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Donner Lake International - TriathlonOlympic

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Truckee, CA
United States
85F / 29C
Total Time = 2h 53m 17s
Overall Rank = 165/473
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 20/63
Pre-race routine:

banana, bagle, hit the porta potty hard.
i'm not one given to elaborate pre-race procedures. maybe it works agains my performance, but it sure makes life simpler.
Event warmup:

none. the race had a deep water start, so i considered it enough to get into the water right after the previous wave, paddle around at a leisurely pace and chat with people until my wave start.
  • 25m 16s
  • 1500 meters
  • 01m 41s / 100 meters

i love open water swimming! always have, always will. maybe my surfing and windsurfing background helps or maybe it's the other way around. either way, i enjoyed the swim to the max.
this was my first OW experience in a race and i couldn't have felt more at home. no problems at all with sighting, drafting, pacing. i never considered myself a fast swimmer, but i've got to say - this experience is very encouraging for me. apparently being fast in the pool isn't really all that it takes. i saw a group of people veer off the course so far they had to be stopped by a kayak and herded back. there's a lesson - if you find somebody to draft off make sure they know where they're going!
What would you do differently?:

Transition 1
  • 03m 33s

this transition sucked! i'm pretty good at taking off the wetsuit (done it thousands of times with many different ones)

the problem was that the path between the racks to the bike start was very narrow. i got stuck behind somebody who decided to walk the bike, and unfortunately i was set up almost as far away from the bike start as one could be.
What would you do differently?:

come earlier, get a better spot.

leave my goggles and swim cap on until i'm out of the top of the wetsuit. changing from hand to hand was awkward. didn't cost me any time, but it was stupid.
  • 1h 29m 47s
  • 25 miles
  • 16.71 mile/hr

biking is definitely my worst discipline. i guess i'm just too new at it to be any good. i sure was glad to have that triple front!

another thing is that i have no idea how much cornering my armadillo tires will take. they're the equivalent of tank tracks and about as far from racing tires as you can get. i hit 46 mph on the downhill back to the lake and passed a guy in a turn. i wish i knew if i was being foolhardy or well within what the bike/tires can do.
What would you do differently?:

NOT go out the day before the race at noon in 90 degrees and scout out the whole bike course. plus, my friend had a flat on the descent, so i did the climb up to the pass 1 1/2 times.

maybe invest in a pair of racing tires again? my first experience was lousy. (Specialized Mondo S-Works) the rear one blew up on the first ride after only 45 miles, so i'm out about $90, because i can't just use one of them. $2 per mile is a bit much.
Transition 2
  • 02m 35s

mine must've been close to the worst transition time.

everything went wrong. i got stuck (again!) behind a guywho couldn't immediately spot is shoes. how hard can it be to remember a rack number for 2 hours?

i had rolled up my socks to make it easier for me to get into them (i bike without socks). when i tried that before it was a great time saver, because i knew where the front and the back of the socks were. well - now i didn't and i didn't realize that i didn't until i had one of them on. upside down of course! pretty damn stupid. that little move cost me at least a minute.

still - transitions are not my forte...
What would you do differently?:

not roll socks.

maybe get speed laces. but then again maybe not. i like my shoes tied just so. gotta check the prices and experiement.
  • 52m 10s
  • 6.5 miles
  • 08m 02s  min/mile

it's tough to pace oneself in a race at 6000' when all the training happened at sea level. the legs want to move at pace they're accustomed to, but the lungs just can't provide the air.

i had a bad moment when i choked on some Gatorade. i don't like to walk through the aids stations and i never had a problem with drinking while running before. i hyperventilated for about a minute and got close to puking.

but i never stopped running. i'm such a badass.
What would you do differently?:

jeez - train at elevation maybe? usually running is what i'm good at. up there i didn't feel so hot.
Post race
Warm down:

haha. jump in the lake.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

1) the altitude
2) the heat
3) the dumbasses in the transition area (that includes me)

Event comments:

i wish they would turn down the speakers a bit at the finish. it's a debilitating to wait 1 hour for friends to come in and not be able to hear oneself think.

other than that - a great event! not an easy one, especially if you don't live and train at altitude, but well organized and it's a classic!
(i didn't know it when i signed up, but the Donner Lake has been around for 24 years! that's ancient, considering the young age of the sport)

overall, it's recommended. the enviroment is beautiful, there's tons to do if you want to plan a vacation around it and the people are great. rain is highly unlikely. just be prepared to gasp for air like a fish out of the water climbing up to Donner Pass!

Last updated: 2005-07-10 12:00 AM
00:25:16 | 1500 meters | 01m 41s / 100meters
Age Group: 14/63
Overall: 127/473
Performance: Good
Suit: Ironman Instinct
Course: one lap approximately square course out into Donner lake, then parallel to shore and back in.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 67F / 19C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:33
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Below average
01:29:47 | 25 miles | 16.71 mile/hr
Age Group: 28/63
Overall: 217/473
Wind: None
Course: up the old Donner Pass Road and down to Kingvale. not much level road on the course, if at all. it's a hard climb, moderate descent, turnaround, moderate descent, moderate climb and technical downhill. not an easy course, in my opinion, but i'm not a biking expert. the bike segment is absolutely beautiful. so beautiful that it might distract you from where your attention should be - the road!
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Below average Hills: Bad
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:35
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Below average
Shoe and helmet removal Below average
00:52:10 | 06.5 miles | 08m 02s  min/mile
Age Group: 16/63
Overall: 127/473
Performance: Average
Course: a loop around Donner lake. meh. you run alongside a road with lots of traffic for the first 2 miles. at least there's shade. the next mile is nice, along the lake in a park at the east shore. the rest is residential road along the south shore. could be better, could be worse. it's mostly flat with one short, but VERY steep hill. i almost walked it.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
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

2005-07-18 7:00 PM

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SF Bay Area, Mountain View
Subject: Donner Lake International

2005-07-18 7:19 PM
in reply to: #201659

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Williamston, Michigan
Gold member
Subject: RE: Donner Lake International
I thnk you did pretty good there Harry esp on the swim and will come.  Hope you had fun -SMO
2005-07-22 11:43 PM
in reply to: #201659

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Roseville, California
Subject: RE: Donner Lake International


excellent race! I did the sprint which was my first and i loved it, i'll be doing this every year  I know what you mean about the ride, some incredible views up there. I spend alot of time up there but I never get tired of the views! You did great!!


2006-09-18 9:55 PM
in reply to: #201659

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Silver member
Subject: RE: Donner Lake International

Another entertaining race report. Am enjoying reading these.

Good Job!

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