Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon - Olympic Race - TriathlonOlympic

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
United States
Philadelphia Triathlon, LLC
76F / 24C
Total Time = 2h 11m 56s
Overall Rank = 71/1921
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 7/256
Pre-race routine:

Get up @4am. Ensure, clif bar, OJ, banana & coffee--sipped on ~16oz of GE until I left transition. Arrive at race @5:45. Set up transition and hop on a bus to get to the swim start.
Event warmup:

By the time I got ready for a warm-up swim, they were closing it to practice. So I jumped in and got a few strokes just to help work on getting the wetsuit adjusted properly. No real race warm-up to speak of.
  • 21m 36s
  • 1500 meters
  • 01m 26s / 100 meters

The wind was blowing downriver and that helped feed the current, making it stronger than normal (usually quite mild). You didn't have to hang on to anything, but you definitely had to work a little to keep from drifting downriver prior to the start.

At the horn I tried to find some space and push reasonably hard for a few minutes and then 'settle in'. Unfortunately, although there were people just up in front of me and off to my sides, I was never able to find a good draft and swam mostly alone in clean water until we reached the bridge (~1000m).

At that point, I had to navigate a few slower swimmers from earlier waves--interrupted my 'flow' a bit, but nothing major. Once through the bridge I continued to do what I have in years past, i.e., I take a straight line to the turn buoy instead of following the arc of the river (curls out to the right and then back to left like a backwards 'c') and all the other swimmers. I remain convinced this is the shortest distance, but still have no idea if it's any faster since there is zero draft potential. But just not having to worry about all the traffic by this stage is probably worth it.

At the bouy, I had to rejoin the fray. The course takes a J-hook there back upriver for the last few hundred meters to the finish. Knowing that there is a decent current, I 'aim high' for the upriver side of the finish figuring the current will push me back towards the center/downriver side. But others decide to head straight to shore and I took a solid kick to my mouth (no blood that I'm aware of, but left a mark under my lip and I can still feel it on Monday morning) from crossing traffic. Ouch! After pushing the kicker's legs out of the way in frustration, I swam the rest of the way without incident. It's a good thing the upriver stretch was short as it was much harder to swim that direction (obviously less speed, but also more 'chop' making breathing a little more challenging).
What would you do differently?:

Draft. This course is custom made for easily getting a good draft, yet I seem to have a hard time doing so.
Transition 1
  • 02m 28s

Once out of the water and across the swim timing mat, I pulled off to the side and stepped out of my wetsuit--took some work around my ankles. You have to esentially run from one end of transition to the other before you can enter it. And then head back the direction you came to exit for the bike. So I prefer to cover that ground carrying my wetsuit instead of wearing it.

Picked out my rack aisle from bewteen two trees. Ran down the aisle looking for my bike. Where the #$^% is it? Heard my family cheering and then my wife yelling that it was the next aisle. Doh! Run around the rack and get to my bike. Once actually there, I made the switch reasonably quick. Grabbed my bike and ran out to the street and mounted.
What would you do differently?:

Remember my darn rack! Gotta get my wetsuit off quicker too. (23rd in AG with a 1:50 best and only beat 2 of the people who finished ahead of me)
  • 1h 04m 4s
  • 24.85 miles
  • 23.27 mile/hr

I wanted to push the bike and not worry too much about 'conserving' for the run. Did a pretty good job for the most part. I did have a couple chances to 'ease back' a bit when other strong riders were riding in front of me and I could enjoy the legal draft a few bike lengths back (tried to remind myself that they give prizes for fast times, not high power numbers).

The course was crowded as expected, but for the most part it actually seemed easier to navigate than last year. Still too many people not riding to the right when they should have, but I only had to use the brakes a few times when being blocked. I did take the descents a little more cautiously than I might have in the past after seeing a bunch of wrecks last year. And this year there was another bad one on Black Hill--hope the guy is OK.

The wind wasn't noticeable for most of the ride until we were coming back up MLK Drive from the Art Museaum and it was pushing right in our faces. As this is one of the flat and fast sections of the course, I'm sure it ate into a bit of the speed we'd normally get (although its benefit in the swim was certainly greater and already noted).

On the second loop, I ended up riding around three other guys (think they were all in the 35-39 AG) where we alternated passing back and forth. No drafting that I ever saw from any of them, but it acted as a good motivator for me to keep up the intensity. Followed one of them into transition and out onto the run.

Drank maybe 30oz of GE and had a little over half of my gel flask which held 2 gels diluted with water.
What would you do differently?:

Not much riding wise. My splits on the loop were pretty even, as was my power output.

On nutrition, I think I should have bagged the flask and stuck with drinking GE. Mostly just for the wasted time putting it in and taking it out of my pocket in transitions. And I don't think I really needed the extra calories from it.
Transition 2
  • 01m 22s

Coming down Black Hill, I got my feet out of my shoes and rode with them on top. Was able to quickly hop off the bike at the dismount and run cleanly in transition. Went down the right aisle on my first try and quickly made my changes. Waved to my family and thanked the guy I followed in (racked one over from me) for a nice ride. Ran out of transition while putting on my visor and race belt.
What would you do differently?:

nada (3rd in AG with a 1:19 best)
  • 42m 24s
  • 6.21 miles
  • 06m 50s  min/mile

Saw that the guy I followed in from the bike was just out ahead of me and running near my pace so I used him to help set a solid, but comfortable tempo. Shortly after the first turn-around, someone in the 40yo AG passed me and I decided to try to pace off of him instead. Doing this, I gradually reeled-in the first guy I had followed. When another 40yo passed me, I did the same thing and somewhere between mile 3 and 4 I passed both of them.

But a third guy in my AG ent by around the same time. I tried the same strategy, but he passed with more 'authority' and while I kept fim in range through mile 5 he simply had more horsepower than I did and extended his lead into the final mile. But at least now, I had been 'dragged' along so that the finish was close enough that I could keep myslef going. Remembered joking pre-race about needing an extra can of HTFU at this stage and tried to use some on myself. There were enough people ahead of me that I could keep trying to 'pick them off' and maintained my tempo through the finish (no real finishing kick, but no 'let down' either).

When I looked at the clock I tried to do some quick math as I had been looking for under 2:45 in order to get my sub-2:15 goal (my wave started 30min after the race start). Was pretty sure I had done it, but it wasn't until I was all the way though the chute with my medal & water that I stopped my watch and checked it. Saw 2:12:xx and realized I had made it. Gave a little fist-pump and smiled. :-)

Only drank some water on the run as I was pretty sure I had all the calories I needed on the bike (~250-300). Sipped a couple times while running through and walked a couple other times to make sure I got enough down on those occasions. Last one went on my head. :-)
What would you do differently?:

This was a good run, but I think I could have gone a bit faster--too conservative in miles 2 and 3.
Post race
Warm down:

Met up with my family and grabbed some food. Sat on a blaket in the shade while cheering in other finishers for awhile before we headed out.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

This was just about as good as I could have expected with what I brought today--actually better since the swim was easily 2:00-2:30 faster than I could have anticipated. But I have room for improvement across the disciplines through training. And that's good because I still have some work to do to catch those in my AG ahead of me.

Event comments:

Surprisingly, I thought the bike course was better this year than last. Although I still think it would be better with a few hundred less participants. I do enjoy this race and have done it each of its first five years. Thought I might be done after this one, but now I'm thinking maybe I'll make it for Round 6.

Last updated: 2008-11-06 12:00 AM
00:21:36 | 1500 meters | 01m 26s / 100meters
Age Group: 24/256
Overall: 253/1921
Performance: Average
Suit: Full wetsuit
Course: Schuylkill River. Point-to-point course, mostly downriver with in-water start.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 74F / 23C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Below average
Time: 02:28
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
01:04:04 | 24.85 miles | 23.27 mile/hr
Age Group: 4/256
Overall: 54/1921
Performance: Good
NP - 293, AP - 273, IF - 0.931, TSS - 93.3, Work - 1056, VI - 1.08
Wind: Some
Course: 2 loop course around the river and up into Fairmount park on 4 separate occassions--these were the hills.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 92
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:22
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:42:24 | 06.21 miles | 06m 50s  min/mile
Age Group: 13/256
Overall: 129/1921
Performance: Average
6:49, 7:03, 13:33 (3&4), 6:51, 6:44, 1:24
Course: Along the river, first away from the finish line and then looping back and passing the finish out towards the Art Museaum again. Make the final turn-around and come back to the finish line. Basically flat.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
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