Full Vineman Triathlon - TriathlonFull Ironman

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
Guerneville, California
United States
Vineman, Inc.
87F / 31C
Total Time = 10h 39m 50s
Overall Rank = 18/747
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 3/92
Pre-race routine:

Up at 4:15am. Put on my race suit, sweat bottoms, a pull over, jacket and cool beanie I got from the Auburn Half (World's Toughest Half). Ate a banana and some watermelon before we left the hotel at 4:45. Ate a plain bagel with peanut butter on the way to the start. Arrived by 5:30. The designated parking area was not marked, or we didn't see it, but we had no problem finding a place to park...about a 5 minute walk to the site. Big line going down the hill to get into the transition area. Took about 15 minutes. Hit the bathroom around 6...lots of port-a-potties so the wait was maybe 5 minutes. Set up my T1, put on my wetsuit and gave all of my other gear to my wife. Headed to the water about 6:30 for my 6:36 start time. They let us in the water right after the wave before went off...2 minutes apart.
Event warmup:

Wow, not much! I did a short 15 minute swim at the race site the day before to get a feel for the water and sighting. Not much of a chance to do much swimming pre-race unless you head into the water well before the 1st wave...which I did not.
  • 1h 14m 7s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 45s / 100 yards

I headed into the water with the rest of my wave (#4) as soon as the gun sounded for wave 3. Waves were going off just 2 minutes apart. I headed to the far right side, about 15 feet from the far shore. Just an easy swim of maybe 20 yards, thats it Chatted with a few guys which kept me calm and relaxed. I didn't want to have another poor start like my past two events. We were still chatting when the gun went off!

My plan was to stay to the far right, out of most of the traffic and just focus on form...my own sucky, slow form, and just stay relaxed the whole time. Worked well as I had no issues with the entire swim. Hit the shallow spots on the way upstream but kept a high elbow to minimize the times my fingers would hit bottom. More shallow spots at the far turn. I did end up standing, walking a few steps and then diving back in.

Found myself drifting to the far right on the return, going downstream, on both laps. Don't think it cost me too much time.

I did much better this time when I encountered traffic. I was more confident and stayed strong to avoid having to stop. Didn't do too much drafting, maybe just a few minutes on each up and back. Certainly an area for me to work on.

2nd lap seemed to go by quickly and before I knew it I was nearing the swim exit!

Came out of the water feeling really good, with my wife, mom and dad there cheering for me!
What would you do differently?:

I just need lessons as I know my form sucks. Got to improve my swim if I want to really compete!
Transition 1
  • 03m 12s

3rd best T1 in AG, 14th overall. Quick T1. Removed cap and goggles then pulled wetsuit down to waist while running to my bike. Stepped out of wetsuit and stuffed it, cap and goggles into the T1 bag for transport to the finish. I'd decided to clip my shoes onto my bike prior to mounting and I was going to run the bike up to the top of the little hill after the mount line. Only problem was all of the people walking their bikes! I ran to the inside of them saying "excuse me". As I was mounting my bike, I caught my big toe on the rough pavement, slicing a nice chunk from the end of my big toe...nice big piece of skin hanging there...oh well, I'm trying to become an Ironman today! Luckily it didn't bother me much throughout the day.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Good T1
  • 5h 26m 19s
  • 112 miles
  • 20.59 mile/hr

My plan was to go fairly easy for the first 20 miles or so. I thought I was cruising along, feeling like I was going easy but I was flying by people. (I expect some of this as I'm a middle of the pack swimmer but a strong cyclist and runner) Two guys did pass me during the first 5 to 10 miles but that was about it...til "post crash"...but I'll get to that later!

Nutrition-wise, the plan was to drink when thirsty and take in calories every 20 minutes, (Garmin 310XT alarm set to 20 minutes) goal is 300 calories or so per hour. I had more than that with me so I had options!

I'd driven most of the course the day before so I knew the road surface ranged from excellent to total crap! Overall it was ok. Sure, some parts were really bad, but I'd say that 80+% were ok to very good. Maybe 10% was bad and about 10% was excellent.

Lots of rollers, some you could maintain your speed up the far side and others required dropping into an easy gear. I switched to a compact crank with an 11-23 cassette to give me a very easy gear (34-23) for Chalk Hill and one other spot, while giving me nice tight gearing from 11-17 without a skip. This means each gear shift from 11-12-13-14-15-16-17 gave me about 1 more mph....insuring I'd have just the right gear for my core speeds between 18 and about 25 mph. Worked great as I never found myself wishing I had something slightly bigger or smaller.

Aid stations were placed between 10 and 18 miles apart...I think. I started the race with 2 water bottles and one more bottle with about 1300 calories of Hammer Perpetuem. I also had 5 Bonk Breakers and 4 gels. I grabbed a banana at the first aid station at mile 18. Next station I ditched an empty water bottle and grabbed another one. Similar approach the whole ride. Worked well....except the Arrowhead water bottles that were handed out are not very tight in any cage. I lost one of these on each lap, different sections. Would be nice to get a regular water bottle vs the "sports bottle" from Arrowhead.

Saw course officials on the course many times...saw them recording some guys for penalties I presume. One guy was obviously drafting and them when he finally went to pass, the other guy did not yield after being passed so I'm guessing he got a blocking penalty. Saw others drafting throughout....come on people, where's your honor!!??

So I was feeling great, humming along at a great pace. I hit 56 miles, according to my Garmin, in 2:33 or so...faster than I'd planned, but it felt good. 2nd lap was going just as well when I heard sirens coming from behind me. The pre-race instructions were to slow and pull over or risk a penalty or even a citation, so slowed and pulled over for the two emergency vehicles. About 10 minutes later, just before Chalk Hill, one of the two emergency vehicles is parked across all lanes and a cop is there telling me to stop. I was the first person stopped here...over the 15 minutes that I had to wait another 30 to perhaps 50 athletes filled in behind us. Turns out some poor guy hit an ejected water bottle and went flying. They were waiting for a helicopter to take him to the hospital. I understand he ended up having a few broken bones and a rumor of a collapsed lung. Sucked for us to lose time....but hey, at least we were not that poor guy! This was between mile 97 and 98. Legs felt heavy when they finally let us go after the helicopter took off. Spun up Chalk Hill and cruised to T2 at a solid but not hard pace.

Overall, good bike. If I'd not been stopped for the emergency my bike would have been about 5:11.
What would you do differently?:

Back off a bit as my run was well off what I was expecting...or better, train harder on the bike as I only did 2 rides of 100 and 2 rides of 80....about 6 or 7 rides north of 50....so room to improve.
Transition 2
  • 02m 51s

Best T2 in AG, 13th best overall! Did lose my left bike shoe when I dismounted...I seem to have this problem all of the time. Must be that my "entry-level" Speedplay pedals just release too easily. Need to look into that as I had to stop, go back and get my shoe and then run with my shoe in one hand and pushing my bike with the other. Chatted with my dad over the fence as I slipped my socks and running shoes on, applied a few sprays of sunscreen and put on my race belt...then was off. Pretty good T2!
What would you do differently?:

Figure out why my pedals drop that shoe so easily on my dismount.
  • 3h 53m 21s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 55s  min/mile

This is where you are competing with your mind....the little devil that starts telling you that it's ok to slow down, it's ok to walk, it's ok to walk more! Damn, hated that guy!!

My goal was sub 3:30 with a 3:20 as my stretch goal. Started run at the right pace, about 7:50 avg for first 3 miles. I'd decided against using a fuel belt and carrying water like I use on my long training runs in favor of using all of the aid stations. This ended up being a mistake for me as needing to hit every aid station to keep hydrated, cool and fueled gave that nasty little devil the opportunity to convince me to walk and even stop...take my time. Most of the rest of the run were consistently in the 8:45 to 9:20 range with 3 really really slow miles of 9:59, 10:58 and 11:04 where I walked well past the aid station and most of the main hill.

Funny thing was that each time I started running after having stopped to walk, I felt fine; wasn't like the running was painful (until the final 3 miles when my quads were burning)....I just couldn't resist that little devil's suggestion to walk!

This was a significant learning experience for me....the battle that you have in your mind is far more challenging than dealing with a physical competitor.

The heat was significant, but I rarely felt the effects as I was sure to hydrate with water at all stations and put ice in the front and back of my tri suit. Ate bananas and peaches at many stations, tried cola at a few, and a cup or two of Gatorade.

My wife told me that the guy in 2nd place overall collapsed in front of them on his 2nd lap, likely heat exhaustion. He did not finish.

Around mile 15 or so, that little devil talked me into being ok with a 9 minute pace and just shooting to be under 11 hours. (I do understand that this pace and time would be a great thing for many, but for me, based upon my training and being a very competitive distance runner many years ago, was very disappointing) I'd basically settled for finishing in whatever Age Group place I ended up with....when my goal was Podium, ideally Age Group win. Out on the course, you have only a hint of where you might be in your AG. With about 2 miles to go, I came up on a guy in my AG. I made a fatal mistake that I would have never made years ago when I was racing in high school, I passed him with only a slightly faster pace than he was going. After a few minutes I could no longer hear his footsteps so I just tried to maintain this pace....about 8:00 or so. With about 1/2 a mile to go, I heard him coming! He passed me with a kind " great job man!" and proceeded to put about 50 yards on me. I pushed to keep him in sight....then started to reel him in, but too slowly. He beat me by all of 8 seconds and took 2nd place in our AG with me taking 3rd.
What would you do differently?:

1. Wear fuel belt- thus allowing me to stop only 3 times to refill my bottles while running through the rest to grab ice and perhaps a banana every other station. Time savings likely :45 to 1:00 per mile in this race

2. Mental toughness to ignore the damn devil talking in my ear to walk.

3. Remember race strategy if near the end. I have rarely been "out-kicked" to the finish. Keep 10-20 feet behind competitor til final 200 yards, then kick hard.
Post race
Warm down:

Massage of 15 minutes. Got my toe cleaned up in the medical area. Water. Got some food about 30 minutes post run at the athlete's food area. I ate about 2/3 of a double patty hamburger, lots of fruit, some pasta salad and a cookie. Walked around just a bit...my quads were feeling fried!

Didn't feel like eating dinner that night, crashed like a little baby in bed but tossed and turned as my legs were sore.

Next day legs (quads) still very fried, but feeling better than night before. Able to go up/down stairs much better...the night before I'm sure I looked like a 90 year old man!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Swim - I just need professional instruction....something I've never had. I think with some coaching and not much more effort, I could shave 10 minutes off of my swim time.

Bike - Nothing anyone can do about the crash and being stopped for 15 minutes. I've become a strong cyclist, but of course I have much more room to improve here as well. Overall, I'm happy with the bike!

Run - This was the big area of limitation for me...and on what is/should be my strongest event. It all came down to the devil on my shoulder/in my head! During the run, after about mile 4, the nasty little guy started telling me it was OK to start walking all of the aid stations...then about mile 10 it was OK to walk the hills....then it's ok to walk a little before and certainly after the aid stations. At one point I walked a good 1/5 of a mile or so....that is just not me! Funny thing was that each time I started running AFTER I'd been walking, I felt fine! It just felt so darn good to walk! MENTALLY - I let this little devil get the best of me. In hindsight, I'm very confident that if I'd had worn my training fuel belt, filled with water, I could have hit only 1 aid station per lap to re-fill my little bottles and run through the rest, just grabbing a banana or something. NOT listening to the little devil! Between those two, I'm pretty confident I could have knocked 20-25 minutes off of my run time.

Event comments:

An amazing event for my first Full Iron distance triathlon. I would HIGHLY recommend this event to anyone and everyone. Outstanding volunteers. Good food, great aid stations, plenty of restrooms both pre-race and at every aid station. The whole community was out cheering and helping! On the run there must have been 5 to 7 people with hoses out spraying you down if you wanted it as you ran/walked/crawled by! Beautiful venue with so much to do. Just Awesome!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-11-29 12:00 AM
01:14:07 | 4224 yards | 01m 45s / 100yards
Age Group: 33/92
Overall: 185/747
Performance: Good
Suit: Sleeveless
Course: 2 loop, up and around. Always turning to your left. Upstream to start, very mild current. Spots along the upstream and at the far turn are very shallow...like 2 feet. good number of people would stand up and walk for a bit. Very nice water, clean, but not real clear...visibility only 3 to 4 feet it seemed.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 71F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 03:12
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
05:26:19 | 112 miles | 20.59 mile/hr
Age Group: 6/92
Overall: 23/747
Performance: Good
Hit the 55 mile timer in 2:36:23 according to the race timing....Garmin had my 56 mile at about 2:33 or so when I glanced down during the race. AVG HR was 132, which is Zone 4 LTHR for me. 2nd lap was a bit slower, but shows as much slower as I was stopped for about 15 minutes for a bike crash....read more in my comments.
Wind: Little
Course: Open course to traffic, mostly not an issue. Police and volunteers did a good job of showing you the way. Lots of rollers and plenty of sweeping turns. One rather steep hill, Chalk Hill. Not very long, but you'll want an easy gear. I'm a fairly strong cyclist and I used a compact (50/34) with an 11-23 cassette. I spun up Chalk Hill in my 34/23 at about 65-70 rpm...still a slow cadence.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 83
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:51
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
03:53:21 | 26.2 miles | 08m 55s  min/mile
Age Group: 3/92
Overall: 27/747
Performance: Below average
Avg HR was 122
Course: Out and back along partially shaded roads. Far turnaround had timing mat, near turnaround was in finishing chute and also had timing mat and a bracelet was provided to show # of laps completed. Do three out and backs for run. Open course along mostly 2 lane roads with one side coned off for event. Very limited traffic, handful of cars at most on each lap. I felt very safe. Aid stations located about every mile with water, Gatorade, cola, ice, bananas, peaches, grapes, cookies, chips, Clif bars, Clif blocks. Many also had a hose to spray you down and great volunteers helping out. Port a potties at every aid station too. Many locals were out along the course, some with hoses to give you a nice cool spray if you wanted. Some flat, some rollers with one moderate hill for each out and back.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
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