Pigman Long Course Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Palo, Iowa
United States
JMS Racing Services
83F / 28C
Total Time = 6h 19m 26s
Overall Rank = 208/293
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 27/32
Pre-race routine:

Weird pre-routine all around. The sponsor hotel had 3 wedding receptions and an anniversary booked the same evening, so the noise in the open atrium didn't help anyone sleep. I still managed close to 7 hours, and got up feeling well-rested enough. I had the usual staples, a bowl of cereal, banana, granola bar, and yogurt. Got to the event site around 6:30 and we were still able to park in the lot closest to transition, which was nice. Thought we'd end up farther away.
Event warmup:

Found a good spot in transition, inflated tires (but not carefully enough, as you'll discover in a bit). Had nice guys on either side, plenty of space for all of us to be comfortable but not squeezed in too tight. Had a Gatorade fuel pack, attended the pre-race meeting on the beach, did some arm stretching and was ready to go.
  • 34m 11s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 37s / 100 yards

In wave starts I have a mentality (and necessity) to start out strong then settle in, especially as my swim times have continued to improve and there no longer being a reason for me to stay at the back. Regardless, I still got in at the end of my wave because I really didn't see the point of jostling for position in the gate. Hit the water well, and settled into a comfortable pace right off the back. We were swimming directly into the sun, so sighting was difficult if you were looking towards the turn buoy. The course markers were easier to find. Because of the TT start, traffic was very, very light. In fact, over the entire swim I only made contact with about 5 people at most. I know I did a lot of passing, and only saw 3 from the following wave get past (makes sense, I started at the end of mine, and they were likely strong swimmers starting at the front of theirs). The second leg was the longest and I wondered how long until that buoy was going to get here! But after that last right-hand turn I picked it up just a little bit, but not much. I had something to prove on the bike and didn't want to lose any energy.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe go out a bit stronger at the start, and then settle in. Also consider moving up towards the middle, even in a TT start.
Transition 1
  • 26m 14s

Sadly, that's not a typo. Long story short, my tube got pinched when I was inflating the rear tire in the morning, and I had a bulge when I took it off the rack. At first I thought "No problem - at least it's in T1. Swap out with my spare and I'm right back out there." I wish. I swapped it out in less than 5 minutes, but that's when the bad luck hit me: the place I bought my last tube from (out of state) didn't sell me one with a long enough valve stem. It just barely poked out, and it wasn't enough to get a cartridge adapter on. Oh I tried! I went through my cartridge and a spectator who saw my troubles threw me another. Both wasted. I asked if anyone had a pump, but again - the stem was too short. In desperation, I walked up and down transition, asking all volunteers if they knew if the bike wares vendor was open. No one knew. I had given up when someone asked if I needed a new tube. I said "either that or a valve stem adapter". They said they had both! The adapter did the trick, and I was finally back out on the course.
What would you do differently?:

Always, always, ALWAYS check your repair gear when you buy it to make sure it's the right size! Newbie mistake, a lesson learned the hard way. Also learned that when in trouble, just start yelling out what you need - there are angels that are too happy to assist you.

Can I put down anything worse than "bad" underneath here? Because "god-awful" fits better.
  • 3h 03m
  • 56 miles
  • 18.36 mile/hr

Think things couldn't get any worse after that awful T1? Think again.

I was so relieved to get on the bike and have a chance to finish, I missed something critical. I didn't fully realize it until around mile 10. Heading out after you leave the park, there's a nice, long, gradual downhill. I was sure I could get up to the mid 30's, but checking my Garmin it said I was only topping out at 25mph. Hmm. That doesn't seem right. Maybe my Garmin is out of whack today. That actually was confirmed when I saw the mile 10 marker, and Garmin said I was only at 8.5. OK, so the GPS is screwed up with mileage.

I still felt slow. Why? I started listening more, trying to hear something, and when I had a chance to go downhill and not pedal, that's when I heard it. A constant, light scraping noise. I looked behind and saw my left brake caliper pressing against the rear rim. #^$&#*^*!!! Are you freaking kidding me? I reached back and tried to see if I could nudge it back and get it 'unstuck', and it worked - until I hit the next bump in the road (and there were many, every few feet it seemed). I didn't have any wrenches in my pouch, so that wasn't an option. I'd just have to suffer through and finish.

I did finish, and I was shocked that my average was almost exactly identical to what I had done in Kansas. Imagine what that could have been without the brake resistance!
What would you do differently?:

Another lesson learned about being prepared; leave room in my repair pouch for a few small wrenches.
Transition 2
  • 01m 23s

At least one other part of the day went well. I've always had good T2s, and this was one of my best. In and out with no issues, 4th fastest in my division actually.
What would you do differently?:

Not a thing.
  • 2h 14m 37s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 15s  min/mile

As you might imagine, putting all that effort into maintaining my cadence on the bike left me with nothing for the run. I made the decision from the outset to take it easy. I had an Olympic distance two weeks out and wasn't going to do anything stupid or bring on any injury. Went out at an easy pace, and realized by mile 3 that I couldn't keep up an 8:30 pace for the whole distance. My legs simply had nothing left.

I had never walked any portion of any run until today. I did my first walk at mile 3, then mile 5, then almost every station after that. There was plenty at each station, so hydration and nutrition weren't an issue. I had a great plan in place, but mentally I had already checked out, so I was just hoping to finish under 6:30. I did run all the way up both hills, and had enough for a small kick at the finish.
What would you do differently?:

Not sap all my energy on the bike. Strength training is going to be a bigger part of my training plans next year.
Post race
Warm down:

There was an ice-bath that I immediately went for. I don't know how much it helped, but dang - it was cold! Good food available - they saved some chocolate milk for us late finishers (thank you!) and had the usual assortment of pizza, fruit, soda, Heed, even some spaghetti.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The only thing that limited me was not being prepared for everything that could have gone wrong. I'm calling this my Newton's Law Race for obvious reasons. Some things are just out of your control, and there's nothing you can do. I'm proud that I was able to finish despite all the obstacles I had to overcome. I was shocked when I checked the results the next day and realized I wasn't even last in my age group! What I'm taking away from this event are lessons learned for bike emergencies/repair.

Event comments:

If you're looking for a good bang for your buck, you can't go wrong with this event. My only criticism is there's no bike support on the course, or even back at transition. I know, I know - we're all responsible for our own gear. But we also all know that many events have support out there so we can finish. The volunteers are great, but the spectators are concentrated so heavily within the park, there's hardly any cheering on happening out on the bike or run except by volunteers at the aid stations (and they are great volunteers, by the way). I'll likely be back since it's only 2 hours from home and very affordable. Plus I have something to prove out on the bike course next time. And I'll be forever thankful for those anonymous spectators who helped me with my bike in T1 - whoever you are, I can't thank you enough!! I wouldn't have finished without you.

Last updated: 2013-07-09 12:00 AM
00:34:11 | 2112 yards | 01m 37s / 100yards
Age Group: 9/32
Overall: 60/293
Performance: Good
Suit: QR Full length
Course: Modified triangle, buoys on right.
Start type: Run Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 73F / 23C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Below average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 26:14
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
03:03:00 | 56 miles | 18.36 mile/hr
Age Group: 28/32
Overall: 201/293
Performance: Below average
Wind: Little
Course: Out and back, rolling hills.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 85
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Below average
Race pace: Too hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:23
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:14:37 | 13.1 miles | 10m 15s  min/mile
Age Group: 21/32
Overall: 156/293
Performance: Bad
Course: Out and back alongside a county highway. One very large downhill at the outset, which means a very large uphill near the finish. Also a small hill just before the turnaround.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
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] 4