HITS Triathlon Series: Palm Springs - Olympic Course - TriathlonOlympic

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La Quinta, California
United States
HITS Triathlon Series
55F / 13C
Total Time = 3h 10m 36s
Overall Rank = 147/191
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 31/35
Pre-race routine:

Same as usual except for the fact that I was not at my house. Coffee, ensure drink, cliff bar, V8 juice.
Event warmup:

Got to the park with plenty of time, grabbed my timing chip and set up transition. Had about an hour till the sprint wave and 1.5 hours until the Oly start. Just walked around, got some air into my tires, went to the bathroom and sat in the car for a few minutes. Finally the time came to get my wetsuit on and head to the beach. I wanted to watch the sprint distance go off.
  • 45m 48s
  • 1640 yards
  • 02m 47s / 100 yards

The sprint course started at 8am so I mad my way there to watch them go off. It all started okay with the traditional mass start then about 5 minutes in things got scary. I suspect that for some people this was their first tri and like me, that mass start is a scary thing if you haven't been through it before. Well at least 5-8 people made their way to the first buoy and something clicked that made them frightened and wanting to quit. The problem was that there was only 2 lifeguards! So there were people who froze up and had no one to rescue them, they were literally screaming for their lives. It was something that I hope I never see again. A few brave oly distance people swam out to help them, the race director had to jump in and rescue someone as well. Not a good start to the day. I made my way into the water and immediately realized just how cold 58 degrees! I started to feel real nervous about the swim so decided to practice my stroke for a few minutes and did start to feel good about the swim again. I made sure to stay in the water the entire time before our wave because I wanted my body to stay acclimated. Made my way back to the beach for the start. The RD shouted the countdown(couldn't get a bullhorn???) and off we went. I made sure to try and stay near the back, got into the water and slowly started to swim. I felt great for about two minutes and then "BAM"- hyperventilation set in! Oh shit I thought and started to look for the closest kayak. Grabbed a hold of it and realized that I hadn't even made it to the first buoy, looked at the shore and seriously considered quitting. But I tried to catch my breath and decided to carry on. Made it to about the second buoy and looked for another kayak. I just couldn't catch my breath and felt dizzy, very scary things to happen when there is no place to rest and you cant touch bottom! I rounded the first buoy and thought to myself that this was the last triathlon that I was ever going to do! After rounding the buoy swam to the first buoy and had to reach for another kayak! Eventually after a few stops I made it to the beach(while being lapped by the string swimmers who had already mad their way around the course twice! I finally touched the shore and almost walked to the car, but decided that I would plunder on. I felt very dizzy rounding the beach and almost fell. I thought to myself that I would not make it. I made it about 25 yards then asked my kayak again. This time I was spent and dizzy, couldn't breath too well and asked for the boat to come get me and bring me ashore. The boat pulled up ready to bring me ashore, but I said "Let me try one more time" so off I went. Made it to the halfway point buoy, which I grabbed a hold of to rest and try to catch my breath. I rounded the buoy and had to grab a kayak again. The lady in kayak recognized me from the the first time and made sure I was ok. I laughed and said yes, looked back to see if I was the only one left and saw maybe two or three people left in the water. Some lady slowly passed by me and said "We are going to make it!". I chuckled and said "yes we are!" I let go of the kayak and begged the lady to paddle next to me as I swam to the finish. Fortunately she did and I slowly but surely headed back, grabbing on a kayak one more time. The last 50 yards I probably swam the best I did all day, mainly because I was trying to survive and make it back to shore. Once I touched land I turned and blew the lady in the kayak a BIG kiss and said "I Love You!" much to her laughter. The volunteer at the swim exit said to me "My first tri I swam kayak to kayak too" which was meant to console me I guess! I basically just laughed and walked upt to the T1 area to see my bike lonely and deserted! I laughed again and decided to just enjoy the rest of the day.
What would you do differently?:

Well I have already contacted a coach for swim lessons because I clearly need to learn a proper technique. I can't keep having these bad experiences or I will just say the hell with it. I also think that the wetsuit I was wearing was too small(forgot my wetsuit and had to rent, a whole other story!)which compressed on my chest which probably didn't help with my breathing.
Transition 1
  • 04m 2s

Wasn't worried about time as my swim was so bad I was one of the last people in T1!
  • 1h 25m 42s
  • 24 miles
  • 16.80 mile/hr

Heading out of T1 there was a very small hill which wasn't a big deal. I don't remember some of the very beginning of the bike, probably because I was nearing hypothermia(kidding, but I was freaking cold in the swim). It felt like a movie and I remember wondering "what I was doing"? at one point! But I finally made my way out the course on the old bianchi and starting plugging along. Tried to stay in the aero position but couldn't keep it for very long so I just rode the bike like a road bike for most of the day. I did pass some people along the way which felt good, but all of sudden the wind kicked in and it was brutal at times. For a few portions I felt like I was peddling but going no where! Finally made my way back near the beginning and saw most everyone else on the run course. I felt embarrassed riding back as everyone was probably thinking "what an idiot, he's still on the bike!". I saw some strong runners and wondered if they were the leaders. It was a humbling moment for sure.
What would you do differently?:

I need to get into a tri specific bike sometime this year. The old bianchi is fun but I just feel like I can do some much better on the bike leg. Need to stay in the aero position for most of the time, especially on a flat course like this.
Transition 2
  • 02m 18s

Made my way back, got un-clipped and coasted to the dismount area. Walked the bike back into T2 to the cheers a some over zealous volunteer and racked the old bianchi. Got my shoes on and grabbed my water bottle with endurox. Headed out for the run
  • 52m 45s
  • 6 miles
  • 08m 47s  min/mile

Headed up the small hill which felt like the hills at Lake Mead after the day that I had in the swim then out to the course. I felt strong and told myself to try and beat my PR for the run since it was a flat course. I didn't want to waste this portion of the tri so I really went for it. I had a great pace and was passing a lot of people on the way out. Felt good with no cramping and I even left my water bottle at the beginning of the run leg because I didn't like the feeling of it on my hand. I ate a few shot blocks and hot up the aid station at the turn around. I did walk through the aid station to consume some water and HEED. A few minutes after I started running again I felt REALLY good and thought that maybe the HEED had something to do with it. I told myself that I would try that out when I got home and I just ran 13 miles for for the first time today(Dec 15, 2011) in part because of using the HEED drink! Made my way back home and crossed the line.Come to find out I did the entire course in 3:10:36 which was a PR for me, but the run and bike were not the full 6.2 miles and 24.8 miles. The run was not even the full 6 miles according to my Garmin and the bike was a little short as well. But either way I was happy to set a new PR!
What would you do differently?:

Going to start aerobic threshold training this year which I hope will improve my run time.
Post race
Warm down:

This was the first race that I was actually hungry immediately after so I grabbed an orange, danish and pretzels, plus water. I sat down for a few minutes and tried to stretch.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Read above, swim was horrendous, bike was not good and run needs improvement!

Event comments:

Limited lifeguards for sprint, freezing cold water(not their fault), blistering winds(not their fault), no distance markers, very few volunteers on the course(a cop told me where to turn or I would probably be still riding on the course right now!), kept playing the trailer for HITS series over and over in the beginning while setting up transition(would be nice to have some music playing to get you motivated) and only two aid stations for run(no aid stations for the bike but I don't care about that for such a short ride). It felt like the half and full distance got most of the attention and that was where they placed their focus for this event.

The transition area was by far the best I have ever seen with a dedicated box and seat for EVERYONE. That was a great touch(see picture below). The "tri-tats" were cool and the race numbers with your name made you feel like a pro!

Pictures: http://www2.brightroom.com/89406/667

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-11-03 12:00 AM
00:45:48 | 1640 yards | 02m 47s / 100yards
Age Group: 34/35
Overall: 35/191
Performance: Bad
Suit: Full wetsuit
Course: Out and back, then turn beach turnaround for another out and back
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 58F / 14C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Bad
Breathing: Bad Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Below average
Time: 04:02
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
01:25:42 | 24 miles | 16.80 mile/hr
Age Group: 30/35
Overall: 35/191
Performance: Average
Wind: Strong with gusts
Course: Out along the course, very flat but brutal winds
Road: Potholes Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Below average
Gear changes: Good Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:18
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
00:52:45 | 06 miles | 08m 47s  min/mile
Age Group: 25/35
Overall: 35/191
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? No
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? No
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3