Well once again the new job had foiled my original plans, Thursday and Friday turned out to be two back to back 10 hour days so I decided to not race the Edinboro Olympic triathlon in PA on Saturday and jump in on a local sprint duathlon on Sunday. We started Saturday with a 2 hour tempo ride then headed off to packet pickup where I volunteered from 1-5 to help with packet pickup and set up the bike racks, then I headed home for some pasta and tuned the bike up.
Sunday morning and race day we showed up to the course 1.5 hours early to ride and run the course before hand, considering this would be the shortest race I would do all year I wanted to get a few extra miles in for the day. The race is a 2 mile run 10 mile bike and a 2 mile run a true all out sprint! The run was mostly flat with 1 big hill at mile 1.5 (here's the elevation chart for the run)
the ride started with a 2-3 percent grade for the first mile then mostly flat with 1 killer half mile tiered hill at mile 8 (and here's the bike elevation).
After we rode and ran the course as a warmup we set up in transition.
I had just enough time to do a few strideouts to get the legs ready for some speed before the race started.
The gun went off at 7:30 am and we were off, I ran in 4th place through the first 1.5 miles and backed off a little on the last half mile, I knew the first mile on the bike was all uphill and wanted to start the bike with a little energy. T1 was not great I headed out on the bike in 8th place. I biked conservatively for the first mile and then began to hammer the rest of the course and biked my way into 4th place comming into T2. The last run was a sufferfest temps were around 90 and I was starting to melt down, I was passed by 2 runners in the first mile and was caught in no man's land the last mile. The runners in front were too far ahead to reel in and no one was behind to challenge me, so of course with no one to push me and brutal temps I slowed way down on my 2nd run. I finished 6th overall and 1st age group, at least I thought that was the outcome according to the orginial results, 1st run 6:02 pace, bike 22.3 avg.mph, 2nd run 6:34 pace.
I was not overjoyed with the results considering I felt I could have pushed much harder on the second run but I figured it was a great speed workout and some quality miles for the day. We finished the day with a cool down run of the course again and hit the showers and waited for the awards to start. The race director said it would be a few minutes before the awards because there were quite a few penalties and the results had to be altered. I thought nothing of this because I believed I had raced a clean race. When the awards were announced for the 40-44 age group and I was called out in second place, I was shocked and thought there was some kind of mistake. I asked the race director what had happened and he said I had received a 2:00 penalty. Once again, I was sure there was a mistake, so I set out to find the the USAT official as you can see here...
and started grilling her on how she penalized me. She claimed it was a drafting penalty. I was livid because I knew not one time on this entire course did I gain an advantage by drafting or hanging on to anyone's wheel. Apparently the call was made on the huge hill near the end of the bike course. I had passed a guy right at the beginning of the hill and he passed me in the middle of the hill and I did not drop back quick enough out of the draft zone. She said she had her stop watch on me and it was a fair penalty. My point was that, yes according to the rules I might have spent a second or two in the draft zone, but it is impossible to gain a draft advantage on a hill with 8-10% grade, with avg. speeds at 8-12 mph making it a complete bullshit call. Anyway, I guess the thing that upsets me the most about it, is that I sincerely try to race fair and on this day I was called a cheater and penalized for it and it knocked me down from 1st AG and 6th OA to 2nd AG and 11th OA. Being the competitive person I am, it really ruined my day!
I guess this is a lesson learned the hard way, and believe me next time I am passed on the bike even on a hill I will drop back quicker. Still It's been 2 days since the race and it has not stopped bothering me. I guess I just need to take my lumps and move on!
I met my training partner at his house around 7am we grabbed a cup of coffee double checked our gear, broke down our bikes and loaded up. The GPS was set for the 6.5 hour trip to Kentucky, tunes were jammin and the tank was full in the turbo saab wagon, We averaged about 75-80 mph on the way down with almost no highway patrol in sight.
We each took turns driving and stopped to stretch out every 2 hours to try to keep our legs fresh. We decided to grab our race packets first, at a local running and multisports store and then check in to our hotel. When we checked in I was getting worried because I could hear dogs barking in the room next to us and thought they would keep us up all night, yes Days Inn is apparently dog friendly! Come to find out the couple next to us had 6 jack russell terriers and were taking them to a competition. I put my running gear on and headed out for a 25 minute shake out run, it was kind of a crappy area, heavy traffic and all industrial, we managed to find a side street and dodged traffic for a out and back run. After we returned from the run and unpacked, it was time for dinner so we headed to a historical part of town to grab some pasta, we were way!!! under dressed for this place, but it was the only place we could find with some good pasta dishes and we did not care if we got a few stares, we were hungry and needed the carbs! After dinner it was back to the hotel to tune up the bikes and watch the weather, to verify the bad news we knew was coming and get some rest. The forecast was calling for rain all day, bummer! The dogs next door never made a peep, but the road crew that was staying there returned home from the bar hammered at 2:30 in the morning and was slamming their doors, screaming and swearing outside. I got out of bed opened the door and yelled at them to knock it off and amazingly enough they did.
RACE DAY........ Ahhhhh, the alarm went off at 5 am, I popped out of bed and grabbed a quick shower to warm up, the AC had been blasting all night and I was freezing. We ran over to the waffle house for coffee and returned back to the hotel for breakfast, a couple power bars and a banana, then packed up and headed to the race. On the half hour drive to the race I began to go over my race strategy, I had been swimming extremely well and estimated my swim to be under 30 minutes, I planned to keep my watts on the bike around 220 to give myself some energy for the run. I figured my bike would be around 2:30-2:35 on this tough course and I planned on holding a 7 minute per mile pace on the run. I had the idea it would be possible to go 4:35-4:40 on this course, who knew my body and mother mature had a cruel joke planned for me!
We arrived at the course, set our bikes up and headed out for a warm up run, as we returned back from the run it started to rain. We set up in transition in a down pour, I had plastic bags to keep my gear dry, but It was raining so hard they were little help! The temperature was in the low 60's with 20-25mph winds, at least the water temp was in the 60's as well, we had heard it was still in the mid 50's the a couple of weeks ago. I began to warm up in the water as the race director gave race directions and was feeling relatively good. As the gun went off I sprinted the first 200 yards to get out of heavy traffic and as I turned the first bowie, I started to cramp up, this was a nightmare! I could feel my calf balling up, I slowed down and tried to relax but every time I started to kick it would cramp. I decided there was nothing I could do but pull the entire swim, so that's what I did. I entered the transition at 37 minutes my training partner was shocked to see me out of the water behind him, he looked at me and said relax, this is a long race! I blazed out of transition in 59 seconds and headed out of the park. The first hill on the bike was about an 8 to 9 % grade and yes my calf started to cramp again, WTF, I debated on dropping out, I knew this was a super hilly course and If I was going to cramp on every hill I would never make it. I decided to relax drop my watts under 200 and soft pedal for a while to see if I could beat the cramps, and after 5-6 miles they disappeared. I started to get in a groove and brought my watts up to 225-230. The rain was steady the entire ride with only a couple of down pours, but the wind and the hills made this course a challenge! I entered the transition off the bike in 2:36 and had averaged 223 watts, at least my cycling plan was in tact.
I transitioned off the bike to the run in 40 seconds and headed out to the 3 loop course, the only major hill on the run was the 8-9% grade hill out of the park witch was about 400 yards long, the loops were out and back, up hill mostly on the way out, down hill on the way back. The rain was still coming down but had slowed to a mist and was comfortable, only bad part, shoes were soaking wet and I developed a blister about 3 miles into the run. I felt good through the first six miles but started some mild cramping at 7-8 miles and slowed down considerably. I finished the run in 1:38, with a total race time of 4:53:33
Even though this was an early season race, I considered myself to be in really good shape and expected better results than this, I was about 15 minutes slower than anticipated, I am still dumbfounded as to why I cramped so bad, I had a sound nutrition plan, came into the race hydrated and had followed a solid nutrition plan entering the race, need to figure this one out! Anyway I am happy that I gutted it out and pulled out a decent race!
Well....., lets start by saying this! Not my favorite race, but living in Northeast Ohio cabin fever has set in "big time" by April, and being a multi sport athlete it is our first opportunity to compete and see where we stack up against our best local competition, including a couple of pro's this year.
The course is a 5k run, 15 mile bike, 5k run, does not sound too bad huh! Well the bike course is 5 laps of the run course, which is all hills, this course has no flat, it is either up or down, starting with the biggest hill right off the bat and a couple of hair pin turns at the bottom of steep hills, reminds me of a crit course! Sorry to be crying like a little Bitch, but as a 175 pound triathlete climbing or running hills is not my forte, I consider myself a power cyclist put me on a flat or rolling course like Muncie, and I can average 24mph for 56 miles, on this course I can find no rhythm.
So, enough with the crying let me get to the details of the race, I had just come off a great 3 week training block averaging 16 hours and was feeling pretty good, last year I was able to pull off a 1st in A.G. and 5th O.A. placing and was hoping to better this! and see where I stacked up against the 2 pro's registered for the race. The starting temp. was 37 deg. with sustained winds at 25-30 mph, with up to 50mph gusts, I watched 4 of the bike racks topple over, there were some unhappy duathlete's and some scuffed up bikes by the end, lucky for me I brought my own bike stand and since this was not a USAT sanctioned race I could rack how and where ever I wanted too.
I must have had the pre race jitters because I was just not thinking clearly at the beginning of the race, First I did not make sure my garmin 500 on my bike was reading my power meter, no signal detected and no power reading, Second I turned my timex GPS watch on too late before the start and could not pick up a signal before the gun, so no speed or distance either on the run. Anyway the race started and the rabbits took off up the first and biggest hill, after the first 800 they were dropped. My goal of the race was to keep the leaders in sight into transition, I managed to have a great run and and came into T1 in 4th place and the leaders still in sight, my transition was fast and I believe my first run split was around 18 minutes flat possibly faster, without my watch working I will not know for sure untill results are posted.
I headed out of T1 on the bike and started climbing the big hill again, caught my breath and started to pick up the pace, I was thinking to myself, wow I feel great, mentally I started going over the rest of the race, just grind out this bike and prepare yourself to suffer on the last run and you will have a killer race, and then it HAPPENED!!! the sound that no one wants to hear in the bike, yep a flat tire. So in one instant my mentality changed, from being in contention for an overall place, to OK I will change this flat as quickly as possible and see how many people I can reel in and still get a great workout in for the day, pretty positive attitude huh! Well it did not work out that way either. I started to change my tire and realized I had switched to latex tubes and the spare tubes in my saddle bag had smaller valve stems that would not reach through my wheel and allow me to inflate them.
I sighed deeply and began the 1.5 mile trudge back to the start in my cycling shoes, amazingly enough I had about 5-6 athletes ask if they could stop and help, what great people we have in our sport!, about a half mile into the walk back I stripped the shoes because I could no longer stand the clacking of the cleats and I did not want to buy a new pair either, that just cost me 40 bucks. I finally arrived back at the start with soaking wet socks and shivering, the wind chill was below freezing, I put some warm clothes on and cheered my fellow competitors to the finish.
I can say this about the race, I had a great first run, I am not injured and I did not crash my bike, so all is ok and I am looking forward to my next competition.