Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Topeka Tinman Short Course Triathlon Race Report

Well I ended up having a pretty good day at the races this last Saturday, despite my best attempts not too!  On Thursday before the race, I went and explored the area where I am coordinating a mountain bike trail on Fort Riley and came back with a tick or two!  Awesome!  Then on my training ride, I was descending a large twisty hill and had a rear wheel hop and went into a tree at about 20 mph, which hurt!  But after I got cleaned up, the crash wasn't too bad, some minor scrapes and bruising, nothing too bad.  Even the bike wasn't too bad, just a flat front tire.  But that was a heck of a way to "tune up" for my first tri of the season!

Ended up getting up at the butt crack of dawn for the race, which wasn't too bad, despite the wife was coming with me so she was a little sleepy to say the least.  Got the car loaded and we hit the road for the about 60 minute trip to Topeka and Lake Shawnee, the home for the last 33 years for the Tinman Triathlon.  We got there pretty well without getting lost much and got into the park nice and early.  Got my chip, packet, and shirt all without a wait (benefits of getting there early) headed to transition and got to my rack, and got the "pole position" on the aisle, which was a bonus.  After setting up transition, headed back to get Jen and drop off my extra stuff I didn't need, came back and went for a warmup ride to get to know a little of the course.

Well despite reports that the course was flat, the opening area in the park was a little hilly, nothing major, but enough to get the gears shifting a bit, so rode out 2 miles and came back, so at least I knew those miles for the ride.  After I got back, I racked the bike, and headed to the water to see how cold it was.  The lake wasn't bad at all, a nice 75 degrees, so I would get to go without the wetsuit, and race in my new 2XU Project X trisuit. Swam a little bit, and got out to get ready to roll.

This year, I aged up to the tough M40-44 AG, so wasn't sure how tough it would be, but was nice to have a slightly smaller wave to go off with, so that was good.  Turns out the race winner was a M40-44, as was 4th overall.  Yikes, got some fastys here!

I ran as far as I could in my "onesie"!
Waited for my wave, wave 5 and lined up towards the back right, as the course was a trapezoid shaped course with all left hand turns.  Too bad my goggles kept fogging up with the humid air, but oh well, I was going to find toes and draft, which I did and then something happened that doesn't happen all the time; I passed people.  Lots of people.  Not that I was that fast, just that I was less slow.  So instead of getting run into, I was running into people (thanks goggles), but nothing too bad, and no panic attacks in the water either.  Just a bit slow, but I moved my way thru the crowd pretty well, only had to "otter" over to catch my breath two or three times, which is a big improvement!
Wet and a little tired, but still moving fast!
But I came out of the water about 17th in my wave, and mixed with the other 4 waves, so I was tired, but not tired enough to walk the hill to transition like a few in my wave were.  Hey, T1 is free speed and time in my book. But hey, if they want to walk, no problem, I'll run it and pick up places!
Swim - 8:32 / 400meters (17th in wave / 90th overall)
T1 - 1:32 (13th fastest overall) - This was my Achilles heel before!
Now with the non-fun stuff out of the way, now I can get to one of my strengths, the bike!  I have been working harder on the bike this year, which has seemed to carryover to the run and a little bit to the swim, which is great.  As I ran from transition, I ended up passing 3 folks who stopped at the mount line and mounted their bikes.  I chose not to do that and did the flying squirrel mount and stuck the landing (nailed it!) and started to motor.  With 4 waves ahead of me, the traffic was mighty thick and I was saying "On your left" a whole lot, so that I didn't cross the centerline.  But I started to put the hammer down early in the park, knowing I would have to power through the wind on the outbound leg of the "lolly pop" shaped course, and could get the tailwind on the way back in.  I was making sure that I was putting in a good, metered effort and tried to look a little more fresh when I passed guys in my AG who were fast in the swim than me.  I ended up passing 4 from my wave in T1 and was hopping to make more ground up on the bike, which I only caught another 4 on the bike, the rest were from the other waves, since I passed a TON of people out there (hmmm, now if I can get some aero wheels and helmet that would mean more fast! LOL), but still was moving up until I got to one guy who was in the 45-49 AG and we passed and re-passed each other.  Got a little annoying as he got me on the hills, but the downhills and flats I outpowered him.  After a few of the "cat and mouse" games I decided to put up a big effort to get hime away from me (don't think he was drafting me, but again, I don't look behind me when I race).
Sorry for the language, but this is funny!
So after we made the turn back on to the "stick", I put in a nice hard effort (around 27-28mph) for about a mile or so.  That seemed to do the trick, but I really had to pay attention to the road because most other folks were slower and objects in your Oakley's are closer than they appear!  Yikes, it was like in those video games when you hit the "turbo" button, you catch up to things a lot quicker!
Nice and low, getting ready for the dismount
I figured I was done with the dude, but just towards the end , he caught me and passed me, but I was going into power-down mode to get the legs ready for the run, so I figured I'd see him soon in T2 or the run.  I don't completely stop riding hard for the last two miles, I just stop the low RPMs, and get a higher cadence to get the legs ready, which translates to a few MPH slower, but worth it to have "good" legs versus "dead" legs.
Bike - 36:35 (21.3 MPH) 16th fastest bike split - not bad, could be better
T2 - :59 (still scrolling, still scrolling, ah 75th overall, ugggh, still not too bad)
Heading back in from the run.
Ah, on to my meat and potatoes, the run.  I wasn't sure how I would do after running the 10 miler this week and with the heat, but I was going to give it my best effort for the first race of the year (at least for triathlons).  But after a semi-quick transition (need to go sockless for the run), I was out and running and started to pick off folks right out of the gate.  I even found Mr. Cat-and-Mouse and passed him and just kept the pace up and keep my splits in the low to mid 6:00s, but the heat was a factor in that.  At least it was an even player out there and factored in to everyone's runs as well.  Despite the black trisuit, I was still in good shape and managed the heat well enough not to die, so I kept going and passing folks.  I did get passed by the eventual female winner, she came out of no where and passed me, which woke me up and I pressed hard the last 1.25 miles (the run was about .15 long, but still had a good run), and overall had a good run.
Thinking about icecream, icebergs, Ice Cube, Ice T, anything cool at this point!
Run - 22:09 (13th overall) and not too bad for a little long and a lot hot!
Overall - 1:09:44 (2nd in AG, 16th Overall)
Overall, not a bad day, I did get to move up to 2nd in my AG, since the race winner was in the AG (and 7 minutes ahead of me!), but this is a good measuring stick for the rest of the season I hope.  Incidentally, if I was still in the M35-39, I would have won by over 4 minutes, so woulda, coulda, shoulda, but that is ok.  I know that I have to work on my swim, or switch to a duathlon, but right now I am good with my first of the season, but know I can improve on a few things.
Next race up is the Gull Lake Triathlon, and hopefully cooler weather up in Michigan.  I get to vacation up there for a few weeks and going to sneak in two races (GL and a 5 Miler on the 4th!), so I will have to keep the mileage up and lay off the cake and ice cream!  Thanks for reading!

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