On Sunday I participated in PeasantMan, a swim/bike/run training event to benefit the High Cloud Foundation. http://www.highcloud.org/peasantman PeasantMan was a training event rather than a triathlon because of permits and agreements with the park service and local law enforcement. But this was okay because all along, PeasantMan was described as a fun day. If you knew the person who organized PeasantMan and read any of the emails that he sent out, you’d immediately pick up on how casual this day was.
However, it was also the most organized, un-organized training day ever. There were about 175 participants plus volunteers, sponsors, bike SAG support, and even a medical crew. Participants could chose between sprint distance or olympic distance courses, and could mix and match (for example 1500 meter swim, 18 mile bike, 10k run) or only do the portions they wanted. For your $5 donation plus $6 to enter the park, you got a fully supported training day, a barbecue (including Georgetown Cupcakes featured on the Discovery Channel show DC Cupcakes http://tlc.discovery.com/tv/dc-cupcakes/), and even medals. For another $5 you could get the most amazing, politically incorrect t-shirt that I’ve ever received at a DC-based event.
I’ve been going through some difficult times recently and this was a day that I really needed. It was nice to get out, get in some training, and relax with friends. Of course, as wonderful as the day was, it didn’t quite go as planned. First, as the heat index was over 100, the park service decided that we couldn’t do the run. Then, they decided that they park was going to be so crowded that they really needed all of the bikes off the park roads by 9:30 so the event became a bike first, then swim event. But given the heat, no one was really complaining about swimming later in the day.
So off we went on our bikes. I started with a client, Noelle, so was pretty slow at the beginning until we warmed up and she said she’d be okay on her own. Things went well until I hit the cobblestones in downtown Annapolis. My front wheel was bouncing a lot more than I expected and just didn’t feel right. It continued after the cobbles ended so I pulled over at the first opportunity to check. Thankfully, it turned out that the SAG van was right behind me. Before I even got off the bike, the mechanic got out of the car to ask what was wrong. I told him about the bouncing and he pointed out that I had a flat. Then he took a second look and said “You have tubulars, your day’s done.” Unfortunately, I’d been running late so hadn’t changed wheels and was riding my tubular race wheels. But I did have Vittoria PitStop with me, although I hadn’t used it before. He hadn’t used it either but first we found the problem - a large construction staple through my tire - and then went ahead. Sure enough, the PitStop worked, sealed the leak and inflated the tire. So I was off again with the mechanics keeping on the alert for me as we weren’t sure how long the seal would hold.
About another 6 miles on, the hole proved too large for the PitStop and exploded in a way that one of my friends described as a tire zit: a whole bunch of white sealant shot out. With this, my ride was definitely done. I found a safe place to pull over, another rider lent me a phone to call for a ride, and I waited for SAG. While waiting, I managed to help Noelle when she went past by giving her my water so I was glad about that.
When I got back to the beach, I found out that (a) the jellyfish were out in force and (b) I’d forgotten my goggles. As a result, I decided not to swim. So now, I’d only biked about 15 miles, I hadn’t run and I hadn’t swum. So I was feeling a little guilty about enjoying the barbecue. I was talking about this to some friends (while enjoying Salt and Cracked Pepper Potato Chips - no need to feel too guilty) when another friend mentioned that he needed to run if I was willing to go. He had a 2 hour training run planned and we were all set to do that. However, by the time we had our running shoes on and were ready to go, we’d cut that back to 1 hour because it was just so hot and that was about all the water we could carry. By the time we got out of the park, our plan was down to about 50 minutes. Eventually, we managed just over 40 minutes. However, that made me feel much less guilty about enjoying some more chips and burgers when I got back.
So while not the day I’d planned, it was a good time. I got a good break from the stress of the week, a bit of a workout, and some time to relax with friends. Next year High Cloud is going to try to plan a more organized PeasantMan race and I’m really looking forward to the fun.