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.
First race of the season is in the books. 2015 Life Time Tri Marquee in Tempe, Az. on Apr.12 was my first olympic distance race in over 15 years. Leading into the race I have been dealing with a knee issue. My running has been cut from my usual 40+ miles per week to a painful 8-10. Run fitness was pretty much non existent. That said the plan going in was to have a solid swim, ride hard and hobble home.
Race morning alarm went off at 3:00. After a quick breakfast I met up with my coach, Brian Stover of Accelerate3. Brian was my ride for the day to Tempe. We had made arrangements with the race director to pick up our race packets on race morning. We arrived at Tempe Town Lake at 5:30, giving us 15 minutes to get our packets. After getting our packets I found my assigned rack spot and went about setting up my gear. For some reason the guy racked next to me decided to set up his gear on the back side of his bike…not leaving me much room. I kindly suggested that there would be more room for everyone if he would set up on the proper side. The suggestion fell on deaf ears. So I set up in what space I had. With about 25 minutes until the first wave started, I made my way down near the lake and put my new BlueSeventy Helix wetsuit on. They then lined up the waves. I was in the 5th wave, mens 50+. There was 4 minutes between waves so my wave was set to go off at 6:50. After the singing of the National Anthem by friend and fellow 50-54 agegroup athlete Dan Cadriel, The pro athletes were off. 3 more waves and then it was our turn. As soon as the 4th wave was off we were allowed to jump into the water. I was among the first in and swam to the start line. The buoy line curved slightly to the right so I lined up in the front row on the far right side. The plan was to swim a straight line to the turn buoy. The horn sounded and off I went. From the start I had clear water. Most everyone else was hugging the buoy line. My plan worked well. My sighting was on and I felt good. The 69 degree water temps were perfect and the new wetsuit was working great. About 300 meters into the swim I started catching some of the green caps that started in the wave before me. As I got to the turn buoy I caught a large group of green caps but was able to navigate my way through them fairly smoothly with minimal contact. On the back stretch of the swim i swam the buoy line. I passed numerous other competitors from the earlier waves. I made the final turn and headed in to the exit stairs. The volunteers assisted me to my feet and the strippers did their job efficiently, quickly removing my wetsuit.
1500 meter swim time…25:43 (5th in my agegroup/78th overall), right about what I figured it would be.
I made the run to the far end of transition and quickly found my bike spot (thank you person that marked the rack with a fluorescent green cloth strips). Dropped off my goggle, cap and wetsuit, put on mt helmet, grabbed my bike and ran for the mount line. T1 time…1:20 (5th in agegroup/75th overall)
Once on the bike I quickly got up to speed and got my feet into my shoes. The course is a 2 loop flat, fast course with wide fast turns and a few 180 degree turn arounds each loop. Throughout the bike my legs felt good. the first loop went smooth. By the second loop the the sprint and slower competitors had made their way onto the course. I had to keep my head up looking out for traffic throughout the loop. Riders were all over the road, riding on the right, not holding lines through the turns and making conditions dangerous. On several occasions I had to slow my pace so that I could safely pass. But I made my way safely. As I made my way towards T2, I slipped my feet out of my shoes. I made the last turn and stepped off my bike at the dismount line running.
40k Bike time…1:03:48 (4th in agegroup/35th overall).
Racked my bike, removed my helmet, put on my run shoes, and then as I ran out of T2 I put on my hat and glasses and sucked down a gel.
T2 time…1:17 (5th in agegroup/90th overall)
As expected, right from the start my knee began to hurt. The concrete run course was no help. However, once I got warmed up my knee bothered me less. The course was 2 loops around the lake. The sun was getting warmer and I made sure to hydrate well at every aid station. The first loop I was able to maintain around 7:30 pace. I was passing some of the slower people, but as expected the fast runners began to go by me. By mile 4 my knee began to hurt more and my lack of run fitness began to catch up with me as my pace slowed. With about half a mile to go my knee got very painful and I limped my way to the finish line.
10k Run time…51:49 (18th in agegroup/174th overall). I was hoping to go :50 or under…but I found out the course was a little long so I was right at my goal.
I crossed the line in 2:23:55, only about a minute off my best time 15+ years ago as a much younger person. I was 7th in the 50-54 agegroup and 71st overall (out of 550).
After the race my knee was quite sore. Ibuprofen and ice helped alleviate the pain.
Next up is TriZona Sahuarita, Tempe International and Deuces Wild all in May. That will be followed by no running to allow the knee to properly heal. Then hopefully I will be able to squeeze in a few late season races.
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.