May 17, 2015. Race weekend started on Saturday. I drove up to Tempe and picked up my packet. TriSports teammate Scott Perrine was gracious enough to allow me spend the night at his house. Scott prepared a great dinner and then relaxation was the focus of the night. Early to bed for an early morning.
Sunday began at 4am. After getting dressed and preparing my fluids I was off to Tempe Town Lake. I ate a bagel, banana and drank a bottle of Gatorade on the way.
Due to excessive rain on Friday night the probability of the swim was unknown. The city had to conduct a ecoli test, the results of which would be known at 5am…the race was scheduled to start at 6:30 (sprint)/7:00 (olympic). A backup plan (run) had been announced by the race director the previous day in case a swim was not allowed.
After parking in the designated parking garage it was a 1/2 mile walk across the Mill Ave. bridge to the transition area. As I was walking across the bridge I heard the race director announce that the swim was a go!
Transition was located under a bridge in the shade…a nice thing in the heat of Arizona. Race morning was cooler than usual but the shade was still appreciated. I racked my bike on my designated rack and sat up my gear, got body marked and hit the potra pottie before the lines got long. After a bit of socializing, it was time to start pulling on my wetsuit. after which I walked down to the lake and watched the sprint waves start. Waves were started 4 minutes apart. The first wave of the olympic distance race started at 7:00. The young guys started first and I was in the 3rd wave…men 45+. The 1500 meter swim was a single clockwise rectangle. I lined up in the front row on the left side. At the sound of the horn I quickly settled into a solid pace. I had clean water in front of me and was able to immediately get into a full stroke. As I approached the first turn buoy I ran into a large group from the previous wave. I made my way through them without any problems. Swimming down the back side was uneventful until I approached the bridge. The pylons blocked the view of the next turn buoy. I swam very slightly off course but quickly corrected once the buoy came into sight. I made the last turn and headed into the beach. I exited the water in 24:19 the 24th fastest swim overall.
The run to T1 was about 900 ft and up a flight of stairs. I used this time to get my wetsuit down to my waist and removed my cap and goggles. I quickly found my transition area, finished removing my wetsuit, put on my helmet, grabbed my bike and ran to the mount line. In and out of T1 in 1:11.
I threw my leg over my bike and headed out on the 40k course. I slipped my shoes on and got up to speed. The course is a 2 lap course, mostly flat with a few small hills, 3 180 turns and about 16 turns per lap. The sun was starting to heat up the course and the wind started to blow. My legs felt good and I pushed through the wind. The bike went well and I passed numerous people. I slipped my shoes off as I approached T2. I jumped off the bike running at the dismount line. I was off the bike in 1:04:49. I averaged 22.9 mph and had the 13th fastest bike overall.
Into T2 I quickly racked my bike, removed my helmet, put on my socks and running shoes, grabbed my hat, glasses, and number belt then hit the run course. In and out of T2 in 1:06.
The 10k run was a 2 loop course around the lake. Flat and fast except for a couple flights of stairs each loop. My legs were feeling good. I went through the first mile in 7:02. I made sure to take water at all the aid stations with the building heat. One cup over the head and one to drink. the second mile came in 6:51. Mile 3 included the stairs and came went by in 7:22. Mile 4 was a 7:03. A 6:58 mile followed and then up the stairs again for a 7:34 6th mile. The last 630 ft of the run was up hill to the finish and I held a 8:04 pace. Total run time 43:51 (7:11 average pace) and 34th fastest run overall.
I crossed the line in 2:15:14, 18th overall (including 5 pros) and 2nd in the 50-54 agegroup and a new olympic distance PR.
Next up is the Deuces Wild olympic distance triathlon in 2 weeks.
May 2, 2015. After an early morning wake up I made the 45 minute drive south to Sahuarita. The manmade lake at Rancho Sahuarita was the location for the return of triathlon in Sahuarita. Haka Multisport put together a great Olympic distance race course. 1500 meter swim (measured a little short on my Garmin just over 1300) in Sahuarita lake, a one loop 40k bike that included some hills to break things up, and flat and fast 10k run. Race morning water temps were about 70 degrees and wetsuit legal, and over cast skies kept the morning temps nice. However the winds decided they wanted to stir things up a bit.
After the performance of a Haka (click here if you don’t know what a Haka is) is was race time.
I started in the 3rd wave which contained all men 45+. In the comfort of my BlueSeventy Helix wetsuit I entered the water and swam to the start line. The swim was one counter clockwise loop of the lake that hugged the contours of the shoreline. I lined up in the front row left side. At the sound of the horn I swam a straight line for the first buoy. as I rounded the first buoy I saw that I was leading the pack…a first for me. I settled into a hard but comfortable pace and continued to open the gap. I swam the straightest line possible through the buoys. I soon began catching stragglers from the second wave and by the time I reached the turn at the far end of the lake I began to swim through a large group of second wave athletes and 1st wave stragglers. I found a clean line through them and again had open water in front of me. Out of the water I took a look back and saw no one near. Swim time 20:22…fastest in my agegroup (50-54) and 6th fastest overall.
The run from the water was about 450 ft. and uphill. I pulled my wetsuit down to my waste and removed my cap and goggles during the run to T1. I got quickly out of my wetsuit and put my helmet on. Un-racked my bike and was out of T1 in 1:26.
At the mount line I jumped on my bike and got up to speed. I slipped on my shoes and began the slight climb that starts the bike. After the hill the road flattens out and the winds took over. I felt great on the bike and was passing people throughout the ride. At about the 6 mile mark the course turns and begins a long steady climb for about 4 miles and is followed by a few more miles of uphill rollers. The last 3-4 miles is a fast decent back to T2. Total climbing on the course was just over 1000 ft. Bike time 1:08:53…fastest in my agegroup and 3rd fastest overall.
After slipping out of my shoes on the bike, I jumped off my bike at the dismount line and ran into T2. Racked my bike, took of my helmet and then slipped into my running shoes. I grabbed my hat, glasses, and number belt and hit the run course. In and out of T2 in :50.
A slight hill took us up to the “adventure trail” which looped around the Rancho Sahuarita community. A mostly flat and fast loop followed by a loop around the lake. I felt good for the first 4 miles. Through mile 1 in 7:16, mile 2 in 7:13, mile 3 in 7:24 and mile 4 in 7:36. I then started to feel the lack of run fitness from lack of miles from my injured knee. Mile 5 slowed to an 8:01 then i decided to bear down and push through the final mile in 7:38 and the last .2 miles at 7:27 pace. Run time 45:46…fastest in my agegroup and 6th fastest overall.
Total time 2:17:18….1st in agegroup (by 19 minutes) and 3rd overall. I missed 2nd by 8 seconds. Unfortunately he started in the 1st wave so I had no idea how close I was to him.
This is a great race to put on your calendar for next year and the race director has even more in store for next year! Check it out.
My lead up to the 2013 Tinfoilman Triathlon, the 3rd and final race in the Tucson Triathlon series, was less than ideal. A foot injury had limited my running to deep water running for the previous 6 weeks…zero running on tera firma!
Race morning the alarm awoke me at 0400. After a quick breakfast of waffles I tossed my pre packed race gear in the Vehicross and made the 30 minute drive to the University of Arizonas Hildibrand pool. I racked my bike and set up my gear on a prime realestate end spot in the transition area. I now had plenty of time to hang out, catch up with friends, wait in line for the bathroom and sit back and relax. I would be the 184th person to start…1 hour 48 minutes after the first starter.
The race consists of a 750 meter swim…time trial starts swam in a serpintine fashion, a 3 loop 12 mile bike and a 2 loop 3 mile run through the U of A campus.
As start time approached I jumped in to the warm up pool for a good warm up. There would be no pre race run warm up since the foot was going to be iffy to get through the race.
With the command of the starter I was off. I quickly settled into a solid pace and clicked off the 7 and a half laps. I felt great throughout the swim. I exited the water in 12:57, 22nd fastest swim on the day.
As I started running to the transition area my foot immediately began to hurt. The familiar sharp pain in the heel.
T1 was fast and smooth. Goggles off, helmet on, unrack bike and run to the mount line. I threw my leg over the bike and quickly headed out on to the bike course.
I slipped my feet into my shoes and got up to speed. Each loop is slightly uphill for half and slightly downhill the other half, one pothole infested stretch and on this morning windy. The first time up the rough section my water bottle was jetisoned…no fluids on the bike today. My legs felt great. I was able to power through the uphill sections and fly on the downhills. I weaved my way through slower traffic and on the final lap the course had opened up a bit. As I neared T2 I slipped my feet out of my shoes and prepared to dismount. I rolled into T2, jumped off my bike at the dismount line and painfully ran to my transition spot. Helmet off, running shoes on, grabbed the rest of my gear and began my run.
T1, bike, T2 combined time 30:40, 4th fastest on the day.
As I ran out of T2 I put on my sunglasses, number belt and hat. My foot was in pain but I tried to focus on running as fast as I could and manage the pain. I was moving through the field, passing people who had sterted before me, but had no idea how I was doing compared to the front runners. I pressed on maintaining as fast a pace as the pain allowed and crossed the line with the 9th fastest run on the day…20:53.
Total race time 1:04:32. Far from my fastest but good enough for 6th overall and 2nd in my agegroup.
My time allowed me to hang on to the overall series lead and take home the Tucson Triathlon Series overall championship.
Thanks Accelerate3 for the coaching to make me go fast and TriSports.com for the gear to make me go fast!
After a 19 hour training week, including a hot, windy and hilly 4 hour ride on Friday, I was up early Saturday (6-22-2013) to make the drive to Sierra Vista, Arizona under the light of the supermoon. It was time for the 19th edition of the Ft. Huachuca Steelhead triathlon, consisting of an 800 yard swim, 12 mile bike and 5k run. I was greeted by a glorious sunrise as I rolled up to the bases front gate. A quick check in with the gate guard and then I was off to Irwin pool. I arrived with just enough time to pick up my packet, get body marked, set up my gear and get in a short run and swim warmup. Sporting #17 I was in the first wave. During my warmup I discovered one small annoyance. In my assigned swim lane, at the far end, was a climbing wall. The wall protruded into the water and extended about 2/3 of the way across my lane. When doing my flip turns, one foot would land on the climbing wall the other would barely hit the pool wall. Just something I will have to deal with! After the national anthem, we were back in the pool and ready for our 0630 start time. At the sound of the horn we were off. By the 4th lap of the swim my lane mate started to drop back a bit allowing me to move over at the climbing wall end of the pool just enough to get both feet on the wall during my turns. I was swimming strong and felt good. I watched as the girl in the next lane swam effortlessly while lapping me twice. I hate fast swimmers! I exited the pool in 10th place and hit the lap button on my Garmin…unfortunately, later I found that I had actually hit the stop button so no splits for the day. The run to T1 was about 200 meters. T1 went smooth…goggles off, helmet on, unrack bike, run to mount line. I got up to speed and then put my bike shoes on. The course starts off with a half mile slightly downhill to a sharp turn, then rolling hills for about 3 miles followed by a gradual 2.5 mile climb to the turn around. For the first 4 miles my legs felt like they were going to explode. The headwind out didn’t help. I was hurting but powered on passing 6 people by the time I hit the turn around. I held my position, gaining slightly on the top 3 guys, back to T2. As I approached T2 I saw the top 2 guys running down the road followed shortly after by the 3rd place guy. They had about 2 minutes on me. As I approached the dismount line I slipped out of my shoes and hit the ground running. Bike racked, helmet off, running shoes on and then hit the run. Hat, glasses and number belt on on the go. The run is an out and back that starts with a slight downhill for half a mile and then flattens out to the turn around. By this time the sun had started heating things up. My leg turnover was good. I got into my stride quickly. A quarter mile into the run I was passed. I started to try to match his pace but realized quickly that that would not have been a good thing. I dropped back to my pace and watched him slowly pull ahead. At the turn around I saw the top 2 guys running strong together about 1:30 up on me. I saw 3rd and 4th had about 20 seconds on me. As I started the last half mile up the hill I could see the 4th place guy up ahead. I focused on my run form and turnover and closed the gap. By the top of the hill I had caught the 4th place guy, but as I looked at his calf, found he was part of a relay team. I then ran strong to the finish to make sure I didn’t get re-passed. I crossed the line in 1:04:58…a course PR, 2 minutes off the winning time. 1st place was Luis Morales (1:02:42), a member of the Mexican National team, 2nd was Brian Grasky (1:03:01) and 3rd was Brandon Nichols (1:03:52).
I was extremely happy with my race. In the past I have won this race with a 1:07 time. I was well under that time on a course that is now longer…the run was always about 800 meters short in the past. This year the course was changed to make the run a true 5k.
Friday May 31 I packed my race and camping gear into the truck and made the drive to Show Low, Arizona along with my support crew (wife and dog). From 2600ft to 6400ft elevation. After arriving, I set up camp at Fool Hollow lake under the pines.
After a little relaxing I rode my bike down to the race venue (about 3/4 mile from camp) and picked up my race packet. After riding back to camp I enjoyed a pasta dinner with a view.
Final prep on my gear and then a little more relaxing as the sun set over the lake.
Early to sleep, early to rise. Alarm woke me at 5. A quick breakfast of 2 bananas and a blueberry bagel. I then grabbed my TriSports.com TYR gear bag and rode down to the transition area.
I racked my bike and set up my gear in my assigned spot. Body marked #345. After a little socializing it was time to squeeze into the wetsuit and head down to the boat ramp for the race start. On the way down I slurped down a gel. I had been told the day before that water tempature was a brisk 57 degrees. As I entered the water to warm up I was expecting the cold shock on my face. It never came. water felt like it was at least mid 60’s…perfect for a wetsuit swim. I did a short warmup and then found my spot on the start line. At 7am the start horn sounded and we were off for a 1.2 mile 2 lap triangle shaped swim. I quickly got into my pace and felt good during the swim. I swam straight along the buey line. The 2 loop swim made the swim seem to go by quicker. I had clean water for nearly the entire swim. You definately have to pace yourself at 6400 feet elevation. I hit land in 32:35. A solid time for me. I hit the wetsuit strippers and they yanked my wetsuit off in one swift yank. Then it was a run up the boat ramp into the transition. The run up the ramp is an anarobic venture! In and out of transition in 0:44…goggles,wetwuit and cap on the ground, helmet on, go. I ran to the mount line and threw my leg over the bike. The mount area is uphill! It took 2 attempts to get going with enough momentom to get my other foot on the shoe. Once under way I slipped my feet into my shoes and then got up to speed. The course is a single lap of 56 miles (my garmin shows it a bit over 57). The first 40 miles are big rollers and gusting side winds. I was feeling good and picking off some of the speedy swimmers. At mile 40 you turn into the town of Taylor and begin a 10 mile climb back to Show Low. The wind became tail wind and the sun began to heat up. The tail wind created a vacuum affect and made the heat feel even hotter. I was still feeling good and picked off a few more people. After getting back into town there are a few more rollers and then a nice downhill the final couple miles. As I approached the transition I slipped out of my bike shoes. I hit the ground running at the dismount line after a 2:35:10 split. During the bike I consumed a large bottle of gatorade, a bottle of water and my consentrated mix of Carbo-Pro. I racked my bike, helmet off, socks and shoes on. I grabbed my hat, sunglasses and number belt and was out of transition in 1:15. I finished getting “dressed” on the go. The 13.1 mile 2 loop run is slightly rolling with a combination of groomed trail, cement road and dirt road. The first 1.5 miles of trail running I felt fairly good. As I exited the trail onto the cement in the campground a nasty little hill brought out the cramping in my legs. I backed off the pace to try and get the cramps under control. At the top of the hill I stopped and took a few seconds to try to strech out the legs. This relieved the craamps for a short period but then they returned. I took in water and gatorade at the aid stations and downed salt tablets. As I hit the out and back section, lovingly refered to as the “death road” due to its lack of shade, my pace was slow but I was still moving forward. After the death road you return along the lake, climb one more hill and then do it all over again. As I started out on the second loop my energy levels were low. In my focus on getting rid of my cramps I had neglected to take in any fuel other than the gatorade. As I hit the first hill aafter the trail I was slowed to a near walk. I took in a gel at the next aid station and continued to get liquids in me. The next aid station I took in another gel. Just as my energy levels started to return the fluids in my stomach began to slosh around…not a good feeling. I struggled through the second trip through the death road. The sun was much more intense this time. As I returned to the campground/lake area I just wanted to get to the finish line.
I had lost quiet a few places as i was being passed during my meltdown. Full on damage control. 1:58:23 and my “run” was over. I crossed the line in 5:08:44. I had held on for 14th overall and 3rd in my agegroup. It wasn’t my best day out there but I hung on to finish. A nice dip in the lake afterwards was refreshing although a bit chilling without a wetsuit.
On Sunday I backed up my race with volunteering at the Xterra race. On sore legs I spent the morning body marking and then kept everyone on the correct path on the run.