Monday, June 16, 2014

Gull Lake Sprint Triathlon Race Preview

Well, here is another race preview of a race that is coming up soon (June 28th, 2014), so I'd figure I'd better get this out there for folks to look at before race day.

Sadly, I'll be in town for this race, but the sad part is that it is the same day as my wife's twin sister's wedding, so no mas for me!  It's a shame since I LOVE this race, not only because it was my first ever triathlon, but also since I was last year's Master's Champion (and 2nd place overall; cough, cough, minor brag! ;) ), but it pains me to miss this well run, well executed event.  But enough with the blah-blah, on with the preview!

The Race:  The sprint race consists of a 500 yard swim in Gull Lake, followed by a 10 mile out and back ride, culminating with a true 5K, out and back run.


Make sure you park ONLY in the designated area, just follow the signs!  Last year the race director, Jim Mishler, had volunteers out to help folks to the correct parking area, and while it is about 1/4 to 1/2 mile away, it isn't that bad of a walk / ride (just make sure you wear your helmet on the bike!).

All in all, well planned parking all around, so just follow the cars and park where you are suppose to!


Exiting the transition area
This TA is an all grass area, with more than enough room (as long as you don't hog rack space!) for all the athletes.  Note, this year the map appears to have just two entrance / exits (last year there were two as well) but slightly different locations.  Since it is first come, first served, get there early not only to get your packet, and a good parking spot, but to get that good rack spot near the bike in/out exit.  So once you get there early, you can get out and pre-ride the first 2 miles of the bike, check for the potholes (unless it was repaved).

SWIM (500 yards):

The swim is in Gull Lake and prior to getting in the water for the race (you are free to get your warm up swims in until announced) where they will count you into the water.  This is for safety, but there are boats and you are not too far from shore the entire time.  The swim is a easy to follow, clock-wise swim with two turns that are clearly marked.  The start is a semi-deep water (depending on how tall you are, it was deep water for me!) with a count down.  I believe that it was a three wave start with a 40 and under Men, over 40 Men, and all Woman waves, just pay attention to what your bib says (I didn't and started in the wrong wave, and had to get my time adjusted correctly, oops).  But the swim is nice, and last year I didn't wear my wetsuit, but three years ago I did, just how well your body works in the water.  Jim swam recently and says the water is "not bad" and crystal clear, so looks like the harsh winter didn't do too much to it.  After exiting the water, you have a little up hill run to T1 where you cross the pavement, but the pavement isn't too bad, just watch out for sticks and shell fragments, but those are few and far between.  Just jog on up and get your gear and run to the mount line!

BIKE (10 Miles):
Out on the bike (Note many stayed left, please stay right as much as possible!)

My Strava results from last year:

The bike is an out and back affair, which I'll break it up into three different sections (just repeat on the way back).  The first section is the Mount Line to corner of "B" Avenue / 40th street.  This consists of rolling hills and bad pavement.  The potholes are patched most of the time, but are all marked, with the "best" lines near the double yellow.  But be aware, you should be riding to the right as much as possible as not to get a "blocking" penalty.  But once you turn onto 40th Street heading north, it gets a bunch better.  First section is about 1.5 miles.

The second section is 40th Street to the "S" curve.  During this section, just put your head down and push the pace.  This section is mainly flat and very straight, so this is where you can "look at your stem" and push it.  This section is about 1 mile long.

The third section is the "S" curve to the turn around, and it is 2.5 miles in length.  This section has some shade and some rollers, but another fast section as you get to blow through Hickory Corners with police protection!  Once north of HC, you head to the turn around at Gilkey Lake Road (with more police!), but watch the turn around, lots of loose rocks.  Now, you just repeat the three sections in reverse.  After you get close to the park, get ready for the mount line, as it is almost time to run!

RUN (3.1 miles):

Here is my Strava info from last year:

The Strava data is a little off, I fumbled with my watch as I was running out of T2, but the race was a nice 5K out and back with multiple waterpoints at each mile.  The elevation was slightly rolling, but no major hills and very shaded, so that should set you up for a good run off the bike, given if you didn't cook your legs on the bike!  Plus you can judge how far up (or back) others are of you since you get to pass them on the road.  The traffic control is good with people if they are driving the road and dead center, slow, and with their flashers on!  Good stuff.


After the race, you can jump in the lake to cool down, visit the vendors near the finish chute, cheer on your buddies, and grab something to eat.  The awards ceremony was pretty fast, results were up quickly, and it was just a nice day to be at the park!  Overall, this is one of the oldest tris in Michigan(even though it was put on the shelf for many years), I am glad that it was brought back in 2011, and taken back over by Jim Misler in 2012, because this is a must do race, and it pains me not to be able to race this year (especially being at home for it too!), but I am sure it'll be another great one.  If you have this weekend open (28th of June, 2014) you owe it to yourself to do this classic race!  You won't be disappointed!

Training Week 24 (Jun 9-15 2014)


Well what a difference a week makes.  My bike still works, still loving the swim (so far) and my run, well could be better, but still, I'll take this week over last few weeks!  But there be a storm a' brewin' with me going on vaca shortly, so we all know working out while not home, but we'll see how this shakes out with wedding week (not mine), but I might need long runs or rides to keep my sanity!


SWIM: 4500 yards
BIKE: 75 miles
RUN: 24 miles


SWIM: 4116 yards (01:26:) 2 Swims with 910XT, nice long ones!
BIKE: 78 miles (4:58) 4 Rides, was nice to get out and ride again
RUN: 7.2 Miles (0:55:12)  2 runs, Not bad, just wimped out too much this week
TOTAL :  87.54 Miles (7:20:00)

NEXT (this) WEEK:

SWIM: 4116 yards (if it ain't broke...)
BIKE: 35 miles (one here, one in Michigan)
RUN: 21 miles (gonna squeeze a few during the road trip)

No wonder why I was so tired this week!  But I gotta pump up some run and swim numbers before I head out of town, so we shall see how this week happens, might be good, might be ugly.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Training Week 23 (Jun 2-8, 2014)

So I must have yawned alot this last week!  I ended up spend most of the week putting up and taking down tents in the hot sun, so most of my "training" was strength training!  Now, since I have run out of excuses, time to get busy!


SWIM: 1600 yards
BIKE: 90 miles (Uh, yeah right)
RUN: 16 miles


SWIM: 2854 yards (01:21:) 2 Swims with 910XT
BIKE: 0 miles (got rained out Sunday)
RUN: 6.1 Miles (0:48:46) 1 run (Felt good for first 3.5 miles)
TOTAL :  8.1 Miles (2:10:00)

Well time to rebuild.  I have a 5 mile road race in 4 weeks and a triathlon in 8 weeks (ish), so if I want the most bang for my bucks, I need to get my rear in gear!  And like I said, I have no more excuses (even though my lunch swim was lightning'd out)! So I'll leave you with this!

Topeka Tinman Short Course Preview

At Topeka Tinman, 2013 (Note transition in background)
Well, since the Topeka Tinman triathlon is almost upon us, for all my Kansas friends (and anyone for that matter), here is my race preview (keep in mind, this year the course is slightly different, which I'll bold in red the changes)


First you have to get to the race site, you take SE Croco Road down from I-70 about 2 miles or so (you'll pass some ball fields on the right, that means you are close!) and look to the right for SE East Edge Road (it has gates and maybe some police) and you'll park in the designated (read: grass to the left) parking area, which is about 1/3 of a mile to the race area, so get all your gear in your bag!

Transition Area:

Last year, it was in a parking lot area near the lake, and you rack by your grouping of numbers, so if you get there early, you might get an aisle rack spot!  I did, but the wife hated getting there 2 hours early!  Nice metal racks, not flimsy, just remember to keep your area clean (put your bag out of the way by the fence) and hang a towel on your spot when you take a warm up ride!
2014 Tinman Shortcourse
Swim (400m):

Last year, the swim was in a counter-clockwise direction, with a beach start.  Despite that, you could almost run down the beach a bit before actually getting in the water, but looks like they changed that this year, so no cheating!  The swim was fairly straight-forward, swim to the bouy, turn left, swim about 200-250 to the next turn buoy, turn towards shore (and the big inflatable) and out of the water.  Water was nice and in the 70s (can't remember how warm), but I wore just my one-piece trisuit, but a few wore wetsuits (not sure why for a warm-ish 400m swim, but hey, it's all good).  After exiting the water, you have about 200-300 meter run up hill (watch for acorn shells), across the closed road and into the transition area proper.

Bike (13.1 miles):

Looks like the bike has a changed slightly this year, as it goes out the north-east side of the pennisula and returns on the same road, but other than that, looks about the same to me.  Here is a link to my Strava for the bike, so you can see the elevation (and a bit more detail)  The big thing about this bike is paying attention to the wind direction, last year it was from the south, so the outbound leg, you had the wind in your face, but when you came around the turnaround block, you got a nice push heading back north.  The only real hills (not that bad) were on 37th Street, and a bit in the park (which you get twice!) but nothing to get you out of the saddle too much, but pre-ride it after you get transition set up just to be safe!  Should be a moderatly fast and flowy bike route!

Run (3.1  miles [Last year measured 3.25]):

After you come screaming back in to transition, loose your helmet and bike shoes, it is time for the run!  The bad news, that hill you just rode down/up, you get to run it now (twice!).  Here is my last year data from Strava -->  The run is mainly on the sidewalk that runs next to the road that you just rode on, with lots of hilly moments.  Last year it was humid and really sapped my will to run, but I still lived to finish it.  Only remember one water point, at the turnaround.  This is an out and back and it looks like they kept it very close to the same route as last year, will be interested to hear if they got it to the 3.1 miles or not.

Afterparty:  A nice area to hold a race, with a large playgorund for the kiddos, a covered pavilion for eating post race chow (pizza and soda last year, as well as water and fruit)  Overall, I enjoyed the race, and the location, so if you happen to have the 21st of June open, you get some good racing and good competition, you might as well race here!

I'll post more pictures when I get them in!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Training Week 22 (May 26 - Jun 1, 2014)

Uggh, another stinker of a week.  But things will be looking up as work calms back down, so pools are open and the roads are calling my name again!


SWIM: 4000 yards/meters/whatever (more on this later)
BIKE: 75 miles (Uh, yeah right)
RUN: 32 miles (see above)


SWIM: 1860 yards (00:38:46) 2 Swims with 910XT
BIKE: 28.4 Miles (1:38:50) 3 Rides (one Long and two "commutes")
RUN: 6.1 Miles (0:46:50)  1 run (Nice Memorial Day run)
TOTAL :  33.5 Miles (3:05:00)

Now on to the rant:  It seems that the military has an issue with standardized pool lengths (i.e. either 25 m or yds, or 50 m or yds), so the pool I am in now is a nice outdoor pool with a few lap lanes, but it is a 45m (44.8m) / 49 yd pool.  Really?!  Who the "F" does that?  So I've been counting in meters, which royally screws me up, so going to go with the tried and true yards, and just have to subtract 2 yards per length, so one lap (two lengths) will be 98yds and not 100yds.  I am so glad my Garmin can count yardage for me, it hurts my head!  Ok, rant over!

But looking ahead, going to start working on swimming 3-4 times a week (at lunch) and get back in to my ride and run, now that work is calming back down, but then I'll have to contend with a vacation, which for me means I slack a bit more, but maybe not this time around!

Also, I'm not racing the Lake Pflugerville Sprint for two reasons; 1) Too much of a layoff from real hard training and wouldn't want to waste my money on just a "blah" race with cruddy fitness (If I race, it's to win) and 2) I missed the registration period, so maybe it's a sign as well!

So, I'm going with Plan B, get back to where I was about a month ago, lean and mean and get ready for racing in July.  I think this might help prolong my fitness into the fall since the racing season here is longer than Kansas, and it'll help my peak later in the summer.  So I think Plan B might help, if not, hey, might need a coach for next year!

Alright, time to wrap up this late offering, and get back to work!