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Vineman 1/2 Ironman - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Guerneville, CA
United States
VarF / 0C
Total Time = 6h 49m 10s
Overall Rank = 1078/1211
Age Group = M30-34
Age Group Rank = 234/248
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 4:30AM and had a clif bar and bottle of water. Headed to transition with abotu 1/2 drive to get there. No issues parking since I was so early in the swim waves, but would imagine parking gets tight around there a little later in the morning. Very long transition area and my age group was way at the end. Set up the bike (put it in lowest gear for the hill out of transition)and the rest of my gear, headed to the line for the cans and then back to get the wetsuit on and get ready to go. This was the first race I did with two different transition areas so it was weird. I'm used to doing a little jog to get the blood flowing and wasn't able to. Also, used to lake swims where it's easy to get a short warm-up swim, but really couldn't in the river. No big deal though, it's a long race.
Event warmup:

None, really. No opportunity unless I had gotten there much earlier and wanted to take the bike out for a spin - but didn't. Probably wouldn't in the future. Did jump in the river for about 3 minutes before the start of the swim if that counts...
  • 36m 26s
  • 2120 yards
  • 01m 43s / 100 yards

I thought my swim was ok coming into the race but know I've never been speedy in the water. I think I did phenomenal given my swim experience, etc... The borrowed Ironman wetsuit may have had a little to do with it - SWEET!
I started at the back of my wave, the 3rd or 4th wave. I tried somewhat to catch a couple feet but still haven't really figured that one out. I can never seem to find the right pair of feet. Since I couldn't find a draft, I tried to stay to the left and out of traffic so I could just get clean water to get in a groove and swim.
The only problem I had was some confusion with the buoys. I kept thinking I was supposed to swim between buoys so I would find myself way out in the middle where the lifeguards were floating in their kayaks! After several corrections I got it in my thick skull. For future reference - guide from the trees! The turn went smoothly and after I made it, I actually caught people from the earlier waves! They had started at least 8 min in front of me - very cool! Felt great when I got out of the water.
What would you do differently?:

Site off the trees, not the buoys. Start a little futher up in the pack at the beginning of the swim so I might find some feet on the right pace.
Transition 1
  • 04m 55s

Loonnnggggg transition area here. My age group was way at the end of it so a long jog in and out. Fortunately, I had eyed a couple of nice landmarks and found my bike without issue. A little dizzu coming out of the water but nothing major at all. The wetsuit came off nicely and everyting went on well. The only thing that sucked was throwing my wet, muddy (transition 1 is very muddy/dirty) wetsuit, towels and other junk into the bag I was going to hand to my wife on the way out. Since there are 2 transitions here, you've got to bag up your stuff to get sent to the finish line - mild bummer, but everyone has to do it. In the heat of the moment, I forgot to put on the arm warmers I bought the week before the race while I was in transition. Once I got up the hill out of T1, I pulled over and threw them on.
What would you do differently?:

Put the arm warmers on before I started riding.
  • 3h 19m 58s
  • 56 miles
  • 16.80 mile/hr

The first half of the bike was probably around an 18mph average, which is much faster than I normally ride on the rolling hills around Atlanta. But, I was feeling awesome! The ride was cool at first, so I was glad I had the arm warmers. It wasn't too crowded at first, but I think that's because my swim wave was so early.
We passed soooo many wineries and vineyards. The scenery was awesome - mayne if I was a better rider, I wouldn't have noticed. Although I felt good, I wasn't able to get enough wind to feel good eating my clif bars. I wasn't able to eat any clif bars at all during the ride. By mile 42, my quads started cramping. When I got to the hill at mile 45, I couldn't stand on the pedals because my legs would sieze up. I couldn't push on the pedals because my legs would sieze up. So, I had to pull the pedals to get myself up that damn hill. It sucked, but eventually, I got up there!
Once you get over that hill it is 99%flat or downhill to T2. I was just trying to conserve what was left of my legs.

What would you do differently?:

EAT, EAT, EAT. My downfall was probably not getting calories earlier, or at all, on the ride. I also plan on training more on the bike for next year or future races.
Transition 2
  • 05m 39s

Once I got off the bike I was in survival mode given all my cramping. I walked the bike to the rack, took some time at the rack to stretch out the quads, and then hit the head before I got a cup of gatorade and headed out for the run. This transition has a long distance from the dismount line to the bike racks and once again, based on my age group, I had about the farthest distance to go.
What would you do differently?:

Have more gas so I didn't have to walk.
I put my gear at T2 next to a guy who had taped a Canadian flag to the bike rack so he could find his stuff (esp since we had to drop off T2 stuff the night before the race). Thought his flag was a great idea to find his stuff.
  • 2h 42m 11s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 12m 23s  min/mile

My cramping was horrible and relegated this not to a run, but a walk interrupted by multiple stretching sessions on the side of the road! I couldn't shake the cramps no matter how many godawful Mango gu shots they gave me. At mile 1 I wasn't sure if I'd make it but just kept the pace at walking, very slow jogging and stretching and kept moving. I hated walking as much as I did, but was just glad to finish. The transitions at each mile were great - everyone was very supportive and some were quite entertaining.
What would you do differently?:

Eat on the bike, eat on the run, and hit a few salt tablets throughout. Then I might be able to actually run the run!
Post race
Warm down:

Plop down on the grassy knoll, stretch the quads, drink a bunch of water and tell my wife about the race.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not enough run training. Poor nutrition on the bike and run.

Event comments:

phenomenal race!!! unbelieveable setting and very well run. Also very cool to have the pros and their cameras there racing. Only downside was 2 transition areas, but I'm way over that.
If you go and are a rookie to the area like I. We did the following wineries around the race:
Benziger: GREAT tour - start with this one.
Mayo: Sucked
Mill Creek: small and personable - good unfiltered Cab
Davis Bynum: The best experience we had - great pourer who spent a lot of time with us.
Hop Kiln: My wife loved their Chardonnay - very sweet if you like that.

Last updated: 2005-04-23 12:00 AM
00:36:26 | 2120 yards | 01m 43s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/248
Overall: 0/1211
Performance: Good
Tried to catch a glimpse of the watch at the turn but couldn't get a good look - I was on a mission :)!!!
Suit: Full Body Ironman Wetsuit
Course: Up and back down the Russian River. Didn't notice any current although there is supposed to be current coming downstream, albeit small since the river is damned during the summer. The course is marked by buoys on your left going up the river and then the same on the way back down. The trees on the side of the river should stay on your right side both up and back down the course.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Good Drafting: Bad
Waves: Good Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:55
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
03:19:58 | 56 miles | 16.80 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/248
Overall: 0/1211
Performance: Below average
Wind: Little
Course: This course is BEAUTIFUL!! Definitely the best I've ridden. The start was great - very flat. Excellent to get into a groove and get going. The roads aren't the smoothest I've ridden (possibly the bumpiest overall), but that wasn't a major distraction. You ride in a bike lane on the side of the road for much of the bike. After the first several miles of flat you get into your first rolling hills and vineyards/wineries. Compared to the hills around Atlanta, these hills weren't that bad. I did meet a couple from Denver the day before the race though, and compared to the plains of Denver, they thought the course was VERY hilly. The hill at mile 45 on Chalk Hill rd. seemed like mt. everest since it was at Mile 45.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Below average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 05:39
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Bad
Running with bike Bad
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:42:11 | 13.1 miles | 12m 23s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/248
Overall: 0/1211
Performance: Bad
Couldn't get the mileage markers so couldn't clock splits
Course: Very gentle course. The hills weren't bad at all. You run out to the La Crema Winery and back. The one catch is that you think you turn right around at the winery but get surprised by what seemed like about a mile or so loop within the winery before you get to head back home. Not a lot of cover over the course so it was warm, but nothing compared to humidity and temp back home in ATL.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %??
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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] 5

2005-08-06 9:29 PM

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Dacula, GA
Subject: Vineman 1/2 Ironman

2005-08-07 9:10 AM
in reply to: #218424

Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Subject: RE: Vineman 1/2 Ironman
I think I may have seen you stretching on the side of the road. What was your wave time?

I didn't start until 8:35 so it may have been someone else.

Edited by Cal 2005-08-07 9:10 AM
2005-08-07 5:46 PM
in reply to: #218424

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Bay Area, CA
Subject: RE: Vineman 1/2 Ironman

Good job on your race - seems like you learn something every time, doesn't it?

2005-08-08 11:47 AM
in reply to: #218424

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Vancouver, BC
Subject: RE: Vineman 1/2 Ironman
Hey JG,

Great race. You did it! Your swim time was phemonemal.

It sounds like it was a very scenic and nice race. Too bad about the run, but your time was still pretty good if you had to do a lot of walking. And think of all that time that you gained on the bike. Excellent race. So what's next?

2005-08-08 9:58 PM
in reply to: #218424

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Subject: RE: Vineman 1/2 Ironman
Hey, great job on the race. It sounds like your nutrition was really your only downfall. Your pacing looked good. I am not sure I understood why you did not get to eat any of your clif bars...Whatever it was, i'm sure it sucked!You and I had pretty much the same swim and bike times and started in the same wave so we probably passed each other several times. You would recognize me as the guy on a blue bike who pulled over a dozen times during the ride to inspect his front wheel! I agree with you about how beautiful the course was in general. I would love to do it again sometime.Congratulations!
2005-08-09 9:53 PM
in reply to: #218424

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Lone Tree, CO
Subject: RE: Vineman 1/2 Ironman
Congrats on gutting it through to the finish line.  It sounds like this race was a good learning experience.  It will set you up for a great race next time!

2005-08-09 11:33 PM
in reply to: #218424

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Beautiful Sonoma County
Subject: RE: Vineman 1/2 Ironman
Good job!! Great race! I was just spectating that day, so I can't really comment on the course, but I do know it was H-O-T!

If you come out next year, be sure to let me know and we'll make sure you get to see the really good wineries.
2006-01-12 12:05 PM
in reply to: #218424

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Dacula, GA
Subject: RE: Vineman 1/2 Ironman

Sorry for the late response - me being not the brightest buld in the box didn't realize people could comment on these - just saw it today!

Thanks for the comments and congrats! Now it's on to the full Ironman! Doing IMFL in 11/06. Can't wait to use the lessons learned at Vineman.

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