https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/790544501/1). I will get some better swim training in before I head to Williamsburg for the Challenge Family Name of race.
After a not so quick transition, I was off on the bike. On the way out of transition I missed eating my Cliff bar and I knew in the back of my head that this would catch up with me later in the day. I ran a 52/39 front crank and 12-27 cassette on the back of my Felt B-14. I made all the climbs on the course without dropping out of the big ring on the front. The first two climbs were not steep, but nice climbs that were a good challenge. The course was fast and flat once I got past the first three miles. The wind was projected to be out of the SSW all day, but in the morning it felt more like they were coming from the West. Every time I got some good speed and rhythm on the bike, there would be a turn. I think the turns took more out of the legs than the hills. Powering out of every turn added up by the end of the day. The turns were hard 90 degree turns that I had to drop speed to take. As you can see in my Garmin file, on the turn at about 2:13 into the bike, I over cooked the turn and ended up in the grass. This cost me a few minutes, as I had to put the chain back on my bike. It felt like forever, but I really don’t think it took but 2 minutes. I got off the bike in 2 hours and 34 minutes which was a little slower than I wanted, but overall I was pleased. Bike leg Garmin file:(https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/790544501/3 ).
The weather was good at the start of the run. The weather was looking like it was going to hold off. The wind had picked up but the rain had not arrived yet and the cloud cover was making me happy. For a month or better I had been babying my left knee. I did not get in the run training that I really needed, due to trying to let my knee get better. My knee was feeling better, but I could tell that I hadn’t logged the miles needed to have a good run. I started off at a good pace, but it went downhill as the day went on. The course had some rolling hills and several nice hills to run up. The course had good volunteers on it with a lot of water, ice, gels, and popsicles for the runners. It was a run/walk kind of day for me. I pushed the run as much as I could, but just did not have the legs. I planned to go as steady as I could. At mile 8 it started to rain a little and by mile 9 it was pouring down rain with a little thunder and lightning. All was clear by the time I got to mile 11, but then it was hot and humid as the clouds cleared. At that time I was very happy to be down to the last two miles of the run. I felt bad for everyone else on the course behind me because I knew they were going to have a hot and nasty day to finish their run. I ran the run leg in 2 hours and 8 minutes. I was not happy with it at all, but very glad that I finished the day with a solid run. And it was positive training for Williamsburg. Garmin run leg file: ( https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/790544501/5 ).
The Richmond Toughman Indiana is a great event, and if it fits into my schedule again, I will do it. I think the event organizers put on a great race at a nice location. It was also nice to do a smaller race, and my family and I really enjoyed Richmond. I would recommend this race to anyone, especially if they live within a 4 or 5 hour drive.