Sunday October 21 2012 Tempe Arizona 1.2 mile swim 56 mile bike 13.1 mile run…the SOMA triathlon.
Soma was to be my season finale and was one of my “A” races. Training leading into the race had went well. I was feeling good.
With all my gear packed I drove up to Tempe on Saturday afternoon. On the way up I swung by to pick my host for the weekend John, who along with his wife were kind enough to allow me to stay with them, and then headed to Tempe Town Lake for packet pick-up, the expo and the official grand opening of TriSports.com’s Tempe store. After finding a parking spot I, packet pick-up was a quick affair. No lines…in and out. I then checked my bike in and placed it in my assigned spot on the racks. I scoped out the entrances and exits for the transition area to familiarize myself with the flow of traffic for race morning. John and I then browsed the row of vendors at the expo. Timing chip pick-up was a short walk across the street at TriSports Tempe. I got my chip, said hello to TriSports CEO’s Seton and Debbie and got my first in-person look at the new shop. Was honored to see a rather large image of me gracing the shop window! For the grand opening TriSports had brought in some of their vendors to show off some of the new goods we will be seeing soon in the shop. Zipp was there with their new Super 9 clincher disc…the first public viewing outside of the trade shows (eurobike, interbike). Very nice wheel. Bucks the new standard…is completely flat from hub to tire mounting surface. No bumps, or bulges but it retains the dimples. Also on display was the new BH Aero TT/Tri bike. Very clean lines reminiscent of the newest super bikes. The big difference is the amount of adjustability (at the expense of a slightly “dirtier” front end…cable routing). A reversible stem, use of aftermarket stems and a seat post that is adjustable from 74-80 degree seat tube angle give lots of options.
During the expo the temperatures were very warm…it was going to be a hot race day!
After the expo it was back to Johns house where he whipped up a great dinner. A little T.V. and then it was time to get some sleep for my early morning wake up.
After a solid night of sleep I awoke at 3:50…10 minutes before my alarm. Breakfast of 2 bananas and a blueberry bagel was washed down with a bottle of water. I then loaded up and drove to Tempe Town Lake. I arrived there at about 5:30…plenty of time to set up my gear, relax and prepare for the upcoming chaos. With all gear set up, and a last visit to the porta potties it was relax time. I found a spot near the water entrance were I sat and met Alan, a 65 year old competitor. We chatted until it was time to line up. I put my wetsuit on and found a spot near the front of my wave group. I was in wave 5 which included all male competitors from 45-55 years of age. The waves started in 4 minute intervals. Reported water temp was 73.4…wetsuit legal. After watching the first waves go, it was finally time for my wave to hit the water. I jumped in amongst the first few people to allow for a short warm-up. I was able to get in a little over 5 minutes of warm-up and then found my way to the middle of the front row for the start. The waves were fairly small…in the 200 people range. I felt good and was relaxed.
The horn sounded and we were off. I quickly found clean water and found my stroke rhythm. The swim is a rectangle shaped course. About 500 meters into the swim I was at the front of the second pack. I then started catching people from the 4th wave. At the turn buoys I made my way through the traffic with little contact. I then started catching people from the 3rd wave on the return trip. I was feeling good. I made my way back under the Mill Ave. bridge and had the swim finish in site. I made the final turn and found my way through the congestion to the exit steps. As soon as I stood up on the steps my left calve cramped immediately…ouch! Not a good sign. I removed my wetsuit with the help of the “strippers” and ran in to transition.
A quick glance at my watch showed a 33:xx minute swim.
T1…helmet on, grab bike and run out to the mount line.
Flying mount and the bike had begun. I slipped into my bike shoes and quickly got up to speed. The course is mostly flat, 3 loops with 20+ turns on each loop. I was quickly moving through the field. Mid way through the first loop I started getting cramps in my vastus medialis just above my knee began to cramp. If I got out of the saddle…cramps, if I tried to apply more power…cramps! The remaining 2 1/2 laps I just tried to maintain an even effort in hopes the cramps would subside. Fluid intake was good, I took in all my carbs and plenty of electrolytes…the cramps continued. The air temp was still fairly cool and the heat didn’t start to build until late in the bike. I continued to make my way through traffic while only getting passed by a few on the bike. As I approached T2 I slipped out of my shoes and made my way to the dismount line. I threw my leg over the bike and jumped off running. I could feel the cramps in my legs and knew it was going to take a major effort to get through the run. I racked my bike, helmet off, run shoes on. I took a few moments to Stretch and massage my legs a little to help alleviate the cramps. I grabbed my hat, sunglasses and number belt and put them on as I ran out of T2.
Bike time according to my bike computer was 2:38.
Within the first 1/2 mile my legs were already hating me. Run, cramp, walk…repeat. The temps now were nearing 90. At the aid stations I was taking in fluids in the form of water, Perform and coke. In addition I was taking in 2 salt tablets at each station in hopes that my cramping would go away. I continued this trudge through mile 5. That is when the wheels began to completely fall off. The cramping got even worse. A short time later I began to get nausea, then dizziness started to set in. As I approached the 6 mile mark I began to walk…staggering like a drunk person. A volunteer soon asked if I was alright…I was not. The volunteer called for medical and assisted me through the barriers to a tent. I sat down and my legs cramped severely and my breathing became labored. The volunteers gave me water, Perform and a coke. The EMT’s arrived quickly. Blood sugar was normal, paulse o2 was good but my blood pressure was very low. The EMT’s continued to monitor me for about an hour. My bp slowly began to rebound. They asked me to stand…insant severe leg cramps and my bp dropped again. I was then given a ride to the medical tent for observation. While there I consumed chicken broth (salt), Perform and water. After another hour I finally felt good enough to make my way out of the tent on my own. I found the after race food and got a plate. I saw Alan, from the morning sitting by himself and joined him. he had a great race finishing 2nd in his agegroup. Afterwards I packed up my gear in transition and made my way to my car, loaded up and made the drive back home.
A DNF is not what I had envisioned for my end of season. Only the 2nd DNF in my 20+ years of racing. I will live to race another day. Now it is time to recover from the season and then plan out the next race season…it is now officially the off-season!
Swim start (that’s me top left blue sleeves)
Biking through the pines
Running along the lake
This weekend was the Deuces Wild Triathlon weekend in Show Low, Arizona. Saturday’s festivities included the olympic distance and half ironman distance triathlons and today was the xterra triathlon. My weekend included the half ironman followed by volunteer duty for the xterra.
I arrived in Show Low on Friday afternoon. Show Low is in the White Mountains of Arizona and sets at just under 6500 ft elevation. In the near distance a large plume of smoke was visible from one of Arizona’s largest wild fires in the state’s history (as of today the 3rd largest and still 0% contained). The winds were blowing hard and were forecast to continue through the race on Saturday…oh joy! After arriving at the race venue, Fools Hollow lake, I picked up my race packet and then proceeded to find my camp site. My camp site was less than 2 miles from the race, nice and convenient! I set up my tent and then relaxed in the shade. I made a quick trip into town to do a bit of race meal shopping. My camp “neighbors” were quite entertaining…think of the old Honeymooners t.v. show. Unfortunately they were also quite loud! But, my ipod cured that. I put the finishing touch’s on all of my gear and double checked that I had everything. I then went and visited with some friends that were camped nearby. Back at camp early, I turned out the lantern, crawled into my sleeping bag and was sleeping by 9.
Race morning my alarm went off at 4:15. I crawled out of my sleeping bag to find that it was pretty cold. I quickly found a blanket and wrapped up in it while I ate breakfast…yoguart, a banana and a wheat bagel. I threw on my TriSports.com/Accelerate3 race kit and topped it with a warm up suit. I topped off the air in my tires. I then threw my gear backpack on my bike and took the chilly ride down to the transition area. This year rack positions were assigned by race number. I found my spot on the 2nd rack and set up my gear. I talked to a few friends who were racing and then relaxed for a bit. About 6 I started to get in to my wetsuit. I walked down to the swim start to get a short warm up in. Water temp was low 60’s. A bit of a shock when entering the water. I was able to get in about 200 yards before they started getting everyone back to the start.
After a short swim course talk the start horn sounded…no warning! Caught most of us by surprise but no one got an early start. We were off for the 1.2 mile swim. The first section of the swim curved to the right out of a small cove and went about 500 yards to the first turn buoy. The altitude, cold water and surprise start caused me to have breathing difficulties, a first in my 19 years of multisport racing. My chest felt constricted. I rolled over on my back and attempted to adjust my wetsuit to no avail. I rolled back over and focused on relaxing. After rounding the turn buoy I began to feel good again and focused on my stroke. My sighting was good and I swam straight along the buoy line to the 2nd turn buoy. This was the long leg of the swim and the buoy came quicker than I expected. I made the turn and began to head back to the cove. I rounded the corner and could see the boat ramp. As I exited I took a glance at my watch…the first 500 yards had cost me about 3-4 minutes! I stripped my wetsuit down to my waist as I ran up the ramp, plopped down and the “strippers” smoothly yanked my wetsuit the rest of the way off.
Swim time…35:14, good enough for 4th fastest in the 45-49 agegroup.
Transition 1 was quick and smooth…helmet on, grab bike, go! T1 time…1:40, fastest of my agegroup.
I mounted my bike at the mount line got up to speed and got my feet into my shoes. I was off for the 56 mile bike. The bike course was rolling hills for the first 45ish miles then has an 8 mile grinding climb. It’s not steep but just keeps on going followed by a short rolling downhill. The wind was blowing at 40+ mph. It was a head or side wind the whole day until the final few miles. I felt strong the whole ride. I took in all my carb drink…2 large bottles with 6 scoops of carbo pro in each. At a couple of aid stations I grabbed water wash down the carbs. A few riders who passed me early in the ride made their way back to me before the long climb. About mid way up the climb the olympic distance race bike course ties into the half iron course. I began using them as targets to motivate me, picking them off along the climb. I made the turn back towards the transition and was rewarded with what seemed like the only tail wind during the day. About 100 yards from the dismount line I slid my feet out of my shoes, made the last 2 chicane like turns, and as I hit the dismount line hopped from my bike running. I made my way through the chute and into the transition area. Bike time…2:43:57, fastest in my agegroup.
Once again transition went smoothly. Hung the bike on the rack, helmet off, running shoes on, grabbed my hat, sunglasses and number belt and off I went on my 13.1 mile, 2 loop tour of the lake and campground areas. As I ran out of T2 I put on my sunglasses, hat and belt. The first loop of the run I planned on going easy so that I’d have some fuel in the tanks for the second loop. The first couple of miles along the lake was windless and hot. The late morning sun had warmed to the mid 80’s. I maintained a strong but comfortable pace. As we climbed out of the lake area into the campgrounds the wind came back and helped to cool me along with the shade of the tall pines. I wound my way through the campground and then began the out and back section of the loop. I was able to see the competition and saw no one that looked to be in my agegroup. After the out and back there is a short downhill followed by an uphill that took me back near the finish line. At that point the olympic distance guys turn for the finish and us half iron guys veer off for another short out and back. I asked the volunteers how many had gone through the out and back and was told 10 to 15. Not to bad. We then ran by the transition area and began the 2nd loop (a repeat of the first minus the short out and back section). My legs were feeling good so I picked up my pace a bit. Once again there was no wind and lots of heat around the lake area and wind on the high section. I made my way through the campground, the out and back and then up the final hill…this time to make the turn into the finishing shoot. I crossed the finish line and received the best thing ever….a nice, icy cold popcicle!My legs were jello! My T2/run time…1:49:11, 3rd fastest in my agegroup.
Overall time…5:10:04, 1st place 45-49, 15th place overall male and 17th place overall (yea, I got chicked x2).
Today (Sunday) I was again at the race site early after breaking down my camp and packing everything in my car. Began the day feeling pretty good. I directed transition traffic for the xterra race. As the morning progressed the muscles began to tighten though. However, still had a great time volunteering! Some quick fuel, mexican food compliments of the race and then drove 4 hours back to Tucson.
Next race is the Firecracker Tri at the UofA.