Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Gull Lake Triathlon Race Report

Ah another trip down memory lane with this race.  if you remember from my 2011 RR on Gull Lake, this was my first ever triathlon, back in 1993!  Wow, that was some time ago, but since it is about as close to a "hometown" race as I can, so either way, it is always great to get back and race it.  Just too bad I wasn't in shape enough for the Olympic distance, but next year I will make sure I am rip roaring ready for it, since I have a wedding for my wife's twin sister to go to, just hope the dates are good!

Well won't have any race pictures since I can't figure out how to download the ones from the race photographer (and I AM too cheap to pay for them too!), so I'll have to use "other" photos.  But I promise, they'll be entertaining!

I got up at 0500 to head over from Paw Paw to Gull Lake, about a 30 minute drive or so in order to get their early and get my warmup and transition set up all nice (and get a choice spot too!), so I skipped the standard hot shower and got out the door at 0515, and headed out.  Nothing like no traffic that early in the morning.  I rolled in and found a nice parking spot, got my gear, and rode the 1/4 mile back to the race site.

Got into the transition area, and found that all the good spots were gone.  Bummer!  But I found a spot in the middle, on a post that would work, I set up my area in minimalist fashion (my T times are getting really good, so I'll keep the K.I.S.S. from now on), moved my bag out of the way next to the fence and headed over to pick up my chip and packet.  I ran into the race director (RD), Jim Mishler, who I have chatted with in emails and on the forums at Slowtwitch, so I stopped and chatted with him a little bit, but let him go, since I knew he was a busy guy.  But it was great to chat with him and meet him in person.

After I got my goodies, I headed back to transition, and headed out on my bike to warm up and get ready.  I have been finding that warming up is a key part to getting ready, so I will continue to do that as well.  Nice uneventful ride, and got back and got myself ready.  Headed to the lake to check the water, and it wasn't too bad, so decided to skip the wetsuit this race as well, since it takes me a while to get it off, so no worries.

Well time was about ready to get this thing going, so got my warm up swim in and felt pretty good, so felt like a top-10 kind of day, so figured I'll find out in a bit.

The swim was an in-water start and of course the buoys were past where I could stand up in so I was towards the middle left and we took the countdown and we were off.  I put myself in the 40 and over wave, even though my bib said 39 and under (more on this later), and I could see that I was hanging in there with these guys.  My sighting was pretty bad, but just like in the Topeka Tinman, I was actually passing people in the water.  This is a new thing for me, so I worked to keep on peoples toes until someone faster went by, then jump to them.  So this is how you are supposed to swim!  It felt good not to get blown out of the water.  I stayed in the pack and we actually caught the under 40 crowd a bit (they had a 3 minute headstart) and I poured it on after the final turn buoy and came out of the water with my "death-warmed over" look, and ran up the hill to transition.

Swim - 9:13 (including a long run up to T1), good for 21st overall

I shot thru transition and turned in a blazing :37 sec T1 time!  Again, I kept it nice and simple, shoes on, glasses on, helmet on and bike and gone!  That was good for fastest T1 all day!  Passed a bunch of folks working on their wetsuits there.

T1 - :37, 1st overall

Now on to the bike, one of my favorite events, which helps set the table for a good run most days.  Well I ran past the mount line and conducted the flying squirrel mount and stuck the landing again (one day, I'll miss, and that might not be a good day for me!), but I got going and up to speed and started to hunt down other swimmers ahead of me.  I picked off a few guys ahead of me in the first 2 miles, when I felt a disturbance in the force.  Some guy had pulled up to me and sat on my wheel.  As you know, drafting is a big time no-no and against most every rule book (except when it is an ITU or other race that let's you, written, in the rules).  Most drafters in triathlons are looked at in the same breath as dopers and course-cutters, I think they are the lowest form of pondscum.  Guys who let others do 100% of the work to save their energy for later.

Usually most folks I know will pee while riding, covering the drafter in, um, nasty stuff, but I couldn't (I couldn't pee and never tried it while riding), so I just put in a nice surge to try to shake him off my wheel, which was difficult to do, since he was a bit fresher than me, since he was riding my draft for a mile already or so.  Well that didn't happen, so I just kept up my pace and tried to leave him behind.  Well, guess he got the hint and passed me, so I dropped back the 21-ish feet and kept working hard, while his "surge" must had pooped him out since riding out front is hard work. 

Well I passed him back and bang, there he is again on my wheel!  I wasn't going to let him mess with my ride so I just kept cranking and praying for a pothole to take him out!  But he just hung with me until about a mile from the turn around, and I just let him go.  About that time, the lead sprint racers were passing me, and as I saw, not that many were ahead of me.  NICE!  I didn't really see who was who, since there were two waves of sprinters, so I knew I was top 15 or so, so I put in another push and caught up with, and passed the DB (not douchebag, but draftboy!  But either works for me!)  I outbraked and out turned him and put in one more good surge to try to open the gap up a bit and that worked, for about a mile.  After he passed me with about 2 miles to go, I asked him if he was going to sit on my wheel all day or actually do some work of his own!  I might have tossed in a "cheater" and "asshole" too, but I ended up passing him on the last hill and rode into T2 with 20 seconds on him.

Bike - 28:04 (21.4 mph), 7th overall

Well, I am not sure what happened in T2, since I really gave away a bunch of time there.  My socks took a while to get on (gotta learn to run sockless), my shoes took a while to get off (might try dismounting without being in shoes, ouch!), and getting my running shoes on was slow (I have to run in shoes at least!).  But my T2 was just ugly!

T2 - 1:12 (could have been dead last for all I know, leader went out in :25, uggh!)

Well, my little friend DB headed out of T2 ahead of me and for me, that was game on (cue the video of the kangaroo with the ball!)  So, despite taking my time in T2 (tea and crumpets take time, ok?), I was out of T2 and starting to chase down folks like they owed me money!

The 5K run was an out and back route, which was good since you can keep track of everyone out there.  I caught a few folks in the first half mile and was really feeling good today, so I was just rolling on the power and catching people.  I came up on my little buddy, DB, and was going to ask him if he wanted to draft me on the run as well, but decided against it and just blew his doors off passing him.  I wanted him to know it was me and I was not just "ambling" bye him.  And I carried that effort past the first water stop where I let the volunteers know I was good and thanked them.  Up ahead, I counted only a few more folks and was surprised to see I was in the top 7 overall, with both waves included.  Wow, and the race leader (and overall winner) shot me a thumbs up as he was headed back in and I tossed a shaka his, letting him know I was nice and strong.  After the turn around I just put my head down and kept the legs turning over, and got only one other person before the line, but had a bunch more just ahead of me.  I finished up strong, didn't hurl and got my chip off, and waited for DB.

Run - 20:03, 1st overall (NICE!)

After he came in, I asked him why the need to draft me almost the entire bike leg, and he told me that it was draft legal today.  I let him know to the contrary and that drafting is weak sauce, and unless the rules specifically state it is draft legal, it isn't.  I told him to do his own work on the bike next time and left it at that.  I headed back and chatted with 1st place guy for a bit (he was in town visiting his parents in the area) and headed down to the water to clean up, cool off and change.  Wow the water was a lot colder the second time around!

After changing and feeling a bit more refreashed I went over and looked at the preliminary results, and looked in the 40-44 and didn't see my name.  I thought that weird til I looked at the top and saw that I was the Master's Champion.  Holy cow!  Ended up 2nd overall, thanks to a good run off the bike.  On the downside, I still haven't won my AG, but I'll still take a trophy anyday!

Overall, I was going into the race with a "I can make Top-10" and came away with a 2nd overall.  In addition to that, I found out that I qualified for the AG Nationals this August in Milwaukee, but I won't be able to go (getting ready to move and overall REALLY busy), but again, I will be working next year towards qualifying for the Nationals in the Oly and doing it in an Olympic race.

I have a nice long layoff till my next race (middle of August), so I guess it is time to get back to training!  I'll try to find some photos if I can.