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UCLA IronBruin Triathlon - TriathlonSprint


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Los Angeles, California
United States
UCLA Triathlon Club
Sunny
Total Time = 1h 14m 3s
Overall Rank = 52/261
Age Group = M 50-54
Age Group Rank = 1/12
Pre-race routine:

I arrived late, and still had to do my packet pick up. That's when I found out I was in the last wave and not scheduled to start until 8:50 am. Great, with over 2 1/2 hours to kill I decided to just take my time setting up my transitions gear. Little did I know then, that later on there would turn out to be a couple perks and advantages for me with such a late start. T2 was pretty much full, and I almost couldn't find a spot for my shoes and backpack. That's when I realized I'd forgotten my sunglasses (read: bug shield), sending me back down into the parking structure to get my driving glasses. Once set up in T2, I biked up the hill to the pool area to find that the T1 racks were completely filled. So I just leaned my bike up against one of the barriers along the edge of the transition area, as a few others had done.
Event warmup:

After stretching (off and on for a couple hours) while watching most of the swim waves take off and circle the pool, I went up to the warm-up pool, swam 300 yards, dried off, and went back down to T1 to put my towel away. That's when I realized that most of the competitors were long gone and the bike racks were pretty empty. So I moved my bike to a prime spot right by the bike exit. See, a nice perk for a late start.
Swim
  • 06m 10s
  • 437 yards
  • 01m 25s / 100 yards
Comments:

The pool start wasn't as crazy as I expected it to be, or as jammed at the first buoy as some of the previous waves had been. I had assumed they were just putting all the old guys in the last wave, but as I had watched most of the previous waves go off, it didn't seem as though they were grouped by age group. So I wasn't too surprised to find several youngsters in my wave taking off and setting a blistering fast pace. I expected to go out with the fast guys and draft, but by the second lap 2 or 3 of them pulled too far ahead of me to maintain that trick. Still, I settled into a quick pace and focused on keeping my form smooth and flat in the water. The next thing I know, I see the steps and it's over.
What would you do differently?:

Probably went out too fast trying to stay close to the leaders, but I recovered pretty well, so no real harm done.
Transition 1
  • 01m 38s
Comments:

Transitions are still my downfall. My self-timed T1 from the water's edge to the timing mat outside T1 was 1:38. With no wetsuit to deal with, I really should have been faster. I'd say that the real time delay was in putting my socks over wet feet and fumbling around too much with my bike shoes.
What would you do differently?:

Should probably have practiced transitions more, but I have only done a couple bricks in training this season.
Bike
  • 45m 55s
  • 13.5 miles
  • 17.64 mile/hr
Comments:

Having already ridden the course the week before, I was apprehensive about embracing the pain that was sure to come. The up hills are deadly steep, and were sure to be trouble. So my strategy was to do my best on these hills then try to make up for it on the down hills. But as I headed down that first hill out of T1, rapidly increasing my speed, I was thinking mainly about not crashing on the ride down DeNeve, especially where it turns onto Charles Young North. Once successfully past there, I was peddling like crazy to get as much momentum going down the rest of the hill as possible before the grade slowly reversed to up hill. By the time I got to the short climb up Stone Canyon, I was out of the saddle trying to keep my speed up. Then, coming through the turn onto the continuation of Charles Young North, and another increase in grade, I was once again out of the saddle, desperate to hold some speed. As the incline lessened, I was able to regain normal peddling, but I was getting concerned as this had been the easier of the 2 hills on this loop, and it was anything but easy. Soon I was on a downhill stretch and around the corner onto Charles Young East. Now it was time to try to make up for a slow hill climb by blasting the downhill as fast as possible. Took the turn at the bottom of the hill as wide as the fast approaching curb would allow, jammed along the brief section of level street that followed, rounded the next corner like I knew what I was doing, and blasted down the next nice long stretch of downhill where C.Y. East becomes C.Y. South. As bad as the road surface is in various places, it's really chewed up with potholes, cracks, bumps, metal plates and hastily done repair patches along here in the South Campus area. Makes for a bumpy ride at high speed. Coming out of "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" and onto Westwood Plaza, I began trying to mentally prepare myself for the real hill climb on this course, which I would soon be facing. So I picked up the pace going down the part of Strathmore that goes under Spaulding Field to get some momentum for the climb back up on the other side of the tunnel. But as I turned right and started up the hill I was soon out of momentum, and out of the saddle pumping away for all the forward movement I could manage. Back on the bike seat, and shifting down to the middle chain ring, I just settled into the best pace I could handle for the rest of the hill. Soon I was passing people walking their bikes, and gave each a word of encouragement. It's a tough, steep hill, but fortunately, it's not a real long one, and it does become less steep after the first third. It's an even easier climb in the last third, and my speed increased quite a bit. Clearing the top of the hill and starting the decent to the end of the first lap sure felt good.

I guess one of the advantages of being in the last wave-start, some 2 hours after the first wave, was that each lap had fewer and fewer riders on it. It never really was congested. Frankly, there were people already finished with the race before I'd even jumped into the pool. Every time I raced down the last hill on the loop, it seemed that anyone I was with peeled off to the right into T2. By the last lap almost everyone I saw was now off the bike and on the run course.

Although each lap was increasingly difficult, a certain familiarity of the course was definitely setting in. By the third lap I had this course wired. I knew just where to shift, where to accelerate, where to break and where and for how long I need to get up out of the saddle. I knew where I could get down into aero position, and where it was safer to go to the drops instead. I was cornering like I had no fear of death. And of course, I knew exactly how long the pain would last on the big hill.

Coming across the timing mat into T2, I took a split of 45:53 (the official time of 47:37 includes T2), then ran my bike to the last rack before the run exit, changed shoes, etc, and took off running onto the Intramural Field.
What would you do differently?:

I'm not really in the best bike shape of my life, like I was at this time last year. Having just had knee surgery in December, and being sick for a few weeks in January really cut into my bike training. But the training I've done has been appropriate for this phase of my conditioning, as I've focused on building up my long rides and trying to ride more than just on weekends. So it would not be the right time to do the kind of speed work and hill intervals that could have better prepared me for this course. That being said, I certainly wouldn't have done anything different training wise, and I can't say that my strategy for getting the most out of my efforts on this course didn't work. I'm pretty much thrilled that this part of the race went so well for me.
Transition 2
  • 01m 44s
Comments:

My self-timed T2 split was 1:44. Still suffered from a lack of coordination in changing gear, but I was additionally slowed down by the people who were finished with the race and standing among the bikes gathering up their gear. At first I assumed there were several of us doing our transitions at the same time. I wasn't paying them any attention until the guy I was squeezing past said, "Oh sorry, I guess I should get out of your way".
What would you do differently?:

Not sure, but that doesn't mean I don't recognize a need to improve the speed of my transitions.
Run
  • 18m 38s
  • 2.75 miles
  • 06m 47s  min/mile
Comments:

The start of the run felt good. I'm not sure why I didn't have the dead-leg/poorly coordinated stride that one normally experiences as you adjust from bike to run. Maybe the long downhill at the end of the bike course allow for a good leg-recovery. Or maybe I should have pushed the bike portion harder. Maybe both. But it was a welcome relief to be able to hit the grass field feeling strong and optimistic about how the run would turn out. But something was wrong, things didn't look right. Oh, no. I'm still wearing my sunglasses. I never run with sunglasses. Too Hollywood. And too late to go back to T2 now.

We triathletes do these competitions for all our own reasons. For most of us there are a lot of reasons. For me, I love the training and I love the competition. And each gives me different kinds of satisfactions. Today, the swim was a satisfying race against the clock, and the bike was a satisfying race against myself. And as the run began, it was looking like a competition against both the clock and my own ability to run as hard and fast as I could.

About a half mile into the run I could hear someone behind me. Gaining on me. He passed me going down Westwood Plaza and pulled away to a 20 or 30 yard lead by the time I turned the corner onto C.Y. South and headed up the hill. Near the top of the first rise I noticed that I had closed in on him, and was now only about 10 yards back. I was feeling pretty good, so I thought, if I can just catch up with him maybe I can hang on and pace behind him the rest of the race. Now running against the clock and myself didn't matter anymore. Now I was racing the guy wearing the LA Tri Club tri suit. Now it's going to be the best kind of race, runner vs runner.

As the hill wound through the South Campus I slowly made up the ground between us. As soon as I was running along just a stride behind him, he realized that someone was dogging him and he picked up the pace. I followed suit. Several people we passed offered words of encouragement. One guy was actually cheering us on. We made it over the next rise and onto the short level stretch along Circle Dr, with me hanging there off his right shoulder, just like the big-time runners do. As we rounded the next corner and continued the climb, I was determined to keep contact. If I could just stay with him to the top of the hill, I knew I could hold on for the long downhill. Then we'd see who had what left.

But that was a big "if". The last section of up hill through the North Campus wasn't the steepest part of the course by any means, but after almost a mile of mostly incline, it was really wearing on me, and LA Tri Club Guy was slowly putting space between us. I re-doubled my efforts as I turned onto C.Y. North, with the top of the grade just 150 yards away. I know that you can be pretty much winded at the top of a hill and still run hard on the kind of long downhill that's on this course, and your lungs will recover from it. So I ran that next 150 yards like it was the end of the race. It brought me back into reasonable proximity of my competition as we opened up on the steep downhill side of C.Y. North. I'm sure he could hear me less than 10 yards back as we continued down Stone Canyon.

This guy was a good competitor, he had good form, and he always increased his pace when I got too close. And even though I was never in a position to pass him, it was clear that he was not about to give up his lead. The fact that he never looked back once to see who was dogging him is the mark of a good runner.

By the time the downhill had leveled off some, he was pulling away again. And there was nothing I could do about it. We were both still holding a much faster pace then everyone else along the road, but as we turned off C.Y. North and onto the campus grounds he was now at least 30 yards ahead. Now it was less than a third of a mile to go, all flat. I kept my focus on keeping fatigue from letting my form fall apart. Keep the knees low, foot-strike below the body, and a slight forward lean with a straight back. And work the arms, we're almost done! I was able to maintain all the way to Bruin Walk. Then I tried to dig down for that extra something and make for a strong finish, but that extra seemed to be necessary merely to hold the current pace. I made it around the last corner and there was LA Tri Club Guy, some 40 or so yards down the final stretch. No way I'll catch him now. But now it's time to kick it in. Now it's back to just me against myself. And the clock.

I crossed the finish line like I always do. Completely spent, unable to get enough air into my lungs, trying to remember my name, and walking forward out of pure instinct. The volunteers had to remove the bib stub and timing chip for me, as I stood there sucking air, no doubt looking cool with my over-priced sunglasses on.

Run time 18:38. Nice.

What would you do differently?:

This run went really well. If I hadn't had LA Tri Club Guy pulling me along I would have run much slower. Nothing could have made for a better run had anything been different. By the way, he only beat me by 7 seconds, netting him 5th in the 30-39 AG.
Post race
Warm down:

When I finish a race and finally catch my breath, the first thing I want is water. Mainly to drink (but if I could just wade out into a pool and just float on my back in it, that would be great too). As I wandered onto the Intramural Field looking for the usual table of bottled water, I was having trouble finding it. I though, wow, I must be really wrecked from the race if I can't even find the water. So I started asking people at the event and expo tables. No one knew. Someone finally directed me to someone else, who pointed way out into the grass field and said, "It's out there". He was pointing at the water station at the start of the run course. That was the only water they had. What knucklehead organized a triathlon and didn't think to provide after-race water? As I arrived at the big orange water barrel, I commented to another guy getting a drink, that when I finish a race I expect that the water will be easy to find, and if that's not the case I expect everyone who is working the tables to know where it is. Not the case here. Then I proceeded to do a couple dozen shots of water with the thimble-sized cups they had there.

My actual warm-down consisted of lots of walking around looking for water, and then some stretching.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I would normally expect to be in better shape for this race at this time of year. However, do to the previously mentioned knee surgery and lengthy cold, my training is somewhat behind last year. But the race turned out remarkably well for me, certainly well beyond my expectations. Having a good swim, holding my own on the bike, and especially having the benefit of a primal competitive mind set for a good portion of the run made for an outstanding overall personal performance. I couldn't possibly be happier with the results and can't seem to get a focus on anything limiting at this moment.

Event comments:

Please bring back the reverse triathlon course and all its idiosyncrasies. It's a good tri the way they've changed it, but the old reverse tri was a wonderfully unique event with challenges not found anywhere else. I don't expect that it will change back, so I'll have to add one of the other reverse tri's that are now in the local area to next year's schedule.





Last updated: 2008-03-03 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:06:10 | 437 yards | 01m 25s / 100yards
Age Group: 1/12
Overall: 48/261
Performance: Good
My self-timed split exiting the water was 6:10. The official split of 7:48 includes the T1 split.
Suit: DeSoto Tri Shorts
Course: 3 1/2 laps around the edge of a 50 meter pool.
Start type: Inside Pool Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
T1
Time: 01:38
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
Biking
00:45:55 | 13.5 miles | 17.64 mile/hr
Age Group: 1/12
Overall: 65/261
Performance: Good
Wind:
Course: 4 laps of a hilly loop around the UCLA campus. Includes some pretty steep hills, both going up & down, several sharp badly banked turns, and then there's the poor condition of the road in many places. A challenging course indeed.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Below average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
T2
Time: 01:44
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Below average
Running
00:18:38 | 02.75 miles | 06m 47s  min/mile
Age Group: 1/12
Overall: 46/261
Performance: Good
Course: One lap, generally following the eastern side of the bike loop, in reverse.
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
Evaluation
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

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2008-03-06 1:02 PM

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Veteran
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Redondo Beach, CA
Subject: UCLA IronBruin Triathlon


2008-03-06 1:49 PM
in reply to: #1256631

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Melon Presser
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Subject: RE: UCLA IronBruin Triathlon

Wow, Doug ... the RR beat even the incredible pre-RR!

Super job on a tough course, especially with your recent surgery and gap in training. Incredible. Congratulations on the win. (Ummm ... you weren't by any chance the guy sitting on the grass that I fell asleep next to?)

You really killed the bike course. Kudos for the prep and performance. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, ha! ha!

Funny, I miss the old reverse tri-and-a-half-thlon as well. Might just be nostalgia 'cause it was my first tri, but it seems the new format cuts out the stuff that made it unique, fun, and quirky.

 

2008-03-06 2:28 PM
in reply to: #1256631

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Subject: RE: UCLA IronBruin Triathlon

I see you haven't gotten any slower

congrats on a great race

2008-03-06 7:39 PM
in reply to: #1256740

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100100
Redondo Beach, CA
Subject: RE: UCLA IronBruin Triathlon
TriAya - 2008-03-06 11:49 AM

Wow, Doug ... the RR beat even the incredible pre-RR!

Super job on a tough course, especially with your recent surgery and gap in training. Incredible. Congratulations on the win. (Ummm ... you weren't by any chance the guy sitting on the grass that I fell asleep next to?)

You really killed the bike course. Kudos for the prep and performance. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, ha! ha!

Funny, I miss the old reverse tri-and-a-half-thlon as well. Might just be nostalgia 'cause it was my first tri, but it seems the new format cuts out the stuff that made it unique, fun, and quirky.

 



That was you? I remember you sat down while they were calling out raffle numbers. I guess you saw my metal on the grass next to me and congratulated me. Not long after that I looked over and you were face down, passed-out, sound asleep. Some people can fall asleep anywhere! BTW, nice to finally met you. Congratulations on picking up 3rd place hardware in your AG.
2008-03-07 12:44 AM
in reply to: #1257631

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Melon Presser
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Subject: RE: UCLA IronBruin Triathlon

duggar1 - 2008-03-06 6:39 PM That was you? I remember you sat down while they were calling out raffle numbers. I guess you saw my metal on the grass next to me and congratulated me. Not long after that I looked over and you were face down, passed-out, sound asleep. Some people can fall asleep anywhere! BTW, nice to finally met you. Congratulations on picking up 3rd place hardware in your AG.

Ha, ha ... I feel like saying the same, "That was YOU?!" It didn't click 'til I saw your RR posting that you'd come in first ... then I remembered a nice gentleman on the grass who looked kind of like you and had a medal, and in fact the last thing I remember is talking to you!

So congrats again, and nice to, uh, meet you!

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