Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Waconia Triathlon 2010

I will start this by saying ,wow is it late, and wow no pictures... yet.

Before The Race:
Storms the night before, and pre-race jitters a week in advance, Sunday finally rolled around. My Sleeptracker went off at 4:50, which surprisingly did not feel that early although I had gone to bed at 11:30. I gathered my things, had my peanut butter and honey flatbread which prompted a quick morning pit stop before leaving, filled up a water bottle with ice and headed out the door a bit earlier than expected. I had loaded everything up the night prior, so it was a fast departure. The drive to Waconia was peaceful, not much traffic and I even beat the early morning DJs up, so I had the late night crew still with some party remixes, a good way to get the body grooving. If you happened to see me driving on 494 or 5... you may have seen me jamming out... just sayin.

I got to the park and went to pickup my packet, race number 443. Went to get body marked, and I was a little confused why they wanted to mark the thigh, which ended up requiring me to hike up my shorts and hiding the first number, whatever no lost sleep on that.

You may recall last year’s race was super windy with some ocean like chop. When I arrived, the water looked like a sheet of glass. Hopefully that will continue through the morning. I ran into a co-worker and we chatted a bit as he was prepping his new Felt B2 . I headed to transition shortly after and got setup, and then moved one rack closer to the exit, because I did not like how people had racked/placed gear on the current rack. Once settled in, I did a little spin on the bike, figuring out what gearing I should be in off the start as it is followed by an almost immediate climb. Re-rack, and then a quick pit stop and I ate one of my Marathon Bars. A slight run to get the blood moving, which ended up causing me to start sweating, told me it was going to be a warm day. Shortly after was the “athlete meeting” and I began to wetsuit up. Water was 70 degrees, and in my full 2XU E:0, I was about perfect, not too hot, not too cold. I did a short swim in the water and then a long wait in line for the time trial start standing in the sun the whole time.

Time Trial start, Elites went off in a wave, and after a timing mistake they pulled the team swimmers back to start again. It took a while to get up to the start, which then took me by surprise, I quickly spouted off my number and heard “GO!” In I went, quickly running into the water a few steps, and diving in. (2 mistakes thus far: 1 - I did not click start on the Garmin 310xt 2 – I was going too fast and popped the seal on my left eye goggle.) After about 50 yards with it half full of water, I decided the couple of seconds it would take to clear were worth it. By the time I dove in, I had passed the 4 people who started ahead of me, by the time I stopped for my goggle another 4 or so, then I settled in quite quickly. I got in a groove and felt fast. My sighting was spot on (wish I had the GPS track) About the first buoy I swam up on a line of 5 ladies swimming abreast, trying to be nice, I found an opening and went for it, weaving between them and not touching a soul rather than going up and over. I headed in the direction of the second buoy and then got off track heading for the turn buoy. Luckily it was less than 10 strokes in a bad direction, I corrected and pushed around the first turn.

After the turn, I immediately recognized mistake 3, tinted goggles would have been a better choice. My clear ones were doing me no favors as the sun peaked over and right into my eyes when breathing to the right and eventually the swim back. I reached the second turn and headed in. After getting caught up in the turn with a few people treading water right around the corner, I made the push back. Quickly realizing I am not pushing as hard as I probably should. I picked it up and immediately went off track, both due to not being able to see the next buoy and some poor stroke mechanics. I settled down and got on track, finding a large umbrella on the beach to use for sighting. Before I knew it, I saw the bottom in this green lake and was on my feet.

The best movement out of my wetsuit thus far. I got the zipper cord on the first reach, quickly pulled it down and was out of my arms before I hit the timing mats.

Quickly I took off my cap/goggles/310 and saw I forgot to start it, hitting start as I crossed the timing mat, and quickly hitting lap to enter transition, I headed to my bike, someone must have biffed it in the water pool to wash the sand off because it was laying upside down, luckily the grass cleaned my feet well.

I got to my bike and pulled down on the wetsuit, again getting a bit caught up in the legs, I managed to get out of it fully after a few seconds. Shoes, Helmet, and glasses on, so out I went. I hooked the 310 up on the Quick Release, and hit lap as I exited transition. I over ran the mount line to keep it cleaner for people behind me, and off I went. I got clipped in quickly and found my pace. Although it was a USAT sanctioned event, there was a lot of packs near the start which required some very wide passes of groups of 4-6. I climbed the hill and found my wattage. Cemetery hill was a push and once I got over the top, I knew I was moving well. I started passing people left and right, only being passed by a couple of people on the down hills to quickly catch back up as we climbed… Jeff a climber… no way!

We got out of the neighborhoods which were quite fun navigating at higher speeds, and then it was time for the fun to begin. Rolling hills as we left, I continued moving past people, and got passed by another 2 guys. In total I counted 5 guys who passed me. Two of them were in my Age Group, but I proceeded to pick one off later in the ride. I stuck to my wattage, finding myself slacking at times on the flats. My goal for the race was 240 over the 20 miles, knowing it would probably end up being closer to 230 if I were shooting for 240 the full distance. When I got on the highway headed back east and just over half way through the course, I started clicking and moving quicker. There was very little wind, but any that was there would have been helping at this point. A few times I looked down and was around 33 MPH which quickly closed gaps with people in front of me. Some of the people I passed offered some nice words of encouragement as I went by, which was a nice booster as well.

The course has a few round-abouts that required careful navigation as well as backing off speed since you have to come from a shoulder, between a set of rumble strips, and then take the round-about. The first is less than a quarter around, and then you right turn from your starting direction, but the second requires you to navigate half of it. I got through these while being very conscious of other riders and found myself heading south before I knew it. Time for 6 rolling hills, the first was mostly effortless, the second was mentally my toughest, and the third was the longest which I dropped to my small ring and spun up, moving past a lot of guys trying to muscle it out. Not once did I have to leave the saddle.

I noticed around mile 17 or 18 that my time/distance were good, quite good, but I wasn’t going to clog up my mind anymore than knowing 17 miles at 20MPH equates to 51 minutes. I made some of the last turns and got stuck behind a guy who was making some very unpredicted swerves especially around the corners. I kept a safe distance back, and as we rounded the final turn, I dropped the hammer and went past. As seen in the pictures, I was slightly out of the saddle pushing past him and made the turn into the final stretch before dismount. I clipped my right leg out first, and something happened. In the moment I got a little fuzzy, not dizzy, just cloudy and almost teetered off the bike, not sure what happened, but I wobbled and quickly got out of the left pedal as a volunteer noted my “Nice save”

As I headed to transition, I ran around a few people who were strolling on the carpeted area over the grass/mud etc.

Mostly uneventful, someone racked their bike in my spot and on top of my transition area, so I improvised and moved down a little. In one fell swoop, the helmet and sunglasses were off and I swapped shoes, grabbing the Garmin 310xt and race belt on the way out. I left the shades because I knew I would be pouring water on myself and did not want the hassle of them.

I missed water coming out of T2, oh well only a mile to go. Well it would have been nice to cool myself a little, but I started on. The run course starts the same as the bike course, up a hill. I tried to get my legs under me, but they would not cooperate. First rest stop, it felt great to get some water on my head and a little in my stomach. It took about a mile and a quarter and my legs showed up. I started dropping the pace down and picking people off. Having just been passed by a guy in my AG, I tried to not pay too much attention and get fixated on him, but ran my race. I hit the turn around and headed back, emptying a cup of water on my head, and taking in a bit more, but I felt a tad waterlogged as I knew I had taken in some air with the first glass. The third mile was a push, there was a moment my body wanted to stop, but mentally I knew I wasn’t going to let that happen. I saw the last hill I would have to go up until the last quarter mile or so and pushed up it. The good thing about running up Cemetery hill on the way out, is you get to go down it on the way back.

My pace wavered between 7 and 8 minute miles. The final mile I wanted to push and hammer it out, but wanted to make sure I did not end up on my face as well. I splashed myself at mile 3 and kept on. At this point I knew catching up to the AG guy who passed me was looking slim, but kept my pace. Speeding up, but I never quite got my sprint legs on at the end.

Overall: Until I get official results from home tonight:
Swim (1/2 mile): 13:48
T1: 1:19
Bike: 51 – 223 watts
T2 : 1:00
Run: 30:11

Rough numbers, but they get me close, overall 1:37:48 I believe. Well better than my 1:45 hopes, and even better than my 1:40 mark of things going exceptionally well.

I did not medal, which was bittersweet, and I had to keep reminding myself that this time was 20 minutes faster than last year, and the swim was twice as long! When I first looked at the standings, I was 4th in my AG, by 38 seconds. That was brutal! Luckily later it looks as I dropped to 5th, so I was a little easier on myself knowing I was a bit further from the podium than 38 seconds (I could have found these somewhere out there I know as a fact)

I stuck around for the raffle and had some food. Somehow I got lucky enough to snag a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine bike trainer. We have one already, but not too shabby! I may try to contact the store and see as they have often offered in-store credit if you already have an item that you win.

Overall what a great day. Exceeded expectations, the run was just shy of what I was aiming to hit, but overall I had a great day. July is a non-race month that involves a lot of traveling to weddings, but will prove very beneficial to train and prep for August, the race filled month!


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