4 Human Powered Racing athletes jumped into Biscayne Bay on Sunday morning to take part in the Miami 70.3. The event had over 2500 athletes racing and 65 different nations represented.
The swim was in the wavy waters of Biscayne Bay where two things were very noticeable; currents and jellyfish. Race organizers were giving athletes the option of not starting the swim and just leaving at a certain time after their waves entered the water, but most athletes chose to jump in and contend with the stings that would be delivered by the jellyfish in this non wetsuit swim. They were ready with volunteers upon exit who had vinegar to spray on you and alleviate the stinging. A nice touch :)
The bike was flat and fast. Very fast on the way out. It wasn’t until the turnaround 28 miles later that you got a sense of why it was so fast. The headwind coming home made for a very tough second half. The fact that you could see the high rises of Miami on the horizon made it even tougher. The bike course on a whole, while not very scenic, was very well patrolled and the fact that it went through a major US city in the middle of the day made it very impressive indeed.
The run course in Miami consists of two out and backs and it makes you deal with three things; heat (lots of it), a bridge, lots of other athletes. The heat was expected and athletes deal with that the best that they can. The bridge that doesn’t look too bad at first glance is a whole different animal on race day when you are under the blazing sun and your heart rate it through the roof. It definitely put a dent in very fast run times. The 2500 athletes on the course made the aid stations quite congested at times. By the second lap of the run people were in desperation mode for ice and fluids so they turned into, what looked like, convenience stores more than aid stations. The fact that there were over 25 wave starts meant that athletes were well spread out, but it was still a lot of people on a race course.
As for Human Powered Racing. It was a successful day. Rob Dibden overcame a kick to the face early in the swim (and he has the two black eyes to prove it now) to finish 11th in the 50 – 54 age group. Sandy Wilson placed 6th in Women’s 40 – 44. Mike Neill won the 40 – 44 age group and Debbie Jackson had her first ever podium finish at a big 70.3 event taking 3rd place in the women’s 55 – 59 age group.