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Donner Lake Triathlon - International Distance - TriathlonOlympic

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Truckee, California
United States
Seventh Wave Productions
65F / 18C
Total Time = 2h 54m 29s
Overall Rank = 64/293
Age Group = M45-49
Age Group Rank = 12/29
Pre-race routine:

Man, what an awesome place to hold a tri! This was the 30th anniversary of the Donner Lake Triathlon and it is one of the most beautiful settings I've ever seen for a race. It's a very challenging course due to altitude (6,000 feet above sea level) and quite a bit of climbing on bike. But it is well worth the extra effort.

I flew into SF on Thursday to hang out with my good buddy Dave, and we drove up to South Tahoe on Friday afternoon. Spent Friday night in South Tahoe which, despite the beautiful setting, was kind of a cheesy little town (lots of motels and smokey casinos). On Saturday, we drove up to Truckee and registered. I also rented a roadbike (Trek 1.2) which was in good shape but I wasn't going to set any speed records on that bad boy. Thank God we drove the bike course because the first four miles were uphill with a 1200 foot climb and it would have been pretty demoralizing doing that cold turkey.

Event warmup:

Got up at 5.30, ate breakfast in the hotel and headed out to the race. About 300 Olympic racers which was perfect...good crowd but not a madhouse..the announcer was hysterical. I did four out and back swims (about 50 meters each) which was helpful to get the initial pain out of the way.
  • 24m 31s
  • 1500 meters
  • 01m 38s / 100 meters

Great swim. I was nervous about the initial altitude shock so kept a pretty slow pace at the start (I usually try to go hard the first 100 to get out of the washing machine but was afraid I'd just bonk this time given the altitude). Swam with a group of 4-5 other guys which worked out great.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing...was probably my best swim even though I've gone 22 minutes in prior races. But I'm happy with the time at this altitude and also felt strong coming out of the water.
Transition 1
  • 02m 34s

Yikes! All was going fine until I put on my helmet and couldn't get the strap clipped...I rented the helmet with the bike to save luggage space, and it had a slightly different clip than mine...But, c'mon! Seriously, how hard can it be?!? After a minute of fumbling around like a moron, I tried to tie the cords together...then started running out towards the bike until a guy yelled "hey, dude, an unclipped helmet is an immediate qualification!"...So I set my bike to the side, took off the helmet and spent some more time on this MENSA puzzle....DOH! I figured it out: just had to push the clip about one millimeter further than on mine. Finally got out of transition and pedaled merrily (not really) towards the hills.
What would you do differently?:

Memo to self: when renting a helmet, you may want to take 5 seconds prior to the race to at least TRY the helmet on. :)
  • 1h 32m 43s
  • 24.85 miles
  • 16.08 mile/hr

Whoa, that was AWESOME! Four miles uphill to the Donner Pass...then 8 miles with slow descent...then turn around to climb 8 miles and then do a freefall for four miles...I felt like Thomas Voelcker out there bombing the descent. Bike is still my weakest event but I've been increasing my time in saddle over past 6 weeks (about 6 hours per week) and hoping to see gradual improvement. However, I'm ok with my time given the lack of hill training and altitude.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really. I just need to spend more and more time in saddle. I've shifted over some of my weekly swim time to cycling which I hope will pay off over time.
Transition 2
  • 02m 19s

Here we go again..get off the bike and start heading down my row...ALL MY STUFF IS GONE! Imagine the outrage! What kind of person would steal my shoes, hat, towel, wetsuit, etc. during a race?!?

Yeah, you guessed it...I had gone in the wrong aisle (kept thinking my number was 238 even though the 150 body marks and stickers I had were screaming "288!")...after 15-30 seconds of panic, I saw my towel in the next aisle and headed over there. Rest of transition went great but dropped a minute or so needlessly.
What would you do differently?:

Put big poster boards up all over transitions that read "John, please follow arrows to your bike"
  • 52m 31s
  • 6.5 miles
  • 08m 05s  min/mile

Beautiful run course around the lake. The first half was very flat and got in a good steady rhythm. Second half had some hills which I worked my way up slowly. Felt pretty good throughout. Came in the finisher shute and the announcer read out my name "John Tippit!..San Antonio!" Seems that the Donner Lake Tri doesn't attract many Texans.
What would you do differently?:

Post race
Warm down:

Ate some fruit and waited for Dave who finished a little behind me. We packed up pretty quick to hit a local brewpub and watch the US Women's team in the World Cup finals.

Event comments:

This is an awesome race...incredible setting, great challenge, fun environment...would highly recommend to anyone for next summer.

Last updated: 2011-06-27 12:00 AM
00:24:31 | 1500 meters | 01m 38s / 100meters
Age Group: 5/29
Overall: 28/293
Performance: Good
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 64F / 18C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 02:34
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
01:32:43 | 24.85 miles | 16.08 mile/hr
Age Group: 16/29
Overall: 110/293
Performance: Average
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 02:19
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:52:31 | 06.5 miles | 08m 05s  min/mile
Age Group: 12/29
Overall: 65/293
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2011-07-20 5:53 PM

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In T1 looking for my Schwinn Huffy
Subject: Donner Lake Triathlon - International Distance

2011-07-21 1:15 PM
in reply to: #3607081

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Subject: RE: Donner Lake Triathlon - International Distance

Easy now, South Lake is my home town!  Congrats on the tri.  I was there too and it was a great day, though I had some issues (panic attack in the water and flatted out at top of summit coming down...aye carimba).  Still like you said...beautiful place, hard to have a bad time.

Congrats again.  See you next year.


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