2015 Ironman 70.3 Austin Trip

11/6: Heading to Austin

In the morning

I woke up at 6:00am, stretched my body, and took a quick shower. The rain came around 7:00am while I was busy packing but when I stepped out at 8:00am for chiropractics appointment, it was over and sunny already. I get my back taken care of before the race, then drove to LTF for one hour workout. I made a stop at AAA to take care of my business then drove to Bicycle World of Houston to check out my new bike, the size looked good but still need a test ride before I decide. So I went back home once at 11:00am, cooked my lunch, did laundries, and finished packing then came back to the bike shop around 1:00pm. I gave a final test ride, and liked it. I put a half of the money as deposit and rest will be paid when I pick it up after the race. It's time to head to Austin.

Heading to Austin

Texted my friend to let him know that I am leaving Houston at 1:15pm, the weather was still good and took I-10 west until hitting TX-71 at Columbus, TX. I have been making trips to Austin many times, so this has become a familiar drive. The sunny weather began to change as I pass La Grange, TX around 2:30pm, and my friend already arrived at Austin reporting of rain. The sky got darker by the time when I pass Bastrop, TX. Continuing on TX-71 and passed by the airport in Austin, switched to US-183 north then on I-35 north before getting off the freeway at 4:00pm. The traffic stalled there and I had to drive in congested feeder road. It took nearly half hour to move a couple of miles to the hotel.

Driving on I-10 West On TX-71

  Checked in at the hotel

Arriving at Austin, Orientation & Packet Pickup

Checked in at the hotel and called my friend at 4:30pm. He was already visiting the Expo center to pick up his packet, so I decided to join in. Put my bag and relaxed a bit then stepped outside. The weather is cloudy and getting chilly. I drove to the Expo site with help of the GPS, as I walk toward the building, an orientation was in progress from 5:00pm, so I decided to check it out under cloudy weather, which is almost getting dark and the wind was cold enough for me to get my windbreaker on. They informed us that the water temperature is 72F as of today, so it is wetsuit legal, Also the swim leg is now changed to clockwise direction. It wrapped up around 5:45pm. Found my friend inside the building as I began my check in; showed my ID and USAT membership card to received a piece of card showing "2720" that's my bib. Picked up my wavier form and medical release, both I need to fill out and sign. I then get a wrist band, move to next station to pick up athlete shirt, a small backpack, and some free stuffs before we exit from the registration. I bought a bike jersey with Ironman 70.3 Austin, and a couple of stickers. They gave me a free Cliff Bar for shopping more than $100. Great....

Orientation, very a few people Signing wavier and medical release

Dinner with my friends

The outside was dark already and we left the place at 7:00pm. We decided to eat dinner but driving on unfamiliar road under dark is not my favorite, I am glad that I had a GPS with me. Found a place to park and walked into the restaurant I wanted to eat at 7:30pm but the place was full until 8:30pm. We decided to go to a place where the receptionist recommended, so we walked to a place called Hyde Park Bar and Grill. We had to wait for 15 minutes but ended up enjoying a grilled salmon. Stopped by at grocery store before leaving the place, and grabbed some water. Come back to the hotel by 9:00pm, and went to bed by 10:30pm so I can start adjusting my body to get up early on the race day.

 Hyde Park Inside  Dinner - Salmon

11/7 Check in Day

In the morning

I woke up at 6:00am, it was a one good sleep. I realized that I cannot find a remote control for the TV so I need to ask for that to hotel front. Stretched my body and took shower before walked to the lobby for the breakfast. As usual for Holiday Inn, they serve regular sausage, biscket, and eggs. I packed for the morning and left hotel under rain, drove toward the Expo center again to do a bike course check.

Bike Course Check, Lunch

I began the survey from 8:10am under rain which gets hard sometime. Driving up on Decker Ln. was fine with uphill, then turned to Lindell Ln, where the pavement is not that great so I need to be careful. Turning left on Blue Bluff Rd. for downhill, then going up after passing the underpath of US-130 until hitting the Old Hwy 20. Turning right there and passing through a small town called Manor, kept heading east until changing to Littig Rd by crossing railroad then kept going. The road condition is not hilly so I can gain some speed here if it is not windy. Crossing back and forth the same railroad track a couple more times before turning to Monkey Rd before hitting Upper Elgin River Rd to began heading down south. The pavement here is not that great but manageable, hitting Balch Rd and turning right where rolling hills start. Began heading to town on FM-1704 south which is pretty much straight until the middle, where I expect the aid station #2 then began the rolling hills. The road continues to be hilly even after making right at FM-969 toward west, Soon the route is back on Upper Elgin River Rd to head north, the pavement here are not so great specially where the water runs during storm. Going up hill until Hogeye Rd. From here rolling hills continues but the pavement is much smoother. Later the road is renamed to Lockwood Ld. then making left into Taylor Ln where down hill runs almost until hitting Decker Lake Rd where the path began to change to westward. The pavement ran out so change to Nez Perce Trce, until hitting the Gilbert Rd. toward north. Crossing US-130 via FM-973 then going downhill toward Walter E Long Lake. The road leads to left and change the direction to southward, where the probably the biggest hill is existed. From here on, the road is under consistant rolling hills, turning back on FM-969 again then westward to Decker Ln. Making a small detour before returning to the Expo center. I took notes on the way, and headed back to the hotel under hard rain.

Heading up north while checking on the map

Lunch at Tatsuya

Bike Check, Dinner

Once I come back to the hotel, I packed my transition bags and loaded into my car with my bike. I left the hotel at 11:20am, headed to Tatsu-ya Restaurant for ramen noodles, where I got there at 11:40am,. Surprise to find that there are already 10 people waiting in front of the restaurant. The store opens at noon and by the time people were let in, about 30 people waiting. I had a regular noodle which tasted complicated but was good. It was not expensive either. Left the parking and headed to the Expo at 1:00pm to hand in my waivers which they did not collect them from me somehow yesterday. The rain was over but not sure if I should drop my run bag off today. I walked back in my car and headed to bike drop off. The road was packed with other cars, and even the parking where was jammed. I assembled the bike, and dropped it off but unable to drop off my transition bag because they were not taking them. Left soon after 1:30pm and drove back to the hotel. In the evening, I ate at Chili's with my coworker around 5:50pm, and come back to the hotel around 8:00pm. I went to the bed around 9:00pm so I can get up early.

Packed my transition bags

Setting my bike

Dinner at Chili's. I need carbon hydrate.

11/8 The Race Day

In the morning

I woke up a couple of times over night, and finally at 3:45am with help of alarm clock. I stretched my body, did not want to take shower but get my body ready for the race. I double checked the contents of the transition bags, checked the weather condition for the day, thought about eating something but left hotel at 5:00am before they serve breakfast.

 Just like the last couple of days, I drove to the Expo site, the traffic was jammed and moving slow to the parking. I got a pretty good spot which I earned for coming early. After dropping off my run bag at bike finish under dark around 5:40am then walked to get behind the line for the bus to the start point. It did not take too long before my turn, and the short ride to the start was just fine. I get off and began walking toward the bike transition. While setting up the bike, I got an update which indicated the water temperature dropped to 69F since orientation day. The breeze from the north was uncomratably cold. Left the transition at 6:30am as the sun comes up, I wonder how thing will go today. I walked down by the lake shore checked the water condition, buoys and the course. Get changed into wetsuit, hoping that will shut wind off from my body but it was not that easy. I had to drop off my morning bag by 7:15am so I put everything in the bag and headed to the shore. It would be more than 1 hour wait until my turn. While in the line, I talked with a few people to kill time, the wind from the north was very cold so determination is the word for right now. As I watch waves starts, some in panicking and red flags from the kayak everywhere for the first part. I was a little concerned. While Uptown Funk was playing on the back, my wave started at 8:20am which was one before the last wave. As we walk into the water, I guess we were the loudest pack. Giving high fives to each others as the count down nears the zero, then so we started.

Every dot is a car heading towards the parking Setting my run bag

The Race

The swim leg was not that easy. The first was the wave I need to fight off, as well as the other swimmers. I had to get used to the rough wave but soon realized that I can go slow a bit but more concentrated on the timing to catch breath to conserve my energy, I then turned right at a first corner buoy where I cannot see the course too well due to the sun light right into my eyes. I began catching up with the swimmers in earlier wave. Soon another corner buoy appeared then we all began swimming back to the shore. The wind is pushing my body to south, so in order to keep myself going more westward, I had to adjust the bearing to compensate for that. I can easily see where people are getting out so I stood up and began heading to the bike transition.
I get dried my body and put on bike jersey, stuffed back pockets with energy gels and other items. I get my bike ready and walked to the mounting point under muddy condition and headed out. First was a down hill, then going up and turning right at Decker Ln to begin head north while dealing with the north wind. I already began passing people here and turned to east on Lindell Ln. When I made a left turn for Blue Blaff Rd then I start seeing lots of bottles and other items on the road at downhill. People must be dropping then like crazy. I already know this will be uphill soon so passing under US-130, it was a long steep hill I chat with other people as I go up. Getting on Old Hwy 20 and began speeding up. Turning to Monkey Rd. where people had to slow down because of the rough pavement and I can see many orange marking on the road to warm the riders. I kept going until hitting Upper Elgin River Rd then a smoother ride down south. Changing to FM-68 and faced a few rolling hills, I see some walking already. At intersection with FM-1704, I turned right and cruising until the aid station 2. I stopped and fueled for the second part of rolling hills. I reached TX-969 to west, took right on Upper Elgin River Rd again where I saw a guy with broken rear derailleur, maybe bad maintenance or pushing too hard on the hill while shifting gears. Face a couple of rough spots where I still see some bottles on the road. Reached to Hogeye Rd. and turned left, kept going to the road. Made a stop at aid station, chatting with people about how we are making progress then continued. Lockwood Rd to Taylor Rd where I can cruise down the hill with more than 20mph, Turning left to Decker Lake Rd then Nez Perce Rd where up hill and aid station caused some congestions. Going uphill on Gilbert Rd, I stopped and stretched myself before kept going on US-130 to face the hill. Going down hill on FM-973 then going up for a long time, The rolling hills continue until FM-969 and by then my left leg began to hurt, a concern on my run part. I slowed down for the rest of the part and arrived to the Expo center for bike to run transition.

I was pretty tired but stretching is much needed more than the remaining energy. I took long time to let my muscle tensions go away, then headed out for the three lap run. The course is staffed with many volunteers handing out drinks, but lots of ups and downs. First I run down toward the exit of the center, then slight uphill on Decker Lake Rd. then down again. Finally began going up until the gate with access to the lake. From here, we run paved road to the east end of the trail, making a u-turn then run back out of the area to the road. Down hill, up hill then back at the Expo center. The hilly condition continues as I run in the area, the first two laps I have to make a turn around by run transition area. The first lap was okay, the second lap was harder, and the third lap, I had to walk a bit before turn back to the expo center and finish strong.

Post Race

I got a medal, a bottled water, and had meal and coke. I finished around 3:30pm and rested for 30 minutes. I then began walking toward run transition to pick up my run bag and bike, and the rest of the bag at nearby holding location. Walking back to the car with all the items and loaded items. I drove back to the hotel and took a good shower and cooled my legs. I rested until 6:00pm, headed out for dinner around 6:30pm, I stopped by at Tam Deli Cafe. I had Pho and Hot Meat Bum. Come back to the hotel by 8:00pm, went to the bed by 10:30pm. I will be heading back to Houston tomorrow.


Meal after the race

Dinner at Tam Deli Cafe (8222 N Lamar Blvd D33, Austin, TX 78753)

11/9 Coming back to Houston

In the morning

Woke up at 3:30am somehow, maybe because of the time I woke up yesterday. I went back to sleep then woke up for the second time at 6:30am. This time I stretched lightly before going to a lobby to grab breakfast. I took shower, packed items for departure then left the hotel at 9:00am.


Driving home now

Smithville, TX

Yerge-Hill Family Home James H. Long Railroad Park and Museum Rabb House
First National Bank of Smithville First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Smithville Chancellor House

I began heading back to Houston under sunny sky. I took TX-71 and stopped by at Smithville to check out a few historic places noted on a website before continue on. It was a nice small town. Getting back on TX-71 and passing La Grange, had lunch at a BBQ place where I always pass by but did not have an opportunity to make a stop.

Keep going home

Lunch at Peter's BBQ in Ellinger, TX (301 TX-71, Fayetteville, TX 78940)

Back at Houston, going back to night shift

I came back to Houston safe. Before coming back to the apartment, I dropped off my bike parts from my Cervelo P2, paid the rest of the money on my Cervelo S5 at 1:15pm. Went to bed around 2:00pm, and slept until 3:30pm. My head was heavy when I got up. Left to work at 4:15pm after doing laundries, let's begin my four weeks of night shift.




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