Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Possibilities Triathlon

Two years ago Kylie and I met at this race, so it is now a permanent fixture on our annual race calendar.

It is another reverse order sprint triathlon, the distances are 5km run, 11 mile bike and a 150 yard pool swim. There is also a 5km race run concurrently with the tri. While it has a small race atmosphere with many first time triathletes there are also a few fast pros every year enticed by the $5000 prize purse.

The gun went off and right away a number of people flew to the front, some that should be at the front, and a few that fell off the pace within a couple hundred yards. I built into the run and ended up coming into transition in just under 17 minutes in 4th place overall.

I had a VERY poor transition, knocking one of my shoes off my pedal exiting transition. I have used the shoes on the pedal method for over 10 years and well over 50 races and this is the first time that has happened. While I was laying my bike down, going back to get my bike shoe and getting on my bike I was passed by Kate Major and Julie Swail (a week after she qualified for her 2nd Olympic games).

The bike course consists of three laps of a rolling course that has very little flat ground, so you are climbing or flying downhill at 27+mph. While nobody passed me on the bike I felt very flat and was not able to make up any ground on those ahead and did lose some time to those behind me.

Coming off the bike I was too far back to catch anyone in such a short swim so I got through transition and did the swim with very little pressure. I ended up going 51:25, 6th overall and first age grouper.

I was also taking a three day continuing education class this weekend so when I finished the race I grabbed my clothes, watched Kylie finish (3rd in her AG), showered and drove out to Palm Springs for the last day of my class. Kylie stayed for our triathlon club meeting and I picked her up after my class and we headed home in time for me to meet with my boss for a business meeting.

A VERY busy weekend, I was almost looking forward to the work week for a bit of rest ;-)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Renegade Off Road Tri

Kylie and I raced our first mountain bike triathlon this past weekend. We have wanted to do one for some time and I got a free entry to this one when I won the Redlands Triathlon in February!

It was a local race held at Bonelli Park in San Dimas, CA. It was a half mile swim, 15 mile mountain bike ride and a 3 mile run. After the race we planned to head out to Redlands to watch the Redlands classic bicycle race so we also brought our road bikes to ride around the course and watch the pros. Between two mountain bikes, 2 road bike, wetsuits and other tri gear plus "normal clothes" the CRV was packed.

It was a smaller race so there was just two waves: men and then women plus relays. It was the first beach start I have done for a long time and the running in and dolphin diving really got my heart rate up. So much so that I had to take it really easy for a couple moments to get my breath. I ended up coming out of the water in second about 15 seconds down on the leader but was first out of transition onto the bike.

Within a couple hundred yards I missed a left turn as the kids pointing us in the right direction weren't ready yet - oops! Fortunately they had a ribbon across the finish line so I turned around. I rode the beginning of the first loop with another rider but lost contact on the first steep section of single track. Over the next lap and a half a number of other riders passed me as well. I was cursing myself for not checking everything on my bike more closely as my seatpost kept slipping and I had to stop to adjust it a couple times each lap.

The course went through some beautiful fields of wildflowers that were taller than us and right to the edge of our handlebars on the singletrack trail. Unfortunately, it was very easy to miss corners as you couldn't see the markings on the trail until you were on top of them due to the tall grasses.

Coming off the bike I was down in about eighth position. The run started with a very steep uphill run and did not get easier as the entire course was continuous uphills and downhills. It was tough but fun. I managed to pass a number of the people who had passed me on the bike and ended up in third place overall and won my age group.

Mountain bike tris are definately require a different type of fitness. On the road you can maintain consistant heart rate/watts/effort. On the mountain bike, your heart rate is skyrocketing on the steep uphills and then on the downhills you can't just coast because there is so much more techincal bike handling skills needed.

Kylie also had a great race, even after setting a Personal Best in a 5km the previous day! She was 2nd in her age group and 5th woman overall. No pictures of me but here is one I took of her near the end of the bike.
They had a computer glich so the awards never happened, but we are looking forward to getting our awards in the mail. They had these cool pint glasses, I like these much better than the standard medal that will just sit in a drawer somewhere.

Afterwards we went to Kylie's work to shower and then rode our road bikes through Redlands to meet up with some of Kylie's friends to watch the bike race.

On a sad note Kylie's grandfather passed away this weekend. We visited with him this past Thanksgiving and I am glad I had the opportunity to meet him. He was a wonderful man and will be missed by all.

Friday, April 4, 2008

California 70.3

Despite the always cold water and frequently cold weather, I enjoy racing "Ralphs" as I will always call it, because it has great competition. This year was no exception, although the air and water temps weren't as cold as they have been other years.

Friday morning I went to the pool for an easy swim. Unfortunately, walking from my car, still half asleep, I slipped in some water from the lawn sprinklers at the Rose Bowl. I kind of did the splits and I caught my toenail on the concrete and tweaked my back trying to stay upright. Moments later when I dove into the water my back REALLY went into spasm.

I had to cut my workout short because it hurt to swim. I then had to bear with the pain while treating patients at work that morning.

After lunch Kylie and I headed to Oceanside to register for the race and walk around the expo. We were also able to chat a bit with a number of friends, including ironclm and a few slowtwitchers, MarkyV, and a couple friends of mine from Canada who Kylie had met at Cervelo brainbike recently, Tereza Macel and Chris Bastie.

Afterwards, I called John Martinez from Coastal Sport and Wellness to find a chiropractor to work on my back because it hurt any time I rotated my neck or upper back. His chiropractor was not in the office that day so he recommended Elite Care in Encinitis. Fortunately, Dr. Rich was able to squeeze me into their schedule and provide some relief.

We then headed to our host extrordinaire's John's house. We had a good evening hanging out and eventually heading off to bed.

After much tossing and turning I finally fell asleep lying on an ice pack. In the morning we got up and headed to the race site. I made the final bike preparations and rode to the transition area and got ready to race.

I was in an earli-ish wave so very soon it was time to head to the water. As a pleasant surprise the water wasn't as cold as anticipated so I actually didn't really need the neoprene cap I wore. I had also worn arm warmers under my wetsuit to help keep me warm on the bike. I didn't anticipate though, how heavy the arm warmers would be when they were wet. Despite my heavy arms I had a decent swim of 27:21.

After a quick transition I headed off on the bike. I wore my arm warmers, and a pair of 99cent gardening gloves on the bike and was never cold.

I had been wooried about large packs on the bike as the first three age groups were M25-29, M40-44 and M35-39. Fortunately, this was one of the lonliest rides I have had in a half IM.

Just before the tunnel I heard a noise as my water bottle containing my spare tubular, C02 and pitstop came loose. I stopped and grabbed it so no one would hit it and crash. Fortunately, just past the tunnel there was a tent belonging to our tri club Inland Inferno. I threw the whole thing at the tent and yelled for someone to take it home with them.

I continued along the the front side of the course and soon realized that we had a much different wind than normal. I was heading north at 27+ mph at an easy effort on low watts. Sure enough once we turned south onto the hilly backside of the course we had a headwind into our faces the whole way. I developed a couple shadows here that stuck with me for the rest of the ride but there were less people around than I had seen earlier in the course.

On Vandegrift where there is usually a big headwind it wasn't so bad this year. Overall I felt consistent through this ride. My average watts were 219 and my normalized watts were 237. Going back just now, I checked and my watts up to the first climb were 221 and 237NP, so I held exactly the same NP on the first and second half of the bike ;-) My time was 2:39 which was about 10 minutes slower than I expected due to the wind.

I got off the bike and immediately felt my run legs beneath me. I actually had to keep slowing myself down as I knew I did not have the run miles recently to hold that pace for 13 miles. Despite trying to get myself to slow down I knew the second half of this run would be tough when I went through the turnaround at 42 minutes - oops ;-)

The second lap did slow down some but the worst part was how sore my feet got due to the concrete surface combined with my wornout race shoes. I want to thank everyone who was cheering me on out there, you all helped greatly. I probably didn't acknowledge very many people on that second lap as I was digging down and focused on finishing that lap. Run time was 1:29.

Overall I went 4:41, about 4 minutes slower than last year but I moved from about 30th in my AG to 6th, showing how much tougher it was out there this year.

Kylie got a few great photos including the one above of me at about mile 7 and the one below where Craig Alexander had moved ahead of Any Potts with about half a mile to go before Andy outsprinted him at the end by only seconds!