Monday, August 19, 2013

2013 Manhattan "Apple" Triathlon Race Report

It is NEVER a good sign when vultures are waiting in the trees before a race!  But that's what they were doing around the River Pond at Tuttle Creek State Park for Sunday's 2nd Annual Manhattan Apple Tri.

I was deployed last year so this will be my first time here, and since it was almost two months without a race, it felt like the start of the season all over again.  I was planning on using this for a "speed" day of training and not worry too much about the results, as long as I was Top-15 or so, which I think was doable.

Well I rolled out of bed at 0500 in the morning and let the dog out, ate a piece of cold pizza, banana and some water and gatorade and got on the road with my lovely wife, Jen, who hates early morning races (sorry, most all of them are!).  We got out the door at about 0545, and made the quick trip to Manhattan, the Little Apple, which is home of K-State (EMAW!) and lot's of good restaurants (why I haven't gained 20 pounds is beyond me!).  The course was at the Tuttle Creek State Park, just below the Tuttle Creek Reservoir at the campgrounds.  The park is below the dam, by about 200 feet or so, which means, you get to climb out of the park on the bike!  Nice.

I picked up my packet yesterday, so all I had to do is roll in and set up transition, which was getting packed more and more by the minute, so got my body marked, and headed on in.  Found a good rack on the main aisle headed towards the "bike out" (tip: I try to situate myself close to the bike out/bike in "gate" as it is easier to just run without the bike than with it).  It was nice in transition with about half or so of many first or second timers to tris.  They were asking questions and both myself and a nice guy I racked next to, Steve Klappa, were answering questions and chatting up with everyone, so all in all a good time.  I enjoy helping newer folks to tri with things, because I was once there and nice folks helped me out, so it's always great to return the favor.  The only thing I would say was this wasn't a good bike course for first timers (with a nice 3/4 mile hill right off the bat), but looks like many survived that.

Note the "barrier" in the water.  Had to negotiate that twice!
Just before the start of the swim, the race organizers change the start to a time trial start instead of a wave start (time trial went off every 3 seconds) because of the swim area barrier could not be removed, so you had to go over, under, or in some cases, through it.  Twice.  Luckily it was in shallow water for the first crossing, and a bit deeper for the 2nd.  While I swam, I almost slammed in to it, then went under it.  It was kind of fun watching the people go over or around it in different ways, one guy even went all "western roll" on it, high jumper style!  Lots of "oohs" and "ahhhs" from shore.

Me heading to the water
Swim: 9:39 (12th overall) 500 meters
Well I seeded myself poorly, it seemed as I passed three people in front of me in the first 25-50 yards of the swim.  The swim was a bit tough as I was good sighting the whole way, even after the first turn buoy, which then went right in to the sun, and I wore clear goggles, oops!  But I was nice and straight in my lines, but a few times I got swam over, at a 90 degree angle.  Not sure where they were going but it wasn't the way I was.  It really didn't bother me at all, but with the time trial start, I really didn't find any feet to draft off of, but despite not swimming for almost two months, didn't really affect me much.  I think my time would have been very good out of the water, but there was a long 200 meter run on hard sand and gravel to transition. Ouch!

Passed 2 guys at the mount line, the other guy was like "Wow, that was a cool mount!"
T1: 0:36 (11th overall)
T1 was nice and quick, could have been a bit better as I had to wipe the gravel off my feet from the long run in.  I did pass two guys who stopped at the mount line to get on the bike, but I did my "flying squirrel" mount and was off and rolling, picking up two spots with less work.
Passed 2 guys at the mount line, the other guy was like "Wow, that was a cool mount!"
Bike: 34:06 (21.8 mph / 6th overall) 12.4 miles
As I stated, the first 1.4 miles of the route was uphill to get out of the park proper, with a little 200 foot of climbing, right off the bat.  Luckily, I could climb and I ended up passing about 7 folks on that first climb, including my buddy, Trevor Woods, who I ride with on post a few times.  It was a long way to the top (if you want to rock n' roll!  Sorry had to slide in some AC/DC in there), but once you turned onto Hwy 13, it was on like donkey kong, jack!  Nice flat and semi smooth road with a slight uphill towards the turn around point.  About a mile and a half later after passing him, Trevor blows back by me (on his way to 3rd fastest bike split, he may not climb well, but on the flats, watch out!).  The top 6 splits were between 31:48 and my 34:06, then the times started to drop off quick, but I know if I want to contend better, need to put more speed on the bike.  Might mean upgrades like wheels and a helmet.  Will have to see. 

Coming in for my "landing".  "Call the ball, Mav!"
T2: 0:45 (62nd overall)
Well T2 bit me in the butt again, because I put on socks, then shoes and apparently take a coffee break, but overall, it isn't a bad time, but can be better.
Rolling out of T2, looking to track down a few folks.

Run: 20:09 (9th overall) 5 km

On to my bread and butter, the run.  Again, I have been so bike focused lately, my run I thought would be really bad, but coming out of T2, I felt good and fresh, ready to chase down a few folks.  My legs felt great and I really have been running good off the bike this year, and that is what it is all about.  I did have some technical difficulties with the Garmin, as you can see below:

"Come on you stupid thing, start already!"
Since the bike was drafting clean and I wasn't mad at anyone, I didn't "run angry" like at Gull Lake, but I still ran strong.  The course was a nice flat-ish "lollipop" out and back course, and you could see all the folks in front of you and chasing (once you turned around).  Didn't have too much problems on the run, didn't need any water as it was still nice and cool, felt like fall to me.  I did catch and pass about 5 guys or so, with no one passing me and really brought it on home to the finish.  No gasping for air, wanting to puke or anything, a nice metered effort.  I was just behind Trevor and he crossed before me and we got our medals and some gatorade and chatted for a bit.  Then, I was told results were already up, which was very fast, so I headed over to the trailer and sure enough, they had a print out with your swim split, and a monitor (flat screen TV) with a scrolling list of finishers, in real time!  That is so very cool!  I have never seen that in a race yet, but the guys at Oz Endurance Timing really have there stuff wired tight!  The only downside is then I started to monitor watch, since we started in a time trial, you really didn't know where you stood, because a really fast guy could have started towards the back, but my 4th place and 1st military placing held up.

Trucking towards the line, pirate style!
Overall: 1:05:14 (4th overall, 1st in AG)
I went and cleaned up a bit and cleaned up my transition area, and waited on the awards.  I just missed getting on the overall podium by about 50 seconds, but I left a bit of time out on the course, but I met my goal of making it a good training race, and got a top-5 finish to boot!  And I'm glad they pull the top 3 out, since the winner was the 2012 USAT Sprint National Championship runner-up for my age group.  Yikes!!!  I was about 7 minutes back, powered by his 17:12 run split, I really need to get some speed work in to compete with that!

Me and my 1st AG win! (I liked the finisher medal better!)
Well, I have more training the next few weeks, with another race coming up, the Fort Riley Splash 'n Dash, which I am hoping to have a good showing at as it is my "hometown" race and would LOVE to win it, but I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, as there are a lot of fast folks who could pop in.  But I can always dream!  And as far as doing this race again, I would do another Oz Endurance race again, with the timing being up so quick and the overall results posted the same day, doesn't get much better than that!
Thanks for reading!

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