Grand Rapids Triathlon - Half Iron Course - Triathlon

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Ada, Michigan
United States
76F / 24C
Total Time = 4h 23m 15s
Overall Rank = 21/727
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 3/93
Pre-race routine:

The GRT was selected by USAT as the LC National Championships and a qualifier for the 2015 World Championships which will be held in Sweden in June 2015. After a great experience racing at the World's in Spain (2012), the family thought racing as TeamUSA in Sweden might provide an excuse for a great trip in 2015. So, I signed-up and headed out to Michigan.

I arrive on Thursday evening to allow time to re-con the course and layout. I also had the opportunity to test out some great local restaurants - an unexpected surprise. Race logistics were a bit of an issue as you had to park and walk your bike about 15' on race day morning.

Side note - I like the idea that USAT shifted the qualifier into June. The Oct qualifier races were not well attended and had weaker fields as they conflicted with Kona. As a direct result of the June date, the GRT was well attended with a healthy population of KQ'ers.
Event warmup:

Walked in the pouring rain to Transition and quickly put on my wetsuit as it was the only thing I had that would keep me warm. Got into the water for a warm-up. The water 76F, too warm for wetsuits. (Soapbox - USAT should adopt the ITU wetsuit temp of 72F vs. 78F).
  • 27m 25s
  • 2356 yards
  • 01m 10s / 100 yards

Had a good start and lead the 3rd wave for the first half of the swim with two others who were drafting. At the turn around, I switch-up and drafted off another Blue-wave swimmer. A good swim with a ~1:10 pace. There was a surprising number of strong swimmers in the field.
Transition 1
  • 02m 1s

Had wet suit strippers, which was nice. Not too sure how much time that saves, if any. Took the time in T1 to put on my bike shoes. Super long run out of T1 with the bike. Slow as usual, but did the necessary.
  • 2h 19m 15s
  • 56 miles
  • 24.13 mile/hr

Starting in the old-person 3rd wave has it advantages. I passed a majority of the folks from the earlier waves on the swim, but there were still a fair number of racers out on the bike course which provided some targets to chase. Exited T1 with a group of racers. With the rain and slippery roads, I went harder than planned to get away from the other riders. About 3 to 4 miles into the ride I had dropped the other riders. With the rain and road splash it was tough to see my Garmin or the potholes.

This was a fast out-n-back course with ~1,300' of elevation gain. My ride was strong averaging just under 24mph. I reached the turn around in 1:11. I unclipped to make the turn as I crashed in my last race at the turn around. As soon as I unclipped, I completely cramped up. I had to come to a complete stop, re-group, relax and then re-start. I was starting to wonder about the run - if I was cramping up so bad on the bike.

The ride back to T2 became crowded, especially when we hit the OD turnaround. The vast majority of racers were trying to race clean and keep the necessary distance. (Note to racers - When you start overtaking a line of spaced racers you have to overtake everyone. Do not go half way and drop into the middle of line.)

Got back to T2 with a sub 2:20 ride - very happy as biking has historically not been my strong suit. That being said, 14th OA bike. Very happy with that.

Nutrition : With the cooler weather I would not be able to take in the necessary nutrition via liquid, so I had planned on 5 gels and 1 bottle of EFS. Early in the ride, I lost two gels. Fortunately I had two extra bottles on board so I made up some of the lost nutrition with additional liquids. Not ideal, but glad I had a back-up plan that allowed me to skip all the fuel stops.
Transition 2
  • 02m 21s

Racked the bike. Sat down to wipe off the feet, put on dry socks and calf sleeves. Again, longer than others, but took the time to do the necessary.
  • 1h 32m 2s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 02s  min/mile

When I started the run, the course was heavily populated with sprint and OD racers. It was a little difficult to identify the 70.3 competitors and then figure out if they were in the same wave. I was also starting with a nutrition defect due to the lost gels. I started my run with a bottle of liquid EFS (400 cal). I sipped on the EFS for the first 45 minutes, then shifted over to GRT Gatorade.

This first half of the run is a process of figuring how fast you can go with out cramping up. I zeroed in on a steady 7min//mile pace. At the first turn around I spotted a M45-49 AG'er about 1 minute ahead of me. Over the next 40 minutes I systematically closed the gap and then finally overtook him. I thought I was in a position to potentially podium, but with the long transition and rain on the bike, I suspect I might have lost track of a few competitors.

The last four miles were a challenge, but I held the 7 min pace. In the last mile a M45-49 racer passed me, I tried to keep up but he was running 6:30s and that was not an option for me. Finished the run in 1:32. Very pleased.
Post race
Warm down:

A great race with a very solid bike and run. 3rd in AG against a competitive field is great. BTW, if I was racing M40-44 I would have won the AG! I was looking to break 4:30 and raced a 4:23 :) Time to start planning for Sweden!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2014-05-15 12:00 AM
00:27:25 | 2356 yards | 01m 10s / 100yards
Age Group: 2/93
Overall: 8/727
Performance: Good
Course: One Loop
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 76F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 02:01
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
02:19:15 | 56 miles | 24.13 mile/hr
Age Group: 3/93
Overall: 14/727
Performance: Good
Out-n-back. AHR147.
Wind: None
Course: Out-n-back. See :
Road: Rough Wet Cadence: 76
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:21
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:32:02 | 13.1 miles | 07m 02s  min/mile
Age Group: 10/93
Overall: 58/727
Performance: Good
AHR 152
Course: Two loop course with some hills. See :
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
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