Friday, August 13, 2010

Troika Race Report

Just the Numbers:
The race included a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike and a 13.1 mile run.
Swim: 39:00 - Pace: 1:51

T1: 1:58
Bike: 2:42:55 - Pace: 20.62 MPH
T2: 1:03
Run: 2:00:15 - Pace: 9:11 Minutes Per Mile
Final Time: 5:25:11

Date: August 1, 2010 

Last August I decided to learn how to swim so I could compete in a Triathlon in 2010.  Up to this point I had done a few duathlons,1/2 marathons and 1 marathon, but never a Triathlon.  My goal for 2010 was to complete a Half Ironman distance length Tri.  I chose to do Troika due to the convenience of it being local.  So earlier in the season I did a few sprint triathlons to prepare myself for Troika.

The swim course took place in Medical Lake.  It was to be clockwise around the buoys, which I was bummed about because I breath to the left and I would be able to spot better if it was counter-clockwise.  At first I lined up on the outside, but then I saw a buddy of mine (Lee) line up in the inside.  I asked him, "what are you doing?", and he replied, "there's not many people over here".  I looked around and he was right.  So I decided to start off in the inside near him.  As I heard the start I took a few strides in and dove in to the shallow water.  The water was dark, dirty, mucky and weedy.  I just swam.  I was bumping into people in all directions.  I would run into people and they ran into me.  I tried to stay horizontal when spotting but a few times my body went vertical and I knew I was going to lose time when that happened.  I didn't time myself so when I got out I didn't know how long it took me.  As I was running up the grass hill I was giving Rosi and the girls a thumbs up... just then I tripped and caught myself before I fell and kept on running to Transition 1 (T1).

The way this transition works is, you are given a black garbage bag that has your race number sticker on it.  When you leave from T1 your wetsuit and all your stuff from T1 needs to be in that bag.  They later transfer it to the finish where you pick it up.
As a general rule, when you come out of the water after a swim you want to take the top of your wetsuit off, then goggles and cap.  Because I was busy giving my family the thumbs up and tripped afterward when I got to my bike I realized I hadn't done any of that!!  Oh nooo!!  I quickly took off my goggles and cap and threw them in the black bag.  I tried to get off my wetsuit but I couldn't find the string!  I heard Chris and a few others yelling to me where it was hanging but those few seconds that passed seemed like FOREVER!!  I finally found the zipper string, unzipped, dropped the wetsuit on the ground and put on my bike shoes, helmet, sunglasses etc.  I put everything into the black bag, grabbed my bike and gave a thumbs up as I was leaving transition.  I was feeling GREAT!

I took off on the bike and just started cruising.  Everything was going great, I was passing a lot people.   I passed a few guys who were 60 years old and I was thinking to myself, "man, they must be fast swimmers!".  I am always amazed at the age and shape of triathletes, it is very inspiring to see.  Just past the Medical Lake Park entrance was a left turn, I kept going straight and two people yelled, "you're suppose to turn back there!".  Arrggg!!  Why didn't they point me in that direction before I passed?!  I quickly did a U turn in the middle of the street and got back on track.  I over shot a turn on one other occasion, but it wasn't as bad as this first one.  At one point on the ride the FAN VAN came by!  Rosi, Reanna, Raelene, Deb, Elise and Kyle were in the van.  Reanna was in the back with Elise taking pictures and Rosi rode shot gun and video taped.  I blew the girls a kiss and kept on riding.  It was GREAT to see them on the course.

Before the race starts you put all your T2 stuff into a white bag and put it into a red pickup expecting it to be at T2 when you get there.  As I rolled into T2, which was at Riverfront Park, someone yelled my number: "109!".  I got off my seat and coasted into the dismount area.  For some reason I wasn't dismounting though...ooops...someone yelled, "get off the bike!"  I got off my bike just in time to cross that timing mat.  A young fellow holds open a white garbage bag to me and yells, "put everything you aren't going to need into this bag!".  I thought I was just going to use the one bag I dropped off before the race so I didn't understand what was going on, where is my stuff?  I say, "huh?!".  He says again, "Put everything you aren't going to need into this bag!".  OK I get it now.  I quickly drop my helmet into the bag and bike shoes.  Someone else hands me my T2 bag which has my running gear in it.  I immediately dump it on the ground as the girl who handed me the bag says, "don't you want to sit down?".  No thanks!  I put my fuel belt on, pop on my shoes, visor and grab my GPS as I give a double thumbs up to Rosi and the girls before I leave T2.  I can hear them cheering me on the whole time!  :-)

I was in race mode and feeling great up until now.  Once I exited T2 I started feeling my quads and I felt them like I haven't in a LONG time.  I don't know if it was cramping, soreness, nutrition or going too hard on the bike.  Each stride going forward was like I was in the weight room squatting and it was PAINFUL.  I quickly went from race mode to survival mode.  Around mile 5, I saw some friends and they had already done the turn around.  From this point on I decided I would walk through the aid stations, which I have never done in any race prior.  Athletes were passing me at mile 8 and at this point it didn't matter to me.  I saw Natalie and she looked strong on her run.  As I walked through the aid stations I grabbed 2 cups of water, drank a little, poured some water in my fuel belt bottle and the rest over my head.  It took everything in me to keep on running and not walk.  When I crossed the finish line I was exhausted, but very happy because I knew it was finally over.  My quads were aching and very sore, I was depleted of nutrition and all I could think about was finding something to drink and to eat.

Post Race

I drank a few cups of water and used a hose sprayer to shower myself off so I could cool down.  I later put ice packs on my quads in the med tent.  After I ate a few sandwiches and drank lots of water I started to come back to a place in my body and mind that I was once again familiar with.


A BIG THANKS to the FAN VAN (Rosi, Reanna, Raelene, Deb, Elise and Kyle), Lee, Kathy, Frank, Jennifer, Todd M, Chris, Joy, Greg, Nat, Nate, Merissa, James, Cusacks, Wordens, Byrds, Wilcoxs, Steve, Trish, John, Craig, Kurt, Pheadra, Rodger, my buddies on BT and SO MANY others!!!!

The competitors out there were AMAZING!! This race was one of the hardest, most challenging things I have ever done in my LIFE!! I am SO impressed with long distance triathletes, the mental toughness and pain that is endured is unbelievable!! Cheers to all the supporters, volunteers and Troika finishers!!!! What a great day it was to race!

Tri-fusion friends: AMAZING athletes and supporters!

The Frenchs' & Guerreros' gettin' CRAZY!   :-)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Some Helpful Road Bike/Tri-Bike Links

I really like this article, Biggest Bang For Your Buck In Time Trial Equipment, it discusses "drag difference" of different equipment for a bike and the cost of that equipment.  I am thinking I need to get an aero helmet some time soon! :-)

Bicycle Repair Guide - Video Tutorials, lots of "How To" information for your bike.  I have to admit I haven't read a lot of information on here but I do want to when I have more time.

When I finally bought myself some aerobars for my bike this video, Maximizing the Aero Position,  was really helpful for installing them and body positioning.

And the last article, Triathlon Fit on a Road Bike,  discusses some adjustments that need to be made and what to look out for when adding clip-on aerobars to a road bike.