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Downtown Columbia Triathlon - TriathlonSprint

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Columbia, South Carolina
United States
Set Up Events
50F / 10C
Total Time = 56m 12s
Overall Rank = 22/360
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 5/39
Pre-race routine:

Well, it wasn't pretty. After we got home from Church, I set to getting my bike ready, and one thing after another went wrong. I finally got everything right, about 35 minutes before the race was to start. I quickly got dressed and got my stuff together, and hopped on the bike to ride to the race (only 2 miles away). One mile from the race, I heard a 'gun shot'. Immediately I knew that my rear tire had gone. I stopped, and yes, my brand new Specialized Mondo super-duper tire had blown out, taking with it the brand new expensive latex tube. (My other brand new latex tube had earlier turned out to have a bad valve, so recent purchases were, at this point, looking pretty poor.)

I have to say that at that moment, the thought went through my mind that I could walk it home and forget about the race. It was cold. It was rainy. I was not physically or mentally prepared for this race. I seriously considered bagging it, both at this moment, and at several moments thereafter. At many points both before and during the race, it just seemed that somebody did not want me to be racing today. The fact that I still had to cook for a big birthday party made quitting all the more tempting. Pretty much the only thing I'm proud of from today is that I didn't quit. (Yeah, that's a kind of a pathetic 'accomplishment', but you gotta find some good in a mess, right?)

I unwrapped the blown tube from the bike -- the tire had come off the rim and the tube had exploded out and was wrapped around the chainstay. Once I had it off, I worked the tire back onto the rim, swapped bike shoes for run shoes, and ran the final mile to the race site with my bike. I found the bike mechanic, only to learn that he didn't have a tire. I thought my race was over at that point, but I spoke with the RD who allowed me to pick up my packet late, and then some angel offered me a tire. OK, it was some flat-resistant knobbley thing, but it was a tire. Meanwhile, I had missed packet pick-up, so I ran probably a total of a mile just to locate my numbers and get set up. I ran to the swim start and made it there a couple of minutes before my start time.
Event warmup:

Um, see above.
  • 09m 45s
  • 547 yards
  • 01m 47s / 100 yards

Time includes about 25-30 seconds running to the mat. Still, it was a dreadful swim. The two people ahead of me had clearly lied horribly about their swim time. I AM SO SICK OF PEOPLE LYING ABOUT THEIR SWIM TIME. Is it really that hard to give an honest answer to the question? Why is lying (or massive self-deception, which is no better) the norm here? I caught them within 100 yards, and I was swimming poorly. Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum were swimming side by side, and I could not get by them. To make matters worse, they were unable to flip turn, so I lost another couple seconds at every wall. I was already stressed from everything that had happened before, so I wasn't in the best of moods, and -- I'm ashamed to admit -- I seriously wanted to strike them. I tried a few times to get by and I swear the guy on the right felt me each time and started flailing. Well, I wasn't interested in a blow to the face so I backed off. Then I got sufficiently indignant after the turn at 350m that I forced my way by on the left. I should have tried that earlier, as the guy on the left seemed a bit more open to being passed. He kicked a bit hard when he felt me, but once I had accelerated past his kick it was clear sailing to get around.

All in all, it was a terrible, and frustrating, swim. My recently found speed makes absolutely no appearance here. Very frustrating.
What would you do differently?:

Everything. Most especially, pass more aggressively in the pool.
Transition 1
  • 00m 39s

Fine. One of the quicker T1s in the race, and I put on my shoes (because of the hill at the start).
  • 27m 15s
  • 10 miles
  • 22.02 mile/hr

Well, my bad luck continued. I was forced to come to a complete stop not once, not twice, but THREE times during the race (which was quickly becoming a race to get home, for me). Two of the stops happened on the first loop. The first time a ginormous SUV had managed to get into the bike lane (what the F did he think the cones were for?) and was stopped. A cop was yelling at him to get out of the lane, and the driver was just sitting there, and I was stuck behind, no way around. I ended up having to jump off the bike and run around on the sidewalk. As I ran across the crosswalk with the bike the SUV driver started a right-hand turn on red and nearly hit me (as in inches, not feet, away). Then, on the back half of the same loop, a mini-van had again managed to get into the bike lane (are bright orange cones just invisible to some people????). I was about 40 feet behind, but moving faster than the mini-van and somewhat apprehensive. I kept my eye on the situation, when suddenly the driver hit the brakes. I was going around 27mph and was just able, with the wet roads, to stop in time to avoid 'rear-ending' the mini-van. After coming to a stop and giving the driver a piece of my mind I cheated -- I admit, I cheated -- and rode around the minivan in the wrong lane. (Yes, I looked before I pulled into the lane.)

On the second loop, a guy I had seen on the side of the road (yes I looked and he was being tended to) was being put into an ambulance. There was traffic coming the other way, so all I could do was stop and wait. The third loop was mercifully clear of everything except some clueless racers; I nearly had to go outside the cones to get around someone who either didn't hear or didn't understand (or want to understand) 'on your left'.

On top of all that, I think I could have ridden harder. Honestly, after that first lap, most of the fight had been taken out of me. I knew any chance of a good race was gone and I let it get to me a bit. I'm not proud of my reaction, but that's what happened.
What would you do differently?:

Keep my head high and my foot down regardless of setbacks.
Transition 2
  • 00m 36s

One of the fastest T2s. Fine.
  • 17m 59s
  • 3.11 miles
  • 05m 47s  min/mile

By this point, it was hard to stay motivated. I knew that my race was trashed. So basically I just ran. To make matters worse, there was nobody in my vicinity. No wonder. Most of the rest of the open division was well ahead of me! The few that were behind were well behind. I had nobody to work of off. So I was left to wallow in self-pity (again not proud...) with no one to kick me in the pants and get me going. I just lacked the desire to run hard today.
What would you do differently?:

Be more motivated to run hard regardless of how things have gone. Honestly, running is my strength and if I cant find the motivation to go hard there, then it is truly a sad day.
Post race
Warm down:

I ran a few miles. It made me feel better.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Bad luck, liars, cars, and my own bad attitude. I can't do anything about the rest, but I need to get my head in the right place. I should have had my focus on the nice guy who gave me his tire, and not the rest of it. I should have been racing for him, not cursing the rest.

Event comments:

Granted, I have a bad attitude right now, but I'm not sure I'll do this race again next year. (I haven't checked, but it might conflict with the Columbia Marathon -- that would be a convenient excuse!) I hate pool swims for exactly the reason that screwed me today, and the bike course is just scary dangerous. Harden Street especially had me spooked today. You're going 28+mph down a busy road with numerous cross-streets, and just one car not paying attention could spell disaster. I really don't think it's worth it for a small sprint.

Last updated: 2011-03-27 12:00 AM
00:09:45 | 547 yards | 01m 47s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/39
Overall: 96/360
Performance: Bad
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 00:39
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
00:27:15 | 10 miles | 22.02 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/39
Overall: 13/360
Course: Hilly, wet. Very dangerous with traffic.
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 00:36
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:17:59 | 03.11 miles | 05m 47s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/39
Overall: 26/360
Performance: Below average
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2011-03-27 8:23 PM

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Columbia, South Carolina
Subject: Downtown Columbia Triathlon

2011-03-28 9:53 AM
in reply to: #3417009

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Extreme Veteran
In front of computer when typing this.
Subject: RE: Downtown Columbia Triathlon
Sorry the day sucked. But your result was still impressive! And I hate pool swims for the same reasons. And the one small tri I have done with multiple bike loops had the same issue with cars pulling out in front of you. Really stupid. At Gary Kirby last year, this van pulled out, I had to ram on my brakes (it was the bottom of the one hill on the route) and the guy behind me yelled "oh " as he almost rear-ended me. We kinda chuckled about it but you don't want to have to worry about that in a race situation.

Edited by louiskie 2011-03-28 10:09 AM
2011-03-28 10:14 AM
in reply to: #3417700

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Charlottesville, Virginia
Subject: RE: Downtown Columbia Triathlon

About the same time as last year on a lousy day with all those problems.  I'd say that bodes well for your upcoming season.  Sorry the race sucked though.  Like you, the whole swim time issue just irks me to no end.  My only suggestion is if you're entering a round number (like 1:30 pace), try entering 1:29.  I think there is probably some correlation between round numbers and poor estimated times.  But that is just my own theory.  btw, pretty impressive run time.  I was shocked to see your ranking with that time... there are some dang fast 5Kers in SC.  Congrats on avoiding a total meltdown or major injury.


2011-03-28 11:40 AM
in reply to: #3417009

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New user
Subject: RE: Downtown Columbia Triathlon

We tried to volunteer for this race.  Home race, but I don't ride in DT Columbia, and your report confirms it.  Race Director was top notch to communicate with....on the other hand, the on-site VolCo was, let's say, to be nice, pathetic.  We gave up actually trying to help out and walked around the course.

Saw some SKETCHY driving/biking relations, and true to Columbia's nature, the morons come out when the rains fall--moreso than normal.  Hell, we almost got hit just WALKING around town.  TWICE.  From people running lights and not paying attention.  

2011-03-28 1:57 PM
in reply to: #3417009

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Vancouver (not Canada) Washington (not D.C.)
Subject: RE: Downtown Columbia Triathlon
Makes a much more memorable race report than, "Could have gone faster..."

So much happens during a race other than racing that can distract and even worse, raise the HR. I had multiple frustrating encounters a SUV and its occupants during a HIM that were cheering on a competitor. Hard not stay focused.

Best of luck this season and hopefully you have gotten past all the bad ju ju.

2011-03-28 5:55 PM
in reply to: #3417009

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Columbia, South Carolina
Subject: RE: Downtown Columbia Triathlon

Thanks everyone -- and especially to FrequentFlier for (making an attempt at) volunteering!

We learn and move on.  There are many more races in all our futures...

2011-03-28 7:53 PM
in reply to: #3417009

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New user
Subject: RE: Downtown Columbia Triathlon

Absolutely, and no problem!  It was extremely frustrating to see someone so uncaring and unorganized as to whether someone helped out or not.  

But, regardless, this was a learning experience for both the lady and I, and impressive to see folks out there doing the thing in the conditions we had.  Good on ya.  

2011-03-28 8:00 PM
in reply to: #3417009

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Dirt Road
Subject: RE: Downtown Columbia Triathlon
Rough day but a smokin run. I'm impressed.
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