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Challenge Barcelona - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Calella, Spain
Challenge Family
70F / 21C
Total Time = 5h 12m 47s
Overall Rank = 444/789
Age Group = m35-39
Age Group Rank = 109/181
Pre-race routine:

On friday I went to packet pickup, then on saturday we had the pre-race briefing around noon. In the afternoon was the bike checkin where we dropped off our bikes and our transition bags. Transition was one big tent where everything we needed was placed in a bag (one for the bike, one for the run) and then just our bikes were located in a large open area next to it. Later in the evening was the pasta party, which wasn't anything special but they filled your plate.

Sunday morning had breakfast in the hotel (a couple of packets of oatmeal I brought from home) with some French people who were also racing and the night guy at the hotel set us up with some hot water and bowls. Headed over to transition and set up the water and nutrition on my bike and got into my wetsuit.
Event warmup:

Headed down to the beach . Watched the pros head off then just took a quick dip in the water to try and get used to it since it was pretty cold.
  • 45m 56s
  • 1950 meters
  • 02m 22s / 100 meters

This was my first time racing in open ocean and saltwater and also with a running mass start but I stayed in the back and it was fine. A bit of a shock to hit the cold water again at first but settled in ok and got going. Very little contact, even going around the buoy. Made the turn to the outbound leg and just tried to settle into a rhythym and enjoyed the crystal clear water, you had to be able to see down at least 50 ft. Made the 1st left hand turn and took a couple of mouthfuls of saltwater on this short 100m section outward. Turned onto the backstraight which was the hardest section of the race. It was 800m long but there were no buoys along the way, just the one at the next turn. Combined with this leg being into the sun and the large swells (not much chop, but you had to try to time your sighting to be at the top of a swell or you couldn't see anything) navigation was really hard. To start with I just tried to head in the direction I thought I should and made sure I still had people around me evey now & then. Was on and off some feet here too. Eventually I saw a buoy up ahead. As I got a little closer though I stopped and put my hands up to block the sun and have a look around. Saw one of the kayakers slapping his paddle at a couple of other swimmers to get their attention - we'd been heading for the very 1st buoy, not the final one. Picked out the final one farther on and headed for it but luckily I wasn't as far off course as the others. Had some problems with my left arm during this stretch though. My left shoulder (the one I've had problems with) just seemed to become really sore and weak. I couldn't pull at all with it and for some reason I couldn't even cup my hand. Eventually I made the turn for the beach and was as happy as ever to reach the shore.
What would you do differently?:

Better preparation - ie do all my swim workouts beforehand and work on my technique. Didn't do a very good job of sighting either, it was hard to time it with being at the top of a swell. Also, I tried to be liberal with the body glide since the salt water is a bit more abrasive but I still ended up with a big raw spot on my neck.
Transition 1
  • 04m 51s

A little discombobulated coming into the tent. It was a little crowded so it took a little time to find my bag and get the stuff I needed out of it, then stuff my wetsuit back into it.
What would you do differently?:

Didn't have much of a sense of urgency, could've moved a little faster.
  • 2h 27m 41s
  • 52.1 miles
  • 21.17 mile/hr

Took it pretty easy to start to try & get my HR somewhat under control, but it would've been hard to go too fast on the city streets anyway. Once I got to the highway I upped the pace. On the Calella end there were a few hills, then it flattened and straightened out more towards the turn around with a few roundabouts thrown in (they were fun - even though I wasn't in a peloton I kind of imagined myself as part of a big pack splitting around it like they do in the TdF since we had the road to ourselves and could cut the corners). For the most part tried to keep HR low z2ish to start, but mainly I just wanted to keep the avg over 20mph - that was my goal for the race. Felt pretty good and nutrition was going fine.

Hit the 1st turnaround with a 20.9 mph avg which I was happy with. The return trip was into the wind and seemed to have more uphills though. I didn't push it too much up them so when I ended the 1st lap my avg was down to 20.4. I had decided before the race that I wanted to push the bike leg since overall it's a pretty flat course and for all my other races I have biked conservatively so as not to blow up on the run. This time I wanted to see what would happen if I wasn't quite as conservative. So when I started the 2nd lap I decided I wanted to push the effort and get my mph up over 21 since I would be going with the wind - 21 was now my goal average for the race. Legs were starting to feel some fatigue but I was moving by alot of people which was fun.

Hit the last turnaround with a 21.1 mph avg so all I needed to do was to hold on for the return. Cat and moused with a guy from the Calella Tri club for almost then entire return leg which worked out well for helping me keep my effort up. I pushed it harder when the wind picked up and especially on the hills. At one point I was out of the saddle and just having fun pushing hard up a hill until I reminded myself that I still had to run and to push hard, but not be stupid about it.

After the 2nd lap my avg had only dropped to 20.9 and I tried to keep the pace up on the streets, and I was happy with my final avg, came into t2 feeling like I'd nailed the bike and could still have a good race after the slow swim. One big disappointment was that the course was short. My bike computer said about 5 miles but when I measured it online it's about 4 miles, which is pretty significant. Still happy with my time, feel like I nailed the bike, but in reality there should be another 10-11 minutes or so on my bike time. Time does include the run to the rack and then to the mounting line/tent though which was maybe a minute on each side.
What would you do differently?:

Not too much. I maybe could've pushed a little harder on the 1st lap but probably not too much so I'm happy with the ride.
Transition 2
  • 01m

Didn't take my feet out of my shoes while riding since I knew that the mats covering the transition area were wet and I didn't want to start the run with wet socks. So I ran with in my bike shoes & it was fine. Racked the bike, then took my helmet off as I ran into the tent. Bike shoes off, sneakers and visor on was quick. Time only includes time in the changing tent though, not the run from/to mount/dismount line and racking the bike.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, went fine.
  • 1h 53m 17s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 39s  min/mile

Legs were tired getting off the bike but felt fine once I moved into the run. Didn't pay attention to anything to start with, just tried to settle into a good pace without having my HR skyrocket. Found something that felt good even though there were a lot of faster runners from the later waves and especially relays going by me which was a little disheartening. First 5k went by ok, but after that my legs started getting tired. The temperature was pretty comfortable, hot enough that a cup of water over the head felt good, but not much hotter than that. Towards the end of the 1st lap it was starting to become a trudge but I had a momentary feeling good so I decided to try & push the pace a little more.

I was able to keep up a little harder effort (didn't really go any faster but I think it kep me from slowing down, my splits were pretty consistent at 5:15-5:30/km for the entire race, including the last couple k's at 5:15ish). Decided to try and catch Thierry (some French dude whose family was cheering for him) although it took about 5k to finally get back to him and pass him. Saw Kelly a couple of times too although I didn't have much extra energy to spare to say much more than 'ugh'. The last 5 miles or so were pretty difficult but by now I was starting to pass people and when I hit the last turnaround I just kept telling myself you can do this for 5 more kilometers. One more trip thru the sand traps and I was back in front of the bleachers but this time making the turn to the finish.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. This time was only 3' off my best 1/2 IM run which was during my IM tune-up race when I'd been doing much more running for longer. Feel like I executed pretty well except for not taking in much nutrition aside from some Sport Beans (and water and gatorade at the aid stations).
Post race
Warm down:

Sat down for a few minutes then devoured a sandwich, soda, banana, couple of pieces of sponge cake...

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Aside from my perpetual swim problems I felt like it went really well. I was a little worried about not having much (any) over-distance training beforehand but it seems like everything worked out fine.

Event comments:

Overall it was a fun, well run race and I really enjoyed the international competition. It was fun to sit outside bike check and check out all the exotic frames that we don't have here and see the different tri clubs from all over. Only complaint about the race would be about the bike course being short. But even if the bike course had been correct I still would've PR'd (by around 2 minutes instead of the 12' 'officially', even with a 45' swim!) so I can't complain too much. And it was fun having Kelly there even if I could only hear her half the time :).

Last updated: 2010-04-05 12:00 AM
00:45:56 | 1950 meters | 02m 22s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/181
Overall: 645/789
Performance: Bad
Suit: Xterra full
Course: out 200m, turn right and go 500m, turn left for 100m, then left for 800m, then 300m in to the beach.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 60F / 16C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Bad
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 04:51
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
02:27:41 | 52.1 miles | 21.17 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/181
Overall: 276/789
Performance: Good
42k = 1:15:04 = 20.8 mph 80k = 2:21:33 = 21.3 mph
Wind: Some
Course: 1st couple of miles along city streets then out to the coastal highway for two out and backs, then back along the city streets. Some 2-3 smaller hills (each about equal to Chatfield Dam) on the Calalla end of the course, so up & down them twice on each lap.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Not enough
Time: 01:00
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal
01:53:17 | 13.1 miles | 08m 39s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/181
Overall: 435/789
Performance: Good
Course: Two laps mostly along city streets although the first and last km or so of each lap was on dirt/sand.
Keeping cool Average 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? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2010-06-04 12:43 PM

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Subject: Challenge Barcelona

2010-06-04 7:15 PM
in reply to: #2901345

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Wellington, North Island
Subject: RE: Challenge Barcelona
Animo! Animo!

Vale Vale Vale!

Go Drew!

Nice job on the race.
2010-06-04 7:31 PM
in reply to: #2901345

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Extreme Veteran
Woodland Hills, CA
Subject: RE: Challenge Barcelona
Great job!  Congrats on pushing it through the bike to get your goal.
2010-06-06 7:06 AM
in reply to: #2901345

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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Challenge Barcelona
Sweet PR, Drew! Sounds like it was one helluva fun and beautiful race. Way to nail your bike splits too. Great work!
2010-06-10 5:07 PM
in reply to: #2901345

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Reykjavik, Iceland
Subject: RE: Challenge Barcelona

Congratulations on a great race.

I did the IM last year and had the same problems on the swim.

Still a great course and a lot of fun

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