Monday, April 29, 2013

Race Recon

It's always nice to have a race in your backyard.  And by backyard, I mean within a single day's driving distance.  Unless of course you have a backyard that takes 30 minutes to drive across.  Then, by all means, call it your backyard. 

Rev3 Quassy is in 5 weeks and this past weekend, while still off of running, I went on a recon mission for the Half Rev bike course.  After what felt like a horrible ride in 2012 on this course, I feel I have very little excuse not to be better prepared for this year's ride. 

Looking back over my 2012 Quassy race report, I had assumed three things.
  1. The first 10-15 miles are net downhill and wicked fast.
  2. The middle 24 miles have the killer hills
  3. The final 6 miles are uphill, which killed my legs last year

What I decided to do was break up the course into sections and tackle them one at a time in order to get an idea of how to ride them, where to push/pull back, and a better understanding of the course.  Luckily, the course winds in on itself a bit, so on Saturday, I took on the first 17 miles of the course and the last 14, which are connected by a short 1 mile road.

First 17 - Round #1
The first few miles are definitely downhill.  I was averaging over 25mph for a good portion of it.  However, my race report would have you believe that the whole first 15 miles are downhill.  Not true!  I'd say there are a number of good rollers in there!  Maybe the adrenaline of race day had me on a speed high; who knows!

16.99 miles at 17.89 mph

Last 14 - Round #1
I knew this section started out with some wicked downhills, but was impressed to find that I was able to maintain some pretty high speeds even on the flat/incline sections just prior.  Bonus!  Then just before half way back, the course merged back onto the outbound roads meaning I was back tracking to the start line.  That meant I was going up the previous downhills and down the previous uphills.  Given my previous experience on this course, I settled in for a very tough ride back.  Turns out it wasn't so bad. 

14.82 miles at 19.5 mph

Woah!!  That's quite a significant difference.  Not to mention, my perception completely reversed; the first section was actually the uphill in comparison while the finish was much more net downhill.  Interesting.  But then I thought, maybe this is just because my legs are more fresh.  Maybe on a second round the speeds will even out.  So off I wet for Round #2.

First 17 - Round #2
As I made my way back to the mile 17 mark, I started to feel as though I had a much better idea of where the uphill climbs are and where the downhills are; I broke it up by road or land marker for future reference.  It felt like race day was going to be much more laid out for me; score!

17.06 miles in 17.45 mph

Last 14 - Round #2
I considered round #2 to be a better tell of where this final section fell in comparison.  My muscles were starting to feel a bit fatigued and I was getting tired.  So I tried to keep it steady in order to mimic the fact that I'll have a half mary to do after come race day.

14.81 miles in 19.84 mph

My race strategy was officially wiped off the board and jumped into the re-evaluate stage.  Luckily, this might mean that I can ease off on the bike in the final 14 miles and recoup some energy for the run instead of worrying about a falling average speed.  However, it also means that I will have to push a bit harder out of the gate to maintain my position than I had thought.

Either way, I found the recon to be very helpful!!  I'll hit up the other 24 mile section which includes the 7 mile hill climb next weekend and from there get an idea of what to expect for time.


1.  Do you prefer races in your "backyard" or those that require travel?
Traveling is nice, but the backyard race offers much more on-course training which is a bonus for training, though it does make race day that much more trivial and less exciting.

2.  Do you train on your race courses?

3.  Have you ever looked back and found your perception of a race course to seem wrong?
Based on 2012, I had this course totally backwards.  

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 


Alyssa Duhe said...

I've actually only raced in my "own backyard" haha so I can't imagine traveling to a race. That would add so much more stress.

Brian S. said...

Do you have Garmin route files you would be willing to share?

Most of my early season races are local for me. Living in the Lehigh Valley of PA puts me pretty central to many good races.

NJ Devilman coming up this week.

Awesome car too! Fit is the official triathlon vehicle!

See you at Quassy and IMLP.


ajh said...

Most of my races require some travel. There is a good local tri series though and I trained on it last summer a fair amount from the swim to the bike to the run. It helped a ton come race day!