Got The Nerve? Triathlon - TriathlonSprint

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Mt. Gretna, Pennsylvania
United States
Chris Kaag
70F / 21C
Total Time = 1h 19m 8s
Overall Rank = 22/594
Age Group = M 30-34
Age Group Rank = 3/58
Pre-race routine:

Drove to race, ate almond butter on toast with a bottle of water and a coffee on the way. Set up transition, listened to some tunes.
Event warmup:

Some dynamic stretching and a short run with 3-4 30" pickups to get the blood flowing.
  • 07m 47s
  • 500 yards
  • 01m 34s / 100 yards

Time based on my Garmin data - timing mat was closer to transition, so will be different than official result. Had a few minutes in the water between waves, so got my head acclimated to the cold and paddled around to warm-up the swim muscles. Felt good from the start - didn't struggle or get out of breath. Started at the front of the pack but a bit to the outside to let anyone faster get away without too much contact. Started catching the slower people in the previous wave by the first buoy. Couldn't really find anyone to draft off. Siting and navigation felt great - worked on my new OWS siting technique and it kept me straight. Didn't concentrate too much on my stroke - my weird right hand motion we found on video analysis last week seems to be being re-programmed by muscle memory. Anytime I paid attention to it, it didn't seem to be present and I didn't need to correct. Did work on rolling and extending during the middle of the swim. Overall a little disappointed with the time - would have liked to be about 20-25 seconds faster.
What would you do differently?:

This was the one leg of the race that I felt comfortable on, could probably have pushed a little harder. Need to continue refining my stroke to get this leg faster.
Transition 1
  • 03m 39s

Felt ok coming out of the water - exited with someone else from my age group, and immediately passed him as he looked a little wobbly. We had a little bit of a run to transition due to weather-induced changed to the transition area- I didn't all-out run as some of the surfaces were slippery, but didn't get passed by anyone on the run into T1. Had my helmet, goggles and top of suit off easily before getting to the bike. I took a quick seat to take off my wetsuit legs - my new lubing strategy must have worked because it was the first time I didn't get stuck on my heels!!! Slapped on my helmet and glasses, fumbled with helmet strap a bit, stuck my race belt on and ran out of transition. Unfortunately the center of transition was being churned into a mud pit. I still haven't mastered mounting the bike and getting into my shoes well, so I put the shoes on at transition and run in them. Some mud got in my cleats and I had a little trouble getting clipped in on my left foot. A little slow getting up to speed due to traffic, a narrow road and potholes.
What would you do differently?:

Hmmm...honestly went pretty smooth. Could have tried running away from the center of the transition aisle to avoid some of the mud.
  • 46m 11s
  • 15.34 miles
  • 19.93 mile/hr

I came out ready to lay it down on this course, and probably tried too hard and didn't have quite enough respect beforehand for the hills and overestimated what I could do on this course. Effort felt hard from the beginning, but I was happy with my speed so I kept pushing. On the first small climb I had some sense that I wasn't going to be able to push this out as hard as I wanted. I was mowing down slower people in the previous waves, but had yet to spot anyone in my age group. A few miles in I got passed by one other racer, we traded back and forth a bit before he got in front of me for good - I noticed he was definitely faster on hills than me. I settled in on the hills and ground them out as hard as I could without red-lining. Downhills were good, although I was a little conservative on turns. Big fast downhill after the last climb that I finally through off caution and hammered down the turns aero.
What would you do differently?:

Sleep and recovery - I'll discuss that more below. Potentially I could have backed off a little at the beginning, but I don't think it would have improved my time. When I previewed the course 2 weeks ago I did the hills slow to stay with my fiancee and give her moral support as these were some of her first decent climbs on a bike. I think it gave me a false sense that they were fairly easy - I should have attacked at least one of them to see what race effort was going to feel like. Again, a bit disappointed with the time - actually my slowest bike average since I got my tri bike last year - even slower than my first HIM last fall :-( Update - my Garmin said this was 15.34, race website says 16...if it was 16, my average was over 20, which makes me happier.
Transition 2
  • 00m 56s

My best flying dismount yet - totally smooth, the highest speed I've dismounted at yet (meaning not almost at a deadstop) and running smoothly as soon as I hit the ground. Found my spot quickly, had bike racked, helmet off, shoes on and glasses changed...and then paused for a second because it all felt too fast - I think easily my best transition in my 13 races so far!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing different, honestly. Waiting to see the splits among racers to see how it ranked, but it may be my first transition under a minute.
  • 20m 43s
  • 3.1 miles
  • 06m 41s  min/mile

Tried not to go out too fast - wanted to get into a good cadence and rhythm and felt like I did that. Once I hit the trail and realized it was downhill, I stepped it up a bit as I knew I would be slower on the way back. Passed the one person who passed me on the bike just before turn around - turns out he was a pro mountain biker - explains why he was so good on the hills on the bike course, but couldn't run as well :-p We both had similarly flashy tri-suits, so felt an instant kinship. The way back was a grind - tried to focus on keeping my cadence and working my arms well, but was definitely losing focus. Once I was back to the flat, I knew I was close and decided to turn up the volume - could see one racer in front of me and wanted to give a shot at getting him, but he was too far and had turned it up a bit himself.
What would you do differently?:

Again, rest and recovery. A little disappointed with this time, too, was hoping to do about 10-15"/mile faster.
Post race
Warm down:

A little stretching, some food, a big kiss from my dog and fiancee :-)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I had a crappy week of sleep leading up to the race and an overly long day at work on my feet the day before. I feel like my training and taper were fine, but was definitely mentally tired and not quite physically recovered to perform at my full potential today.

Event comments:

Great race - very well organized, supports a great cause and had some activities for spectators, too. Organizers adjusted well to some changes due to weather - the area transition was supposed to be in turned in to a marsh due to the heavy rain we've had the last few weeks. Volunteers staffed every turn and every area on the bike that needed some extra caution. Bike course is fantastic - besides the initial road at transition, the roads are smooth, its beautiful and the climbs make it a challenge. The addition of the elite wave was nice - gives the really good people a way to directly compete against themselves, and increases the chances of regular age groupers like me getting some hardware :-) Definitely a great way to start the season, and I hope I can fit it into my schedule next year.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-02-28 12:00 AM
00:07:47 | 500 yards | 01m 34s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/58
Overall: 46/594
Performance: Average
Suit: Xterra vector pro x2 full
Course: Triangle in the lake, no current or chop.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 60F / 16C Current:
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:39
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Below average
00:46:11 | 15.34 miles | 19.93 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/58
Overall: 30/594
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Course: Single loop with lots of shade, some nice flats and about 3 significant (IMO) climbs. Roads overall in great shape - just the immediate couple hundred yards in and out of transition that were rough and had some potholes - holes were well marked, lot of volunteers to warn you about them and some had been filled from when I visited the race site 2 weeks ago.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 93
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 00:56
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
00:20:43 | 03.1 miles | 06m 41s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/58
Overall: 31/594
Performance: Average
Course: Out and back, mostly on gravel trail. Nothing high grade, but going out has a slight incline before hitting the trail, then a slow decline to turn around...which means a slow incline back to that point.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5