Ironman 70.3 Vineman - Triathlon

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
Guerneville, California
United States
Vineman, Inc.
80F / 27C
Total Time = 6h 40m 27s
Overall Rank = 1608/2155
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 214/252
Pre-race routine:

With the Vineman 70.3, you are required to drop off your run transition gear, pick up your race packet and attend a 15 minute race meeting the day before the race. Thus my wife and I drove up to Windsor, CA the Friday prior to the race to take care of these requirements.

The day before the race, after I have finished with the race expo festivities, I reviewed my race plan and also dumped all my gear out on the table to do a final check to see if I have everything I need for my swim and bike ride. Then I put all my gear back into my bag and put the bag next to my bike so that in the morning those 2 items are all I need to remember to bring with me. I usually leave the house at 4:30am, thus I'm not totally awake yet. So as long as everything I need is in a designated corner, then I shouldn't forget anything...keyword "shouldn't"...

The morning of the race, I woke up at 3:30am and made a B-line to the coffee machine to get a cup of coffee. :) Ahhh...the magic of caffeine! I also ate 2 slices of toast with Biscoff spread for some morning calories. I did some dynamic stretching along with going over my race plan again. Sometimes I get chafing under my arms during races. Thus for this race I first put on some BodyGlide under my arms and then I put on my Under Armour compression base layer t-shirt. At 4:30am I wake up my wife and pack up the car with my race gear. For this triathlon, there are two transition areas. Thus we needed to drive about 30 minutes to the swim/bike transition area in Guerneville. We got to the transition area around 5:00am and easily found parking. The parking fills up fast so we needed to get here early even though my swim wave didn't start till 6:42am. After parking, I grabbed my bike, grabbed my swim gear and walked down to Johnson's Beach where the transition area was setup.

Event warmup:

My warmup consisted of many, many, many arm circles. If I don't do these arm circle warmups, then during the swim I would get a popping noise and feel in my shoulder when I rotate my arm.

  • 47m 48s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 16s / 100 yards

Last time I did this race, I didn't plan well and had to rush into my race wave which ended up with my goggles giving me issues during the whole swim because they were too tight when I crammed them on my head. Thus this time I got my wetsuit on and went down to the water 30 minutes before my race wave. I ate some Shot Bloks for a last minute boost before the start of the race. The professional triathlete waves started first. It was cool being so close to them and watching them enter the water.

When I got in the water, my timing chip on my ankle felt like it was going to fall off! That would have sucked because I don't think I would have been able to find it in the river! Thus I rechecked it just to make sure it was tight. Also I dipped my head a below water a few times to make sure my goggles did not take in any water. Good to go!

Given I didn't spend much time training for the swim, I made sure to stay at the back of my wave at the start so I don't block the faster swimmers. Once the gun went off, I just focused on my breathing and technique. The swim leg is my worst part of the race, thus during the swim I kept telling myself "this part will be over in less than an hour"..."just keep swimming and then you can have your fun on the bike".

Each swim wave has their own swim cap color. The sad thing about my swimming ability is that during my swim, I started seeing swim cap colors that started after me passing me up. It's unfortunate but was expected. :( As I got close to the swim finish, I quickly ran through the steps I needed to do during the first transition (aka T1) in my mind.

What would you do differently?:

Spend at least 2 days a week for swim training and invest in US Masters Swimming lessons with the goal of being able to complete this 1.2 mile swim in 40 minutes.

Transition 1
  • 04m 34s

During the race meeting, we were reminded that it is not legal to have our bike shoes clipped in on bike when setting up our transition area. Thus an extra step in this transition for me was to put on my bike shoes and run with them. This was a little dangerous because I have the speedplay cleats under my bike shoes and they can be slippery at times. But with any race, you have to be dynamic with your plans and adjust accordingly. Don't stress the little things!

Recall for this race there are two transition areas. Thus one awesome service included in this race is that they bring your first transition gear (aka wetsuit and other stuff) back to the second transition area (where the race finishes) for you to pick up after the race. All you have to do during transition, is to put all your stuff in the plastic Vineman bag that they give you at the expo and then the bag magically appears at the finish area!

One thing that was different was the transition exit mat. Previously they had the exit mat (this mat stops your transition time) at the bottom of the hill that gets you out onto the bike course but this time the exit mat was at the top of the hill. I thought I would be able to run through the exit mat and take my time up the hill in my bike shoes but this was not the case.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. This transition went perfectly!

  • 3h 21m 18s
  • 56 miles
  • 16.69 mile/hr

Per my plan, I started the bike portion really easy. There would be plenty of time to push the pace later. I stopped outside of transition, just a few miles, to put on my bike gloves and to take my nutrition out of the ziplock bag that held all my bike stuff. I stopped outside of transition because I didn't want these few minutes added to my transition time. :) Also, I put all my bike nutrition and other stuff in a ziplock bag so that they don't accidentally fall out during the chaos of transition.

During the swim I sometimes don't fully exhale during my breathes, thus it builds up in my stomach and makes me feel bloated. Thus to resolve this issue, I took a couple of gas-x pills. Problem solved!

I tried to stay in aero position on my aero bars but ended up spending most of the ride on the handle bars. I think one of the reasons for this was because the road was so bumpy that I didn't feel in control of the bike on the aero bars as much as I was grabbing the handle bars. Unfortunately I had to take the downhills slowly due to my lack of high speed downhill confidence. I'm perfectly fine when I am on my road bike going downhill in the drops but for some reason it is different for me on my tri bike. It's just something I need to put more time in on I guess.

Part of my race plan included keeping my bike pace at around 190 watts but in the end it ended up at 176 watts. Thus I could have completed the bike leg faster if I stuck to my goal power.

I had to stop at each aid station to use the porta potty to pee. I know this cost me time but it was better than my other plan of relieving myself while I was on my bike. ;) (FYI, if you see liquid dripping from the cyclist's bike in front of you, then I would recommend backing off because that liquid is not coming from their water bottle.)

My nutrition plan consisted of eating ~300 calories per hour. Specifically, I ate 3 Shot Bloks every 20 minutes and drank one bottle of H2O every hour mixed with 1 GU Brew electrolyte tablet.

The weather was overcast for the first half of the bike leg which was awesome for me given I'm a heavier athlete and my body overheats quickly once the temp gets above 80 degrees.

During the last few miles of the bike leg, both my quads (near the knee) were feeling like they were going to cramp. Luckily they didn't but this would come back and get me in the run. I did the flying dismount perfectly to end the bike leg!

What would you do differently?:

Do more strength training, specifically squats to build up my leg power and increase my threshold power. Also, I would do more long rides in power zone 3 for training with the goal of finishing this bike course within 2 hours and 55 minutes.

Transition 2
  • 04m 13s

The dismount line is pretty far from the transition area but it was okay because that left a lot of space for spectators to watch the athletes run by pushing their bikes. For me it was farther given my transition area was the 2nd to last rack at the back. Oh well, no big deal.

When I got close to my transition spot, I was a little bummed because I noticed most athletes at my rack were already out on the run course. :( Moving on, I got to my spot and racked my bike. Hung my helmet on my bike, took all the crap out of my back pockets and tossed them in my helmet. I quickly but calmly put my socks and running shoes on. The back of neck stinged (ouch!) when I sprayed sunblock on my head and neck, this was due to the wetsuit rubbing on the back of my neck during the swim. Finally I turned my race bib around to the front of my body, grabbed my hydration belt and jammed out of transition.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. This transition went perfectly!

  • 2h 22m 34s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 52s  min/mile

It was awesome getting out of the transition area because the first quarter mile of the run you have spectators cheering you on! I'm part of the Forward Motion Race Club and it was great seeing people from our team cheering us on from the sidelines.

After just a mile into the run, my quad muscles (near the knee) were lightly cramping. Thus I pulled over to the side and did some stretching and drank some electrolyte drink. After the cramping subsided, I continued on running and tried to keep a 10 minute per mile pace. Given there are a lot of rolling hills on this course, surprisingly, the first 6 miles went really well! I even jogged up the "big" hill around mile 4 instead of walking it! At mile 6 is when you do your stroll through the La Crema winery. It was cool running through the vineyard.

The best part of the whole run course was here at the vineyard. Imagine running through a bright tunnel as long as a bus. Now imagine water being sprayed at you the whole time you are running through the tunnel. That was the best and it came at a good time during the run given the sun was fully out now and the heat was creeping up into the 80s.

At mile 8 "the wheels" started to fall off. I was having a hard time keeping up my pace and had to walk a couple of times. I tried to motivate myself by saying "...okay, just jog to the next aid station and then you can walk again..". At mile 10 I sent a text to my wife telling her where I was at and how long I expected it to take to get to the finish line so she can be there to see me.

My run nutrition plan included taking 1 Clif Shot every 3 miles and drinking H20 miked with GU Brew electrolyte tablets. This worked well except when I forgot to take my last Clif Shot at mile 12. That was probably why mile 11 to the finish was really hard and included a lot of walking. I even grabbed some peaches from one of the aid stations and hoped they worked like they did in one of my previous Ironman races. They helped a bit but not much. Darn. Well, the last mile was physically tough but mentally it was easy because of all the cheering spectators, especially my wife ringing her cowbell for me in front of the finish line! :D

What would you do differently?:

I would remember to take my last Clif Shot at mile 12 to get me through the finish and practice more training with tired legs with the goal of finishing this run course within 2:00 hours.

Post race
Warm down:

My warm-down consisted of walking through the athlete finish area and congratulating all of the FMRC athletes that finished the race too.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of training specifically in the swim and on the bike. I will sign up for masters swimming classes and do more long bike rides (3+ hours) when training for my next Ironman.

Event comments:

I loved their variety of drinks and food at each aid station during the run. The finish line also had a good variety of food but unfortunately the chicken that I got for my chicken sandwich was pretty dry. :( Other than that, I would definitely recommend this race to my friends and I wouldn't mind doing it again to get a faster finish time.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2013-07-14 12:00 AM
00:47:48 | 2112 yards | 02m 16s / 100yards
Age Group: 236/252
Overall: 1975/2155
Performance: Below average
Suit: xterra
Course: The swim course is an out and back which starts in front of the dam at Johnson’s Beach and proceeds upstream stream to the turn-around point with very shallow parts where you can stand up during the course.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 04:34
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
03:21:18 | 56 miles | 16.69 mile/hr
Age Group: 223/252
Overall: 1683/2155
Performance: Good
Avg HR 142; Normalized Power 176w
Wind: Little
Course: The bike course is challenging, but not too difficult. Its many rolling hills and curves are technically demanding. It has just under 2000 feet of climbing, including a 385 foot climb on Chalk Hill, which is enough of a challenge because of the location. Its comes at mile 45 of the ride...keeping you honest in your training and race pacing.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 60
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 04:13
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:22:34 | 13.1 miles | 10m 52s  min/mile
Age Group: 208/252
Overall: 1509/2155
Performance: Average
Avg HR 150
Course: The 13.1 mile run course starts and finishes at Windsor High School and includes rolling hills (not a flat course at all!) and a stroll through the La Crema Winery.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %N/A
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4