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Columbia Triathlon - TriathlonOlympic

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Ellicott City, Maryland
United States
The Columbia Triathlon Association Inc.
Total Time = 2h 51m 40s
Overall Rank = 571/1569
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 75/183
Pre-race routine:

Have far back to go? Significant is a big lunch and a big dinner on Friday. Got cramps late Friday and woke up with them Saturday and some other gastric disturbances. Seemed to get better as the day went on and by Saturday night I felt fine, but it came back to haunt me.

Packed up and left by 12:30 Saturday. Got to the hotel (not the host hotel), went to packet pick up, browsed the expo (got a good deal on a Tyr tri suit) then went to rack my bike. Wrapped it in a thin plastic drop cloth and checked out the race site; swim start, course, swim exit, into and out of transition, bike mount, dismount, etc. Then drove the bike course. It seemed like it would be challenging but fun. I wish I had checked out the run course. Stopped for dinner across the street from the hotel around 6:00 (Chicken pasta), went back to the room to lay out my race stuff, pack transition bag, repeatedly check the weather and went to bed around 8:30. Up at 4, coffee (black, yuck, but we forgot half&half), English muffin with PB, banana & honey, kid droppage, shower, stretch, off to the race site around 5:30
Event warmup:

Unwrap bike (it worked but all got wet later anyway), set up transition, covered stuff with plastic. More kid droppage. Double check in and out of transition, check out pro's transition area, body glided up, on wetsuit and got in a swim at the exit just before race start, then wait. Watch the pros come out of the water. Then wait. Ate a Clif shot, Ran around a bit in the wet suit to warm up, more body glide, then into the water.
  • 29m 17s
  • 1640 yards
  • 01m 47s / 100 yards

Got knocked around pretty good early on. Worse than ever.I had trouble getting my breathing under control. Stopped and floated for a few seconds. Calmed down, settled in and finished pretty strong. PR by 4 minutes.
What would you do differently?:

Start easier, relax, stay more to the side as there was a bit of a dog leg in the first yellow buoys but more of a straight line from the start to the first turn. No need to hug the yellow, just bee line for the turn buoy. Maybe not eat a Clif shot before the swim. Last two races I did that and both times I had trouble getting breathing under control early. Do not know if it is related but something to monitor.
Transition 1
  • 04m

T1 time bundled with bike time but from doing the math with my race times compared to my Garmin times I may have spent about 4 minutes in T1. Ouch. I wish I could see other peoples T1 times. It was a bit of a distance from the water exit to the bikes. Wet suit off was ok, not great, but my timing strap came off with it. I also put a long sleeve jersey on as it was chilly and raining hard. I was glad I did it at first but maybe not in the long run. I put on my Garmin here too. I do like to have the numbers from it and it only takes a few seconds to put it on. I also put shoes on in transition as it was wet muddy uphill to leave transition, then uphill right at the start from the bike mount and it would have been a while before I could comfortably slip in. I did notice a few of the pros also did not have shoes already clipped in. I will work on riding up hill with feet on top of shoes. Hell, I live on a hill so I could do it every ride!

What would you do differently?:

Leave shoes clipped in, faster off with wet suit, consider no over shirt, timing strap on tighter.
  • 1h 24m 57s
  • 25.13 miles
  • 17.75 mile/hr

T1 and Bike time bundled but Garmin has me at 1:24:57 for 25.13 with avg mph of 17.7. I didn't reset my bike computer from the last ride so I do not have cadence numbers. Raining pretty hard at the start. Some up hills were tough and the wet roads made the downhills a bit hairy. Chain came off on one big hill and I lost time getting it back on, then mounting and getting started on a hill. There was a spectator out in her driveway and I used her driveway to clip in and get rolling again. After that I was super aware of the chain and it almost came off 2 more times. Each time was going into the smallest ring of the triple on a hill. I think I had too much torque during the shift. What may or may not be related was that after that, the chain kept slipping on the rear cassette when it got down to the smaller rings and was under heavy torque. I have yet to do a mechanical check.

I kept passing and then getting passed by the same couple of racers early on. I'd pass on the uphill, they'd pass on the downhill. Eventually wet evened out but I was wondering who was more inconsistent. Since I was the common denominator I'll say it was me.

I tried to eat a gel but it wasn't sitting well as the cramps from Friday/ Saturday were coming back. I drank some water and some Gatorade E but not a whole lot. I didn't feel thirsty at all but was starting to feel the cramps much more towards the end.
What would you do differently?:

Manage nutrition better in the days leading up to the race. Push harder up hills (I am good at climbing), stay aero on downhills, go faster!
Also, announce more. At one point I was trying to pass a guy who was sort of drifting left and I was close to the double yellow line. I didn't yell out "On your left" because I had room to pass. Some guy comes up behind to pass us both and starts yelling about keeping right. He did cross the double yellow. I don't really think I was in the wrong as I was passing another rider who was too far left. Not my fault if the guy who wanted to pass us both had to cross the double yellow but I could tell he was really pissed
Transition 2
  • 02m 18s

Lost some time getting long sleeve jersey off, then taking off Timex that was still on from the swim and having to readjust the Garmin strap since it had been on the outside. Socks on pretty quickly, Yankz laces so that was quick too
What would you do differently?:

Not wear extra jersey on bike. Maybe work on sockless running
  • 50m 58s
  • 6.2 miles
  • 08m 13s  min/mile

Cramping right from the start. Felt worse on the downhills but I never walked. I did stop once to adjust my right shoe as the toes were going numb. I need to double check the Yankz fit. Slowed a bit by the wet roads and slipping on the downhills, combined with the cramping. It got better after 3 miles or so, the I drank some water at mile 4ish and the cramps came back. They settled again around mile 5 only to be followed by a severe stitch on the other side. That stopped me twice and one time I was almost doubled over. Finished the last half mile or so pressing my fingers hard into my side as that seemed to help. I have never felt pain like that while running. It was terrible and felt like a knife in my side.
What would you do differently?:

Again, manage nutrition better in days leading up to race. Check yank laces.
Post race
Warm down:

Stop and sit. Side Pain went away quickly then I realized my legs hurt. Drank water and Gatorade even though I wasn't thirsty and was concerned the cramps would come back. Ate a Clif bar, then walked and stretched a bit. Went up that hill for food but didn't want anything once I got up there. Who the hell puts the food at the top of the hill after such a hilly run???

Oh, and I went right past Chrissy Wellington who was giving out medals. DAMN. My wife was yelling to me but I was pretty incoherent at the time. In fact, the volunteer who took off my chip strap was holding on to me adn I think she thought I was going to fall over

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Cramps, weather

Event comments:

Course was very challenging but not too hard. I really enjoyed the race itself even though I struggled badly on the run. I'd like to do the course again but don't know if it was worth an overnight stay. Volunteers were great, course support was great, course itself was great.

Now to whine a bit:

I did think some of the ancillary stuff was pretty weak:

Web site - misinformation and unclear info. Example was Homewood Suites was listed as providing a discount to race participants, but they didn't. Also, I had no idea what the Columbia Inn was but it was mentioned quite a few times in race materials. Found in some fine print that it was the former name of the Sheraton, plus I had to hunt around to get the actual street address

Email - 2 emails to organization got no reply, plus I got spammed very clearly from a global email CTA sent out

Bad grammar & punctuation in materials - petty, but it's a big deal to me for various reasons

Expo - some good deals, but some stuff way over priced. Also, why wait in line to have ID & USAT card checked if they just check again at the actual packet station?

F-UGLY T-Shirt!

Oh, and I didn't like night before bike racking, or the crowded racks. Luckily there was a no show right next to me.

Last updated: 2009-01-05 12:00 AM
00:29:17 | 1640 yards | 01m 47s / 100yards
Age Group: 93/183
Overall: 755/1569
Performance: Good
Suit: QR Ultra Full
Course: Triangular/rectangular. Swim enter and exit at different spots.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Good
Breathing: Below average Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:00
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
01:24:57 | 25.13 miles | 17.75 mile/hr
Age Group: 86/183
Overall: 626/1569
Performance: Average
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: Rainy. Wet. Hilly. Wind gusts. Motor vehicle traffic. Other than that is was nice farm country.
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks:
Time: 02:18
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
00:50:58 | 06.2 miles | 08m 13s  min/mile
Age Group: 59/183
Overall: 507/1569
Performance: Below average
Course: H.I.L.L.S. Oh, and hilly. And did I mention the hills?
Keeping cool Average Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-05-18 2:19 PM

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Philly 'burbs
Subject: Columbia Triathlon

2009-05-18 4:54 PM
in reply to: #2158656

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Severna Park, MD
Subject: RE: Columbia Triathlon

If I ever need a stand-in at a race, I'm calling you.  Our experience was sooo similar it's scary....except for the part where you kicked my in the run.  You ran the 10k I was hoping for but didn't have in me.  Like you saw, I got beat up at the beginning of the swim, timing strap came off in T2 (which I forgot until I read your rr), passed and got passed by the same few people (except I was passing on the downs and getting passed on the ups), ran right by Chrissie (which I'm sure left her very disappointed)......but I really want your run.
Fine job racing on a very tough day.  Congratulations!!

2009-05-18 7:09 PM
in reply to: #2158656

Subject: RE: Columbia Triathlon

Nice job I'm totally there with you about the ugly shirts!

2009-05-18 7:14 PM
in reply to: #2158656

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Subject: RE: Columbia Triathlon
Good race. I actually put the shirt on yesterday after getting home, it grows on you a little. Like a fungus.

I agree that racking the night before is kind of a pain, but having done Chicago (8000 participants) with racking the morning of the race, I've seen the nightmare it can become, especially in the dark.
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