Not much fun in the Tri for Fun. It was .5 swim/16 bike and 3 run. It was supposed to be in the mid-90s but I don't think it got over 85. This was the same course I raced a few weeks ago when my powersticks failed miserably. This time I knew where the course was (see this post, got there on time (see previous post), ate before I raced (see this post), and brought my bike (so far I've remembered it every time).
The morning started off great - perfect weather and I found a bike rack towards the front that wasn't reserved for a tri-club (I really hate that). Got all of my stuff laid out, walked through both my T1 and T2 race plans 2x (how many people do you see get lost in the transitions?). Got suited up and hit the water for a short warm up.
Started in the 3rd wave and as always, I started way off to the side. I swam a comfy pace - slowly picking people off who started too hard. I managed to stay 30-40 yards off the tail of the main pack around the 1st buoy. I ended up about 100 yards back of the main pack at the swim end but still not last. I cut 2 mins off my swim time thanks to some work that I've been doing with my reguarly training partner Ian Charles.
I raced into T1 and quickly got onto the bike. The rollout on to the course was through a park that had lots of speed bumps. I now find out that the Profile Aero Drinking system has a major flaw: no top. By the time I reached the 3rd of 5 speed bumps the spongey thing that holds the water in - goes flying out. So does 90% of my water. I sip what is left quickly. No real plan B, I did swallow a little water in the swim - so I hoped that was going to help. I did really focus on being hydrated the day before - so that I suppose was my plan B.
I grabbed a gel quickly (I've got this nifty tape job so that I can rip off my gels ready to eat without having to use 2 hands or tear off the top with my mouth). Gel down - no water to wash it down with though. The bike felt good - I just started riding hard hard. I was passing people a few MPH faster than they were going - so that felt great. The powersticks were back. I hit the turn around pretty quickly (the course is mostly downhill on the way out) and was able to ride in my 55x15 or so for most of it. Turned around, grabbed another gel and headed back home. My mouth felt a bit cakey at this point. A dog with a mouthful of peanut butter would be enjoying himself more than I was.
Since the course was open there were cars and trucks on the course. I was lucky enough to have a doubled up fuel tanker barelling down the road behind me. He wasn't going fast because he was a double-tank fuel truck going uphill in the middle of a triathlon bike course - but he was big and steady, going 20+. Not getting run over was basically my insiration - so I went hard. I also wasn't going to let some truck pass me and force me to slow down and lose my tempo.
I rolled back into the park, ahead of the truck and within 10 feet of every speedbump are 2-3 sponges from Profile Aero drink systems, water bottles and misc things that weren't bolted down. I got into the dismount zone and with the grace of mary lou retton, dismounted my bike and legally lept into the transition area. I grabbed my shoes (a spare water bottle I had put out - I had forgotten plan B) and hauled out on a scenic dirt road along and empty dirt field in the middle of nowhere also known as Herald, CA.
I ran, blistered and finished. I took 3.5 mins off my previous race time, cut my overall placing from 55 to 22 and found myself yet again in 5th place in my age group. I was happy that I beat my previous time but know I have additonal work on my run, swim and bike (I think in that order). I've got a few weeks of much harder training to tackle as I approach the last bit of the season and some key races.
This week I'm training with Ben Collins, 2007 US National Champion, and will get my butt handed to me for the next 7 days. We'll be doing a long swim on Friday AM, a ride up Mt. Tam on Saturday and a long run on the Vineman race course on Sunday. Here are my upcoming races where I expect to improve and break my 5th place age group curse:
July 29 - Tiburon Triathlon - Sprint: .5/9/2
Aug 18 - Folsom International - Olympic: 1/25/6
Aug 25 - Santa Barbara Triathlon - Long: 1/34/10
Sept 23 - The Sentinel Triathlon - Olympic: 1/25/6
Sept 29 - Tinley’s - Olympic: 1/25/6
Oct 7 – Napa Valley Men’s Tri - Sprint: .5/15/4
Oct 21 - Sacramento Tri - Olympic: 1/25/6
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8 months ago