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Breath of Life Ventura Triathlon - Olympic Course - TriathlonOlympic

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Ventura, California
United States
Breath of Life Ventura
Total Time = 2h 32m 41s
Overall Rank = 144/372
Age Group = M 45-49
Age Group Rank = 21/38
Pre-race routine:

NOTE: It appears there were serious problems with the timing system for this race, esp. for the swim segment. Lots of people (incl. me) had posted times a lot faster than was actually the case. In addition, a lot of people apparently were placed by the system in incorrect AGs. So my times are per my watch (swim/T1) and Garmin 205 (bike/T2/run) and we may not get accurate AG placements.


EDIT on 6/30: Results are up and it looks like they got things corrected. Splits look right (and my time is improved by :39 sec. vs. my watch, now 2:32:41 vs. 2:33:20 on watch). I've updated this RR to include the official results/placements.

EDIT on 6/30...2 hours later: Went back to look at my wife's results and there are major adjustments to the placements in my AG. Doesn't seem to have affected my O/A placements significantly, but I've adjusted my AG results per these new results--gained spots in bike & run, but dropped a little in AG total and swim. (Grrr...)


This was to be my 2nd international distance tri and first at the official Olympic distances for all three segments. It would be a tuneup for my first half iron in three weeks and my wife's first Oly after three sprints. I'd trained very hard the previous weekend, so I wasn't sure what I'd have for this race--mostly I wanted to see my wife do well.

I noshed on a couple Nutrigrain bars and a glass of Emergen-C before heading out. We left LA for Ventura about 4:55 and got to the race site about 5:40. We were able to rack together in a reasonable spot and were ready in plenty of time for the prerace briefing and what turned out to be a quarter mile walk to the Olympic swim start (moved due to water conditions, apparently).
Event warmup:

The 5 minute walk to the swim start in flip-flops. Got in and swam a bit...felt good. Race start was delayed about 10 minutes. Lined up near the front on the I usually do...gun we go.
  • 29m 7s
  • 1640 yards
  • 01m 46s / 100 yards

Best ocean swim to-date. Felt comfortable throughout...not much surf or swell. Navigation spotty, esp. towards the end, but I was much better able to follow the pack this time then in some other races. Caught people from the previous wave by the first buoy and from the wave before them by the time I was turning for the shore.

When the results were posted, I was shocked--they had me 28th out of 35 in my AG. And that was with a credited time five minutes faster than my watch time...definitely fast. I looked more closely and they had the first seven in my AG at times around 50 seconds per 100 yds. All of it pretty F'ed up. I've never been below MOP on the swim ever and my credited time would have had me in the top 10 in the AG last year. Don't know if I'll ever find out where I actually placed on the best estimate would be about 12 out of 35 based on my actual watch time.

Update on 7/1: Online results (as noted above) at first seemed to fix the problems--they got my time just about where I had it and placed me 19th of 39 in my AG, which feels about right. The final results, however, dropped me to 23rd of 38, which I don't think gibes with reality. Supposedly--per the official results--another guy in my AG crossed the mat into T1 at virtually the same moment I did...but I sure don't recall that from the race. Not sure how they ultimately addressed the problems with the swim splits, but it looks like their first attempt was more accurate than the final least for my teeny little corner of the race. Oh, well.
What would you do differently?:

Not much, really. Stood up too soon at end and a wave knocked me down for a second. That's about it. Plenty of energy for long deep-sand run to transition...passed a number of people during the run.
Transition 1
  • 04m 22s

Not sure why this was so slow. I got my wetsuit off fast. Struggled a little with my socks. Put my Garmin on. That's about it. Those things could have contributed to the slow time.
What would you do differently?:

Dunno. I'm just more comfortable with socks on the bike and this was the first time that slowed me down at all. May just be one of those things.
  • 1h 12m 41s
  • 24.85 miles
  • 20.51 mile/hr

After how trashed my legs were at the Desert International, I was being very careful to monitor them here. This was also the first race on my new bike...I knew from training that I would likely gain 1.5 mph or so over my old bike. So my hope was to be over 20 mph for the race. Mission accomplished. For my overall goal of sub-2:30, I knew I needed to get more like 21 mph...I ended up coming close...did about 20.6.

Had planned to do one gel at 25 min. into the ride (i.e., about 55 min. into the tri) and possibly a packet of Shot Bloks near the end. Did the first...blew off the second...grabbed a gulp or two of G2 in T2.

In general, uneventful and I had enough left to finish strong. I did get into a shouting match with a couple women who were riding two abreast and blocking me on a narrow section with traffic passing to the left. Clueless...but--of course--wearing high end tri gear. When I said something to my wife about it in transition after the race, not one, but two other people in earshot had seen the same thing and said they'd been pissed off at them, too. Anyhow...passing them and giving them both an earful after nearly crashing gave me plenty of incentive to hammer the last six miles and drop them.
What would you do differently?:

Could maybe have gone faster...definitely had plenty of energy for the run...but my legs were feeling it throughout. I have plenty of aerobic conditioning at this point, just don't really have the cycling fitness to really push things.
Transition 2
  • 02m 8s

Couldn't find my damn spot. The run in was on the opposite end of the racks from where everyone expected and so my cute chalk hieroglyphics were for naught...though I found my row quickly enough, I guess...but coming from the other end, I just couldn't spot my gear.
What would you do differently?:

Not get lost for 30 sec. or so...
  • 44m 27s
  • 6.21 miles
  • 07m 10s  min/mile

10K PR for me. Not a distance I've run often, but my best open 10K was 45:59. This course only measured 6.15 miles on my Garmin, but if I'd run another .07 mi., it would still have been a PR by about 40-45 sec. Really surprised me...but, then again, I'd equalled my open 10K PR in a 15K training run recently, so maybe it shouldn't be a surprise.

I knew going out on the run that I had basically no chance of breaking 2:30 for the tri. However, I was shocked to see my 7:06 first mile split. I actually had an outside shot at my goal. But as the run progressed, I was able to hold that pace, but couldn't consistently push beyond it, even the last mile or so. Dipped down below 7:00 pace on my Garmin a couple times and never got above 7:40 or so. Good solid kick to finish strong.

As is typical, I passed--literally--dozens of people on the run and was passed by exactly two (both women, in each lap). Felt like I made good decisions on drinking...took just a swig of water at one aid station on each one station (around mile two), a volunteer yelled out "Gatorade," so I grabbed a cup. Yuck! It was that vile Heed crap. (I'm sure the Hammer folks would be delighted to know that someone was calling their product "Gatorade" on the course...)
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really. This was like night and day from my first international distance race where I was in agony coming off the bike. Best 10K ever...I'll take it.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around, packed my gear. Waited for Liz to finish. I'd pegged her for around 3:15 and she cruised in feeling comfortable at 3:18. After she packed up, we got a couple free burgers and a beer.

The posted results were a mess. They had me officially at 2:27...nice given my sub-2:30 goal...but my swim split was way off. People were being announced as winners in the wrong AGs. Big mess.

Best part of the day was when Liz finished. She had her Disney Tri Team shirt on and Konrad Ribeiro, who was announcing, used to be a teammate of hers (in point of fact, Konrad's the one who talked her into doing a full tri at Malibu last fall and not just a relay...which was what, in turn, dragged me into this damn sport). As Konrad saw the Disney jersey coming in, he looked down at his laptop screen and IDed her...and proceeded to spend what felt like 30 sec. of narration for her finish: "Here comes Liz Covert from the Disney Tri Team. Liz is a relative newcomer to triathlons...but here she is finishing an Olympic Distance Triathlon...looks like she's addicted now...good job, Liz..." Funny thing is that Liz was so focused on the finish that I think she didn't really hear all the narrative from Konrad.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Still have a ways to go on the bike. But at least with my new Scott S40, I have a better tool to work with. Transitions still a sore spot.

(E.T.A.: Now that official results are up, it's interesting that I finished higher overall on the bike than the swim, but higher in my AG on the swim. Only the second tri--along with my AG win in the Bonelli Steamboat Express--where I finished in the top half of the field in all three disciplines.)

Event comments:

Nice event...can't beat the free BBQ and beer (though they were running out of stuff by the time my wife finished and cleaned up her gear). Tons of volunteers (and probably the most appreciative bunch I've seen). Very, very, flat course on both the bike and the run. Good race for anyone making a first attempt at an Oly. I'd give this a "5" rating, except for the degree to which the results were screwed up.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-04-21 12:00 AM
00:29:07 | 1640 yards | 01m 46s / 100yards
Age Group: 23/38
Overall: 181/372
Performance: Good
Actual swim = 28:15 (1:43 per 100 yds); run to T1 = 0:52.
Suit: Xterra Vortex 2
Course: Rectangular--out, left, left again into beach
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 62F / 17C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:22
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed:
01:12:41 | 24.85 miles | 20.51 mile/hr
Age Group: 22/38
Overall: 178/372
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: Basically an out-and-back with two laps of a six mile loop at the far end (sprint race just does the out-and-back without the loop section). Very flat...just one small roller near the very end of the loop.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:08
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Below average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
00:44:27 | 06.21 miles | 07m 10s  min/mile
Age Group: 8/38
Overall: 81/372
Performance: Good
Mile splits: 7:06-7:13-7:23-7:18-7:19-0:52 (.14 mi - 6:11/mi.)
Course: Out-and-back two laps on pedestrian path along beach.
Keeping cool Good 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? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2008-06-30 2:30 AM

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Northridge, California
Subject: Breath of Life Ventura Triathlon - Olympic Course

2008-06-30 9:51 AM
in reply to: #1498134

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Washington , MO
Subject: RE: Breath of Life Ventura Triathlon - Olympic Course
 Awesome job bro, the training is paying off and each segment was strong! Congrats to Liz as well!Its really a shame that the timing and age groups were all screwed up. Way to go Covert's and thanks for sharing with us all.
2008-06-30 2:41 PM
in reply to: #1498134

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.

Edited by mixie 2008-06-30 2:42 PM
2008-07-01 12:38 AM
in reply to: #1498134


Santa Clarita, ca
Subject: RE: Breath of Life Ventura Triathlon - Olympic Course
Great work on the race... I'm glad they fixed the results, because according to them, I didn't even race. I mean, all that work and I don't even exist. Kind of a bummer.

It's a little funny we both lost ourselves in T2 -- though I blame it on all the bike bling. All the Cervelos threw me off.

2008-07-02 12:26 AM
in reply to: #1498134

Long Beach, CA
Subject: RE: Breath of Life Ventura Triathlon - Olympic Course
Great job out there! Awesome swim and a run PR. What more could you ask for? Except maybe accurate timing!
2008-07-03 8:48 AM
in reply to: #1498134

Minneapolis, MN
Subject: RE: Breath of Life Ventura Triathlon - Olympic Course
Nice work Todd. I completely agree with you about that HEED junk. I don't know anyone that likes that stuff and when volunteers try to fake you out and tell you its Gatorade I swear it tastes even worse!
Anyways, awesome race, keep up the great training for the rest of the summer and you're half IM is gonna be a slam dunk!

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