Tag Archive for Triathlon

Having Cupcakes with Cal

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European 70.3 Championship is faster than an autobahn

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After not finishing at Vineman a few weeks back due to my hip playing up again, I was ready to make another go at a shorter race, or a 70.3, that was going to have a good field of athletes. Enter the European 70.3 Championship.

It’s been a long time between visits to Europe and I can certainly say that I’ve missed being here, not to mention that the Europeans know how to put on a show and look after their participants. Last time I was back here was in 2011 where I defended my Challenge Copenhagen title. What fond memories I have from those two wins.

Looking at my current schedule and placings, I didn’t feel any pressure as my ticket to Kona was already locked in as well as having Peter Robertson, aka Robbo, heading there.

Something that worked for me was the fact that we stayed a fair distance away from the course which ensured we’d get some decent work in without all the hype and noise you sometimes get from big races. On a lighter note, lets just say the autobahn is quick. Having a change of scenery was also really enjoyable.

Going into the race I had a fair idea of who was going to be the top performers on the day, including, Robbo and Bart.

The swim start was a little different than usual as it had two swim sections, or loop, which you had to leave the water and then re-enter again. I felt that my swim was fairly good and exited with the main group. The first, of two laps, I was sitting on the back and hoping to not be dropped. Once we exited onto the second lap, I felt that things started to settle down a little and I slowly made my way to the front of the main group. I exited the swim in 8th place in 22:47.

Heading out on the bike and within the first 10km I watched a few guys fly past me. The course was fairly demanding with fairly big climbs and fast descents – which one athlete ahead of me had crashed in front of me and I nearly become the second casualty. I entered T2 in 6th place with a time of 2:28:42 and average speed of 36.31km/h.

photo 1I was heading out of T2 with Robbo and we were both swamped with guys running past us. I was now feeling a little sluggish and in the back of my mind I thought “this is game on.” To give you an idea, the run was very up and down dirt track, kind of something that you’d find in a park which I found really enjoyable. I completed the run in 1:14:57 with an average in 3:33/km.

Overall I’m really happy to have finished in the top 5 in 4:10:07.

I’m now heading back to Boulder, Colorado, with next stop is the 70.3 World Championship in Canada.

I’m going to Kona in 2014

Accepted my Ironman World Championship spot today. Off to Kona for my first appearance.

Boulder Peak Triathlon Race Report

About 12 days ago my body said enough and I hit a wall training-wise.  Fatigue, lack of power, and general disinterest took its toll and without taking too drastic measures my coach scaled back my training and by the end of last week I was tired, but felt recovered to have a good race.  I wasn't.

My pre-race went by-the-book and my swim warmup was good and I felt good.  I realized that I'd forgotten to take my GU chomps but got them in first thing on the bike.  I lined up at the front of the swim next to Steve Johnson and Eric Kenney, two VERY fast guys.  Eric asked me if I was going out hard.  I said yes.  He asked "20 minutes?"  "Probably 23," I said, "I'm finding Steve's feet and hanging on."  Eric followed with he needed 10 minutes to stay with Steve.  I said I needed 20.  Eric beat me out of the water by a little over a minute and I over Steve by around the same amount.  Of course, both then proceeded to crush me on the bike and run.

T1 was fast.  This was the first race where I left my bike shoes clipped in and while it was weird getting my feet in my shoes and closing the velcro, everything was fine.  Even with the shoes being a little lose and my feet having sand still on them, after a few minutes I didn't even notice.  Climbing out of the res on 51st and then on Jay was fine, but I should have realized something was up during the long, false flat up to the 36/Broadway merge.  My power was only slightly low, but I couldn't generate it in my aero bars - which was not normal.  By the time I hit the flats on 36 before and after Neva I was riding in my aero bars, but my power was off.  By the end of the bike, my average power was in the low 190s and it should have been between 210 and 220.  As a result, my projected bike time was way off.  I easily lost 5 minutes.

T2 was fast.  I remembered to roll my socks beforehand so I could just unroll them onto my feet (next season, I'm going to start training again without socks.  It's free speed and they're completely unnecessary).  Heading out onto the run, I realized I forgot my Garmin on my bike and had to race by feel.  I held back going out and felt ok until around mile 1 when I noticed the fatigue started setting in.  I didn't have to gut through anything just yet, I just kept running.  No stopping at the aid stations, but grabbing water to hydrate and douse to cool off.  By the time I hit mile 4, I was wiped and was struggling to just stay running.  At one point I had to stop and walk for a minute but forced myself to start jogging again.  At some point past mile 3 after the turnaround, my teammate Jeremy passed me still on his way out.  My first thought was that he was going to catch me and my second was that I really didn't care.  He caught me between miles 5 and 6 and later said that I wasn't looking great by then.  I'm sure.  I was able to pick it up a little the last half to 3/4 of a mile, but it was all I could do to get to the finish.  One positive was that while the run was hot, it didn't really bother me much.  I need to be better about dumping water on my front and and not just the top of my head and down my back.

Thanks to my coach Billy Edwards, my team Foxtrot Wheel & Edgemy teammates, my sponsor GU EnergyColorado Multisport, and my wife for the support.

Race Results:

165th overall (149th out of 557 men, 948 total athletes, including relays)
32nd out of 98 in age groupSwim (1500m):  21:59 (3rd fastest in AG, and 21st fastest overall)T1: 1:37Bike (26 mi): 1:13:23 (37th in AG)T2: 1:09Run (10km):  53:16

Total:  2:31:25

Boulder Peak Triathlon Race Report

About 12 days ago my body said enough and I hit a wall training-wise.  Fatigue, lack of power, and general disinterest took its toll and without taking too drastic measures my coach scaled back my training and by the end of last week I was tired, but felt recovered to have a good race.  I wasn't.

I was chatting with a pro triathlete at Master's swimming last Wednesday and he remarked that he didn't know how we age groupers did it.  Working full-time with kids and training 10 hours a week.  That was good to hear.

My pre-race went by-the-book and my swim warmup was good and I felt good.  I realized that I'd forgotten to take my GU chomps but got them in first thing on the bike.  I lined up at the front of the swim next to Steve Johnson and Eric Kenney, two VERY fast guys.  Eric asked me if I was going out hard.  I said yes.  He asked "20 minutes?"  "Probably 23," I said, "I'm finding Steve's feet and hanging on."  Eric followed with he needed 10 minutes to stay with Steve.  I said I needed 20.  Eric beat me out of the water by a little over a minute and I over Steve by around the same amount.  Of course, both then proceeded to crush me on the bike and run.

T1 was fast.  This was the first race where I left my bike shoes clipped in and while it was weird getting my feet in my shoes and closing the velcro, everything was fine.  Even with the shoes being a little lose and my feet having sand still on them, after a few minutes I didn't even notice.  Climbing out of the res on 51st and then on Jay was fine, but I should have realized something was up during the long, false flat up to the 36/Broadway merge.  My power was only slightly low, but I couldn't generate it in my aero bars - which was not normal.  By the time I hit the flats on 36 before and after Neva I was riding in my aero bars, but my power was off.  By the end of the bike, my average power was in the low 190s and it should have been between 210 and 220.  As a result, my projected bike time was way off.  I easily lost 5 minutes.

T2 was fast.  I remembered to roll my socks beforehand so I could just unroll them onto my feet (next season, I'm going to start training again without socks.  It's free speed and they're completely unnecessary).  Heading out onto the run, I realized I forgot my Garmin on my bike and had to race by feel.  I held back going out and felt ok until around mile 1 when I noticed the fatigue started setting in.  I didn't have to gut through anything just yet, I just kept running.  No stopping at the aid stations, but grabbing water to hydrate and douse to cool off.  By the time I hit mile 4, I was wiped and was struggling to just stay running.  At one point I had to stop and walk for a minute but forced myself to start jogging again.  At some point past mile 3 after the turnaround, my teammate Jeremy passed me still on his way out.  My first thought was that he was going to catch me and my second was that I really didn't care.  He caught me between miles 5 and 6 and later said that I wasn't looking great by then.  I'm sure.  I was able to pick it up a little the last half to 3/4 of a mile, but it was all I could do to get to the finish.  One positive was that while the run was hot, it didn't really bother me much.  I need to be better about dumping water on my front and and not just the top of my head and down my back.

Thanks to my coach Billy Edwards, my team Foxtrot Wheel & Edgemy teammates, my sponsor GU EnergyColorado Multisport, and my wife for the support.

Race Results:

165th overall (149th out of 557 men, 948 total athletes, including relays)
32nd out of 98 in age group
Swim (1500m):  21:59 (3rd fastest in AG, and 21st fastest overall)
T1: 1:37
Bike (26 mi): 1:13:23 (37th in AG)
T2: 1:09
Run (10km):  53:16

Total:  2:31:25

Abemama vs. OWC Lifestyle Threads

11 July, 2014.

“We’re a deep, collective determination of forward-thinking and creative minds, to exploit one’s passion to live and dream.”

The moon holds great significance for the OWC… Years ago at the beginning of a concept, which combined our passion for sport, fashion, design, music, life, and to share it amongst the lives of the like minded, the full moon was one of the first design concepts we had whilst searching for inspiration. One reason was simply because of our love for the moon, but it then came to symbolise what we stand for – following your dreams. Since that day it’s always been there to help inspire us, and now it’s time for it to inspire you.

Recently, the OWC launched it’s first of many collections of sports inspired lifestyle threads, and this original moon design was used on a winter cotton crewneck sweat. Not only is it a highly detailed digital print on a highly evolved example of the classic crew sweat, but it also carries with it the deeper meaning of the OWC, including its heritage on Lord Howe Island. This tiny little prehistoric isle in the south pacific, described by Sir David Attenborough as being “so extraordinary it’s almost unbelievable”, is indeed our birthing ground.

Ollie Whistler, the founder of the Collaboration, is amongst one of the few families privileged enough to settle on the island as descendants of Nathan Thompson, an American whaler whom made the first significant house on Lord Howe in the 1860’s. His great grandfather a tailor and his grandmother known on the Island for her immaculate sense of style and fashion, along with a first cousin who owns a fashion boutique in Sydney’s CBD, it comes as no surprise that Ollie is pursuing his passion in clothing. Like all Islanders, he share’s a strong inherent love of Lord Howe and believes the OWC can help educate and inspire the younger generation through it’s involvement within the tight knit community and sharing it’s meaning.

It therefore comes with much anticipation that we reveal our new lifestyle range, including the moon inspired crew neck sweat, is now available in Lord Howe’s local clothing boutique, Abemama. Grown from a passion for the ocean, island life, history and the importance of family and community, it shares many of the same qualities as the OWC. Given our heritage on the Island, it’s all too appropriate that it be the first retail stockist of our lifestyle threads!

If you’re fortunate enough to visit Lord Howe Island in your travels or if you’ve already had the privilege, then you’ll understand the true significance of this rare opportunity. When you find yourself standing upon this unspoiled volcanic wonderland, then please support our local community and businesses to help preserve one of Australia’s most unique natural ecosystems. Drop in and visit the newly renovated and restocked Abemama, and maybe the OWC will find you living “a life for the like mind” on it’s homeland…

 

Alternatively, if you’re not as fortunate to get to Lord Howe Island and shop at Abemama, you can purchase our sport inspired lifestyle range here at our online store > SHOP OWC!

Use the FREE SHIPPING coupon: LORDHOWEISLAND for a limited time only*

 

abemama_open abemama_2 abemama_1 US IMG_9372 IMG_9339 IMG_9229 ladies4 ladies3 lifestyle3

Loveland Lake-to-Lake Triathlon Race Report

Two things were clear after the Boulder Sprint Triathlon:  first, my running needed work, and second, so did my taper.  To be clear, the latter was more a result of a week of poor sleep leading up to the race than training too much.  To mitigate the first, I had my coach, Billy start giving me structured running workouts.  Read more about that here.  In reality, it's too far into the season to expect awesome results from the running but I had to try.  My run workouts had been going well (arguably at the expense of my bike).

We adjusted my taper accordingly and I made damn sure I was in bed as early as is possible every night with two young kids.  As a result, I went in feeling fairly fresh.

The race was an hour from my house and a wave start time of 6:30am meant getting up at 3:30.  I don't remember what time I got there but I was definitely one of the first few competitors and got a really good rack spot right by the bike-in/out.  Set up was uneventful and with the several bathroom breaks I didn't have to worry about what to do with my time.  With about 50 minutes until go time, I got the bottom half of my wetsuit on and walked the 1/4-mile to the swim start.  (Yes, 1/4-mile.  Which meant after coming out of the water, there was going to be a nice run to get to T1.)

I got the rest of my wetsuit on and started warming up.  I felt awesome and fast.  I knew I was going to have a good day.  This was also the first time I was going to wear a watch in the race so I could get power data on the bike.  But rather than just keep it on the bike, I wore it the whole race.  This can be a mixed blessing because it's easy to get in one's head if you're not hitting your numbers.

In retrospect, I probably should have gone over the course maps because I realized about a minute before the start that I had the wrong swim course plotted.  Thankfully the elites were paying attention and I got behind them at the start with about a minute to spare.  We got a 10-second countdown (which was nice as usually there's a 30-second warning and then a horn).  Right away I found some fast feet and for the first time since I raced Vineman 70.3 in 2008 I had feet the whole way.  One take away from the swim is that I need to be a lot better at sighting when I'm following in case the person I'm following leads me astray.  I had this thought at some point during the swim and tried to be good about looking for the buoys but I wasn't as good as I should have been.  The second turn on the swim had us swimming directly into the sun and I couldn't see shit.  I just trusted the guy in front of me could and wasn't going to lead me astray.  He didn't, but it was still really unnerving.

I don't recall knowing where I was position wise until I got out on the bike with the two lead elite women and looked at my watch.  I knew then that'd I'd really rocked the swim.  The bike course is hard and it bites right away with uphill rollers heading west out of T1.  With some short downhill recovery, it's basically a climb all the way to Horsetooth Reservoir.  Eventually the lead female started pulling away but I passed and dropped the second place female in the first five miles.  I'd never been this close to the front of a race before and it was really weird only seeing one or two other riders.  At some point I realized that to this point, only three other riders had passed me to this point and I was feeling really good.  I crested the first major climb about half way through the bike and ripped down the descent knowing the next climb was a lot shorter before the long, screaming descent into Ft. Collins.  About 200m from the top, I felt my back tire get a little squishy and realized that the worst thing that could have happened (short of an accident) had happened and I got a flat.  I had put tire sealant in the tubular but my guess is that it didn't kick in until too much air had escaped rendering it essentially useless.  I probably should have tried to refill it to see if it would hold air but wasn't thinking straight and all I could think about was getting the tire off and switching it out.  Instead of using glue, I used Tufo tape to adhere the tire to the rim.  And it's tacky.  REALLY tacky.  I couldn't get the tire off even though I'd left a several inch gap with no tape opposite the valve stem.  It felt like it took forever to change but in reality it was like 6 minutes.  But during that time, all the riders I'd been ahead of were passing me.  I was pissed and any semblance of a race plan went out the window (as indicated by my wattage from that point on as it was all over the map) and I stupidly tried to make up for lost time.  I even yelled at a guy to stop drafting (he wasn't).  The last stretch from Ft. Collins back to Loveland is on S. Taft a very straight stretch of road but it's very exposed and has massive rollers (which doesn't help with trying to maintain a consistent wattage).

The rest of the bike was fine but I was a mental wreck.  I flew into and out of T2 and ran the first mile faster than I should have and finally my body was like "enough" and I struggled through the rest of the run even having to resort to walking a few aid stations on the way back - something I NEVER do.  I was just holding on when I crossed the finish line.

My biggest takeaways were that my taper and recovery were spot on and I need to be able to deal with shit that happens during a race.  Pro triathlete Ben Hoffman raced Ironman Coeur d'Alene on Sunday and flatted twice on the bike.  He could have said "fuck it" and quit or coasted the rest of the way.  But, despite losing 15 minutes on the bike, he ripped off a 2:43 marathon and ran his way to 3rd.  That's how you deal with mental issues.  I got lucky, as I only lost one place due to the flat and the bike course was really hard - which is a great equalizer.  Also, I wonder if my run would have been better.

Thanks to my coach Billy Edwards, my team Foxtrot Wheel & Edgemy teammates, my sponsor GU EnergyColorado Multisport, and my wife for the support.

Race Results:

79th overall, 58th male (185 men total, 338 total athletes)
7th out of 28 in age group w/ flat (6th w/o)
Swim (1500m):  23:57, 2nd fastest in AG and 14th fastest overall
T1: 1:06
Bike (30 mi): 1:35:49 w/ flat (1:29:06 w/o, 7th fastest in AG)
T2: 1:08
Run (10km):  53:38, 18th in AG

Total:  2:55:40 w/flat (2:48:57 w/o)

Loveland Lake-to-Lake Triathlon Race Report

Two things were clear after the Boulder Sprint Triathlon:  first, my running needed work, and second, so did my taper.  To be clear, the latter was more a result of a week of poor sleep leading up to the race than training too much.  To mitigate the first, I had my coach, Billy start giving me structured running workouts.  Read more about that here.  In reality, it's too far into the season to expect awesome results from the running but I had to try.  My run workouts had been going well (arguably at the expense of my bike).

We adjusted my taper accordingly and I made damn sure I was in bed as early as is possible every night with two young kids.  As a result, I went in feeling fairly fresh.

The race was an hour from my house and a wave start time of 6:30am meant getting up at 3:30.  I don't remember what time I got there but I was definitely one of the first few competitors and got a really good rack spot right by the bike-in/out.  Set up was uneventful and with the several bathroom breaks I didn't have to worry about what to do with my time.  With about 50 minutes until go time, I got the bottom half of my wetsuit on and walked the 1/4-mile to the swim start.  (Yes, 1/4-mile.  Which meant after coming out of the water, there was going to be a nice run to get to T1.)

I got the rest of my wetsuit on and started warming up.  I felt awesome and fast.  I knew I was going to have a good day.  This was also the first time I was going to wear a watch in the race so I could get power data on the bike.  But rather than just keep it on the bike, I wore it the whole race.  This can be a mixed blessing because it's easy to get in one's head if you're not hitting your numbers.

In retrospect, I probably should have gone over the course maps because I realized about a minute before the start that I had the wrong swim course plotted.  Thankfully the elites were paying attention and I got behind them at the start with about a minute to spare.  We got a 10-second countdown (which was nice as usually there's a 30-second warning and then a horn).  Right away I found some fast feet and for the first time since I raced Vineman 70.3 in 2008 I had feet the whole way.  One take away from the swim is that I need to be a lot better at sighting when I'm following in case the person I'm following leads me astray.  I had this thought at some point during the swim and tried to be good about looking for the buoys but I wasn't as good as I should have been.  The second turn on the swim had us swimming directly into the sun and I couldn't see shit.  I just trusted the guy in front of me could and wasn't going to lead me astray.  He didn't, but it was still really unnerving.

I don't recall knowing where I was position wise until I got out on the bike with the two lead elite women and looked at my watch.  I knew then that'd I'd really rocked the swim.  The bike course is hard and it bites right away with uphill rollers heading west out of T1.  With some short downhill recovery, it's basically a climb all the way to Horsetooth Reservoir.  Eventually the lead female started pulling away but I passed and dropped the second place female in the first five miles.  I'd never been this close to the front of a race before and it was really weird only seeing one or two other riders.  At some point I realized that to this point, only three other riders had passed me to this point and I was feeling really good.  I crested the first major climb about half way through the bike and ripped down the descent knowing the next climb was a lot shorter before the long, screaming descent into Ft. Collins.  About 200m from the top, I felt my back tire get a little squishy and realized that the worst thing that could have happened (short of an accident) had happened and I got a flat.  I had put tire sealant in the tubular but my guess is that it didn't kick in until too much air had escaped rendering it essentially useless.  I probably should have tried to refill it to see if it would hold air but wasn't thinking straight and all I could think about was getting the tire off and switching it out.  Instead of using glue, I used Tufo tape to adhere the tire to the rim.  And it's tacky.  REALLY tacky.  I couldn't get the tire off even though I'd left a several inch gap with no tape opposite the valve stem.  It felt like it took forever to change but in reality it was like 6 minutes.  But during that time, all the riders I'd been ahead of were passing me.  I was pissed and any semblance of a race plan went out the window (as indicated by my wattage from that point on as it was all over the map) and I stupidly tried to make up for lost time.  I even yelled at a guy to stop drafting (he wasn't).  The last stretch from Ft. Collins back to Loveland is on S. Taft a very straight stretch of road but it's very exposed and has massive rollers (which doesn't help with trying to maintain a consistent wattage).

The rest of the bike was fine but I was a mental wreck.  I flew into and out of T2 and ran the first mile faster than I should have and finally my body was like "enough" and I struggled through the rest of the run even having to resort to walking a few aid stations on the way back - something I NEVER do.  I was just holding on when I crossed the finish line.

My biggest takeaways were that my taper and recovery were spot on and I need to be able to deal with shit that happens during a race.  Pro triathlete Ben Hoffman raced Ironman Coeur d'Alene on Sunday and flatted twice on the bike.  He could have said "fuck it" and quit or coasted the rest of the way.  But, despite losing 15 minutes on the bike, he ripped off a 2:43 marathon and ran his way to 3rd.  That's how you deal with mental issues.  I got lucky, as I only lost one place due to the flat and the bike course was really hard - which is a great equalizer.  Also, I wonder if my run would have been better.

Thanks to my coach Billy Edwards, my team Foxtrot Wheel & Edgemy teammates, my sponsor GU EnergyColorado Multisport, and my wife for the support.

Race Results:

79th overall, 58th male (185 men total, 338 total athletes)
7th out of 28 in age group w/ flat (6th w/o)
Swim (1500m):  23:57, 2nd fastest in AG and 14th fastest overall
T1: 1:06
Bike (30 mi): 1:35:49 w/ flat (1:29:06 w/o, 7th fastest in AG)
T2: 1:08
Run (10km):  53:38, 18th in AG

Total:  2:55:40 w/flat (2:48:57 w/o)

Waterlogged at Ironman Cairns

I’ve always loved racing in the tropical north of Australia. Not from just being a beautiful warm part of Australia but allowing me to race close to home. There’s nothing better than having friends and family watching and cheering for you.

Leading into yesterday’s race I’d made sure that my preparation was as good as I could make it, where I headed over to the USA post my win in Busselton a few weeks ago. This 4 week training block was done at higher than normal (sea level) altitude in stunning Colorado. This allowed me to clear the head and stay focused on my training.

10452651_882201508462635_1051428401_oTo add to the mix of pressure before a big race, my bike nearly didn’t arrive back into the country. It was lost for a little but was eventually found in LA and was re-routed back to Australia. One less headache sorted out.

Given the very nature of tropical weather, it can be either super warm or raining and warm with a good mix of humidity. So yesterday’s race was just that – rain with more rain. Talk about waterlogged – I think I’ll be wet for the next few weeks.

The swim wasn’t going to be a whole lot of fun for anyone. The weather was crap coupled with sizeable waves which just added another layer to the already challenging conditions. Pardon the pun… but hey, we were all in the same boat, right? I was able to swim a good time of 52:11 which put me in 3rd coming out of the water. I could see I had Casey Munro and Peter Robertson ahead of me by around 2 minutes with Courtney Ogden right on my heals.

The wet roads were going to play a roll in the race and heading out onto the bike leg my main focus was to stay upright while crossing my fingers for no punctures. Leading out on the bike was Robbo, Casey and myself. Shortly after, Mat Burton and Cam Brown caught us. I felt gutted for Casey when I knew he punctured – it’s tough when you do as your day slips away.

Matt looked really strong and he and ended up doing a lot of the work out the front. All day long on the bike the rain was going to be there but then we had the wind to content with. The 5 of us came together into T2.

Heading out of T2 I found myself in the lead. I was quickly followed by Robbo and Cam. The 3 of kept pace for the first 12km and then Robbo dropped off. This is going to be a war a attrition.

Bpl7h2XCMAAmaff.jpg-largeAround 19km Cam started to turn the screws on me as I’m sure he could sense I was hurting. Each quicker step hurt just that little extra. By 21km he dropped me by a minute or so and that was the race done there. I wasn’t able to put any time back into Cam. And looking at his back half of the marathon, he was very strong.

I’d really like to take my hat off to Cam Brown today. He’s so consistent at this sport and as I said in the press conference on Friday, he’s going to be a hard man to beat, and he was with a 2:44 marathon.

For the curiously minded, here are my numbers from the day.3.8km swim in 52:11. 180km ride in 4:39:35 / avg. 38.63 km/h. 42.2km run in 2:48:15 / avg. 3:59/km. Finished the race in 8:23:23.

Also a big shoutout to my wife Belinda as it’s her birthday today. Happy birthday!

Time for some rest and recovery.

Tim

Images supplied by Delly Carr, http://www.sportsphotography.com.au

2014 Summer Open Triathlon Race Report

For starters, this was my first race in three years with the last being the 2011 Summer Open Triathlon (turned Duathlon due to water contamination) soon after which I found out I had torn the medial meniscus in both knees.  Two surgeries, some PT rehab, and several false starts later I started training in earnest beginning December 2013.

My swim and bike training leading up to the race was pretty stellar.  My speed in the pool improved and new coaching from Billy Edwards gave my bike training structure and guidance.  He added the use of power to ensure I was getting the most out of my cycling.  To say it made a difference is a gross understatement.

My run was a big question mark given the surgeries and the slow but steady volume increases I was making.  I had been getting decent volume up to around 3-4 weeks before the race but then dropped off as life got in the way.  As has been typical with all my triathlon training over the years, when time crunches and life hit, it's always been my run that suffers first.  I'm nervous about putting too much volume on my knees so I've been incorporating elliptical or elliptical-like workouts - but have no idea how to equate them to a run, if that's even possible (whereas with cycling, a ride on the trainer is like 1.5x an equivalent ride on the road).

I got to the venue early and got a great racking spot right next to the bike out/bike in - so the distance I would have to run with my bike was minimal.  I set up my stuff and went back to the car to relax before warm-up time.

For my warm-up, I did a 10-minute run.  In retrospect, this was probably unnecessary given that the water temperature was 57-degrees so any warmth gained by running would be quickly negated.  Additionally, the sweat created from running in sweatpants and a sweatshirt only made it that much harder to get on my wetsuit.  I should have just done a longer swim warm-up.

As mentioned, the water was 57-degrees, which if you've never had the pleasure, let me assure you:  IT'S.FUCKING.COLD.  Like, take-your-breath-away cold - especially when it hits your face.  I'd doubled my swim cap and am damn glad I did.  A few hundred meters and I'd numbed up enough to where the cold didn't bother me.  Boy, let me tell you, those first few minutes were really hard.  It took some extra special motivation to not say "screw this" and bail out.  But realizing that EVERYONE had to deal with the same conditions (save for the few crazies wearing sleeveless suits) and if they could do it, so could I.

Mine was the first wave off and in true triathlon start fashion, the washing machine was in full force.  Normally I go really hard to get out in front but I don't know if it was the cold, or if it was because it was my first race, or what, I held back slightly to avoid getting kicked or punched in the face and let some swimmers go in front of me and followed them immediately.  I didn't bother trying to find some fast feet, rather my goal was to just get the damn swim over with as quickly as possible.  I thought I was a lot slower than it turns out I was.  I must have been flying in my new Blue Seventy Helix wetsuit because my swim time was 21st fastest overall and I heard someone say as I ran by into T1 that I was only a minute down.

I don't know if it was the Helix or the cold water, but it took far longer to get my arms out than it should have.  Normally, I want to get to my bike with cap and goggles off and arms out with the wetsuit top pulled down to my waist.  I'd only barely managed the latter by the time I got to my rack.  The rest of T1 went pretty smoothly.  I had gloves out for the ride because I knew I'd be cold coming out of the water and the air temp was still pretty chilly, but my hands were too wet and I couldn't get a glove on, so I gave up on that after only a few seconds.

The bike course was straight out and back with only a turn into and out of the reservoir and a U-turn about six miles out.  Unfortunately, it was all uphill and into a tail wind except for the last few hundred meters before the turn around.  Thankfully, I'd been doing many of my intervals in just such conditions so while I probably overcooked the ride out, I knew I'd be recovering on the way back.  My only regret is not putting an 11 on in the back for my small chainring instead of a 12 and as a result, I was spinning out with the tailwind and downhill on the return leg.

My dismount was mostly textbook, though I probably slowed too much too soon and took my feet out of my shoes a bit early.  My feet were still a little wet so getting my socks on took a little longer than I was expecting.  In years past, I'd been used to running without socks, but hadn't done any such training and so didn't want to risk it just for the sake of speed.

Heading out on to the run, I could feel the lack of quality run training and to make matters worse, I couldn't feel my feet.  I was running on stumps for the first 1.5 miles.  The run was on the dirt road next to the reservoir and headed East.  It was in really bad shape with 2-4" deep holes everywhere.  Finding a smooth, straight track was challenging.  A little over a 1/2 mile before the finish, I noticed I was having trouble seeing the road clearly due to my glasses being dirty but instead of taking them off, I just kept running and wound up rolling my ankle within that half-mile and it easily took 20-seconds to get back into a rhythm, but it was not nearly at the same pace as before.  As a result, I lost two places in my age group with the second one being literally in the finishing chute.  I was so pissed.

Overall, it was a damn good race and I should be proud to come back so strong after a three-year hiatus.  But, as we athletes are wont to do, we focus on the one or two negatives and that, for me, would be the damn ankle roll that cost me two places.  Thankfully, other races are yet to come, the road is in much better shape, and I'll be that much more motivated.

Thanks to Foxtrot Wheel & Edgemy teammates, my sponsor GU Energy, and my wife for the support.

Race Results:

42nd overall, 37th male
7th out of 38 in age group, 10 and 2 seconds behind 5th and 6th place respectively.
Swim (1/2 mi):  8:18, 21st fastest time
T1: 1:33
Bike (12.25 mi): 35:30, 40th fastest time
T2: 1:04
Run (3.1 mi):  23:15, 111th fastest time

Total:  1:09:42