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Full Vineman Triathlon - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Guerneville, California
United States
73F / 23C
Total Time = 14h 55m 23s
Overall Rank = /821
Age Group = M50-55
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Got into Windsor in time for the 2:00 pre-race meeting. The High School area was a zoo. I could not believe how crowded it was and how long it took to be processed. The problem was that you had to go to a pre-race meeting which was held each hour and after each meeting, several hundred people would empty out of the gym and into line to get packets, get weighed, get special needs bags, and than t-shirts. There has to be a better way to do this as it took about three hours for this and to drop my stuff off in T2 for the run. It seemed like the lines really fell off later in the day but you had to go through this before the first come first serve T2 setup and I think most people tried to get in as early as possible.

We then spent the rest of the afternoon driving the bike and run course. Absolutely beuatiful bike course. As we drove I was thinking ahead to how much fun it was going to be out there on my bike. All the turns were already chalked with arrows so finding our way was pretty easy.

After dinner, the fog rolled in and the wind picked up making it very chilly. I did not expect this as I had not even packed a long sleeve shirt or jacket. Found a sporting goods store and bought a long sleeve tech shirt for my run special needs bag which ended up being a great decision.
Event warmup:

Got up at 4:00 as I was prepared for heavy traffic into Guerneville. Had a few cups of coffee and a couple chocolate chip cookies before heading out the door. We were right at the front of the pack descending on Guerneville so only took about a half hour to get there from Santa Rosa and got a parking spot a block away from the entrance to the beach.

Ends up we were a bit too early as we had to stand in a line that later became quite lengthy to enter T1. It was really dark and kind of quiet. I got a great spot in T1 near the outside of the racks. The bike run out was on a carpeted strip on the inside of the area and is normally where I would have setup but they allowed you to hand your swim stuff over the fence which I chose to do. Didn't do any warmup. Just setup, got suited up, and enjoyed the surroundings and anticipation. Time went very fast and before I knew it I was pushing through the crowd to the staging area for my wave which was the third, each wave three minutes apart. Race started at 6:30, my wave at 6:39.
  • 1h 15m 23s
  • 4224 yards
  • 01m 47s / 100 yards

I loved the swim. The water was like glass before people entered the water. Trees lined both sides of the fairly narrow river and it was kind of misty out. A very beautiful, almost surreal settings. I had my game face on but was grinning from ear to ear inside. This was cool.

I started on the feet of the front row near the center. The first couple hundred yards were a bit rough but nothing like the m-dot mass starts and I very quickly got into my rthym. It didn't take too long before I started catching yellow caps from the wave before and that was a pain weaving around people. Then it wasn't long after that than the speedier blue caps from the wave that followed us started into the mix. At the far turnaround the water got very shallow and my fingertips dragged through the gravel. I lot of people stood up and trudged along but I came to swim and I actually think it was easier to just keep gliding along. I was very comfortable and relaxed.

As we came back to the beach for completion of the first lap, I looked up and saw the clock at 42:45. My goal for the swim was 1:30 so I thought thats great I'm a couple of minutes ahead of schedule, I am keeping good form, and I feel great. It took me a moment but than it dawned on me to subtract 9 minutes from the clock. I thought that can't be right but just kept focusing on conserving energy and navigating through the traffic. Contact was never heavy but it was always there because people were swimming at so many different paces.

Came out of the water and saw 1:15. I could have just quit then and there and been happy with the day. But this was just the warmup.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Had a great swim.
Transition 1
  • 06m 27s

I was so happy trooting up the mats off the beach. Before turning left into T2, there were wetsuit strippers. My only mental mistake of the day was not choosing my stripper more carefully. I usually look for the biggest guy and head there but I just wasn't thinking and there standing in front of me was an older women who was rather tentative about the whole thing. I did not know where the strippers were going to be and I waited too long to get my arms out. I should have pulled my arms out sooner after hitting the beach. It did not go smoothly at all. She starts pulling gently and was getting nowhere. I started to get a cramp in my stomach and calf as I'm contorting on the ground trying to help her. Luckily, another guy seeing her struggling and does it right with a good hard pull.

I see my wife next to the rack and hand her the suit. So nice to not have to stuff it into a plastic bag. The ground in T1 is all dirt and rocks so took a little extra time wiping sand and dirt off my feet before putting my socks on. I couldn't get it all and that contributed to some blistering later in the day. Ran my bike up the hill to the road, mounted, and was on my way.
What would you do differently?:

Think and stay more focused. Was pretty happy overall with my time after seeing some rather lengthy T1 times from last years results. I also put on bibs and a cycling jersey which was a good call.
  • 6h 07m 56s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.26 mile/hr

The bike leg starts with a segment leaving town and heading up River Road for about five miles before turning right onto a rolling country lane. The small road passes through many vineyards with a lot of trees lining the shoulder. At times it feels like you are riding under a canopy. It is still a little misty out and the fog cover does not completely lift until about noon which made for very cool and comfortable conditions. The aid stations are spaced well and the volunteers are great.

I passed a lot of people on the first lap and was averaging close to 19mph. Well ahead of my goal of 17mph. Everything was working so well. The course is really fast. Much faster than any of the HIM's I've done and much flatter than what I typically ride.

I could not believe some of the things I saw on the course though. Cars were passing people with no regard for safety or common sense. I thought for sure someone was going to get killed as I saw one close call after another. At one point, I hear a beep, beep, beep and the girl I was passing reaches into her jersey, pulls out a cell phone and starts yakking away. Right after that a guy in front of me reaches down pulls his water bottle out and throws into some bushes. Wow. The worst hazard out there was the water bottles all over the place. If people are going to use rear mounted cages they should either test them first or learn how to use them. I saw countless bottles ejected along the course especially near bumps in the road. I also saw many people just fumble them as they tried to put them back. If I saw someone monkeying with a rear cage I passed to avoid what was almost inevitable.

Chalk Hill on the second loop at 100 miles was the only part I felt was tough. It was really a fun ride.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I had the best ride of my life. My goal was to off my bike in 8:15 and I was off under 7:30. If only I could have run.
Transition 2
  • 06m 4s

It was a long run in from the dismount area to the racks. The surface was either concrete or grass and was a welcome change to the dirt and rocks in T1. Got in and out pretty quick.
What would you do differently?:

  • 7h 19m 22s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 16m 46s  min/mile

This is where it got tough. I've been struggling with achilles tendon and knee problems for the past couple months but with a couple weeks before the race I tweeked my hamstring so I knew that all I would be able to do was walk and shuffle my way around.

I really liked the three loops as I got to see my family a lot. It was good mentally too because I broke it down to 6 lengths of 4.35 miles and just focused on each one at a time.

The hills did not bother me too much because I was going so slow. If I had actually been running it would have been much , much more difficult. It is the toughest run course I have ever seen.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. I tried to manage my injuries as best I could and considered myself very fortunate to have finished.
Post race
Warm down:

Posed for pictures with the family. Tried to walk a bit. Got in car, took a couple of tylenol w/codeine and rode back to Sacramento.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

My fitness level was great. Recent hamstring issue and chronic achilles tendonitis hampered my run.

Event comments:

It is truly a wonderful event. I great place to become an Ironman. I never thought I would be able to do this after going through cancer treatment a year and a half ago but by the grace of God and a supportive wife and family all is possible. I have so many to thank for their prayers, encouragement, and well wishes.

Last updated: 2011-07-14 12:00 AM
01:15:23 | 4224 yards | 01m 47s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/821
Performance: Good
Suit: Orca Alpha
Course: Two out and backs in the Russian River. Course was narrow with little seperation between directions. Water was murky but very comfortable. Only chop was from swimmers. Very shallow near the bridges and at the far turnaround.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 06:27
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
06:07:56 | 112 miles | 18.26 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/821
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: Two loops around the very beautiful wine country. The course has a lot of flat, a lot of very small rollers, and a few climbs that were moderate. Chalk Hill at 100 miles was by far the toughest but you have quite a bit of downhill and flats after it to recover. The big story on this course is the poor shape of the road surface in many areas. You really have to pay attention to avoid the potholes and cracks.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 06:04
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
07:19:22 | 26.2 miles | 16m 46s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/821
Performance: Below average
Course: Three out and backs with several hills.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
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] 5

2011-08-03 11:46 AM

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Bellingham, WA
Subject: Full Vineman Triathlon

2011-08-03 12:25 PM
in reply to: #3627288

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Southern Indiana
Subject: RE: Full Vineman Triathlon
Nice race and race report. Congratualtions!
2011-08-03 1:28 PM
in reply to: #3627288

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Parker, CO
Subject: RE: Full Vineman Triathlon
Way to come back from cancer treatment!  Nice job and congratulations!
2011-08-03 2:56 PM
in reply to: #3627497

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Alpharetta, GA
Subject: RE: Full Vineman Triathlon

rayd - 2011-08-03 2:28 PM Way to come back from cancer treatment!  Nice job and congratulations!

Agree w/above!  Congrats on your race!


Edited by Anditrigirl 2011-08-03 2:57 PM
2011-08-04 8:24 PM
in reply to: #3627288

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Los Angeles
Subject: RE: Full Vineman Triathlon
Great, great job!
2011-08-04 11:20 PM
in reply to: #3627288

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Almaden Valley, San Jose, California
Subject: RE: Full Vineman Triathlon
Congrats on a great race.......and on your new Ironman status!!

2011-08-06 7:12 PM
in reply to: #3627288

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New user
Bay Area
Subject: RE: Full Vineman Triathlon
Good job! You killed the swim and bike! I hope to be as fast as you someday on the swim and bike.
2011-08-09 4:17 PM
in reply to: #3627288

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Vancouver (not Canada) Washington (not D.C.)
Subject: RE: Full Vineman Triathlon
Nice job pulling through. Your swim and bike were fast. I didn't see phone on the bike but did on the run. How cold did it get on the run? I was glad to be done but got really chilled getting out of the car after the race.

Great job and look forward to many more race reports from you!
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