Monday, August 4, 2014

RACE REPORT: Lake T Sprint Tri #5



Lake Terramuggus Sprint Tri #5
July 31, 2014


The greatest parts about the every other Thursday night races are as follows...
  1. It's cheap
  2. All your friends are there to cheer you on (or run you down)
  3. You can test anything new that you'd like
  4. If things go wrong, it's the best time for it to happen
  5. Go!, Go!, GO!!!  ...'cause even if your race sucks, it's over quickly.
This past week was no different!  I tried something new, I got cheered on, things went wrong, but I pushed on and still had a rather good day.  Here is the story!

PRE-RACE

Out of work at 2pm, I got home, packed, did what I needed to, and was out the door by 4pm.  The race starts at 6:20pm, but if I leave any later than 4pm, it can take 30-60 minutes longer to make the same trip.  Ugh!  Traffic!!

I got to the race site, quickly set myself up, and headed out on my bike because I wanted to try something new...

Trying something NEW
Racing with my trainer wheel

I bought this wheel (a Bontrager Race X Lite) from a friend.  I had a couple dings in it, but would function well for a quick switch on and off of the trainer.  But in the end, I decided that if it would work on the road, it is a better wheel than my normal rear wheel.  So...  Let's test it.  But I opted to test it before the race just in case it was going to pop or break off once on the road.

I headed out and did a couple laps of the bike route.  Just after starting this ride which kept me below Zone 1, the day/race started going downhill.

Things can go WRONG
PUKE!!  Puke again!!  ...a dozen times?

Afternoon races are tough to get your nutrition right for.  Two weeks ago, I nailed it!  This week I tried to imitate it and it blew up...  all over the road.  Hahaha.  I wasn't sick, but there was simply too much in my stomach for my body to handle, so it got rid of some. 

When I got back, I opted to rest as much as I could and just see what happened in the race.  I won't let puking stop me.  The race is only an hour!!  So I signed up, got my chip, got dressed, laid down for a bit, and then toed the line!

RACE

I was talking to my coach today and I mentioned that I've gotten to a point where races don't make me that nervous anymore; I've done enough or tested it enough to take away the nerves of "I hope this works out" and replaced it with much stronger habits of what to do if X, Y, or Z happen. 

So as I toed the line, I had a swim plan of pushing myself as normal to the turn around buoy and then kick it up to the 3/4 buoy and try to maintain it to the finish.  It just about worked out!!

As we started, I was just to the right of the fastest swimmer, Matt.  I did my best to hold onto the feet of the person who was immediately drafting him.  I held those feet to the first buoy.  Then the swimmers from my right merged in and I stuck around in that mass.  For whatever reason, breathing was tough this week.  I breathed right, breathed left, and both sides were being tough.  I had to resort to turning my head much higher than I like to.  As a competitive pool swimmer, I'm used to very easy breathing.  Open water swimming and especially triathlon race swimming is all about adapting.

We made it to the orange turn buoy and while I had already counted out the idea of kicking it up, the two swimmers I was drafting pulled ahead.  For a second, I opted to let them go and take the open water.  Almost immediately I yelled at myself and thought...

"You wanted to do this, here is your opportunity!!  GO!"

So I went.  I didn't catch those feet, but they didn't pull any further ahead.  They stayed right where they were all the way to the 3rd buoy and then somehow disappeared.  They may have swung right or pulled away; who knows.  At that point, I started realizing how drained my arms felt.  I had had Monday through Wednesday as rest, so I had hoped to feel race ready today, but as I swum from the last buoy to the swim exit, I started wondering where my swim fitness had gone.  Haha.  

I dug in as deep as I could to maintain my rhythm to the finish.  Thankfully, those ladies in front who decided to stop waste deep in water were off to the side.  Haha  Pet Peeve!!  I swam until I couldn't swim anymore, popped up and headed in!


SWIM
(** Always an approx. distance **)
0:07:12 
5th (I think) of 155

Transition went smooth.  The ROKA Viper Swimskin comes off like a dream!  Popped on the Rudy Wingspan helmet with the front vent completely open (also something new I tried) and headed out. 

One thing I love about this race is that they've decided on sticking with the Men's wave going 2nd.  This does mean that we swim through a number of the women in the water, but I also get lots of rabbits to chase out on the course.  Yay!!

As per usual, my goal was to not be able to catch my breath until at least the 2nd loop of the bike if not until I get to T2.  I maintained my rapid breathing all the way around the 1st loop.  While hammering it out, I also puked a couple more times (much smaller now 'cause there's not much left to get rid of), so I started taking a Clif Shot Razz gel and some water.  It didn't settle that well, but it also didn't come back up.  I'll take it.

About half way through the first lap, I passed Matt, the speedy swimmer.  I asked if there was anyone up ahead.  I thought at first he said "Red just ahead.  And you."  I assumed that was Chris Schultenn, the eventual winner and the guy who I had no chance of catching.  About half a mile later, after not seeing anyone in red, I started debating if Matt had instead said "No one ahead.  Just you."  Was I in first or second?  Either way, I was stoked to be up that far so early in the race.  (Turns out there WAS a speedy swimmer/biker ahead of me that I wouldn't meet until the run)

Hahahahaha!! 
I can't help but laugh at the term "early" for a sprint. 



Either way, I hammered on, taking bits of my gel, passing people.  The second loop had just as many people to pass which is odd.  I started wondering if they started the 2nd wave later than usual.  Later on, most of us had the same thought.

About a quarter the way through the 2nd lap, I got passed rather quickly by a guy in a black Pearl Izumi kit.  He was bookin!!  I figured at the time he was a slow swimmer.  Shortly after, Chris Schultenn pulled up and convincingly passed me.  I know Chris is a slower swimmer.  I yelled "Alright!!" 'cause what was I going to do?, chase him down?  I don't think so!

I figured I was in 4th at this point.  Last year, that would normally get under my skin and I'd start giving in.  This year, I've learned that I have an ace still in my back pocket with the run.  It may hurt.  Heck, it may hurt like HELL, but I can run people down!  So with that in my head, I tried to keep the bike speed up all the way to T2.  "I can run 'em down!  I WILL run them down!"

I was also pretty sure I was going to puke the moment I started to run.  "It's only a 5k."


BIKE
0:31:05

I'm not even going to count where I was on the bike.  I'm not the fastest biker for sure!  And this wasn't my fastest split ever.  But given the previous (and current) puking, I felt I did well. 

Down the last hill, slipped off my shoes, quick dismount straight into a run, racked my bike, immediately sat down, slipped on my Pearl Izumi ISO Transitions, traded the helmet for my Valor Triathlon Project visor, and was off.  Third fastest T2 of the day.

i passed the speedy biker in the black Pearl Izumi kit in T2.  I felt great at that point.  I had just slipped into 2nd or 3rd.  I still wasn't sure what Matt had told me back there on the first loop.  With the black PI on my heels, I kicked it up a bit higher than I had wanted.  I dislike ongoing battles.  I have always had it in my head that I am not a sprinter.  If I'm going to beat you, I need to get that in your head early on or I could be in trouble later on.  Off I went!

I took out the first quarter mile HARD.  My Garmin data says I ran around 6:00/mile pace up to the first hill, peaking at 5:20 for 0.05 miles (HR had already given out during the bike).  I REALLY wanted this guy gone! 

Another fun part about this course is the steep, but thankfully short hill at the 0.25 mile mark.  That hill can make or break you!  I kept my intensity on the way up hoping that black PI wasn't going to charge up to me.  I didn't look back at all, but I couldn't hear anything either.  He couldn't be too close.  Another 0.1 mile later, we made a 90-degree turn and I did look back.  He was 0.1 mile back.  I was putting distance between us, but still needed to push!

I passed a couple women along with Ken, a friend who was doing a relay.  Ken told me that I was in 3rd, that 2nd was just ahead in green, and that I was running him down.  I set my sights and stuck to my pace.  I really wanted to put this guy away on the false flat we were on; I love that section!!  It didn't happen though and over the next few rollers, he didn't seem to be slowing.  A big part of me wanted to just take it easy and accept 3rd.  But again, I found myself saying...

"You wanted to do this, here is your opportunity!!  GO!"


It took three more turns over the next mile to catch this guy.  Until I did catch him, I had no idea what kind of battle I would have.  He turned to me and said "You're in 2nd.  Don't let me catch you at the finish!"  Haha  Yup, this was going to be an easy pass.  He won't be sprinting after me.

With about 1.5 miles to go, I started slowly putting distance between us.  I turned back a few times to see if anyone was coming.  I had the mile 2 beep come up on my watch - 5:59.  I was doing well, but my stomach was not happy.  The single person I knew was ahead was out of reach (he would beat me by 1:30) and no one was coming up on me.  At that point, I gave in.  I let myself slow down a bit to a more comfortable pace and saved the rest of my energy for another fight on another day.



 
RUN
0:18:48
4th of 155

Also, not my best, but I was happy with my battle to get into 2nd and that I stayed mentally in it despite feeling sick until I had gotten there. 

FINISH
0:58:03
2nd of 155

Not my best, but on a day when I tried something new (my trainer wheel worked well!) and my GI system decided to wreck havoc on me, I was happy with the outcome.  If anything, I got another gift card to my bike shop and another bottle of wine to add to the collection. 

I love this series.  It is so well run.  The athletes, volunteers, crew, and police are great.  The age group medals are awesome (below).  I get to race with some tactics instead of racing within myself (it's a nice change sometimes).  And I really believe everyone needs some races throughout their season that are just fun, a change up, or at least a throw away in case they don't go well.  Sure, I had to still ride 6 hours that coming weekend, but I got a break from the Zone 1 / Zone 2 and just went out and pushed the limit! 


Oh, and post-race, my stomach ached almost immediately; right back to the pains I used to have post-race.  So I downed my pbj in the car, chugged some water, and stopped to get ice cream on the way home.  It did the trick.  The next day, my energy was still a little low, but the pains were gone. 

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Questions:
1.  Do you have races that you use for tests?
The Lake T series is my triathlon testing site.  It works great.  New tri suit?  New bike wheel?  New helmet?  New transition setup idea?  New race tactics?  Bring 'em along.  We'll see how they work!

2.  What's the worst pre-race event that either made you pull out of a race or you ignored and raced anyways?
I had a cold going into my first iron-distance event.  This event I was puking just before.  The only raced I've ever pulled out of was the Litchfield Olympic this year and I re-registered for it the day of the race.

3.  What's your next race??
I have the olympic distance triathlon at this same race site.  Then just one more sprint before Rev3 Cedar Point full.  


DREAM.  BELIEVE.  ACHIEVE. 


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Musselman Bike Course Preview



I am writing today from my lovely but lonely townhouse on the Hobart & William Smith Colleges campus in Geneva, NY.  That's right.  I'm in my home state of New York.  Woot!  Woot!


Tomorrow is the Musselman 70.3 triathlon and this morning, after getting breakfast and milling around, I headed out to check out the bike course.  I've been told that I'll think it's rather pancake flat after Quassy.  Not to ruin the surprise, but they were right; it is!

Beautiful Seneca Lake
 The bike course begins in Seneca Lake Park and winds quickly out onto Waterloo Geneva Rd and then a very quick right onto 96A.  The road, as of 7:00am this morning was already lined with cones.

Riding south down 96A

There are a lot of views like this.  Long roads!

Lots of barns.

More straight aways.

A firehouse

A white bike in memory of Michael Coyle.

Michael Coyle raced in 2013 and was in a fatal accident during the race.  This bike was placed near the accident site in his memory.  This is a great reminder to always be careful and to always enjoy where you are, RIGHT NOW!

A railroad bridge at mile 10.

This will be where I am allowed to look at my GPS watch to see where my heart rate is.  Not a moment before!
 
More barns.


A cemetary

Sampsons Veteran Memorial Cemetary

State Park coming up.

There it is!

Bearing LEFT onto W. Blaine Rd.

Look for the tractor pulling a yellow barrel??

Moooooooooooooo!!!

More open roads.

Lots of open roads!

Coming up on the LEFT onto 96/414 North

Turning left.


Onto 96/414 N

Open roads on 96/414N


Not pictured is one of the many tourist attractions on the course, the State Penitentiary!

Staying straight on 414N

More open roads (get used to it)

Just before your right turn onto Ogden Rd.

Open roads on Ogden Rd.

End of Ogden Rd, turn right!

Is this a winery tour??

Yellow arrows mark the course!

Where is the tasting aid station?

Cayuga Lake in the distance.

Beautiful!

Another winery!

Very steep turn

Not AS open of a road.

Cayuga Lake

Cayuga Lake

Beautiful lake front homes.

Cayuga Lake

Let's continue the Winery Tour!

What the.....?!?!

Next stop Lakeshore Winery!

Onto Knapp Winery.

Goose Watch Winery.

Buttonwood Grove Winery

Right turn onto Swick Rd.

Turn at the barrels.

Follow the farm equipment.

Farm, farm, farm, farm, farm!

Left turn at Hollow Creek Groceries onto 129

Open road on 129

Church on your right.

Abandoned church on your left.

And then turn right onto Hayts Corners East Rd / 130

Lesser road conditions

Blue Metal Shop on the right

Coming up on the left turn to 96/414 South (look familiar?)

Onto 96/414 S (not for long)

Turning right onto 138A / Depot Rd.

More road

Turn and oh, look.... more road.

Right onto 96A and straight on!

Seneca Lake in the distance

Not pictured is bearing left off of 96A to follow Main St which turns into E. Lake Rd.


Tourist attractions!!

Quick downhill to Seneca Lake

And....  A dead end?!  With a gravel road??

I will be sure to ask at the athlete's meeting what that is all about!


A little detour to find my way back around

Can I swap my bike for the plane?

Back onto E. Lake Rd.

Beautiful road!

Back up onto 96A, turn LEFT!

The path back to Transition

Saw these guys out on the course.  Is this our support?

Entrance back into Transition

Seneca Lake.  Where we begin our run.


In conclusion, they were right.  Other than a steep hill on Swick Rd. and a good number of false flats, this is a rather flat course.  I'm excited!!

I'd stick around and chat some more, but I need to go check in at the expo.  I'll see you later!

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Questions
1.  Do you preview the course before races?
I love Quassy in the fact that I know that course inside out.  I know how far until a turn.  I know what is coming up.  So I drove the course today just to give myself an idea of where the turns are and some landmarks to judge my position by.  The last thing I want tomorrow is to being asking myself "When is this turn coming up?!?!"

2.  What type of bike course do you prefer?  Open straight aways or lots of turns?  Lots or little elevation change?  Your own backyard or a mini-vacation?
While I enjoy my own backyard for the training advantage, I prefer lesser elevation change, so I'm excited about tomorrow!


DREAM.  BELIEVE.  ACHIEVE.