Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Huntington Sprint Tri

This morning Aimee and I headed out for the 11th annual Huntington Sprint Tri/Du. This is a great area race and it's only 8 miles from our house. I enjoy participating in this race because of the wide range of people who participate. Some of the top triathletes in the Cleveland area race and yet this is also a good race for first timers.

I had my mind set to push hard on this race. My swims have been great this year and I needed to combine this with some strong biking and running. I had prepared myself to push my body into the zone where some serious pain would be waiting.

We arrived early and got body marked and setup our transition spots. The water would be warm enough to forgo the wetsuit so gear selection was easy. I put my orange lenses in my Oakleys because of the cloud cover.

Oh yeah, the clouds. These were rain clouds coming in ahead of a storm. We weren't sure how it would affect the race. We just didn't want any lightening or heavy rain.

Once we were done with our setup I enjoyed talking with friends and did a nice 1 mile warm-up. I headed to the beach and found my mom and dad. More chatting with friends as we milled about the beach watching the rolling waves on Lake Erie.

The waves were 1 - 2 foot rollers that were well spaced apart and they never crested or crashed. Once we made it to the first buoy marker we would be heading in the same direction as the wind and we would be swimming with the waves. Our wave consisted of men 40 - 54 and we had 67 people in our wave. Before the second wave started we could already see two guys coming back to shore. And this is where being an experienced triathlete pays off. But I'm also glad these two realized that they were in over their heads.

As the horn sounded for our wave to start I quickly got ahead of the people immediately around me and started swimming as soon as I could. I was to the far left of the group and would be making my way to the first turn buoy at an angle. But I was also out of the major washing machine to my right.

At the turn buoy I had to catch my breath from the intense effort to get there. Going into the waves and staying ahead of the group was tough. I didn't wait long before getting back into my swim. With the waves now coming at us from behind us and the left the swim became easier. I was able to get into a longer and more powerful stroke.

I was now starting to pass some of the people in my wave and catch up to the slower swimmers in the wave ahead of us. At one point I ran into something floating in the water. I thought I ran into a person but it turned out to be some sandles. Anyways, I kept on swimming.

Half way through the swim I pulled up next to teammate Mark. Since we didn't have wetsuits on it was easy to spot him in the water. We stayed near each other for the remainder of the swim. I was also drafting behind another person from out wave, Marty. I knew I was in good company as we headed towards the beach.

As I exited the water I heard my dad cheering and he said something about being 3rd or 4th out of the water. Sure enough I saw Marty and another yellow cap in front of me and Mark was immediately behind me.

The run up to transition is pretty long. Marty stopped to put on some shoes but Mark and I just ran barefoot. Marty blew by us and was flying. By the time I entered transition I think Marty was long gone. But I wasn't too worried about Marty because he is in the age group above me.

Now my swim time of 10:49 includes the long run up from the beach. My watch was just under 9 minutes when I hit the beach. Regardless I was second fastest swim in the age group only because my teammate Mark passed me on the run to T1.

I got to my transition spot and put my goggles and cap on the ground. I put on my helmet, socks and shoes. I grabbed my bike and headed towards the exit. I was behind four other people crossing the timing mat when the guy immediately in front of me stopped to mount his bike...and so did the other two in front of him. I couldn't believe it and had to run my way around them. I just wanted to find some clear space to jump on my bike and take off.

I spent 57 seconds in transition. Mark spent 54 seconds. Damn....second best time again.

Once we turned out of the park I grabbed my sunglasses from the bento box and put them on. This was something new and I figured it would save me a second or two in transition.

I quickly got into a good rhythm and was passing people on the road. Unfortunately I was passing them on the left and right because many of the racers don't know to stay right on the open road. I hated doing it but I wanted to get clear of the traffic.

I was making good time and was only passed by a couple of people whom I expected to see. The final stretch of the bike course is straight along the lake heading back to transition. I shot a PowerGel so that I would be ready for the run.

Heading back to the park I figured we would have a tailwind since we were heading east. However, the wind must have shifted because I didn't feel much of a boost. The wind might have been coming more from the north by now. Regardless I still maintained a good pace and pushed forward.

Along this stretch I was passed by Bruce from Spin/Second Sole. Being in my age group I was inclined to stay near him. I used him as my pacer but stayed out of his draft. After a couple of miles I started creeping up on him and decided to make a pass. Just after I passed him I felt a dragging sensation. My real wheel was not spinning freely. I wasn't sure if I had a flat tire or the brake was rubbing.

I looked back and realized my bike bag had detached and was rubbing against the tire. Bruce saw it also and was trying to figure out how to help me. The velcro strap screwed to my rear bottle bracket had ripped off. A small loop was keeping the bag from completely falling off. But now the bag was rubbing against my tire.

I could reach the bag and pull it away from the tire but the small loop was still attached. I slowly sat on my top tube and reached back with my right hand. I was able to lift the bag away from the tire and slip the loop off the bottle cage it was wrapped around.

Amazingly I was able to do this without stopping or slowing down too much. Another athlete from Spin/Second Sole (Anthony) slipped by me while I was dealing with my bag. I shoved the bag into my jersey pocket and got back to speed. I finished the bike course not far behind Bruce or Anthony and made a good entrance into transition.

My bike time was 28:39, good enough for 3rd best in AG. I was very happy with my bike. Aimee will be happy to hear that since I have been bitching about my bike times a lot lately.

In T2 I dropped my bike bag and someone was able to hand it to me on the run. I racked the bike and took my helmet off. On with the shoes and I grabbed my hat and race belt. I spent 35 seconds in T2 but I think all of the transition times were off because some people had 6 second transition times. I don't think so.

The run is the part I had prepared for the most mentally. Being a three mile run I wanted to bury it and just go fast. I would be done in about 20 minutes so...just...go. I beat Bruce and Anthony out of T2 so I had some people pushing me along. Mark was ahead of me with at least a 20 second lead and I knew I wouldn't catch him. By my calculations I was in third for the age group.

I used anyone around me to be targets. Once I passed someone I locked on to another target and reeled them in. I never saw any mile markers so I didn't know what my pace was. I was feeling very strong and that is all that mattered.

I caught the last batch of runners before heading to the north parking lot. I powered through the parking lot and ran the quick downhill that went under the road and back up to the finish area. I could hear my mom and dad cheering along with many friends.

I zipped through the hairpin turn to the finish chute and was done. My run split for 5k was 20:26 good enough for a 6:35/mile pace.

I had time to watch Aimee, teammates and friends finish their own races. Due to a late start for the women I was done before Aimee finished the bike. I waited for her and did my cool down run as I followed her around the run course.

I talked with Mark about his results and we determined that we at least had two podium spots for our age group. Once they started handing out awards we realized our finish spots were up one because Brian had taken the 3rd overall spot. Mark took first and I took second in our old guys age group, 40 - 44. Our times also put us in the top ten, ninth for me. In fact four of the top ten spots were taken by guys over 40 years old.

I was also thrilled by the attendance of 11 Snakebite Racing teammates. The presence of SBR was felt by all as 9 people took home hardware with overall or age group/division placements.

As a whole I am very happy with the race. My swim is still very solid, my bike has improved with just a little bit of work and somehow I have some speed on my run.

The next race will be on August 8th with an Olympic distance tri at Vermilion Harbor. This will be another good warmup race for the HalfRev in September involving speed and some endurance.

This is shaping up to be a good summer of racing.

Game On.

1 comment:

MissFit Island said...

Great race report!

I did a sprint tri (Pirate Tri in Fairport Harbor)that day too only we did get the thunder and lightening on the lake. It eventually passed and we ultimately got to swim - although about 45 minutes later than scheduled.