All 2010 Race Reports
by Dave MacLuskie
|bike (20k, 12.4 mi)||36:26|
|run (5k, 3.1 mi)||23:00|
10th out of 24 in my age group. This was my first triathlon in 2010 and it was a blast.
I missed this race in 2009 but given my (hopefully) higher overall fitness I hoped to break my 2008 time (1:13:47). I'm pleased to say I did, and had fun doing it.
The race is very well staged and run. I highly recommend it, especially to beginners. All the volunteers were cheerful and helpful. There were no lines for body marking and chip pickup (maybe because I was so early!) Though the bike course was open to car traffic there was at least one police officer at every intersection making sure bikes had the right of way AND a volunteer there focused on the cyclists pointing which way to go. The run course had plenty of volunteers as well and three water stops (on a 5k course!) As a bonus, while it was warm, it wasn't nearly as hot as the last few days. I'd guess high 70's low 80's at the start. The day did eventually hit the mid 90's though. The humidity was relatively lower compared to recent days and we had a cool(ish) breeze too. It was almost pleasant standing around in the shade after the race.
I arrived in Richmond early. Very early. On the plus side arriving at 5:40 meant I got a very good parking spot. This proved handy as I had to walk back to the car a few times for things I forgot. As a bonus, there are no lines at the porta potty before 6am.
I have a very nice triathlon bike for, well, racing triathlons. Unfortunately it is in ill-repair at the moment. The front brakes and rear derauiller both need adjusting and my home fix did not work well; it actually made it worse. I haven't made the time to take it in for a tune up so I took my cyclocross bike instead. This is the "new to me" bike I got for commuting to work. It looks like a road bike, but had a different style brake, a more relaxed geometry (easier to handle) and is even less aerodynamic with its huge fork (designed so that it can take wide tires and be ridden in very thick mud without causing major problems.) I ride a rather wide 32mm tire on my work commute, but I switched out to a more normal 23mm tire for the race. It's noticably faster compared to the fat tires! I didn't even put clamp-on aerobars on the bike, though I did remove the saddle bag and head lights. I figured I'd just ride it and have fun.
Transition closed at 6:40 but the race didn't start until 7:00. Given the pool swim, the race uses a time trial start. We're all ranked based on swim times and the fastest person gets bib #1. They jump in at 7:00 and start to swim. The person with #2 jumps in 10 seconds later and swims. Then #3, etc. They have timers there letting you know when to go so it's all very organized. I was #237. Numbers went up to the low to mid 400's. This necessitates a rather long wait. This gives you time to get nervous and fidgety, stand in a very long porta potty line (again) and watch other people be nervous and fidgety while standing in line.
I jumped in the water at 7:46 and some seconds. This was exactly as scheduled and points to a very organized and well run event. The pool swim is set up so that you swim down the lane staying to your right. At the wall you turn around and swim back, staying to your right again. When you get back to the wall you duck under the lane line and swim back on your right. This pattern continues until you run out of pool which in this case is after swimming 300m. I recieved a foot tickle half way through and stopped at the wall to let two folks go by. I actually passed two folks at a wall 100m later. Passing people on a swim is a first for me! My time of 6:26 is below average even for triathletes (148 out 241 men) and it's down right horrid by swimmer standards (of course, they don't have to bike and run afterward!) It is, however, slightly faster than I've done in the past and I felt very comfortable the whole time. The swim is only beginning of the race.
My transition from swim to bike felt languid at the time and the 2:42 time backs that up. I was 20 sec slower than 2008. That's a lot of time lost! I clip-clopped my way to the mount line and took off on the bike. I've been commuting to work on the bike every Tuesday and Thursday; 20 miles each way. This has definitely helped my cycling. Cycling more leads to better cycling. Who knew? The 12 mile course, even at a faster pace, didn't feel very long and I felt pretty good the whole time. The time trial start makes for a more spread out bike course. Some people were done with the bike portion prior to my swim start. Likewise, I was finished with the bike before others began their swim. Also, your start time is based on how well you swim; it has nothing to do with how well you bike or run. As a result, some folks behind me who are poor swimmers but faster cyclists blew by me on the course. I in turn passed a number of folks who might be good swimmers but weren't as strong on the bike. The incidents of drafing on the course (which is illegal) are practially nil. The odds of being near someone your own pace are far too slim.
I forgot to reset the bike computer for the narrow tires so the speedometer was inaccurate (showed me going faster than I was) so it was hard to gauge how well I was doing other than effort. The last two times I've done this race, and darn near every triathlon I've done, I go too hard on the bike and suffer on the run. This time I got it right. I could have hammered the bike a bit harder, but didn't want resort to walking on the 5K. I'm quite pleased with the time of 36:26 (about 20.5 mph if the distance is truly 12.4 miles.) This is only 18 seconds slower than my 2008 time when I rode the tri bike (and had a lousy run.)
T2 was also a bit slow at 1:34. I lost another 14 seconds compared to 2008; must work on that.
The run went great! Both my previous runs on this course were 27:24 (odd, I know.) Both times I had a terrible side stitch and was forced to walk some. Both times I knew I took the first mile out too fast. Both years were very hot. This year I did things differently. I started out with what felt like an easy jog. Trying to run right after a bike ride is a unique and uncomfortable experience. About a half mile in I started to loosen up a bit and by a mile in I felt like I had my run legs back. I clocked that first mile at about 8 minutes even. The run is an out-and-back. The last quarter mile or so to the turn around is uphill. It didn't feel so bad this year, but I was still breathing pretty heavily at the top. My split at the turn around was about 12 mintues and change, if I recall correctly. I got some water and picked up the pace down the hill and tried to maintain all the way back to the finish. I'm quite pleased with the 23:00 split on the run. That's about 2 minutes off my open 5K time, which doesn't seem too bad to me.
Overall I had a great day. It's much more enjoyable to feel like you raced well. If anything, I could have gone a bit faster, especially on the run. I think I could easily shave a minute off the time between transitions and a more agressive pace on the run. It's tough to find that line of "just fast enough" to not blow up on the course, especially when the line is constantly changing.
Chipotle was there for the post-race meal. Freshly made spicy beef soft tacos at 9am was a bit unusual, but quite tasty. There were plenty of cookies, soda and water as well. As in most races, the bananas were so green you could use them as hammers. I chatted with a few folks I know from local races. Someone I didn't know introduced themselves. He recognized me as someone he sees running at the trail around the local golf course after work. He commented that I had looked like a triathlete. I'm not sure what that means but he was pleasant!
|bike (20k, 12.4mi)||36:26||36:08||37:54|
|run (5k, 3.1mi)||23:00||27:24||27:24|
Relative placement in 2010
out of 241
|2010 Age Group
out of 24
|bike (20k, 12.4mi)||121||12|
|run (5k, 3.1mi)||53||7|
Clearly my strength is the run. This isn't a surprise. The transitions were slow. I need to improve that. The bike was middle of the back exactly. Would I have been faster on the tri bike? Maybe a bit. Shaving a minute to 35:26 would have bumped me up 95 of 241 -- 25 places. I think "more biking" is the more accurate answer. I'm not sure what my limits are right now. There's a fine line between fast and too-fast and you don't know where it is until you cross it. The swim is my perpetual weakness. One day I'll find a good coach who can help me with form and combine that with actually swimming more often and for longer distances. It's hard to get too upset about 6 minutes of a 70 minute race so the impetus just isn't that strong right now.
Interestingly the next fastest person in my AG raced a 1:06:21. Then me at 1:10:06 and #11 behind me at 1:10:26. Top three in my AG were all 1:00:xx or faster. Of the 10 minutes I'd have to find to break the top 3 (based on this years results), about 6 of it would be on the bike. Their runs were right at the 20:xx minute range. Their transitions were faster as well. At least 1 minute, combined.
dave.macluskie AT gmail.com