Life as a triathlete, Vehicross's and off-roading

Posts tagged “transition

Deuceman…wind, wind and did I say wind?

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 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.

2011 USAT Duathlon National Championships…Race report!

Awoke to the alarm clock early today. It was race time once again. The race…USAT Duathlon National Championships. The venue…Oro Valley, Arizona. Being able to sleep in my own bed before a big race is nice…unfortunately, although an outskirt of Tucson, it is about as far away in Tucson as it could be. Me on the furthest southwest side…race on the furthest north westside.

So, after making the hour drive to the race site, I unloaded my gear, walked the 1/4 mile to the transition area and set up my gear. Having plenty of time I was able to relax, talk to friends and competitors, visit with the coach (who was also racing), make one last visit to the porta potties and get in a short warm up run.

I was in the 3rd wave which included all males in the 40-49 agegroup. So after watching the first waves I made my way into the starting shoot. I lined up near the front. The wait always seems to be twice as long when waiting for the starters horn…1 minute till start was announced and 5 minutes later the 30 second warning was given. With the sounding of the horn we began the opening 5k run. The course starts off uphill, then a short downhill to a turnaround, back up the short hill then downhill to another turnaround and then finishes with another uphill…no flat sections on the course. I went out at a comfortable pace and floated around the back of the main group. My legs were feeling good so after the first turn around I picked the pace up a little. In doing so I began to pass a few people. On the downhill I upped my pace a little more, but kept it comfortable knowing there was still a nice little uphill to tackle before the transition. I hit the 2nd turnaround and counted about  10 people from my wave in front of me. I then started the uphill section. I kept a strong, steady pace. At the top of the hill I took the turn and entered the 1st transition feeling good. Run time 18:58. First transition 0:48…in and out fast.

The bike consisted of two loops, rolling hills and again no flat areas. The distance was 35k. After mounting my bike I settled into a comfortable pace so that I could finish the ride strong. This worked well for me…nearly everyone that passed me early ended up coming back to me and dropping behind. The wind began to kick up by the second lap and the course became a bit more congested. From what I saw, everyone appeared to be riding clean (no drafting). Only real problem was people not staying to the right when not passing or drifting left when I was passing. On the second loop I was feeling good. Coming down the last downhill section I was hitting 35mph and getting pushed around a little by the crosswinds. I made the final turn and began preparing for transition 2. Feet out of the shoes and lifted my helmet visor. As I approached the dismount line I threw one leg over the bike and was quickly off and running into transition. Bike time…55:20 (23.5mph average). Transition went smooth and fast. Another 0:48 and I was off to repeat the run course.

My running legs came around pretty quickly and I settled into a good strong pace. The second run always hurts so you just deal with it. Again I picked up the pace at the first turnaround and began to push the pace. Hit the second turnaround and saw the elite (pro) men coming on fast. They were on their first run as they started in the last wave. I started the final uphill as the elites began to pass. I used them as motivation and began to see how long I could hang with them as they went by. Didn’t stick with them long but each time it allowed me to pick up my pace and hurt just a bit more. I knew I was close to the finish and the pain would be short. I hit the top of the hill, took the final turn and pushed all the way through the finishing shoot. Final run…20:32. My finish time was 1:36:24, 6th place in the 45-49 agegroup and 48th place overall amateur. Very happy with my performance against a very strong field. Qualified for the Duathlon World Championships in Spain but will be passing on the spot.

Overall the event was very well organized and ran smoothly. The weather was great, the volunteers were fantastic and the traffic control outstanding. Next year the event will again be held at the same venue and I will be back to move up a few places!