Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lake Havasu Triathlon Results; 1st AG, 2nd OA

Should be posted here shortly:

I did the olympic distance today and finished #1 in my age group and #2 overall. I haven't seen my splits yet, so I can't quantitatively tell how I did. But, here is what I do know.

Swim - water was a cool 62 degrees and made for perfect wetsuit open water racing temp. This past week I did all my swims in my Zoot Zenith wetsuit (THANKS ZOOT!) while at the pool so I felt accustomed to my suit. I started off pretty fast, but smooth. I have also been working at relaxing and finding easy speed while going hard. Worked pretty good. I "let" three leaders get away at the first buoy. Good lesson and something I've forgotten. How important it is to stay focused at critical moments of the race. Just a little discomfort pays back dividends later. Point taken. After that I hopped on a guys feet for about 200 then went around him and set my own pace. This is training after all. Myself and two other guys formed the chase. I have not been doing a lot of swimming, but I felt totally fine/strong enough and held a reasonable pace. We'll see when the splits come in, but the time will be fair.

T1 - SUCKED! Another reminder that practice is critical when every second counts. I didn't run out of the water hard/fast enough, fumbled around with my zipper etc etc. I got my wetsuit all hung up on the timing chip around my ankle. Tick tock. Next calamity was with my shoes. I am not a roadie, but an Xterra guy...and I've never played around with leaving my shoes clipped in...but today I tried. What a mess. I probably lost at least 30sec screwing around trying to get my feet into my shoes. I even went off the road twice. So, don't try new stuff on race day. Again, point taken.

Once on the bike I felt good and was ready to fly on my new Kuota Kween K (THANKS TRISPORTS.COM!) I had a nice set of 56mm, Easton EC90 Aero tubular wheels compliments of Focus Cyclery (THANKS FOCUS!). The course had some fairly long stretches of flat road a couple of 1:30min climbs, tons of corners, rollers and 2 or 3 really really steep, little ring, stand up style short climbs. I road ok, but three things would make for a much better performance next time.

  1. Get accustomed to my bike. Riding aero fast is much different that riding hard on my road bike or mtb. Duh. I had only done one ride with any effort on the bike ever prior to the race.
  2. Get accustomed to road tri biking. Honestly, the bikes at road tris I've done are boring. I mean c'mon, how could they ever compare to racing flat out on twisty single track on a mtb in Ogden or blasting along the flume trail above Lake Tahoe? But, if I want to actually do well at a road tri, I ought to consider modifying my training to get use to the mindless ahead.
  3. Get my shifting working correctly. Not sure what the deal was today, but I was only solidly in a gear a couple of times throughout the race. Major bummer as this race required tons of shifting to do it right.

The last final stretch of ~4 miles was pretty straight and flat for the most part, but into a pretty dead on headwind of about 15-20mph. Some guy who I passed at the start of the section decided to jump on my wheel and draft. It took a while to drop him particularly since the only gears that weren't skipping were my two biggest. No horsepower for those. After the race while talking about the drafting incident, I was enlightened about how drafting at some races has been a big problem. It makes me not want to race on the road. Period.

My plan on the run was to go until I pucked. That didn't happen, but I ran fair. I focused on high turnover right from the start and before long I was in run mode. The course was basically flat out and back road the whole way except for a 1/5 mile of sand and a ~40 step staircase. I pushed, but not too hard like I had wanted, but I was starting getting way dehydrated and felt on the verge of multi-muscle cramping although nothing that hampered my pace.

On the bike there were many places to spot the competition and the same held true on the run. I didn't see the guy ahead of me at any point. Not saying I could have caught him, but had I seen him, I can guarantee I would have buried myself trying to chase him down on the run.

There you have it. I lost ~1:15 on the swim, another :30 in T1, ~:30 messing with my shoes and, most likely, the majority of the rest on the bike. I lost the overall by 3min.

Considering the last three races this season I DNF'd, I'll take today's race as a success.