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Washington D.C. Triathlon - TriathlonOlympic

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Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C.
United States
5150 Triathlon Series
75F / 24C
Total Time = 2h 21m 18s
Overall Rank = 145/1338
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 7/150
Pre-race routine:

Saturday bike-racking was neat. The expo was a couple of miles from transition, so the organizers arranged for police-escorted bike convoys every hour. Police sirens were on, and the pack of a couple hundred bikes ran every red light through downtown. What a way to get around the city!

Race day: up at 2:45am, hit the road into downtown at 4am, at which point most of the traffic seemed to be folks returning from Saturday night partying. Not sure whether to feel smug, or wish that I had been partying instead of doing this. One nice feature of being up so early on a Sunday is that there's no easier time to find a parking spot in central DC. Parked a couple of blocks from the White House and enjoyed the 25 minute walk past the monuments towards the river. With my pre-race nerves in full swing, and the muffled sound of the pre-race announcements in the distance, the floodlit Washington Monument reminded me of a space shuttle on the launch pad (yeah, go figure). Set up transition, and stood in long lines for you-know-what. Feeling pleased with myself for not standing in line 6 times, unlike in my previous tri -- must mean that I'm getting less terrified.
Hung around waiting for the start. It was a 6am start, so the wait was really not too long.
Event warmup:

A few minutes in my wetsuit and I was plenty toasty. I figured there was no need for any more serious warm-up.
  • 27m 33s
  • 1640 yards
  • 01m 41s / 100 yards

Overall a good swim for me, about a minute and a half faster than my one previous OWS race last month, and I suspect that the timing mats were at the end of a non-trivial post-swim run. After a swim clinic in the Chesapeake Bay last weekend, the Potomac River was no longer so daunting. And I must admit the river wasn't as gross as I had feared. Either that or the dead bodies and sewage had been cleared away by the faster swimmers. Visibility was as much as 12 inches in places. The time-trial start (groups of 8 jumping in from the dock every ~10 seconds) helped to avoid the washing machine. Thank you race organizers. But it meant that the traffic congestion was spread throughout the swim. The swim course buoys were huge, and clearly marked with the distance covered. If the numbers can be read by a blind old fart like me through misty goggles, then they must be pretty clear. Score again for the race organization. I was able to relax fairly early in the swim and settle into a steady stroke. Decided to hold some back, to save more for the bike and run. Managed to navigate my way around traffic reasonably well, though there were some unexpected bumps and bashes in there. Quite happy with this overall, though - top 25% in AG is rather better than I hoped for.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really. Just need to keep working on improving the swimming. The progress is certainly motivating.
Transition 1
  • 03m 32s

Ok, so I got a good return on my 2 Euro investment in watching yesterday's ITU world cup race. I got to watch Alistair Brownlee's wetsuit removal technique (basically: stand on the suit and then stomp a lot), and my ham-fisted rendition of it saved me a bit of time relative to the more genteel approach that I had used before. I'm sure there's time to be saved in the routine of socks + MTB shoes + putting on glasses etc., but today's effort was progress.
What would you do differently?:

  • 1h 08m 7s
  • 24.85 miles
  • 21.89 mile/hr

Another satisfying leg. Actual ride time was probably 1:06:xx, as the times included crowded run with the bike to/from the 'real' entrance to transition. First race on the 10-day old tri bike, and it's still a work in progress, but I definitely noticed the speed benefit. Still not feeling in control of the bike handling as much as I'd like, but frankly my main concern was whether I would survive the hour on the Adamo saddle. Let's just say that certain parts of me have not yet learned to love that saddle (no, not those parts - they're quite happy, thank you very much). Pleased that I managed to stay in aero the whole race, except for at the (many) hairpin turns on the course. Passed lots of people on the bike. Traffic on the first lap wasn't too bad, as it was all from the Oly race, but on the second lap I was mostly with folks from the Sprint, and the course got rather congested, making it hard to pass in certain places. Held back on lap 1, and upped the effort slightly on lap 2, but by then I was feeling the many bumps in the road rather more clearly (see above), and that held me back a bit. Although I felt that I was working harder on lap 2, for some reason my HR was higher on lap 1 (160-170) than on lap 2 (145-160). Same thing happened at Columbia, not sure why. Is it the excitement of starting out the bike leg, or is it a hold-over from the terror of the swim? I really didn't feel like eating/drinking on the ride, but knew that I should, so it was a bit of an effort to eat/drink. I seem to find that the liquids don't go down so well when I'm in aero; or rather, they do down ok, but then want to come back again. Gotta get my body more accustomed to that.
More kudos to the organizers on the bike course management. The route map looked rather baroque with all the switchbacks, but it was extremely easy to follow and very well marshalled - plenty of volunteers giving loud directions ahead of each turn.
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. I think there's more time to be gained on the bike once I get used to riding the new rig, but that will come with practice. I certainly could have pushed it harder, but I'm not sure whether that would have backfired on the run.
Transition 2
  • 01m 31s

I'm slowly getting the hang of this. Practiced the speed laces on my runs during the week, and that seemed to go well. One thing I'm not going to learn about from watching the pros is what to do about messing around with my glasses in T1 and T2. I certainly couldn't survive without them on the bike. So I guess I should actually practice what to do with them.
What would you do differently?:

  • 40m 37s
  • 6.21 miles
  • 06m 32s  min/mile

Ok, so I now believe even more in the benefits of simply going for an easy/steady run every day after swimming or biking. I haven't done a hard training run since November, and for the past 2 months I've been running every day, never hard, and often fairly short, with the aim of building miles but not damaging my knees again/more. I didn't think I was ready to run this fast yet, and it didn't even feel fast. It was a bit hard to read my watch in the rain (that vision thing again), and so my main indication of the pace was from the crowds of people that I was passing (probably mostly from the sprint race). The course had a lot of out-and-back sections. Like somebody had their kid draw the route with an etch-a-sketch. But it turned out to be not quite as annoying as I had feared. I guess that's what you have to do when you need to fit a 10k route within the National Mall. I had really struggled in the later part of the Columbia run, so I was afraid to push it too hard on this one, but I held up fine to the finish.
Very good coverage of drink stations on the course. That was welcome. As was the rain, which conveniently chose to come only at the time when I was running. How nice of it. If there's one thing that my British heritage has prepared me well for it is running in the rain.
What would you do differently?:

I should probably learn how to take drinks on the run, as the stops every mile are probably costing me some free time.
Post race
Warm down:

Met up with Annie from work, who did the sprint as her first tri. She really enjoyed the experience, and I was pleased with my time, so we were both feeling pretty good. Shuttle bus lines were long, so we took the LONG walk back to transition. That's as much of a warm-down as I was up for.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Plenty of things to work on in training, but I'm very happy overall with how things are progressing. And super happy to be taking part in any of this. A couple of years ago when I was an XL 40-something, I wouldn't have believed this possible, and even 10 weeks ago I thought I might not be able to race at all this year.

Event comments:

Overall very impressed with the organization of this race. Most things were done very well, and given the complexity of putting on an event like this in the middle of Washington DC, it worked out surprisingly well. My main concern with the race was that the timing of the Oly and Sprint races meant that the 2nd lap of the bike course was rather congested, with riders of very different speeds, and this made it tricky on some of the narrower stretches. They probably have to do that in order to shorten the road closures. The one other thing that might keep me back from making this a race that I'd put on my list of must-do events is that late June in DC is not known for its tri-friendly weather. That is, unless you are built for heat and high humidity (not me!). We were lucky that the day was merely very humid, and not too hot, but one couldn't count on that every year.

Last updated: 2011-01-01 12:00 AM
00:27:33 | 1640 yards | 01m 41s / 100yards
Age Group: 37/150
Overall: 399/1338
Performance: Good
Suit: Xterra Vector Pro 3
Course: Loop course shaped like the Washington Monument (cute!) in the Potomac near the Lincoln Memorial.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 77F / 25C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:32
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
01:08:07 | 24.85 miles | 21.89 mile/hr
Age Group: 19/150
Overall: 184/1338
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: 2 laps winding around National Mall and Georgetown. Mostly flat, but with many U-turns and bumpy road surfaces.
Road: Potholes Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering:
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks:
Time: 01:31
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:40:37 | 06.21 miles | 06m 32s  min/mile
Age Group: 3/150
Overall: 69/1338
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
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

2011-06-19 2:04 PM

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University Park, MD
Subject: Washington D.C. Triathlon
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