Monday, May 3, 2010

2010 Chain of the Lakes Triathlon Race Report

First tri of the season has come and gone so here is the first race report!

The Location/Race:
We have some family that lives in Alexandria so that is how we decided on doing this race. A 600 yard pool swim, because lets be honest... May 1 in Minnesota could still have snow on the ground. We drove up Friday night after packing the car with our bikes inside due to some weather rolling in. Luckily we did. 30 miles away from our destination we hit snow, and the ground looked like it was covered in snow, but it was hail. After a brief stop on the side of the interstate it passed, and we drove through some heavy storms.

The Race:
600 yard pool swim. A good way to start the season, I had registered to be in the elite wave (not class like many races, but just determined when you started) Well, this race, elites started last. First wave went off shortly after 9, I got in the water about 11. I expected to go about 9:30, which seemed about right for missing a month in the pool due to my snowboarding mishap. I got paired with two guys that planned on going 9 minutes in the end lane. We debated going 3 wide in the lane and not circle swimming, but with a 4 second stagger, decided circle swim it was... at least I thought.

Got the Garmin 310 setup and ready to go, but not knowing how it would work going from inside with no reception to outside. Oh well a detail for later. I waited for my turn, "Race number?" "109" "Go" (Pokes Garmin) I started off well, for only doing about 50 yards of warmups, I quickly settled in, right on the toes of the guy ahead of me. Hoping he was on pace to what he wanted, I decided to hang behind him and not pass as I tend to fatigue a bit as we go on. I spent about 4 laps right behind him, and then magically we all decided to start swimming 3 wide. This took away some of the turning confusion and we did our thing. I hung in with pace and all three of us were close. Somewhere between half and 3/4 of the way, I wondered what lap we were on as I had never seen the lap counter be dipped in the water. I had to take an open turn to look up one time, 19 (lengths). Cool I thought, at this point I was a little bit back from the other 2, so I started pushing and got back closer and we all exited the water within about 10 seconds.

Mr Garmin says: 9:08 as I climb out of the pool. Official time 9:23 by the time I got to the mat, not too shabby. Will count this as better than expected. Remember how I said it was an indoor swim? Yeah the weather outside is next. I got to the door and got hit with what felt like an arctic blast. The conditions outside, low 50s 25 MPH winds gusting to 35 MPH.

Transition 1:
I run out to my bike, read where my bike was supposed to be, and see my shoes, but do not see my bike... "WTF" I look around distraught and finally spot my bike, a good 10 feet downwind, aka the other end of the bike rack, hanging on barely upright at all. I snag my long sleve shirt off the bike and struggle to put that damn thing on while still dripping from the pool. I finally get that on, and then realize, my helmet is missing. I look around, nothing..."WTF" Naturally it was another 10 feet down from where the bike had blown. I snag it and luckily my new sunglasses (more used for wind that day) were untouched, and the helmet did not crack or anything from the fall. Out I go... 1:40 ouch.

Oh the winds, outside of an inclined drive coming out of transition making mounting and clipping in difficult for everyone, the winds were howling. I start moving up my gears, luckily I had made sure to shift them to something easy before the race. The 13 mile (advertised), 12.5 mile (explained), 12 mile (raced) course was good all things considered. Some rolling hills, a bike path with a mini jump, and yes some wind. I had aimed to push 230 watts for the race, right at threshold, since this was my first race, and really my first "brick" I wanted to make sure I did not kill myself so I did back off a little bit.

The bike path was good condition all things considered. One spot had a bump that went over a drainage ditch that I feel like I caught air on (wind at my back and going about 27MPH) Then some "exploded" spots a bit further on, but outside of that, very good area, although it could have been tight if more people were on it at the same time. Winds were a challenge, slowing me down and making wattage become an issue on some of the climbs, so I shifted down and kept going.

I recently got my cover for the rear wheel, and have used it in some heavier winds comfortably, so I decided to keep it on. I don't know that it hurt me, but I also don't know that I gained anything from using it. Only one time did I get a gust that about knocked me sideways, because I was not paying attention to the bike, I was looking ahead at my upcoming turn.

Heading back, my bike was at around 20 MPH, (according to the results, 21.4 or so, but Garmin says 19.8) Not bad considering the winds I suppose.

Transition 2:
Much better than the first, drop off the bike after spotting the yellow Zoots, and swap shoes, out I go, keeping the long sleeve top on for the wind. I was sweating, buy far from overheated. 40 seconds

Again up and out of a small inclined drive, on the road, and off I go. Let's see what the Garmin saaaays!!! 6:00 min mile pace. 'Holy Sh!t, I better dial it back a little" I try to slow down some, but my legs were having none of that. Eventually I settle into a 6:40 pace, still shocked that my legs are putting out those numbers after the bike especially. Only a little "clunky" feeling, so I keep going. Hitting 7:00 a couple of times, but most times I saw the pace, it was under 7. The course said 2.8 miles. So I ran like a 2.8 mile course. Remember a month or so ago I ran a 5k at work, and finished with 7:01 min miles, yeah how the heck am I going to keep this pace up when a standalone race I was 7:01... Oh well just keep running. I weave in and out of some streets after making the turn around, and get back to a baseball diamond I had seen earlier, on the back side of the school. Knowing I had about a half a mile left. The road was now gravel, quickly fading to dirt/mud and potholes filled with water.

I pushed on and then saw the school, all uphill on gravel/grass from here. Pushing hard, I ran and ran and ran. Gave a little guy a high (low for me) five and kept pushing. Hitting the finish line. Run segment just under 20 minutes, holy cow!

Overall time 1:08, 2 minutes higher than my anticipated goal, but with the winds on the bike, I was happy with the results.

Good enough for 6/24 in my AG and 18/191 Overall. All things considered, I am happy with the race. I leaned that I can push the bike harder, or closer to LT than expected with no ill effects. This race makes me very excited for New Brighton, on June 6!


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