Xterra Real - TriathlonOther

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Folsom, California
United States
TFB Sports
70F / 21C
Total Time = 2h 24m 44s
Overall Rank = 101/174
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 19/27
Pre-race routine:

This is my second ever triathlon, my first was a super sprint last September with this same race organizer, and it was great. I felt prepared for this one, though admittedly my bike volume has been too low. I had a loose goal of a sub 2:00/100 swim (I can't do that in the pool, but was hoping the wetsuit advantage would get me there), a 10mph avg on the bike, and a sub 9:00 minute mile avg on the run. I didn't know the details of either the bike or run courses, other than they were offroad, so really these time goals were pretty much guesses.

I drove up to Folsom the day before the race, we stayed at my brother and sister in laws house which is about 20 minutes from the race site. They were out of town, so it worked out perfect. My wife borrowed her sisters car in the morning so I could go out early, and she and our girls could join me there just before the race and not have to stand around for 2 hours in the morning.

So, I got up at 6:15am, put on my trisuit and put sweats over it. Figured it would save having to find a place to change later, seemed to work fine. On the way over to the start I ate a peanut butter sandwich, and munched on an apple and a banana while going through registration and setting up transition. Registration opened at 7am, and I was there at 7. What can I say, I was excited!

Transition had tons of room avaliable, I picked a rack that was somewhat out of the way (though it was a small transition area, I don't think location really mattered) since I'm not in the hunt for anything, and I'd rather stay out of the hustle and bustle of the FOPers. I was the first to set up on my rack, so I used the end and layed out all my stuff. Being a mountain bike race, I was wearing a camelback, and also planned on a sock change between the bike and run so I had more stuff than a 'normal' tri. Though less stuff than some people, I saw a few setups that included buckets, extra towels, even little chairs!

Anyway, I was all set up and ready to rock about one hour before the race, so I just milled around talking to other racers while sipping on a combination of coffee, and water. Good coffee and straight water btw, I'm not implying that their free coffee was watered down, it was actually very good!
Event warmup:

About 30 minutes before the race, I put on my wetsuit and walked down to the lake to warm up. Oh my, the water level is LOW. It's a loooong ways from the water exit up the hill to transition! Felt like 1/4 mile at least, but probably wasn't that long... It was sand and dirt, with the last 50 yards or so on asphalt. I decided I'd plan on removing my wetsuit just after getting out of the lake, then carry it up to transition instead of running the whole way with it on.

Anyway, I got my earplugs, goggles and cap on (I put the cap over the goggles, is that right? I don't have any idea...) and waded out into the lake. It didn't feel as cold as I was expecting (I heard it was 55 degrees, I was in a sleeveless Xterra Vortex 3), I dove in and swam about 1/2 way to the first bouy. Felt good, I focussed on exhaling as soon as I put my face in the water, and did a little practice sighting (something I rarely do in the pool). I pulled on all the openings of the suit letting water circulate around, then swam back to the start. It was a mass beach start for everyone, 150+ racers, my plan was to go to the back of the bunch and let everyone else go first. I see no need to be in the front (or middle) of that start! As I got out of the water, I saw my wife and two girls there on the shore, so I went over and said a quick hi, and ate my first gel of the day. Washed it down with a little water, and walked up to the back of the start pack.
  • 14m 8s
  • 800 yards
  • 01m 45s / 100 yards

At the time I'm writing this, I don't have a swim split. They said they would get them, so I'm hoping at some point they will put the splits up on the website, but for now all I know is that the swim + T1 (including the long run) totalled 19:17. I know this since I put on my Garmin 305 in T1, and started it at the bike exit, and have my overall time from the results. I'll update the data fields here when/if I get that info.

[edit] got the splits!! did 14:08 on the swim! Definately the fastest I've ever swam before. Although, based on the fact that both the bike and run were a bit short, it's certainly possible (likely?) that the swim was short too. [end edit]

Anyway, to the actual swim! 5-4-3-2-1-GO!! I slowly walked down to the water, waded in, then started swimming when I was about thigh deep. I was completely in the back, with a few others who had the same idea I did. The first 200yds or so I was a little hyped, and was spinning my arms like a madman. I managed to calm myself down, focus on REACHing with each stroke, and slowed my breaths a little bit. I'd say it took me until the first bouy to really find my rythym, about 250 yards or so. Sighting was hard at first, because there were so many people around. When I'd look up to sight, I'd just see a mass of elbows and never could locate the bouy. I figured as long as I saw a mass of elbows I must be going in the correct general direction, so I just kept going...

Rounding the first bouy was VERY physical. I think by now I'd caught up to a lot of swimmers that started in front of me, and we were all trying to get around the same little space. I just swam head up, combat style for 10 or so strokes to get around the bouy, then pulled a little to the inside and put my head back down. There was a fair amount of contact between the 1st and second bouys, just simple stuff like I'd accidentally run up behind someone and bonk their legs, or arms would collide, or I'd feel someone banging on my feet. Nothing unsettling, though I did do a few kicks whenever I felt someone on my feet. For the most part I didn't kick much at all though, the wetsuit floats me so well I don't need to other than to get a little rotation going. Sometime between the two bouys my swim cap came off. I knew it right away, cause my head suddenly got REALLY COLD! I had no idea a thin little latex cap did such a good job of insulating until it fell off...

Around the 2nd (and last) bouy was much cleaner, then it was a straight shot into shore. The swim finish had a massive inflatable arch that was easy to spot when swimming, much better than the little bouy I was trying to find earlier. I swam in straight and clean, and was totally in rythym by then. I was almost sad to feel the ground, I liked the swim a lot!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Well, maybe figure out how to get my swim cap on better? Maybe I should put the goggles over the cap?
Transition 1
  • 05m 9s

Don't have a time for this yet, but will update it if I get one. [edit] got the splits! long transition time, but it was a LONG run up from the lake. [end edit] Immediately upon exiting the lake, I moved off to the side of the path and removed my wetsuit. It came off no problem, a little stuck on one heel but nothing bad, just a few seconds. I think this was a good decision, it was a long ways up to the transition and the wetsuit is hard to run in. I didn't see a single other person removing their wetsuit down at the lake though, so I'm not sure what they know that I don't? The last 50 yards of the run were asphalt, and really hurt my feet! They were in the process of thawing out, I think that made it worse.

In transition, I was pretty methodical. Hang wetsuit on rack. Put on socks and bike shoes (I didn't bother to clean my feet, I just put on the socks right over all the wet sand), put on helmet, put on Garmin, put on camelback, grab bike and GO! I think I was about as smooth and quick as I could be, my shoes are MTB shoes with ratchets so I need to take the extra few seconds to fasten them, but nothing went wrong. It was OK to ride in transition, so I hit start on my watch, grabbed the bike and did a rolling mount as I pushed off from my transition spot.
What would you do differently?:

I'm very happy with my transition performance. don't think I'd change anythying.
  • 1h 26m 2s
  • 14.78 miles
  • 10.31 mile/hr

FUN! I'm a mountain biker first, so this was the most fun part of the day for me. I don't think this would ever be considered a hard course, but it had a few challenging technical sections. I unclipped a few times in the rocks, dismounted 1x/lap for a short steep climb right after a mudhole (it looked like about 50/50 for those who dismounted vs. just riding up it), but had no crashes or even close calls. I rode fairly conservatively in the technical stuff, but that was still where I'd make up my time on those in front of me. Most of the course was rolling single/dual track, very fun and pretty fast for a mountain bike course. There was generally plenty of room to pass or let people pass without anyone having to wait too long.

In the first mile there was a short stretch of paved road, so I took that opportunity to eat a gel on each lap. I tried to be real consistent with drinking water the whole first lap, and about 1/2 of the second lap. Once I was within 4 miles of the end of the bike, I stopped drinking cause I don't run well with much water in my belly.

At about the 10 mile point, I started feeling my left knee. I've felt this same pain on my last few long rides, it didnt surprise me. Nor did it worry me, I know if I just keep my cadence up high it's fine, and it doesn't bother me on the run at all. So, whenever I'd start feeling it hurt, I'd just downshift and get my cadence back up. Sort of a built in cadence meter :-)
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I tuned my bike up last week, and it performed perfectly! It's a 10 year old full suspension Specialized Stumpjumper Pro, built mostly XTR, and I think it still holds it's own against todays best bikes.
Transition 2
  • 01m 18s

Riding was allowed in transition, so I rode up to my rack, did a flying dismount and racked the bike. As memory serves, it went like this: Rack bike. remove helmet. remove camelback. remove left shoe and sock. Put on clean left sock and running shoe. remove right shoe and sock. put on clean right sock and running shoe. tighten both laces. Grab hat (with race belt inside it) and GO!! I put on the hat and race belt (which had my number clipped on it) while running out of transition.

Again, I focussed on being steady and methodical, made no mistakes, and was in and out pretty quick. My shoes and socks were super muddy and wet, so I think it was a good decision to take the extra few seconds to put on new socks. Getting the camelback off and changing socks definately added a bit more time than a typical transition would.
What would you do differently?:

nothing! Yeay, good solid transitions today!
  • 38m 7s
  • 3.92 miles
  • 09m 43s  min/mile

My 'goal' was to run sub 9 minute miles, but I quickly realized that probably wouldn't happen. I was barely holding a 9m/m pace out of the transition for the first mile, and it was mostly flat. As soon as we went up the first hill, I knew I'd better reset my expectations! My cardio fitness felt fine, in fact I was having a hard time keeping my HR up where I wanted it (at or just over 160). My legs were just really fatigued and not up to the task. Not surprising, I don't have enough bike volume at this point in time.

Anyway, I had to walk the first big hill at about the 1.5 mile mark, then the path stayed up and down, with a brief bit of beach running over sand and rocks between the hills. The third mile was the killer, big hills, not only did I have to walk up some, but had to walk down too cause they were too steep for me to confidently run down without fear of falling. My pace in that third mile was SLOW, but I certainly wasn't the only one forced to a walk on some of these hills.

With about 1 mile to go, it was back to the flats and I knew there were no more hills. Since we were so close, and it was flat, I ran at hard as I could. My HR was higher than I felt like I could maintain, and my legs were on fire, but I wanted to finish up strong, and catch the one guy I could see up in front of me. I passed him about 100 yards from the finish, saw my wife and girls cheering me on, and ran as fast as I could across the line. I did not get anywhere near 9m/m overall, but it was the best I could run today, no regrets on how I ran it.

Garmin Data:
mile 1: 9:03, 158bpm
mile 2: 9:58, 158bpm
mile 3: 11:16, 158bpm
mile 4: 8:25, 165bpm
What would you do differently?:

train more?
Post race
Warm down:

Stretched a little, drank some water and had a little pasta. Hung out with my family, packed up and went back home.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I think I hit this one pretty solid, could use more training volume (who couldn't) but I don't feel like I really made any mistakes. Overall I'm very happy, I am pretty sure I smashed 2:00/100 on the swim, hit my bike average dead on, then ran as well as I could. I feel great today (the day after), other than my feet hurting quite a bit (which I attribute to that tough run from the lake to transition).

Event comments:

This is my second race, and the second put on by TBFracing.com They do a super job, everything is run well, and I look forward to competing with them some more over the summer. I don't know how they get so many volunteers out there, but they are doing something right!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-12-16 12:00 AM
00:14:08 | 800 yards | 01m 45s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/27
Overall: 108/174
Performance: Good
Suit: Xterra Vortex 3 sleeveless
Course: Lake swim, beach start, triangle CCW swim (two bouys), start and finish at same point on shore. One mass start for everyone.
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 55F / 13C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 05:09
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
01:26:02 | 14.78 miles | 10.31 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/27
Overall: 92/174
Avg HR 156bpm Max HR 176bpm
Wind: None
Course: Two loops, some single track, a few mildly technical sections, a few mud holes, a few short steep hills, no sustained climbing. Course was a little short, according to my Garmin 305.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 01:18
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:38:07 | 03.92 miles | 09m 43s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/27
Overall: 106/174
avg HR 159bpm max HR 170bpm
Course: One loop, first and last mile were flat, second and third were not! a few really steep hills. My Garmin measured the course a bit short.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5