Saturday, June 18, 2011

Trailblazer sprint 2011

This race was a late addition to my race schedule. Like 2 1/2 hours before the race late addition. I started kicking around the idea on Friday when I heard it was an afternoon start. This meant it wouldn't interfere with Morgans Saturday morning Zumba class. The zumba class is pretty much the only thing Morgan asks of me all week so it's only fair that she gets to do it.

Anyway, I thought about it on Friday and talked it over with Morgan while we shared a bottle of wine on the porch. I decided then, that I wouldn't race so I wouldn't risk hurting my fragile running legs. I could promise myself all I wanted that I wouldn't race it hard, but let's be honest... all those promises mean nothing when you're getting ran down at the end of race.

When I woke up on Saturday I watched a couple of races I had recorded on the DVR. That was enough for me to get that itch to race. The soreness had left my legs from Boise on Thursday and this ended up being a free/recovery week. I also still had my bike all dressed up for racing from Boise. So I decided to give it the old college try.

My mind was made up and all I had to do was wait for Morgan to get home from Zumba at 11 and I'd be ready to go for the 2 pm start. The problem was the I had looked on the internet and seem that the race started at 2. I just happened to see Matt Cusack post on facebook that it started at 1. Whoops! I fratically called Morgan and she rushed home. We both showered in record time and got everything all packed up and we were out the door at 11:30.

We arrived at registration at 12:00 and I mingled with everyone while we waited for the swim to start. I got my bike racked next to Matt and a local guy. Before long Josh Hadway and Dave Erickson racked between us with plenty of room to spare. The more the merrier. Not everyone felt that way as one guy was a little territorial over his spot and thought we were too close and he moved his bike. I didn't know we were at the world championships. Anyway, everyone else was very low key and friendly and eventually we all hopped into the lake to swim across to the start. Josh decided to go sans wetsuit which proved top be a mistake. (I think he was trying to give us every advantage to try and stay somewhere near him. He didn't have his race wheels or helmet either. He didn't make it to the run, but I think he may have been planning on running in hiking boots too.) :)He ended up with hypothermia on the bike and had to drop out of the race. I can't say that I blame him. I was cold in my wetsuit and he's gotta be about 2% body fat.

Swim- This was the strangest swim start I've ever been a part of. We were all across the lake talking when a faint horn blew from across the lake. We all stopped talking then the horn blew about 3 more times. "I guess that means go" Off we went. I put my head down at started to go hard. Before I knew it I was a good ten feet to the left of everyone else. I straightened out and ended up on Josh's feet for a little bit until Matt bumped me out of the way. With such a short swim there wasn't the normal gap that I have to make up on the swimmers so I came into T1 and saw all the guys I thought would be contenders in the race still there. Off came the wetsuit and onto the bike I went. I had my shoes clipped in and did a great flying mount, landed on my right shoe which caused the whole thing to collapse under my foot. The top of was smashed down so much I couldn't my foot into my right shoe. I had to come to a complete stop and unclip my shoe it cost me about 30 seconds and three guys passed me. Yet again, I screw up my transitions. This is a part of the race and I'm consistently horrible at it! Anyway, I got rolling but I had lost site of all the leaders. I decided before the race that I would bike hard and run easy or possibly not run at all. So I took off on the bike and made the first turn and instantly got stuck behind two cars going about 20 mph. I ended up passing them both (I kind felt like a bad ass passing cars on my bike, even though they were slowing down for the other racers). Once I came around them I pushed hard and passed the 3 guys that passed me during my shoe debacle back. Right before the course turned to go around Clear Lake I caught a glimpse of Matt. He was about 30-40 seconds up. I lost sight of him for a while as the course really starts to wind around. The roads were wet and it was a little sketchy going around a couple of the corners. Eventually the road straightened out and I could see Matt who had actually caught 3 guys in front of him. I saw one of them was Josh and I knew that had to be the lead group. I also knew that meant something must be wrong with Josh. As I rode by him he was sitting up on the bullhorns and he dropped out shortly there after. After I passed Josh I passed the next three guys within a minute and I was into the lead. From that point I focused on staying on course and trying to make all the turns. The police officer that marked the turn to T2 was sitting in his car on a side road and I nearly missed it.

It felt good coming into T2 first but Matt wasn't too far behind. He actually left T2 first and I figured he would run away from me as I took it easy around the lake. He was about ten feet up on me and I just relaxed and ran easy. I fell into a nice relaxed pace and by the time we hit the first turn we ended up being even and he told me he was not feeling good and he thought he might puke. I have to be honest here. I really like Matt and I was okay with him beating me, but I didn't want anyone else coming by and I was afraid if I stayed with him we might get caught. So I put in a mini surge of about a minute and opened up a gap and made the next turn around the lake. From there it gets hilly and I started to feel some pain in my left leg. I promised myself that I wouldn't push it on this race no matter what happened. I decided to stop and walk and was happy to see that Matt was still in 2nd. I stretched for a couple of seconds and waited for Matt to catch up. I ran with him for about 20 seconds but I could tell that 3rd place was getting close. My leg felt okay so I settled into a comfortable pace again and I had all the gap I needed at that point. I finished the race with my first overall win. It wasn't pretty but I'll take it. I know this race wasn't as deep as it usually is but a win is a win and in this sport so much depends on who does or doesn't show up (or who gets hypothermia) you have to be happy with a win no matter what. Who knows the next time I race could be the full of speedy guys and I'll get my butt kicked even though I may have raced better.

Sorry about the lack of splits but I raced naked and I don't even know what my finish time was. I think it was around 55 or 56 based Matt's time.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Boise 70.3

This race has been my primary focus for the majority of this year. But,before I get into the actual race I have to say having never been to the city of Boise I really was impressed! We stayed at the Grove downtown which offered plenty of opportunities for Morgan and Amelia to explore (and shop). The city was clean and the people were very friendly.

I got checked in on Thursday and made it through the whole process in about 10 minutes. This left me some time to walk around the expo which was essentially empty. There was a tent from Spidertech there with an LMT applying the tape. I had some IT problems after Onionman flare up on a 4 mile run in which I ended up walking the final 2 miles home. That was about 6 days out from race day so I decided to just rest up and hope it would be better by the weekend. To be honest it was feeling pretty terrible on Thursday and I was contemplating not racing. So I thought "I might as well give this stuff a try." I told the guy taping what my problem was and he was nice enough to go through a full evaluation. He felt my calf and the outer part of quad and I believe his exact words were "Holy sh!t these spots seriously pissed off!".

Great! I was more discouraged than ever. Then just like that things started looking up. He was nice enough to do some A.R.T. on my leg and then apply the tape over the friction point on my IT band. I don't know if it was the tape or the A.R.T. but I felt better right away. He had me come back the next day so he could tape all the way up to my hip.

I returned the next day and finished the taping. It was great, and I was ready to rock. As a side note it's a good thing I registered the day before because everybody else registered right after the 11:00 am pre-race meeting. My friend Jon Moen stood in line for 1:45 to get registered. We were planning on swimming, dropping off our bikes in T1 then driving the course. We got a later start than planned then headed off to Lucky Peak which is a few miles out of town.

Now, we had heard how cold the water was going to be but you don't have any idea until you swim in it. It was.... refreshing. Who am I kidding it was freezing! We weren't able to swim in the resovior so we swam in the river where they pump the water from the bottom of the reservoir. On the plus side it had a fountain shooting water in the middle so, that was fun to play in.

Race day- This is an interesting race with the 12:00 pm start time. I woke up and got all my stuff together then proceeded to wait and wait and wait. Eventually I caught the shuttle down to the reservoir and got my bike all dialed in. Then I waited some more.

This was a wave start and my wave was the last to go. This meant that I had to stand around on the boat launch watching wave after wave go for 45 minutes. The pros were long gone by the time we got into the water.
Finally it was our turn. As I hopped in I realized that it didn't feel near as bad as the day before. Racing makes cold water easier to tolerate (as does insulating your wetsuit with "warm water"). :)

The horn sounded and we were off. Of course the front pack was immediately gone. I settled into a nice pace and before I knew it I was swimming into people from the previous waves. This wasn't as bad as I thought and it was actually probably the smallest amount of contact I've ever had during a swim. All in all it was pretty uneventful and I don't think I pushed at all. I wanted to come out in 32 minutes but I ended up coming out in 34. However, during the race I had no idea what my swim time was. The race clock showed the first wave time and I wasn't wearing a watch. So, anyway I came out of water and had my typical poor transition and I was ready to bike.

Bike- The bike starts downhill and then really goes downhill. You end up going 45 mph down the hill screaming "on your left" as you pass the 50 year old women weaving down the hill at 18 mph. This would be a theme for the rest of the race. I settled into a nice pace from there and really started passing people. My goal time was 2:30 and all the passing I was doing was a little disconcerting. I kept thinking that I must be riding way to hard because I was way ahead of schedule. By the time I hit the halfway point I was on pace for a 2:25 and all the climbing is in the first half of the race. I just kept riding, but I was holding back a little. This is were a power meter would have come in handy. Someday I'll buy one. The rest of the ride went great and I cruised into T2 with a 2:21. I'm very happy with my bike time and my new bike. This was the fastest speed I've ever averaged for a race of any distance. My planet X exocet with the 82/101 wheels felt fast the entire way and I got quite a few compliments on it.

So it would appear that I made some time up and I was actually feeling pretty good. Again I had a horrible transition where I ran passed my rack and had to go back to find my spot. I then put my shoes on and realized that I had forgotten to change my socks. I took my shoes off and changed the socks to a dry pair and I was off. There went all that time I made up on the bike.

Run- I was feeling pretty good minus some bloating. I took off out of transition and again started passing people like crazy. This wave start thing was very strange to me. I had no idea where I was in the race. I couldn't tell who was in my AG who was on there 1st or second loop and there were people everywhere. I actually never saw anyone in my AG the entire run. It kind of through me off. I tried to push, but my legs would only go at 6:45 pace. No matter what I did I was right around 6:35-6:50 the entire 13.1 miles. I would have been happy with a 1:30 but secretely wanted to break 1:25. But with my lack of run fitness I ended up going 1:27. The good news is my leg held up the entire way. I passed a lot of people but never passed anyone in my AG and had no idea where I was.

My goal was qualify for the 70.3 World Championships in Vegas and I was pretty frustrated to not be able to tell what was going in the race. It ends up feeling like a time trial on your own for the whole race. In the end I was not passed at all on the bike or run by anyone, but I had dug myself a pretty big hole on the swim and I was never able to crawl out of it. I was pretty much in no mans land about 4 minutes back on the person in front of me and 10 minutes ahead of the one behind me.
At the end of the day 6th place in my AG ended up being good enough to get my Vegas slot and I'll be training for that through the summer. Hopefully I can get some quality consistent running in and be ready to kick some butt in Vegas.

Swim- 34:02

Bike- 2:21:04

Run- 1:27:46

Finish time-4:29:36

47th overall and 6th in m25-29 age group.

My two favorite cheerleaders.