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Hickory Nut Gorge Triathlon - TriathlonSprint

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Lake Lure, North Carolina
United States
Total Time = 1h 34m 40s
Overall Rank = 21/144
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 3/18
Pre-race routine:

(1) wait nervously for brother-in-law to show up to sister's house, 20 minutes late; (2) get lost; (3) follow a car with a very cool Cervelo bike on the back in hopes that they are going where we are; (4) realize that they have Georgia plates and are probably as lost as we are; (5) curse; (6) finally find someone to ask directions; (7) pick up race packet 10 minutes before they close. I forgot to pump up my tires, so I ended up riding on low pressure. Oh well.

Event warmup:

I thought the lake would be cold, but it wasn't; the air temp was chilly, but the water felt great. I ran just a little bit to get blood moving after an hour+ in the car, and then a warm-up swim of a few hundred yards went well. I should have known that things would go downhill from there...
  • 00m
  • 547 yards
  • / 100 yards

Well, at least I didn't drown. I had some opportunities to draft, but didn't manage to do it.
What would you do differently?:

I need a swim coach! And I need to get more OWS time. LOTS more.
Transition 1
  • 00m

T1 felt pretty fast. I did put on socks, but that went very well (about 5 seconds total for the socks). My only problem was that without glasses or contacts, I did briefly turn down the wrong row to get my bike, but that was very quickly corrected. In a bigger race, though, it could have been trouble. I need to mark my spot and remember it better. The big thing was that I forgot to put on my race belt. Apparently nobody cared. (I put it on during T2.) I'm guessing that in a bigger race this would have resulted in a penalty.

I did the flying mount with the shoes held in place with rubber bands. It went fine, though I'm not sure whether it saved all that much time. Maybe a little. I need to keep working on getting my feet into the shoes faster. I lose too much momentum while I'm doing it. The fact that the first climb started about 100 yards after T1 didn't help...
What would you do differently?:

Mark my spot more clearly. Put my race belt on!
  • 00m
  • 15.5 miles
  • 0.00 mile/hr

This was the leg where I worked the hardest. That might not have been the smartest move, since I'm faster on the run, but then again, with such a high percentage of the total time being on the bike, you really can gain a lot of time there. And I passed loads of people on the bike, but very few on the run. (But of course that could be because all of the people that I WOULD have passed on the run, I already passed on the bike. Man, this whole pacing thing is hard!)
What would you do differently?:

I didn't drink enough. I felt it on the run. I need to learn to drink while I'm working hard on the bike (climbing, in particular).
Transition 2
  • 00m

T2 was very fast. I did the flying dismount, ran to my spot, helmet off, shoes and race belt on, and go. I think I passed about 4 or 5 people in T2.
What would you do differently?:

I probably should have taken a swig of something.
  • 00m
  • 3.1 miles
  •  min/mile

This was a pretty awful run for me. The day before, I ran at a 7:15 pace after a pretty hard bike with very little trouble, and felt that I would easily do that or better during the race. Boy was I wrong. Splits have not been posted, but I think I was around 8:00 for the first mile, and maybe around 7:30-7:45 for the other two. I really went too hard on the bike, I think, and I was feeling a bit unmotivated at the beginning of the run for some reason. Not sure why. I picked it up for the second and third miles (which isn't saying much as it was all downhill after 1.5 miles), but these still were not very fast. Also, I had a little more in the tank at the end, and it really bugs me when that happens, though I keep reminding myself that this race was a lark, and I don't want to screw up my marathon training for it. So I guess the run was OK, but in a race that I really care about, I sure would like to go a LOT LOT faster! Only one person passed me, and I passed maybe 5 or 6 people. I think if I had known how close I was to the top of my age group (it was hard to tell because of the time trial start), I would have found the motivation to run faster, but that's a sad excuse. I should be able to find that motivation regardless. Oh well. The run felt bad, but I made to the end...
What would you do differently?:

Run faster.
Post race
Warm down:

A little walking, a little stretching, eating.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

(1) the fact that I can't swim; (2) stressful morning getting there; (3) unprepared for the toughness of the bike course

Event comments:

My first tri -- there were a lot of things to improve, including some stupid mistakes, but really, how can I complain??? There's lots of stuff I'll do better next time. But it was a blast and I'm hooked, 100%. It was a really fun first effort.

Last updated: 2008-06-14 12:00 AM
00:00:00 | 547 yards | / 100yards
Age Group: 0/18
Overall: 0/144
Performance: Bad
They said that the swim was "550 yards, or something like that". Afterwards everybody, including the good swimmers, agreed it was more like 650. That made me feel a LITTLE better about my 12:30 time, but still this was a really terrible part of the race for me. I went out pretty fast (probably too fast), then realized I was going too hard and slowed down. At the turn buoy, I managed to get my foot tangled in the rope for the buoy. I tried to just keep swimming, but then I felt myself 'towing' the buoy, so I stopped and had to tread water for 15-20 seconds while I untangled. Sighting was going well for a while, but once I got a bit tired, I think I must have looked like a drunk. I felt like I was adjusting my direction every 4th stroke. Getting kicked in the face twice didn't help. At the end, I STUPIDLY assumed that the grade coming out was the same as it was going in (very gradual) and tried to stand up 20 yards from the shore, only to sink below the surface. I'm sure the spectators got a kick out of this guy disappearing under the water, then breast-stroking to get back on top of the water, then doing the SAME STUPID THING two more times. Not my best moment. I was VERY happy to get out of that water.
Suit: tri shorts and tri top
Course: Out to the middle of the lake, then 90 degree right turn to the other shore. Out was fairly straightforward, but coming in was tough to site, probably in part because I was tired, but the buoys were not very visible amongst all the boats along the shore.
Start type: Run Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Bad
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Bad
Time: 00:00
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
00:00:00 | 15.5 miles | 0.00 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/18
Overall: 0/144
Wind: Little
Course: Wow. This was hills like I've never ridden. I was in the lowest possible gear (new territory for me) more than a few times. There was almost nothing that was flat. The downhills were incredibly fast at times, but very curvy at times also. Overall, I feel like I descended very well, though I needed a few more gears at the upper end to take full advantage of the hills -- I spun out at a little above 40mph and I felt like there was easily another 5-10mph to be had on some of those downhills if I only had the gears to push it. I did most of my passing on the uphills, but even so, I really think that I have a lot of room for improvement there. The big problem was that my chain came off at around mile 7. This sucked in a big way, as it happened half way up a hill. I really don't know why it happened -- I was moving pretty well up the hill, and changed to a lower gear, and BOOM, no more chain. I have no idea why the chain would come off while changing to a lower gear (on the back). I got it fixed pretty quickly, but 3 people (whom I had previously passed) went by me during that time. One was very kind and said some words of encouragement. I was able to pass them back, along with some others. By mile 11, I was alone, and figured that I had found my 'natural place' on the bike -- nobody behind was going to pass me, and I wasn't going to pass anybody in front. In fact, until the end, I didn't even see another rider from then on. There were some screaming fast descents at the end too, which were very very cool to do all alone. My proudest fact about this race was that by the end of the bike leg, nobody had passed me on the bike, and I had passed quite a few people. Of course, given how badly I sucked on the swim, I guess this is not exactly shocking. And I did pay for it on the run...
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 92
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Too hard Drinks: Not enough
Time: 00:00
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:00:00 | 03.1 miles |  min/mile
Age Group: 0/18
Overall: 0/144
Performance: Below average
Course: Up and back -- uphill out, and downhill back. Not the easiest course.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2008-09-07 7:30 PM

Subject: Hickory Nut Gorge Triathlon

2008-09-07 7:57 PM
in reply to: #1656879

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Chapel Hill, NC
Subject: RE: Hickory Nut Gorge Triathlon
Great job on your race - way to go on third place AG at your very first tri! Wow, nobody passed you on the bike, despite your chain coming off? That's super. I guess you are on your way to becoming a great biker as well as a great runner!

Here's my comments about the questions you bring up in your report.

1) I ALWAYS get lost on the way to races, and wander around till I find a car with a bike to follow. I just plan on getting there way early so I have room to spare.

2) Open water swim training is the ticket.

3) Flying mounts are only worth it to zoom past a bottleneck of bikers trying to clip in. Otherwise, take your time mounting.

4) Yes, pacing is hard. It still don't have it down after 3 years, and - gosh - maybe 20 races. It does get easier with each race because I keep learning! This is one reason why the ironman champions are in their late 30's. They started racing in their 20's.

5) Do you have an aero-bottle? That makes drinking so easy!

6) You probably did too much the day before your race. The only thing my training plans have ever had that day, is a very short easy bike ride, like 20 minutes, with a few 30 second accelerations.

2008-09-08 5:15 AM
in reply to: #1656879

Subject: RE: Hickory Nut Gorge Triathlon
Thanks for the advice.  That all sounds right to me.
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