Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon - TriathlonSprint

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Napa, California
United States
69F / 21C
Total Time = 1h 46m 2s
Overall Rank = 58/228
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 7/28
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 5:00am, went to the bathroom for morning constitutional (as instructed by Joel Friel's TTB), washed up and had some very light breakfast (a Balance Bar Trail Mix). Dressed in my racing gear, re-checked all my gear against my Race Checklist. Re-read Chapter 10 of Joel Friel's 'Triathlete's Training Bible', especially his "Race Day" suggestions. Then packed up the car, and waited for my buddy Ed meet me in the lobby of our hotel (not being a "morning person", he ended up being a 1/2 hour late).
Event warmup:

Essentially none, as we arrived to the race site with less than 35 min. to spare to Start Time. So, our "warmup" consisted of frantically finding rack space, registering, and affixing our race numbers and putting on our wetsuits.

Note to self: Don't share rides with people who can't rise early and arrive to the race site early. Race with them...sure...but let them make their own way to the site.
  • 16m 22s
  • 805 meters
  • 02m 02s / 100 meters

This was my first competitive open water swim (OWS); and my second OWS of any kind since last summer's practice sessions. The appearance of overwhelming anxiety and light-panic did not disappoint through the first 200m.

The water was a little take-your-breath-away-type cold; and I ended up getting stuck in the front of the wave (though to the outside). Made the usual rookie mistake of starting too fast, and expending too much energy before making it to the first buoy. Had to even backstroke it for a few seconds to pull myself together.

This was also when the winds started picking up ( says winds bewteen 8-9am were between 13-16mph) creating some light-to-medium chop that began: a) slowing many swimmers down (including myself) and b) pushing alot of swimmers off course. While it wasn't fun, it wasn't the worst I had seen.

The day before, my buddy Ed and I had unsuccessfully attempted to pre-swim the course the day before in even "rougher" conditions: 1-2 ft. swells with 10-ft separation, whitecaps, and 20mph headwinds. Basically a first-time OWS competitor's nightmare (more details in my 5-5-07 blog entry).

Back to the race, the "washing machine" wasn't as nerve-wracking as I had built it up to be, though it was no walk in the park. While I wasn't "swum over" by anybody, I did constantly find myself swimming onto or between other swimmers--making contact--and losing my rhythm. And losing rhythm is an energy-sapper.

After rounding the first buoy, I forced myself to block out all the externals, and "swim my race" and concentrate or form and breathing. While my sighting was below average, I managed to stay on course fairly well and not overswim the distances. Before I knew it, had rounded the final buoy and was headed towards the boat ramp (thank God!, and this was only an 800m swim).
What would you do differently?:

Practice more OWS, esp. sighting, bilateral breathing (which I don't normally do). Practice more anaerobic swimming (to simulate race start).
Transition 1
  • 04m 39s

Found Ed, my buddy who started the same wave as me, at the T1 ahead of me (damn him! LOL). He was sitting (sin!) getting his wetsuit off and getting ready to mount up.

My QR Quickjohn suit (being sleeveless and having no material below the thighs) came off almost instantly. And my other gear (socks and shoes) slipped right on. (Note: my sunglasses were in my Bento Box for putting on later). So, we exited T1 together.

Our rack space was about 120m from the mounting line, and there were a fair number of competitors walking their bikes to the line ahead of us and in our path. Since I was still "recovering" from my swim escapade, I decided to do the same.

What would you do differently?:

Learn to run with shoes clipped to the pedals.
  • 48m 13s
  • 15 miles
  • 18.66 mile/hr

This is where I made up most of my time. I simply found gears I could spin at a relatively high cadence, and just hammered away (almost recklessly sacrificing my run--but I knew I could just hang on for the run--at least for 4 miles).

I would conservatively say I passed just close to 100 riders (not bragging--just an observation; and hey, this was a beginner's race with lots of mountain bikes and stuff so not that huge of an achievement), and was not passed on the bike myself. I felt in control the entire time. My secret weapon? Good cycling fitness, and pre-riding the course the day before in even stronger wind conditions. This meant I knew what the terrain was up ahead, the necessary gearing, and could power up the rolling hills knowing a recovery was just over the crest. I cannot overstate what an advantage pre-riding the course was.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Maybe practicing descents in the aero position over rough roads.
Transition 2
  • 01m 48s

T2 was pretty fast. Rack bike, helmet off, cyling shoes off, running shoes & visor on. Go.
What would you do differently?:

  • 35m
  • 4 miles
  • 08m 45s  min/mile

"Hills kills". Is that a saying? If not, it should be. Basically, if you weren't accustomed to running hills, then you were not a happy camper. Fortunately, I've practiced a good deal of hill running and it paid huge dividends. While my legs were pretty dead from hammering on the bike, I was able to pretty quickly get my form back. And while the hills definitely physically took their toll, it just didn't have the same psychological impact I knew it was taking on other runners.

I made up some time on the run course, and passed a fair number of runners on the course. Ran up to a guy in a Team Javelin uni on the homestretch (last 1.5 miles or so), said "how's it goin'?" and it turned out to be fellow BT'er, Snaps10 (Daniel T.). Small world. We started chatting a bit, probably too much (wasting precious energy), but it was like running into an old friend. We ran together almost to the finishing line.
What would you do differently?:

Even more bricks in training. Even more hills in training.
Post race
Warm down:

Running around looking for the wife and kids. A little stretching.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Poor OWS skills (esp. coping with winds and chop) and inexperience.

Event comments:

For a first time, or just a good time, this Napa Valley Sprint is just the ticket. It's pretty low key, and everyone is nice and friendly.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2006-08-31 12:00 AM
00:16:22 | 805 meters | 02m 02s / 100meters
Age Group: 19/28
Overall: 162/228
Performance: Average
Suit: Quintana Roo Quickjohn
Course: The Swim Course was diamond-shaped, marked by the giant orange floating buoys near the lakefront. The Putah Creek boat ramp provided the start and finish area. You swam in a clockwise fashion, always keeping the buoys to your right. Waves of roughly 100 swimmers were self-seeded.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 67F / 19C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 04:39
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
00:48:13 | 15 miles | 18.66 mile/hr
Age Group: 6/28
Overall: 33/228
Performance: Good
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: The Bike Course consisted of nice rolling hills (typical No. Calif. foothills terrain) and almost no flats. Semi winding, but no treacherous descents. But the winds were blowing (as previously mentioned), materializing as a headwind on the way out, and a tailwind on the way in--with strong crosswinds in certain sections that made bike-handling a little squirrely.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 86
Turns: Good Cornering:
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:48
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal
00:35:00 | 04 miles | 08m 45s  min/mile
Age Group: 13/28
Overall: 85/228
Performance: Good
Course: Same first 2 miles as the Bike Course; which mean of course...hills!
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4