How does one celebrate their 50th birthday? If you’re me you wake up at 0300, aet a quick breakfast, throw your gear in the car and head to Sierra Vista, Az. for the 20th Annual Steelhead Triathlon on Ft. Huachuca. The race consists of an 800 yard pool swim, 12 mile hilly bike and a 3.1 mile hilly run.
After arriving I racked my bike, set up my gear and picked up my packet.
I was in the 4th wave so had a little extra time to warm up with a short run and make one last potty pitstop. I then waited for my lane to clear and got a short swim warm up in.
The horn sounded and we were off. I settled into a good solid pace. The swimmer in the next lane was a member of the Mexican National Triathlon team. I watched as he lapped me 4 times during the swim. But I seemed to be doing well against everyone else. I was out of the pool in 13:09. A quick glance at the pool saw most people were still swimming.
There was a short run to T1. T1 was quick. Goggles off, helmet on, go! 2:19.
Once on the bike I slipped my shoes on and got up to speed. The out and back bike course starts with a short rolling downhill into a sharp turn. The course continues to roll until the 2 mile mark then climbs 325 feet to the turn around. I passed a couple people in the first 2 miles. As I approached the turn around I saw the leader…the Mexican National team kid. I had closed the gap down from 3 minutes to about 2 minutes. I was off the bike in 30:00 (average speed 23mph) and had closed the gap down to about 1:30.
I was in and out of T2 in 1:02. Shoes off on the bike, helmet off, running shoes on. I put my hat and race belt on on the go.
The out and back run course is pretty much downhill to the turn around dropping 87 feet to the turn around. Then climb back to the finish. My legs were tired but I managed to average 6:39 mile pace. The first mile came in 6:12, followed by a 6:31 mile and slowed to a 7:15 uphill mile. I lost time to the leader but gained time on everyone else with a 20:16.
Total time 1:06:59. 4:42 off the first place time of the 18 year old and 4:57 ahead of the 17 year old 3rd place finisher. I won my agegroup by over 20 minutes.
Not a bad 50th!
3 May 2014 the alarm rang at 4am. Early wakeup could only mean one thing…race day! After a quick breakfast I made the 1.5 hour drive to Ft. Huachuca. Upon arrival I picked up my race packet and set up my transition area.
After catching up with old friends I went for a quick run to warm up.
After the National Anthem I made my way to the start line. I positioned myself at the front. At promptly 7am the horn sounded and we were off.
The opening run was 2 miles…1 mile downhill to the turnaround and then 1 mile back up the hill. A steady 134 feet of elevation. The lead group went out fast. I ran my pace and was about 45 seconds behind the leaders as I ran in to T1 in 12:20. I was in about 9th place however several in the lead group were relay teams.
T1 was shoes off, helmet on, grab bike and go…:48.
The bike course was 10 miles of constant up and down…no flat! 1000 feet of ascending. I quickly got up to pace and began passing riders. I had one rider that would pass me on the climbs only to get repassed on the descents. I made up a lot of ground on the descents…some people just don’t like going fast! The turn around was at the bottom of a fast descent. I came in a little to fast and ended up locking up the back wheel but made the turn upright. As we neared the end of the ride I was trying to catch the rider in front of me. I was paying attention to him and followed him the wrong way. We made a little loop through the back roads and found our way back to the transition area…adding about a half mile to the bike. That set me back a few places. Bike time was 31:03. I averaged under 20mph! Top speed on the downhills was 40mph!
T2 was Helmet off, rack bike, running shoes on…1:21.
Run 2 was a repeat of run 1 with the addition of tired legs. I ran 13:23 and worked my way back to the last spot on the overall podium crossing the finish line in 58:55.
The podium…1st Brandon Nichols, 2nd Brian Hayes, and me in 3rd.
June 9, 2012…alarm clock blasts at 3AM! Quick breakfast, get dressed, jump into the pre-packed vehicle and hit the road. An hour and a half later I am at the Ft. Huachuca main gate. Make my way to Barnes pool. Rack bike, air up tires and set up transition. Then I picked up my packet…#20. I go for a short run to warm up. I jump in the pool to warm up…swim a 50 and then they get us all out of the pool to line up for the start. Not much of a swim warmup! They are using a new timing chip system and start format. Time starts when you cross the timing “post”, you grab any lane and go. Not a very smooth system. I quickly find a lane and jump in…diving not allowed. I quickly get into my pace and can feel the lack of warmup. This pool always swims slow…altitude, lack of lines in on the bottom, narrow lanes. I jump out of the pool after 800 yards and have no clue what my time is…I didn’t set my Garmin right. Oh well. Out of the pool I am in 7th or 8th place. I pass a few people in transition…helmet, bike, go. While putting my shoes on I hit a rough spot followed by a pot hole…water bottle ejected. No worries, it’s only a 12 mile bike. The bike is rolling and then a 3 mile hill to the turn-around. I picked off a few more people and by the turn-around was in 3rd. Shortly after that I moved into 2nd where I stayed. According to my bike computer I averaged 26mph…zoom! Bike racked, helmet off, running shoes on. Away I go. Hat, glasses and number belt on on the run. I felt pretty good early on the run…of course the first 2k is down hill followed by a short 500 meter hill to the turn-around. I made up a little time on the leader but knew I wouldn’t catch him. 3rd was coming fast so my thoughts quickly changed to holding him off. With 1.5k remaining I got passed. I tried to stay with him but the legs were not having any of that. So I dropped back into my pace and crossed the line in 3rd. As for the new timing system…2 days later and still waiting for “official” results. New company dropped the ball and no backup (manual) timing. No complaints though…where else can you do a tri and get a tech-t for $15. Once they get the timing sorted out they will mail out awards.