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Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon - TriathlonSprint

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Napa, California
United States
Enviro-Sports Productions
Total Time = 1h 44m 34s
Overall Rank = 74/479
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 11/28
Pre-race routine:

My gf was out of the country for work, so I decided to spend the weekend camping at Lake Berryessa. I left work around 2:30 in order to beat the Bay Area madness and arrived at my camp site at ~4:30. After an early evening run on the course, then an ice cold Black Butte Porter with dinner, I hit the pillow early.

The next morning I awoke to the sound of wild turkeys gobbling, geese honking, and other winged creatures making their own unique sounds. It's always so relaxing to hear natures sounds before man awakens and fires up his truck and boat. We are a noisy lot!

Any way, got over to the half-iron event on Saturday morning to watch the swim... way cool! The leaders are freakin' strong & fast! I pretty much just hung out (out of the sun as much as possible), drank lots of water, and waited for the competitors to come back from the bike leg. Then I did the same for the run leg of the event... it was a blast cheering on everyone, but especially the BOP's! Such heart...

That evening, I met some cool folks from Truckee who were camped next to me. Janet was doing the race on Sunday after having a second child 5 months prior. She was, as was I, excited and nervous at the same time, even though she had done 3 or 4 events in the past. We chatted for a bit, then off to bed. I slept like a log.
Event warmup:

Ate a banana, yogurt, and a granola bar a couple of hours prior to the race start. Racked my bike, set up the transition area, picked up my race packet, then donned the wetsuit for a warmup in the lake. The woman next to me in the T/A was super cool! We introduced ourselves, helped each other with our wetsuits, then went to the lake together for a swim. It was not the last I would see of Doreen.....more on that in a bit.
  • 16m 39s
  • 880 yards
  • 01m 53s / 100 yards

The swim was a trip! I decided to hang wih Doreen, and she was headed out with the first wave. We returned to the water and within a few seconds we were off.

I started out fine... nice and relaxed, breathing bilaterally, and sighting better than anticpated. After the first buoy my breathing became a bit more labored. I figured this was due to going a bit too fast, plus swimming in a tight wetsuit for only the second time. So, I side stroked for a while and was going as fast as some of the folks still doing the crawl. I ended up doing the crawl about 2/3 of the way and the side stroke 1/3. It worked, but I need more training time in the water.

Exited the water @ 16:30 and walked to my crocs stashed near the exit. I had no issues with dizziness at all... thankfully! Threw on the crocs and ran to my T/A where the real fun began.
What would you do differently?:

train more in the swim. practice more ows and with wetsuit.
Transition 1
  • 04m 36s

I get to my bike and Doreen is not there yet, but she's not far behind. I had my wetsuit stripped to my waist before getting to the T/A. I tried to get it the rest of the way off and it was like a bad comedy. I couldn't get the damn thing off either ankle. To make it worse, I didn't have a chair and I was standing on crushed rock. I was hopping around trying to get the suit off, yelping like a puppy with rocks under my feet, and laughing at the absurdity of it all. Finally, after having a talk with myself, I sat my butt down on the corner of towel I left open to dry my feet and yanked the left leg off. Then I stood up and stepped on the rest of the suit and yanked my right leg out. I was free! Threw on my helmet, sunglasses and shoes, took a big drink of water and a hit of power gel, and I was off.... finally!
What would you do differently?:

practice getting out of the suit.... yeah, that's the ticket. I can honestly say it took me at least 1:30 more due to the "comedy of errors". Looking back, it was pretty funny.

I'd also bring a small chair next time.
  • 50m 9s
  • 15 miles
  • 17.95 mile/hr

so, now I'm on the bike, finally, and I hear my front brake rubbing on my tire. Ah, the heck with it, just ride and it will be fine. Well, it never stopped rubbing, even as I attempted an adjustment while on the bike.. not real smart. Still, I don't think it slowed me down much.

Doreen had passed me on the bike while I was fiddling with my brake, so now she was my rabbit. Damn, she's pretty fast! I tried to catch her before the turn around, but to no avail. Finally, about 2 miles from the finish I caught her and became her rabbit. This "leap frogging" between the two of us was constant throughout the race... and it was great!
What would you do differently?:

put aero bars on my bike, and train with them. Check my bike more thoroughly before the race. I also didn't drink on the bike, but I did take a shot of power gel.

Overall, I had a decent bike leg for me.
Transition 2
  • 01m 46s

I was pretty quick here, and had to be to keep Doreen in my sites. We racked at nearly the same time and were supporting each other in the T/A. I took a big hit of water, poured some on my head, then took off with Doreen. Now this was getting fun!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really. Maybe drink before dismounting rather than at the T/A.
  • 31m 23s
  • 4 miles
  • 07m 51s  min/mile

The first mile was S-L-O-W. My legs were not firing at all and I was content just getting my HR under control and plodding along. Doreen was out ahead of me, but I kept her in my sites hoping that my legs would eventually come around. Finally, once on the last hill after about 1.5 miles, the legs came back. I caught Doreen just after the turn around and told her I was gonna try to push it the last 2 to the finish. She said she'd try to hang with me but wasn't sure if she had enough gas left in the tank.

I pushed it pretty good and ran the 3rd mile in 7:21, or so said my watch. With the finish line approaching I kicked it up a notch. There it was ahead of me. I looked back to see if Doreen was near, but couldn't see her. I finished strong, with the final mile in 7:12, and then turned back to cheer on Doreen. She was not far behind, finishing ~20 seconds after I did.
What would you do differently?:

Practice more bricks. The first mile was 8:30ish and I had no fire in my legs at all.
Post race
Warm down:

Grabbed some water, walked around a bit, and cheered on other competitors as they finished. Some light stretching after about 10 minutes.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

T1... obviously. Also, I did the bike leg with my aluminum frame road bike with no aero bars. Perhaps the aero would make me a bit faster? I could have pushed harder on the bike, too, but it was still okay.

Overall, I'm pleased... except for T1!!!

Event comments:

So, the best part of all this was that I got to race with a 50 year old woman (Doreen) who not only won her age group, but was an absolute joy to race with. Looking back, we kept each other within sight from when we first racked our bikes pre-race, all the way to the finish. I was so excited for her as this was her first AG win... and she won her age group by 15+ minutes! We exchanged emails and plan on doing this same event next year... which now means I have to train hard or she will kick my arse!!

I couldn't have asked for a better first triathlon experience. The people were great, the area is beautiful, and the event was run very well. I will be back to chase my rabbit, Doreen!

Last updated: 2008-02-09 12:00 AM
00:16:39 | 880 yards | 01m 53s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/28
Overall: 0/479
Suit: Orca Sonar
Course: Triangular, keeping buoys on the right. Pretty simple really.
Start type: Deep Water Plus:
Water temp: 67F / 19C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Below average Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 04:36
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Bad Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
00:50:09 | 15 miles | 17.95 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/28
Overall: 0/479
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Course: Rolling hills, fairly rough road, but nice ride.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 01:46
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:31:23 | 04 miles | 07m 51s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/28
Overall: 0/479
Performance: Average
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
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

2008-05-05 12:38 PM

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Subject: Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon

2008-05-05 12:40 PM
in reply to: #1382397

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Melon Presser
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon

Great job! Sounds like a super fun camping weekend, and it's always wonderful to race with a friend.

Yeah, I wish there were video of me trying to get my wetsuit off in the first tri I did with it ...

2008-05-05 1:04 PM
in reply to: #1382397

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Conifer, Colorado
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon
Nice job... That is a great first TRI and so you know... I'm about 10 tri's in with 3 HIM's and you are a faster swimmer than me! Impressive!

2008-05-05 1:06 PM
in reply to: #1382397

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Dodge County, MN (out in the corn)
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon

Great job!!!  Having a pacer really helps.  I usually can find one person to use as a rabbit in each race.  Unfortunately for me, the rabbit usually gets away.  Congrats on a great race!


2008-05-05 1:27 PM
in reply to: #1382397

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Berkeley, Calif.
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon

Great race! I laughed out loud at your wetsuit challenges -- I went through the same thing with this race, with a friend heckling me from the sidelines the entire time (all in good fun). I remember hearing Doreen's name and time during the awards ceremony. Sheesh, she was fast, and you beat her! Not bad. I'm also super impressed that you braved the first swim wave.


2008-05-05 1:33 PM
in reply to: #1382397

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SF-Bay Area
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon

Dude, you rock!  Nice times all the way around. 

Were you in the section of folks around the speed railing near the resort entrance on Saturday?  That seemed to be where the largest cheering section was.

Anyway, that two-lap system (for Saturday's HIM) was so mentally felt like paying twice for the same real estate!

2008-05-05 1:42 PM
in reply to: #1382397

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Subject: RE: Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon

Congrats on your first tri!  Getting out of the wetsuits can be a pain in the arse sometimes, even with some practice.  I've had my share of cursing like a sailor in T1.


2008-05-05 2:07 PM
in reply to: #1382397

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Subject: RE: Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon
Thanks all! It really was a ton of fun. Again, sorry to have missed you, Erin, but congrats on your race. Very impressive... even more so, given the week you had.

Ron, Yeah, I was there when you started your first lap. I moved to the finish area under a nice shaded tree a bit later and think I saw you finish. Man, that sun beating down in the early afternoon had to be tough.... great job!

Thanks again.
2008-05-05 2:18 PM
in reply to: #1382397

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Subject: RE: Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon
Nice first tri - what a great experience! 
2008-05-05 2:19 PM
in reply to: #1382397

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San Francisco
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon
Great job on your first tri! Sounds like you learned a lot from your experience.  I always have trouble with my wetsuit ankles too.  Your run definitely pulled you through in the end - great finish there speedy!
2008-05-05 2:28 PM
in reply to: #1382397

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Woodland, California
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon
Good job!!!  I'm right there with ya on the wetsuit.

2008-05-05 2:30 PM
in reply to: #1382397

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far northern CA
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon

Oh my gosh!!!  You did soooooo good at your first tri!!!!  Congratulations!!!

You are going to have to work really hard to beat this time next year!!!  (I have to do my first tri every year.  I'll do it for the 3rd time in July!)

2008-05-05 7:57 PM
in reply to: #1382397

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san francisco
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon
Awesome job Jim!
I had a crazy long T1 for my first tri, too....what was I doing toweling off! I should've just let myself air dry, dang it! You are an awesome runner and I would kill for your swim time!

Great rr, sounds like most of all, you had tons of fun, AND did really well, despite T1

Thanks for sharing!
2008-05-06 12:07 AM
in reply to: #1382397

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Lafayette, CA
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon

Congrads on your first TRI.  You are extremely fast--I can't believe how fast you were on the run.

A great performance. 

2008-05-07 5:34 PM
in reply to: #1382397

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Carlsbad, California
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon

Hey, great job out there. Your first Tri? (That is very cool)

The wetsuit thing definitely takes some getting used to. I grew up surfing and so had years to practice putting it on and taking it off under a towel and I still get hung up sometimes in T1.

I always wondered about this race but since it is the same weekend as Wildflower, I always ended up in Paso Robles instead. (I think I should get out and do this one sometime) Very cool that they have an HIM distance also.

Having someone out there through the day to pace off of is fantastic. It took me a long time to find the value in finding rabbits and you seemed to have found that trick rather quickly. (But your a runner so it makes sense)

Have fun with B2B

2008-05-09 12:27 AM
in reply to: #1382397

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SF Bay Area, CA
Subject: RE: Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon
Great job on your first tri! It took me a few times to get used to swimming in cold cold water with a tight wetsuit, feels difficult to breathe. And of course the ankles in T1.

But sounds like you had a great race. Congrats!

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