Saturday morning came, and since I'm normally swimming at 8 am, having a race that didn't start until 9:30 meant I got to sleep in! Quite unusual for triathlon race day. They tend to start around 7 am. So getting to sleep in until 7:30 was crazy. Plenty of time in the morning to eat, drink coffee, poop, and get all the gear in the car. Beaver Dam is about a 30 minute drive up to North Raleigh and I got there in plenty of time to get my TA setup. Time for the Beaverdam Olympic Triathlon! I also decided to grab the wetsuit on the way out of the door. This is really weird. I'm usually sliding into TA about 4 minutes before it closes. It was cold out, but I got bodymarked and got my (or rather, Douglas's) timing chip. The water temp was 70*, so I decided to wear the wetsuit. Normally I'll skip it if the water temp is over 65 because it doesn't really help me that much and I don't want the extra T1 time. But today the air was so cold (in the low 50's) that I didn't want to start the bike all wet and freezing so I wetsuited up.
The air was so cold I wore the wetsuit so I wouldn't be all wet and cold when I started the bike. prime point there.
We had a moment of silence for Boston before starting the race which I thought was very appropriate. Got the course instructions and made my way to the water. I was swimming in the first wave. It was turning into a beautiful sunny day, and at that moment I couldn't think of a better way to start off my 2013 triathlon season. I ended up starting in the front row to the right hand side of the pack. The countdown went down and the race was on! Welcome to triathlon racing.
Swim 1500 meters: 31:05, 92/271 overall, 13/26 age group
My plan for the swim was to go pretty hard for the first 200 yards or so, then settle into a relaxed pace. Swimming with the wetsuit on leaves me floating higher in the water than I'm used to. This also makes it harder for me to get the body rotation I so enjoy. Starting out strong really turned into wasting a bunch of energy for the first three minutes of the race. Once I settled down into a steady pace and got my heart rate back under control I could feel the rotation I was looking for. I made sure not to drag my elbow and make every stroke count. Feeling good so far.
The course was sort of a point to point rectangle. We started on one beach, turned left three times, and ended up on a different beach. Kind of unusual for a lake swim, but it was still great. When I stood up I could tell I had been horizontal for too long. Got a bit dizzy and slammed into the next guy, then started running up to the TA. That run turned out to be insane, it was uphill all the way, really long, and I could barely stand by the time I hit the timing mat outside of TA.
Gahhh! Transition times should be 90 seconds or less. This is where I lose anything I might have gained by wearing a wetsuit. Wetsuit off, add socks & bike shoes, grab the helmet and take off.
Bike 25.5 miles: 1:25:40, 121/271 overall, 17/26 age group
This bike course was tough. Solidly tough. Once we got out of the park it was a loop that started one way on Highway 50 and ended up coming back into the park from the other direction on hwy 50. In between was a bunch of right turns. The course had almost no flat spots at all. Some hills were rolling, sometimes you'd get to the top of a climb only to discover that up next you had another climb! Gentle uphill grades were the norm for the first half of the course with some rolling downhill sections thrown in there to keep you from getting too suicidal. I started out like this:
And after getting through the first half of the course I kind of settled down a bit. So it definitely went uphill to a point, then came back down. Oh, and remember that I wore the wetsuit to keep from freezing my balls off on the bike? yea, they were gone. That wind hit the wet jersey and my arms and torso froze. I had some arm warmers, but sitting in TA I decided it was too hot to put them on. FREEZING. Not fun.
After about 4 miles I warmed up, dried out, and started feeling better. So I crushed this one uphill, crested the top of it, and my legs gave me a big 'no way' kind of feeling. That's when I knew I was fucked. There was no way the legs were going to let me roll through this one.
After I took the gel at 5 miles (taped to the top bar of the bike) I felt a lot better. Still didn't get very aggressive on the hills, got passed by a lot of people, and kept watching my average speed crawl around. My goal was to average 21+ mph over the entire ride, but I ended up at 18.6 mph. ouch. For the first half it was closer to 17.8, then sped up more on the second half. I haven't pulled the data off of the garmin yet, but I'm curious what the elevation gain was and my speeds at different points.
Mile 20 came and I took another gel, and this time it was right where there was a surprise hill. So nothing like choking down a chocolate Gu - thick, pretty solid - while starting a climb. Then trying to drink water when I'm out of breath wasn't exactly pleasant either. But by the end of the ride I felt pretty decent. Once we got back in the park they grabbed this shot:
and before you know it I was back in TA. It's nice to get my feet out of my shoes before the dismount line, saves a bit of time in T2. And my arms and shoulders look huge there. Yay for swimming!
I was really glad that bike leg was over. It felt nice to be riding Roberta outside again for the first time since September, but that course left me drained.
T2: 53 seconds
Rack Roberta, helmet off, running shoes on, grab the race belt and hat, gone. Sweet easy T2.
Run 10k: 51:46, 134/271 overall, 16/26 age group
The run course was a bit harder than I expected too. Again, nothing flat in North Raleigh. This was a 2 loop course that stayed entirely inside the park and ran through a parking lot and 2 roads. It was all hills.
|I only look mildly destroyed there|
About half a mile in my legs went dead. Each loop was an out and back, so every downhill eventually became an uphill. I was watching my pace closely for the first lap. Average pace was hovering around 8:06 to 8:14 for the first mile or so, then after turning onto the other road there was a big downhill and it dropped to a 7:56. I really wanted to finish the run around 45 minutes, or under an 8 minute pace. But with the dead legs I knew I was already screwed.
At the turnaround point of the first lap I started heading up that big hill that gave me the pace drop before, and by the end of the first lap I was back to an 8:20 average. Second loop was more of the same
|It's a mild death at this point|
That pic also gives a good shot of Eddie the Tribal Dragon on my leg. Me and Eddie spent some good time in the pain cave after that. Lots of hills, up and down, I never expected a tattoo to be something I would talk to during a race. oh the mental games we play.
|Dead legs: the final frontier|
Finish: 2:52:12, 104/271 overall, 17/26 M 35-39
Boy that is a competitive age group. I did this same race 2 years ago in 2:52:23, so I'm glad I beat my 2011 time by 11 seconds. Of course then I actually had to bike through a hailstorm, so I guess it's not that much of an improvement. Hail storm, sunny day, whatever. I'm not exactly pleased with my finish time, but for the difficulty level of the course I think I did the best I could on that day. Nothing went wrong, the conditions were great, we did have some car traffic on the bike course but nothing awful. the biggest thing to take away from this one is that I should have re-read the race report from 2011 before I signed up for this race. oh well, now it's done and we're into the 2013 triathlon season!
This production company FS Series does a series of triathlons, and if you do 5 out of the 12 races you can qualify for series awards. My entire race year consists of doing 5 of the FS Series triathlons, one SetupEvents race for my team, Ironman 70.3 Raleigh, and Beach 2 Battleship full. So since this is the first race of the FS series for me, it's kind of important that I get credit for it and I hope they can get this Douglas Flinn thing straightened out. I'm sure they will, I've gotten to know the owners of the company pretty well over the years, so I'm sure they can fix my mistake. For now it just feels good to be in the season!