Monday, September 7, 2015

Going for the Buckle

Saturday 8/29 was a beautiful day for a sprint triathlon! It started early enough, I got up about 5:20 to get out the door on time and make the 45 minute drive out to Wilson NC to swim in their drinking water. I also ran the Battle At Buckhorn in 2011, 2012, and 2013 so I knew what to expect from the course and the day, Also, this is my only multisport event this year so I had high hopes for a fun day. Actually going out there just to have fun and enjoy a multisport event was the only goal. Secondary to that was fast transition times, go under 1 hour on the bike, and some kind of 23 minute 5k run.

It was very sunny with a slight chill in the air as I first arrived at Buckhorn Lake. I got there in plenty of time to do everything I needed to pre-race. First stop was the port-a-let and there was no line so the day was off to a great start! Packet pickup and body marking was a breeze, but they did actually write "40" on my calf for the first time. that was kind of hard, not going to lie about it.

I got my transition area all setup first, and I want to give some explanation about how I do that. Remember when I did Ironman Raleigh this year as the swimmer on a relay team? the wife on that team has her first triathlon coming up soon and I've been trying to coach her some to get ready. She needed a lot of help with her swim stroke and has no idea what to do in TA.

It's TA-lite for a sprint

The whole thing setup and ready to go
First pic - here's what you need to know. The towel is key to establishing needed space. That's a hand towel not a full bath towel, but it's plenty of room to spread my stuff out. First is my swim stuff, that will obviously be on me already when the race starts. So there is free space there, and my bike shoes already have the one strap opened up. As soon as I'm done swimming I'm going to step on the towel to dry off the bottom of my feet, then slide that foot straight into the bike shoe. step 2 there is the helmet. It's upside down on top of my aerobars in the second pic, with the straps hanging off to the sides. This way I can slide into the shoes and flip the straps closed, then slap the helmet on my head and easily clip that strap in, grab the bike and run out of TA. When I'm close to the end of the bike route, I'll pop my feet out of the shoes and leave them clipped into my pedals. After hitting the dismount line, I'll run barefoot back here, rerack the bike, toss the helmet, slip bare feet into running shoes on the back of the towel (with speed laces and built in socks), then grab the bib that's already attached to the race belt and run away.  I can put on the race belt while I'm getting out to the run course.

what's missing? Well for a sprint triathlon I don't normally wear socks. Don't want to take the time in T1 to sit down and put them on. Also I don't normally wear sunglasses when racing any distance. I could (should) be wearing a visor or running hat while I'm running but I forgot to grab one when I packed up the TA bag the night before, so my hair was flopping around pretty good. This is about the simplest TA setup possible, and a pretty thorough explanation of why I setup like this. Hope that helps.

My only real goal was to go have fun at my only multisport race of the year. 

Swim 750 meters: 15:05 Goal 10 minutes Success! 33/106 men, 11/28 AG (M40-44)
My warmup before the race was in the lake, I swam out to the middle buoy and back, felt like about 10 minutes. I swam straight and felt great.

Once the race was actually underway, it was a different story. About 160 people starting from a boat ramp all at the same time. I could not swim straight at all. I mean, I got seriously off course. I logged this as a 1000 yard swim. So that speed for 1k in open water is a 1:22 per 100 yard pace, and that's perfect. That's why I'm calling my goal at the top a Success! Totally nailed the speed I wanted in the water and it felt amazing. But seriously, I got way off course.

T1: 49 seconds, Goal: under 90 seconds, Success! 40/106 men, 11/28 AG
Stepped on the towel, slid into the shoes, threw on the helmet and got out of there. It's rare I can T1 in under a minute, but it worked great this time.

Bike 17 miles: 56:13, Goal: under 1 hour, Success! 18.1 mph, 75/106 men, 21/28 AG
There is one giant climb in the last third of the bike course that I forget about every year. It's not that bad, really. Other than that, the only thing I need to comment on is my obvious lack of bike training this year. This race was only the 2nd time I've had my bike on the road this year. I'll take 18+ mph any time I can get it on this little training.

T2: 39 seconds, Goal: under 90 seconds, Success! 34/106 men, 11/28 AG
Left the bike shoes clipped in and slid right into the Zoot running shoes.

Run 5k: 23:44, Goal 23:XX, Success! 42/106 men, 13/28 AG
This course is 2 loops, both are pretty flat. Pretty much you set a pace and try to hold on for dear life. But this time something cool happened that has never happened to me before: I descended my mile splits! Everything in training lately has been long and slow, so I had no idea what kind of speed I would have. When I saw the first mile clock in at 7:38 I was pleasantly surprised. Then mile 2 came in 7:28 and I was even more surprised. But when the 3rd mile clocked 7:25 I was floored. I know there was no chance for my sub-22 5k time at all. Coming off of the bike I didn't expect a sub-23 time either. But my last several standalone 5k's have been 23 something, so I was shocked and pleased to do that again.

Finish: 1:36:32, Goal: under 1:40, Success! 53/106 men, 15/28 AG
Overall this was a wonderful race yet again. Most of my friends finished around 1:26, 3rd place in my (God this still sounds insane) 40-44 age group finished in 1:18, so we are an incredibly competitive bunch. I missed 14th place by only 40 seconds.

Happy finisher

So if you're looking for a fun sprint to jump into around Raleigh, this is still one that I highly recommend. Especially if you're a beginner or don't mind how it attracts tons of seriously fast people. Love the Battle at Buckhorn!


Karen said...

Good job! I am contemplating a sprint tri in a few weeks and have done basically zero biking this year. You give me hope :) So excited about Umstead for you!!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Nice work! You did great and it's awesome that you hit all of your goals for this race. You left a comment on my blog before my tri about how to set up my transition area and that helped out so much!

Abby said...

Wow, way to hit all your goals!