Race Report: Mid-Summer Olympic Triathlon (which became a duathlon…)

The Mid-Summer Triathlon takes place on the exact same course as the Blue Lake Triathlon that I’d run in June. Going into race weekend, I was feeling very confident that I was going to be able to take off at least 10 minutes from my time only 2 months earlier. Leading up to this race a lot had changed: I purchased a Cervelo P2 triathlon bike, I’d been putting a ton of emphasis on improving my swim and had been practicing my transitions.
Then I got the e-mail on Friday, just 2 days before the race. There was an “algae boom” in Blue Lake and my Olympic Triathlon had been turned into an Olympic Duathlon. At first I was ticked, I’d been working hard on my swimming and now I wasn’t going to get to race the swim. However, my coach (http://trijeffsmith.com/) helped me realize that I was going to get to practice my transitions in a race setting, PLUS, running is my strongest of the 3 disciplines!

The format of the Duathlon was definitely not traditional. AA Sports initially said that the format was going to be a 5k run, 40k bike, 10k run format. Then it was changed to a 5k run, 40k bike, 5k run format. Finally, due to lots of unhappy participants the format was changed to a 1 mile mass start run, 40k bike, 10k run. Weird, but I was excited to race nonetheless.

The 1 mile run: 5:46

Not much to say about this. I lined up near the front and tried to run fast, but steady with good form. This was nowhere near an all out effort but kept me in front of the big group so that T1 wasn’t a nightmare, which was my primary goal.

The Bike: 1:02:19 (huge win!)

My HR goal for the bike was 170bpm. Because of the 1 mile run start, my heart rate was SCREAMING when I got on the bike and for the first 5 miles I hovered right around 180. Once things settled down, I ended up holding right between 22.5-23.5 mph on the fast bike along Marine Drive. I felt strong the whole way, and if it wasn’t for my heart rate goals that Jeff had given me – I would’ve ridden closer to 1 hour I bet. Huge win for me, nearly 8 minutes faster on the same course that I’d raced in June on my Trek road bike.

The Run: 38:48

Near the end of the bike I got passed by a group of 6-10 guys that were riding in a pretty tight pack, my goal for the run was twofold: don’t get passed, and pass every one of those guys that had passed me – mission accomplished. I got off the bike right around 24th place and was able to run my way into the top 10, finishing 9th overall. Final time: 1:49:20.

mid summer run

Takeaways

I’m really stoked about my results, a top 10 overall placing and 1st place in my age group. I’m very pleased with the progress I’ve made in my first season, and I’m enjoying competing more and more as I’m able to be more competitive. I need to keep focusing on my swim, since most races won’t be converted to du’s. Also, the bike was well worth the price tag and I’m glad to see that my bike was much more competitive this race! Next up: Aluminum Man Olympic and Austin 70.3

Race Report: Deschutes Dash Olympic Triathlon

Going into this race, my second triathlon ever – I was much more confident and excited compared to the nervousness I had before blue lake. I knew that the course was going to pose challenges: heat, altitude, elevation on the bike, and a challenging run mixed with trails, stairs, and climbs. However, I had an additional 5 weeks of training under my belt and knew that I was ready to race much better.
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I had a couple specific goals for this race:

  • I knew that the swim was going to be fast, as it was a downstream swim in the Deschutes River – and I wanted to be much more competitive in this swim (mission accomplished).
  • I knew that the bike was going to be challenging with a hard climb the first half and a fast the descent the second half – I wanted a big negative split and wanted to push harder than I had in my first race (mission accomplished).
  • The run is my strength and I knew this was going to be a challenging 10k – I wanted to have a competitive run that was within top 10 overall (mission accomplished).
  • Finally, I wanted to step on the podium in my age group – something that I hope to do at every race from here on out (mission accomplished!).

The swim

The swim started off upstream from the Old Mill District in Bend and was a screaming fast from the beginning. I started off at a comfortable pace and quickly fell into a rhythm that felt hard but sustainable for the entire 1300 meter distance. I came out of the water in 15:54 which felt competitive and was good enough for 26th place overall – huge win!

The bike

The bike was going to be a challenge, with almost 2,000 feet of climbing in the first half of the 40k race. The second I hopped on my trust Trek 1.2 (last race on a road bike, as I’ve since purchased a 2013 Cervelo P2!) the intimidation was gone and I was ready to race. I quickly passed the guy in front of me and it was a battle to the top of century drive. As I began to make the descent I was back and forth with another age grouper. At around mile 20 I made a big push to get passed him and with a grin I said “race you to the bottom!” and I never looked back (and never saw him again!). Finished the bike in 1:17:22 which was good for 29th place overall – not great, but I’ll take it.

The run

From the beginning of the run there was no one in sight which made for a mentally challenging 6.2 miles. My first mile clicked off at 6:26 and I knew this was going to be a much slower run that I’d had at blue lake. I held a steady pace until we entered the trails at mile 3, from there on it was a grind to the finish. I wasn’t able to catch anyone but I had a very competitive run which was a big goal of mine going into this race. 10k time was 42:33 which was good for 8th place overall – slow, but for this course I feel great about that!

I ended up placing 2nd in my age group, which was male 25-29 since this race was USAT sanctioned – for USAT races your age group is based on the age that you will be on 12/31 of the calendar year. I am STOKED about the huge improvements that have been made in 5 weeks, both physically and mentally. Next up: mid-summer olympic triathlon and a couple 70.3’s!

My first triathlon.

Three weeks before the race, I finally signed up for the Blue Lake Olympic Triathlon (http://aasportsltd.com/events/race/bluelaketri/) in Portland, Or. At this point I knew that I was good at training, it was time to see if I could race. My coach was very encouraging in the days leading up to the race, he constantly reminded me that the only way to get good at racing is to race – I was excited to finally get out there and go for it.
The day before the race, coach prescribed a 60 minute ride with 20 minutes at 158-162bpm right into a 2 mile run at an easy effort. I spent the rest of the day relaxing and prepping gear – wow, there is a lot of gear!

Race morning rolled around and I was up by 5am. Ate my typical pre-race breakfast of coffee, banana, oats and a big glass of water and the weather was looking great for the race: low 60’s and partially cloudy. We got to the race extra early, as we’d heard that the traffic had been bad the day before for the sprint portion of the triathlon. I was setup at transition and ready to race by 7am which gave me an hour to go to the bathroom, catch up with friends who were racing, and get warmed up.

My age group started about 7 minutes after the first wave, it was so intense fighting off other swimmers as we battle towards the first buoy! Once we made the first turn, I was able to get into a rhythm and had some space, it was time to focus on my swim. I swam through what I thought was the half way mark in just over 13 minutes – on pace for an OK swim. I made the mistake of sighting off of someone in front of me in the last long stretch towards the finish though and lost at least a minute as we were swimming anywhere but straight. I ran out of the water in 27 minutes, not as fast as I’d hoped but I was thrilled to be heading towards the bike!

Transitioning wasn’t as hard as I’d hoped, however, I found myself being extra courteous of others making sure my area was cleaned up and not in the way of others in the transition area – I spent a solid extra minute doing this (fail). On the bike I felt great! First time using aero bars on my road bike, I know they say not to try anything new on race day but I had to give them a shot. I held a pretty consistent pace the entire race and felt great the whole way, I found myself getting passed by guys that didn’t seem to be in nearly as good of shape as me. I tried not to get discouraged, as I knew that they were all riding expensive triathlon bikes and had more experience than I did with racing. I picked up the pace the final 2 miles and rode into T2 in 1:10:01 which was around 20.5mph average for the ride.

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My transition from bike to run was much faster and I was through in 1:30. As heavy as my legs felt, I was confident that I was going to be able to run a strong 10k, running is my specialty! My first mile flew by in 6:02 and I had already passed 15-20 people. I was able to sustain a constant effort of 6:06-6:10/mile for the entire 10k. I didn’t get passed by a single person and felt strong the entire way through finishing the run in 38:25 which was good for 6:10/mi pace and an 11 second PR!

My final time for my first triathlon was 2:20:53 and I left the race with 3 major takeaways: 1) I need to learn how to swim more efficiently in the open water, this will come with time. 2) I need to push it more on the bike and work on my swim-bike transition speed (T1). 3) I am hooked on triathlon! I love the training, I love the community and I love the gear/tech that goes into this sport. It’s such an art and I’m already saving up for a triathlon bike. Time to work on my swimming and bike strength – lets go!

Wannabe.

In November of this past year (2012) I decided that I wanted to become a triathlete. Being my  overboard self, within weeks of making this decision I had purchased a wet-suit, multiple pairs of bike shorts, triathlon shoes, road bike pedals and cleats, and most importantly a trainer for my bike so I could workout in the garage during the winter.
There were only a few missing pieces from the triathlon equation, most importantly, I needed a coach and I needed direction. Upon returning from Christmas in Hawaii, I was stoked on triathlon. I’d spent many hours in my new 2XU wet-suit in the ocean and was so ready to get after it with my training. My first pool workout of 2013 was going as good as it could, considering my lack of time in the water. About half way through my set, a mysterious swimmer in the lane next to me asked if he could give me a few pointers – meet my soon-to-be coach, Jeff.

All of the sudden I had the gear (for the most part), I had a (great!) coach, the final piece of the equation was picking my first race…