Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Azalea Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Well, I have been lazy with my posts, but not my workouts, and now I have my first tri of the season under my belt, and whooo baby, it was a good start!

I ended up registering for the Azalea Tri down in Wilmington, NC on Sunday the 13th of March, as I was chomping at the bit to race with Elenor the wonder cycle. Well the wife and I rode the 2 hours south to Wilmington, which we used to do almost every weekend when my bro-and-sister-in-law lived down there on Carolina Beach, and I LOVED being a beach bum! It was the best.

Ok back on course, we got to the hotel right at 2pm and went to check in and was told, "Umm Check in is after 3pm" Huh? WTF? I was told that it was 2, but oh well, gotta kill some time and rode over to UNC-Wilmington, where the race was held. Pretty much the same set up as three years ago, when I "raced" with very little training, but now, I was back to break the 1 hour mark!

Well we got settled in at the hotel after a little time, got the dog out of the car and she proceeded to smell EVERYTHING for the next half hour! But after that was done, headed to dinner with friends and then packet pick up and prerace meeting. Wow, should have wore pants, the wind was a little chilly in the early evening. After an informative meeting (for the earlier race, 4 people were DQ'd for various infractions, OUCH! Mostly helmet violations, plus a bunch of 2 and 4 minute penalties for drafting, abandonement, etc), so that was good to know.

After a "restfull" night and the begining of Daylight's Savings Time (bad timing right there), the wife and I loaded up and headed over to the race, and she took a nap while I went to set up my TA.

I love how SetUp Events has the TA, total of 6 people per rack, 3 each side, so ample room to get your stuff laid out and ready. I chitchatted with folks there and we all talked about our swim ranking and I let the lady ahead of me I might be faster than my predicted time (mainly because I had preedicted early and that was before they closed our pool on post, so I didn't swim for about 2-3 weeks), but I figured I was about 10-15 seconds faster than my time. She said no problem, she was just recovering from an injury and didn't want to hold me up. But I did have one guy in my AG racked right next to me, and we chatted about everything. Christian Cole was his name, and a real cool guy, he started 30 seconds after me in the pool.

Well I was ready and set up, headed to go pick up the wife and to the pool to warm up and get ready. Took my first GU at the 15 minutes to go mark and swam a few laps in the diving well. I was all ready to roll, headed over to the start end (it was a time trial start, at every 15 seconds based off of your predicted time) and watched some others snake their way thru the pool for 300 meters. I hopped in the cold "74 degree" water, and got acclimated and moved up until it was my time to go. Brrr!

At 08:57:30 I was off and all the pool time was paying off! I ended up catching and passing about 7-10 people in the pool, and unlike other forays in the aqua world, I didn't feel winded or have to switch strokes, which is a major plus for me right now. I clambered out of the pool at a fast-for-me 5:10 and slid my way down the steps towards the TA. Note that the pool was on the 2nd floor and you had to run down a narrow stairwell, and run down the sidewalk for about 200-300 meters to the TA. Ouch, that is why my feet are still sore after 2 days!

I raced into the TA, and hit my rack, dried my feet, rolled my socks on and slid into my shoes. I had a little trouble with my new Desoto Tri top, I tried to roll it on, but ended up getting stuck mid-chest and after some pulling, I gave up on it. Helmet and glasses on, bike off the rack and Andrew running in cycling shoes towards the mount line. That could be another reason my feet hurt, running in cycling shoes, hmmmm. Managed to do a flying mount after the line and passed two folks gingerly getting on their bikes and I was aero and gone!

The only bad part was the amount of speed humps, which were gradual but still were bad enough. I did manage to stay aero almost he entire way (cornering I did pop up to brake) but other than that, I was rolling. I started at a good pace and kept it up the entire route. I was actually wearing myself out saying "On your left", which most folks thanked me for the heads up (I guess most others were too "in the zone" to let others know they were passing, booo), but I was doing my part! I was passing folks like crazy, and my bike mount that I fashioned was working out well, so I had to just dip my eyes a little to see my Garmin, so good set up. I managed to pass about 15-20 folks on the bike, was passed once as I took in my 2nd GU, so after I swallowed the GU, I re-passed him and turned it on. I came flying into the TA area, and hopped off at the dismount line and boogied in to rack my bike. Bike ended up being 25:30, so again, I was happy with that split too!

Now on to the run, took off my cycling shoes, slid into my runners, helmet off, and out the TA. I was really expecting my legs to be rubber after a good bike effort, but they were surprisingly fresh feeling and had some jump to them. I managed a good pace on the way out and wanted to turn a negative split in for the run back (it was an out-and-back loop on the campus sidewalk system and relativly flat), so hit the water stations on the way out and flew on the way back in. I felt great and passed another 10-12 people (with a TT start, it is easier IMHO to pass folks since all AG and abilities are out there), so that was good, I loved passing the younger guys in their 20s because this short, old dude can still motor! As I passed the 3 mile mark, I felt some pressure from behind, and cranked it up and let my feet do their stuff, because I wasn't going to be passed at the line! I ended up coming across the line, and wait for it, wait for it... I didn't puke! NIIIICE! So finished in a surprising 21:39. Nice, very nice!

After a little walking around, I walked over and got a nice deep tissue massage on my calves which was awesome! But afterwords, went to get my stuff from the TA to load up the car, check the pre-lims and my times, and headed out. I ended up breaking 1 hour with a 56:18, good for 54th overall (9th in AG), so I was pleased. My T1 and T2 times were ok, but I know I can save a few minutes in there, as they say "Free Time", so I can get faster, plus my swim will only get stronger, so that are some of the bright sides. But I love how the 35-39 men's AG is always the largest AG in most races that I see, I have dubbed it the "Middle-Life Crisis AG", which I guess I fall under. But each and every goal I set before this race was met, except for the T1 time of 2 minutes (it was 2:57, which included the Bataan Death Run from the pool), but al things considered, I was happy.

Luckily I let Jen drive home, and after we unpacked the car, we all took much needed naps! Yeah, happy ending!

But I am going to upload some photos tonight that Jen took, and make sure I post at least twice a week from now on, since I am pissed at Beginner Tri (BT) for not saving any of my lengthy RR, so I will make these my main effort for posting

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