Tuesday, May 10, 2011
White Lake Sprint I Race Report
Well, I guess you could say that my glass was 2/3 of the way full for this race. The weather forecast was calling for a 40% chance of rain, and I'm glad that didn't come so, I had that going in my favor. And I did complete most of my goals for the race, so overall, it was a good, not a great race, and it left me with a "to do" list of things to work on (which I'll cover towards the end).
Got up early again for the second weekend in a row, not a good habit to get into, but hey, it is good to know what my limits are! But after a quick shower and getting my bag into the car, Jen and I were ready to roll out to White Lake, about 1 hour or so away. I chowed on two bananas while I drove and Jen tried to get back to sleep and sipped my diet rootbeer (getting to be a pre-race ritual) and listened to some tunes on the way there. We arrived a little after 0630, so we drove past the main gate, and turned around and headed back to the roadside parking that was free (and a half mile away), so I got my gear, aired up the tires on Elenor, and we headed down to the race area.
This was the first transition area that was grass this year for me, so I couldn't mark my chalk scribbles, but that was ok, since they were the numbered spots that I really like, so I had my own little area to my self. I set up my transition and headed over to check in, got my numbers (#323) and got my chip, body marked (HUGE numbers this time!) and headed back to transition to finalized my set up and visualize how T1 and T2 were going to happen. After that little mental warm up, I got my wetsuit bottoms on and headed out to the lake to warm up in the "cold" lake. I got the top on at the edge of the lake and walked in, and realized that this was the first time I was in water with my wetsuit, so much for practice! I swam about 200 or so to get use to it and everything seemed good, loved how I floated in the wetsuit, so I came back to shore and ate my GU (more on that later), and headed down to the start line to get ready to swim (I was in the 2nd wave, right after the elites).
Well the count down to start was on and I was getting really amped up, and the horn went off and away we went! I started wide left to avoid the thrashing that I knew would happen, but about 100 meters in, my heart rate went thru the roof and I guzzled lake water, which broke my rhythm and I was in hurt city for the rest of the swim. I knew I had the strength to swim the 750meters, but I couldn't get my breathing and HR back to a manageable level, so face in the water wasn't going to happen, so I kept my head up and swam, which helped my sighting very well. But sighting was the only thing that worked well for the swim. I feel that the GU (with caffeine) had pumped me up too much to relax in the water, and thus I fought the water the entire way, instead of gliding thru it. So my goal time of 15:00 was out the window, and I eventually pulled my butt up the ladder and ran to the mat in 18:49 (YIKES!), which was "good" for 156th "Best" men's time and 23rd of 35 in my AG. Oh boy, guess I'd better make up some time!
And time is what I made up on the bike! Wow, this ride made me completely forget all about the swim, and the "meh" T1, which took me 2:22 to complete, with a stuck wetsuit and all, but at least I didn't stop to have tea or anything! But the bike started out great, a great flying mount and clicked in and rolling like a boss! The course was a nice flat (it had a few "rises") and relativly smooth and a very minor headwind, but nothing to write home to mom about. But I do have a minor gripe (WARNING!!! RANT TO FOLLOW!!! WARNING!!!) and that is about drafting in a USAT race.
How do I put this nicely? Ok, I can't! I passed no less than 7 different pacelines of folks on the two lap, 14.2 mile course. I mean, really? It is only 14 freakin' miles! But there they were, sometimes packs of 2 and even up to 6 folks, and before you say, "well, they were probably rookies to the sport and didn't know any better", I say this, how many rookies have aero helmets, solid rear wheels and TT bikes? Yeah, there were folks gaming the system, but it gave me a big boost to pass them all solo, unaided, NOT CHEATING, and it felt great! Even passed an paceline of 4 and the #2 rider didn't see what the lead man avoided and hit it, flatting his front tire! Man, karma is a biotch! At least they did have moto-officials out there, but with almost half the racers cheating, that was mission impossible. When I was passed (temporarily, of course!), I even came out of aero to drop back out of the draft zone, because I refuse to cheat myself. Ok, I think that is about it on that topic (END OF RANT!).
But the bike was great, I cat and moused with one guy that was about my build, and I would pass him and then he'd pass me back after a mile, I almost lost him when we caught a large group, but I downshifted and put my head down and blasted on by them. Later in the run he high-fived me, telling me he cramped up, I never did get his name, but he seemed like a cool guy! But I came roaring in to T2 with an elapsed time of 37:37, good for a 22.6 MPH average! Nice! Ended the bike with the 35th best bike and 4th in my AG. That's the way to answer back to a poor swim!
After a quick 1:07 in a very large T2 area, I was back on the road again! I really haven't had any stellar runs off the bike, but still my runs are nothing to sneeze at. Right out of the T2 I was passed by a young kid with a "16" on his calf, and I knew the chase was on! So what if I am twice his age, I got the wheels to hunt him down. I just ran my pace for the first half mile, and then started to bear down once we hit the lake side subdivision. Nice roads helped me catch him and another guy, so I rolled with the momentum and took off. I wound my way thru the subdivision and hit the turn around in 11:00, so I knew I need to negative split the 2nd half to hit my goal of sub-21:00. I worked hard those last mile and a half, but got passed for the first time in forever on the run in the last 200-300 meters, luckily he was not in my AG, or I would have lit it up and chased him down, even if I puked at the end. But my mental game was over, and I cruised in for a ok 21:46, good for 48th fast run and 6th best in my AG, so not too shabby, but not where I want to be. The guy that beat me at the line wrote in his race report that he had to pass "a guy with legs like tree trunks." I guess I will take that compliment!
Overall, a good race, beat a bunch of my goals, and learned that my swim still sucks. I think it was a combination of never swimming in a wetsuit (10%), not swimming enough without training aids (40%) and the effects from the caffinated GU (50%). So a lot of lessons learned that I will carry forward to my next race, the Three Little Pigs in Smithfield in about 40 days. That will give me more training time to build on. Let's recap the goals
Sub 1:20 - Failed
Sub 1:25 - Got it!
Around 15:00 Swim - Failed
Sub 40:00 Bike - Oh yeah!
Average over 21mph - Like a boss!
Sub 21:00 run - Almost there
Had fun - Of course!
So, there you have it, now I just have to get my photos posted, for all to see. Take care and remember, the legs feed the wolf!