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American Triple T - Race #1 - TriathlonMini Sprint

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Shawnee State Park, Ohio
United States
HPF Racing
60F / 16C
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = 174/328
Age Group = M 40-49
Age Group Rank = 30/47
Pre-race routine:

Prep: Drove down from Detroit with The Brian; over the course of the 6 hours driving, we saw no fewer than 40 police. Amazing we got no ticket. Arrived at the race site at about 1PM, after wasting about 20 minutes because Brian’s GPS lied (GPS always lies), and it was pretty much deserted…so we were able to grab our packets, no worries.

This gave us about 4 hours to play with before the race, so of course, we start to 2nd guess our hotel choice…it’s 35 minutes or so from the race site…idle minds need something to do, no? So we made the 15 minute drive into Portsmouth and started checking out other hotels…Ramada…nope. 4 keys…4 keys? Nope, no thanks….that’s a little, well, little Deliverance for us. The rest were worse than our existing reservation, so we stuck with what we had.

Checked into the hotel, it turned out to be better than we thought. Offloaded the van, packed for the race, and took off shortly thereafter.
Event warmup:

Once back at the site, we rode the bike course up to the top, then back down, new cassette shifted fine, check. And whoa, there’s Dollar and Kick. We engaged in a conversation that drew a few stares, then time to rack the bike….my spot was in the middle, same rack as a few guys from the Blink team…so chatted with them for a sec.

Went over to the swim, and heard the announcer say the water was 56 degrees. 56 f’in degrees? Sheesh. Put on the wetsuit, all of a sudden it’s too big. HOW? I tried it on at home, it was fine. Whoops. OK, lesson learned. I’ll have to think about which suit to wear tomorrow. In either case, it’s time to take a dip in the water to get used to it, so I waded out through the thick silty mud and swam about 200m, gasping the entire way. THAT was cold. Got up to the beach, and hung out with Brian, Dollar, and Jess while it began to rain. RAIN? Geez. But OK, it’s supposed to be tough.

Cue the cheesy music…then the first athlete hit the water, one athlete every 5 seconds, time trial style. We were lined up according to our race numbers, so I had about 15 min of continued milling…saw the leaders come out of the water, including Eric Fernando, Gordo, Eric Limkemann (ITU Pro), and a few others….then I was up…I was going to do this…the flag dropped.
  • 05m 48s
  • 250 meters
  • 02m 19s / 100 meters

Amazingly enough, I wasn't nervous. Ran into the water, dolphined 3x, then into a 'normal' swim. Due to the 56 degree water, I never got a good breathing rhythm at all...lots of gasping. Also, my stroke never got loose or long, so it was like swimming through quicksand that gives you a headache.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe a longer warm-up to get used to the water? But frankly, I wasn't all that interested in doing much more exercise than I had to; it was going to be a LONG weekend. So probably not.

Maybe try my wetsuit on BEFORE I get to the race site? Nah, that would have been too smart.

For sure, though, practice full exhales underwater and making my stroke long and smooth. I actually got this done in 2 of the next 3 races, and the swim times showed.
Transition 1
  • 01m 9s

T1 was smooth. Not much to it. My time was :20 slower than the Pro times, but under most of the other times.
What would you do differently?:

  • 13m 18s
  • 5 miles
  • 22.56 mile/hr

Hopped on the bike to tackle the 5mi TT course. There’s a short rolling downhill to start, so far, so good, to a turnaround at the bottom of the hill….navigated that without getting passed, and took a few folks from in front of me. Then…back up the hill…so I stepped on the gas….no response. Hey, legs, where you be at? So I hit the nitro. Nothing, this engine isn’t moving out of the yard today. WHA? So I slugged it out.

The next 2 miles were all uphill at about 3-4%, and I was hurting - still gasping from the cold water. At first, I held my own, then the tidal waves of folks started to pass me. Studs, old ladies, turtles, molasses, you name it, it went past. WTF? Anyway, it was a long couple miles. About halfway through I started thinking that if a 2 mile hill was tough, how the hell am I going to complete the weekend? ERG. Wait, no time to think about that….

Finally summitted and turned around at the cabins, and started coming down….big, long, downhill….starting with a steep section, a curve, then another straight section leading straight to T2. I had ridden it in practice and knew we were capable of holding 40mph down this stretch, so off I went….but now, the road was wet. The first descent went well, but on the curve my front wheel started to wobble, intermittently losing grip on the pavement, so I backed off until the next straightaway.

Having scrubbed a little speed, three more riders went by me on the way down…that NEVER happens. Note to self: change the tires for more grip (I’m riding on older ones).
What would you do differently?:

New tires, bigger warmup?
Transition 2
  • 01m 9s

Racked bike in wrong row, only cost 10 seconds. Quick change, and off I went. Nothing spectacular.
What would you do differently?:

Have a clown standing at the end of my row, or learn to find the red 'J' while exercising. It's only 1 of 26 letters, it shouldn't be that hard.
  • 07m 56s
  • 1 miles
  • 07m 56s  min/mile

This time I ran *smart*. I knew I was struggling, and had the choice to step on it (racing it), or knowing that saving something in my legs was probably smarter - as I had an IM-distance effort coming up in the next 24 hours - so I backed off.

Ran out of the parking lot, across the grass, *WALKED* up a very short and very steep grassy knoll, then settled into a comfortable pace. I was getting passed by *EVERYONE*. Good, I'll see you all on Sunday.

Turned around, then the sweet, sweet downhill to the finish...let the legs roll and turn over...and then, done.
Post race
Warm down:

Finished, found Dollar, Jess, Brian and we hung out and had some food...but didn't stay long, as we had to eat and sleep for an early start on Saturday.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not adjusting to the cold water, lack of hill training on the bike, slick pavement, and the fact that I'm just a bad runner. I gotta fix that.

Event comments:

Most folks will look at the distance of this race and kind of shrug it's 29 minutes long, how hard can it be? But the genious of the prologue is begins the process of breaking down your body, and seeding your mind with doubt.

First, the body....lots of folks wanted to RACE this race, and they did. And it took a ton of energy out of their legs, as they attacked it like a standalone race. Many folks that went nuts-out in the prologue DNF'ed the weekend. Conserving energy is the better part of valour for this event; those that didn't pace paid the price.

Second, the mind. The prologue gives you just a taste, a hint, a smidge of the hills, the water temperature, and the competition. If you weren't a little scared already, it started the process. If you WERE a little scared or doubting already, it just magnified them. At best, I was going to have to do a huge number of things that I've never tried just to even FINISH the weekend - swimming in 56 deg, riding hills bigger than I ever have, doing an IM distance in a single weekend, doing nutrition the right way. Worst case...well, you get the idea.

I got a lousy night's sleep on Friday. But one race was down. :)

Last updated: 2008-01-01 12:00 AM
00:05:48 | 250 meters | 02m 19s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/47
Overall: 137/328
Performance: Below average
Suit: Fullsuit
Course: Wade into the water, dolphin to the first buoy, turn right and swim in a triangle going counterclockwise (yellow turn buoys on the left). Relatively shallow, small lake.
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 58F / 14C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Below average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 01:09
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
00:13:18 | 05 miles | 22.56 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/47
Overall: 156/328
Performance: Below average
Wind: Little
Course: Out of transition, up a small hill, then descend to the base of the hill, quick u-turn, then a 2 mile climb up the hill (3-4%), turn around at the cabins, then a flying 2 mile descent back to transition.
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Below average
Race pace: Too hard Drinks:
Time: 01:09
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Bad
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:07:56 | 01 miles | 07m 56s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/47
Overall: 230/328
Performance: Good
Course: Out and back. Leave transition, run 1/2 mile uphill...the first 100yds were on parking lot pavement, then grass, then across another parking lot, then onto the fire road (broken pavement, then dirt/rocks). Then, turn around, half mile downhill.
Keeping cool Average Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5] 2
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2008-05-28 8:08 AM

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Rochester Hills, Michigan
Gold member
Subject: American Triple T - Race #1

2008-05-28 8:53 AM
in reply to: #1427944

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South eastern Ohio
Gold member
Subject: RE: American Triple T - Race #1
Good job and after being in a car all that time ! I'm sorry I didn't get to meet you.  Can't wait to read the rest of your reports.
2008-05-28 2:16 PM
in reply to: #1427944

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Washington Court House, Ohio
Subject: RE: American Triple T - Race #1

I read though Chris's reports and felt like reading more.

Good start so far.  On to chapter 2.


2008-05-30 1:39 PM
in reply to: #1427944

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Subject: RE: American Triple T - Race #1

Dude... this sounds terrifying and I have only made it through the first report.


Count me in for next year!! 

2008-06-02 1:49 PM
in reply to: #1427944

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Nashville, TN
Subject: RE: American Triple T - Race #1
You mean people were looking at us funny this weekend??? 
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