This was my first race of the 2011 season. It wasn’t really an important race, given the on/off problems I’ve had with both calves, but I wanted to get one race finished before EagleMan in June.
I’ve been training ok in the last few weeks, getting a few runs in, but nothing with any speed. I haven’t done this race before and didn’t know the course very well – I figured if I had a good day I could finish somewhere around or below 1:35, actually my goals that I filled out earlier in the year had a 1:45. This race has a longer ride component than other sprints, 18miles vs. 12.
the race was scheduled to start at 9:00am, so I didn't have to get up too early. I left the house just before 6am and arrived shortly after 7am. The queue was short for packet pickup and I was one of the early ones in to the transition area.
My spot was pretty good, at the end of the last rack. The entrance to T1 from the swim is in the background.
here’s the view towards the bike exit.
I think this is the best transition spot I’ve had in any race. T1 exit is near the white trailer in the background here.
It was quite a long run from the swim exit to T1, but it was nice to have a sandy beach to enter/exit the water.
facing the swim start, and next is turned around towards the transition area.
It was nice to have plenty of time to get setup. Everything was very well organized, even the parking area was much better than most other raced I have done.
This is the least cluttered transition area I’ve had. Especially compared to the person next to/behind me.
I had a work trip to California for the week prior to this race, and it turned out that I had to get the red-eye flight home on Friday night. I’ve read in many places that the most important sleep before the race is 2 nights before – well I dozed a little, but didn’t get much sleep at all. The day before the race I felt really weak, and was hoping to turn things around come race day.
I had a good sleep the night before the race, and was ready to go. Since I have had some calf issues recently too, I didn’t do any sort of taper – so I was just going to turn up and give it my best effort.
Swim: 13:39 – 3rd in AG
The water was cool enough to wear wetsuits, and since there was a decent sandy beach, it was a beach start.
the first turn buoy is the yellow one in the background. I started on the left side of everyone for 2 reasons. It looked to me like a shorter path, and there were less people there too.
I had a great swim, kept a good rhythm, and didn’t go out too hard, like I have done in some other races.
I am really happy with a 13:39 swim time – first time ever under 14 minutes. The last sprint I did (Culpeper) I went really hard and finished in 14:39. The wetsuit helped, and I am a better swimmer now too. My heart rate average for the swim this year was 156 vs. 166 for last year.
T1 – 2:06 – 4th in AG
transition went pretty well, it was a long jog up to my bike. My wetsuit came off easily and since I had my shoes already clipped in, all I had to do was put my glasses & helmet on. . I got in/out pretty quickly, with the exception of having my helmet strap get a bit tangled. That cost me a few seconds, and is something that I have to check for the next race.
Bike – 50:12 – 6th in AG
This is my first race on the new bike. I haven’t gotten the final fitting yet, but it felt great for the whole ride. One out of transition, the first 2.5 miles are up-hill. I took the time to scout out the bike mount/dismount area and it was relatively steep, so I selected a low gear to I wouldn’t be grinding as soon as I got on the bike.
I stayed out of my shoes for to get to the top of the first climb (only a few hundred yards) and then settled down into a pretty good pace.
here’s the elevation and speed charts recorded on my Garmin Edge 500. I thought the course was excellent, a good mix of rolling hills, with a few steep sections. I was in the big chain ring the whole time.
I was hoping for anything above a 21mph average for the bike leg. After getting through the first few miles and the course flattened out, I knew that this would be possible.
One disappointing thing is that my Edge 500 wasn’t picking up my HR or cadence. After some research, I found that there is a bug in the latest firmware (see here). I realized that I had made the mistake of turning the bike computer off and on again before the race started – it found too many HR/Cadence sensors and decided not to re-connect to the ones it already knew. The workaround is to enter the device id’s directly – which I now have recorded in my phone. Had I not switched the bike computer off, it would have worked properly. Lesson learned – this is why you always practice with new gear before any important races.
The nice thing about starting in the 2nd wave was that there weren’t too many bikes out on the course. I passed a lot of riders from earlier waves, and had no real traffic problems.
I did see a few people cheating – some were constantly swapping positions and drafting each other for as long as I could see them.
The last part of the course was the downhill 2.5 mile section, the reverse of the start – this helped me to maintain a good fast speed, while getting a little rest for the run leg.
T2 – 0:54 – 4th in AG
Nothing spectacular here, a decent transition. Legs were feeling pretty good, this is the benefit of the new bike, and also having a good transition spot. Going to the last row meant no counting and having to remember which one to go to.
Run – 23:16 – 10th in AG
For all of my previous sprint races (3 of them), I have averaged around 26:40 (8:36/mile), this has been my weakest leg. This time I managed a huge 5k pr of 23:26! At the start of the run leg, I had a stich that did slow me down a bit, but I kept a decent pace. Like the bike leg, it was up-hill to start with. the first hill was quite steep. I managed to keep a decent pace and was gradually passing people (more than were passing me). My 2nd mistake of the day was leaving my hand-held drink bottle at home, I usually like to sip water often, but would have to wait until the water stops on the course.
Overall I am very happy with the run leg – my average pace was 7:30/mile. I think if I hadn’t had the stich (which lasted the whole run), then I could have run faster. My legs felt great!
Final Time: 1:30:04 – 6th in AG!
This is a lot better than I had expected, I was strong in all 3 legs and the transitions were not bad either.
|Pace||1:49 / 100m |
1:40 / 100y
I think I am in a decent position now to go to the EagleMan 70.3. My strategy was not to go all out, take it more like I’d be racing at EagleMan. Sure i will have a slightly slower average speed, but I think I can have a good race.
The organizers of this event should be
congratulated – everything went off very well. They even had post race pizza for all racers, it was sooo good.
Overall I am very happy with this result. I hope I can come and do this race again next year, or even try the half iron distance the day before. This might be good preparation for my first full ironman next year.
One thing that I haven’t really figured out yet is nutrition – for a sprint it is not really that important, but the longer races is really is. For this race I only drank water, and had 1 gel about 11-12 miles in. I didn’t really feel that I needed the gel, but I had it anyway.
Things to do better next time
- configure the edge 500 (bike computer) properly
- bring the hand-held drink bottle for the run (10oz fuel belt bottle)
- check the helmet straps in transition
- drink less on the bike towards T2, I think this might have caused the stitch. The gel I had may have also contributed