Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sprint for the Ages

Last weekend was the Battle at Buckhorn sprint triathlon. This was an awesome little race; I absolutely loved it. There was a snafu....

It was a cool morning but not cold. It was early. This race is in Sims, NC, about 50 minutes outside of Raleigh. I had to get off to a really early start, and nobody was available to keep the kids so Kelley stayed home and I got no pictures. At all. Sorry about that, there was some really cool friends of mine at this race.

It had an open water start, so I got into Buckhorn Lake to tread water for a while. Buckhorn Lake is the water reservoir for the town of Wilson NC. So if you live in Wilson, take comfort knowing that I pissed in your drinking water. I was glad for the relief before starting the race. All of the men started at the same time, and all women were in the second wave starting 5 minutes later. Water temp was 70 degrees, I brought the wetsuit but did not use it.

Swim 1000 yds: Goal time 10-15 minutes, Actual 15:36 Success!

It was a triangle course with all right hand turns, so we started and finished at the same location. Starting out in a washing machine, I used the "polo stroke" for a while, where you basically freestyle swim with your head completely out of the water. Once the swimmers got enough space between them, I put my head under and let it fly. The coolest thing about this swim course was that I never had to break stroke. I was finally able to sight the bouys, make the turns, follow the other swimmers, hold my pace and stay on course through the entire thing. I finished the swim in 38th place out of 101 men with an average pace of 1:33 per hundred. Before joining the RAM team my typical pace was around 1:45, so that's a huge difference!

T1 2:08, 57/101

Transition times should be under 90 seconds for a sprint unless you have to take off your own wetsuit. I did not use the wetsuit, but I did sit down to put on socks and the bike shoes. If I could train up to bike and run without socks I might be able to shave that into submission.

Bike 17 miles. Goal under 1 hour, Actual 51:41 Success!

This was a fantastic bike course. Wilson is between Raleigh and the coast, but it's not a coastal town. So the entire course was rolling hills and rural roads with plenty of flat spots to really push the speed. But the wind was not blowing. There were no tornado's that came rolling through Raleigh later that day. Temperatures were in the mid-70's. I wasn't pouring in sweat but wasn't freezing either. It was the perfect course.

There were two really long steep climbs that would humble cyclists who were not very strong. I ended up leaving the bike in the big chainring the entire time. Turns out people slower than me didn't do that. hmmmmmm.......... It felt really good to flex a lot of muscle on the bike. I passed a lot of people. I only got passed by two people on the bike, and I ended up leapfrogging them later.

For so long I have been stuck in the 17mph bike speed. This course turned in 19.74 mph!! Wow that was fantastic to calculate. I finished 31st fastest bike split out of 101 men. Again, I like it.

T2: 1:02, 63/101
Well, it's under 90 seconds. I'll take it. Off with the bike shoes and helmet, throw on the running shoes, hat, race belt with my number and it's off to the run course

Run 5k: Goal under 25 minutes, actual 4 miles in 28:30

What the what?? The course was a two loop out and back. So half a mile in we hit the first aide station, then another aide station at the turnaround. Heading back towards the finish line we passed the first aide station again. This is a common setup in triathlon run courses. Two aide stations that you hit 5 times. I bypassed the third aide stop to wait until I hit the turnaround point, and get water coming back.

Turns out, the aide station *was* the turnaround point. There was a small sign right next to it. But visually I was only looking at the people at the aide station and there was a missing volunteer who was supposed to be saying "turn around now if this is your first lap".

So I went on to the finish line, and as the race director was encouraging my 6th place finish in 1:24:xx, I asked to make sure the run course was a 2 looper. He said that it was and I must have missed the turnaround. So without crossing the timing mat, I turned around and headed back out there.

Half a mile later, I hit where I should have turned around. So half a mile extra to the finish line and half a mile back turned my 5k into a 4 mile run course. I tried very hard not to let my mental mistake push my head completely out of the race. I got caught up, and found myself in the middle of the pack. Slower runners that I kept passing, all of the same people I passed once already on the bike. I got a lot of strange looks.

Still, finishing 4 miles in 28:30 is pretty dang fast. That's a 7:07 per mile pace. If I had hit the turnaround and held that pace it would have been a 21:50 5k time. So I still nailed it. I just nailed it a little longer than I should have. Instead I ended up with the 72nd fastest run split out of 101 men.

Total time: 1:38:54, 42/101 men, 9/15 age group (M 35-39)

If I had that 7:20 back from the run course I would have finished in 24th place overall. Got to pay closer attention next time. Still, this was an amazing course, very well organized race, and I can't wait to run it again next year. By far my new favorite race.

And as if racing three weekends in a row (mud run, 5k, and now sprint tri) I end up being pissed off at the 21 minute 5k that wasn't. So what do I do about that? I signed up for a Foxhunt. At 7 pm outside of a local brewery the "fox" will leave to run a 5k. Three minutes later the rest of the field will chase him. I might have to use the garmin as the only way to get an official time, but there's only about 110 people signed up for this one. I like my odds of a high placement. We get a couple of free beers afterwards too. And the male and female winners get new Garmin watches. I know these roads really well, so I'm going to be gunning for a low time.

Be back soon after the foxhunt with yet another fun race report.


Unknown said...

congratulations! sounds like a fun event and you did great!

Heather @ Side of Sneakers said...

Congrats on a great race- it sounds like a fun one!

Kelley said...

I can't wait to see what Gavin does with " I just nailed it a little longer than I should have"!!

Wes said...

haha! nice work not crossing the finish line in 6th :-) congrats on the improvements too!!

Unknown said...

Congrats. That totally sucks about the course marking. :( You did amazing though. I still can't get over how fast you are getting!

Tara Younce Woodard said...

Hey, John Flynn!! I am living in Wilson, so I'm really happy to know you pissed in my drinking water! Anyway, I'm proud of you!! Keep it up!