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HITS Triathlon Series: Grand Junction - Half Iron Course - Triathlon

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Loma, Colorado
United States
HITS Triathlon Series
Total Time = 7h 04m 3s
Overall Rank = 157/187
Age Group = F 35-39
Age Group Rank = 10/16
Pre-race routine:

Came down with a nasty head bug the week before the race. Wednesday, I got started on antibiotics and an inhaler. Took both race morning, along with Afrin.

Rode to Grand Junction/Fruita/Loma Friday morning, the day before the race. This was about a 4:30 drive. Did a quick run through of all 3 sports at the race site, then checked in and attended the race meeting.

Was less than impressed with the race director's talk. He was quite the downer. There is a way to convey that each racer needs to take personal responsibility for their own safety without making it sound like you are entirely on your own on the course. Also found out the orgainzers were not going to address the cattle guards on the course in any manner, and that aid stations on the run were going to be every 1.5 miles, instead of each mile.

Race morning, got a bit of a late start out of the hotel, as our buddy Glen (who I was riding to the race site with) stopped to make a pot of coffee. He promptly dumped his cup of coffee when he left it on the tailgate when he closed it. Glen was having a rough morning. His front tire kept flatting (had to get the bike tech to fix it), he forgot his timing chip at the hotel (hubby had to turn around while half-way to the race site to get it), his helmet broke (hubby had his in the car and loaned it to him).

This being my first race in 1.5 years, I kept feeling like I was forgetting something. I wasn't. :)
Event warmup:

Chatted with a friend, Katie, who was doing this as her first full iron, after having only done a sprint before. Gave hubby and kiddo kisses. Pulled on my wetsuit. Listened to the race briefing, and waded into the water. Swam out about 20 yards and back, then lined up in the crowd, and told Katie to enjoy the experience as the horn went off.
  • 33m 35s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 35s / 100 yards

Set a new HIM swim PR, and possible household record. I had short periods of drafting, but often found myself in clear water. Not too much contact. Felt OK while swimming, but not like I was having a stellar swim. Guess my sense of these things is off! :)

TMI alert: looked up to site at one point and could feel two streams of snot running down from my nose. Lovely.
What would you do differently?:

Try to find feet more consistently.
Transition 1
  • 04m 2s

There was a looooong run to transition. I was a little dizzy heading out of the water, and was having trouble catching my breath (darn cold!). My wetsuit got stuck on my watch, so the strippers had to fiddle with that a bit before I could even get the thing down to my waist.
What would you do differently?:

Pull my wetsuit down further over my watch? USE MY INHALER!
  • 3h 37m 42s
  • 56 miles
  • 15.44 mile/hr

I know I could have pushed this more had I felt better, but with all the snot I was dealing with, I just couldn't breath.

The wind kicked up a bit or was more noticable for the second out and back, and was a constant headwind for the entire long uphill slog. I think I managed between 9 & 12 mph during this entire out. Saw Ocky, Aidan, and Katie's family at the second turn-around, which was awesome. Stopped to pee and blow my nose, gave Ocky a kiss, and carried on.

The return trip was quick, but then had a few stretches heading into the wind again getting back to transistion. During the return, my left calf started feeling like it was going to cramp. I never quite got there, but it was talking to me.
What would you do differently?:

Be healthy going into the race. Take salt tabs on the bike. USE MY INHALER IN TRANSITION!!
Transition 2
  • 02m 16s

This was pretty straight forward. Stopped to find and apply sunscreen on the aid table before leaving transition.
What would you do differently?:

  • 2h 46m 26s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 12m 44s  min/mile

The wind seemed to kick up another couple of notches right as I finished the bike, and was unrelenting on the run. I would guess about 25-30 mph. Headwind to cross wind for the out, with a tailwind and cross wind on the return.

In the first 1/2 mile, I started noticing more of a cough. As I was on the dam and completely exposed to the wind, I hoped it was just a reaction to the wind. This is when I realized I had forgotten to use my inhaler in transition (again). I trudged up the first hill, across the flat to the second downhill. At the aid station on the second downhill, I popped a couple of endurolytes and drank some heed. I did this pretty consistently for the rest of the run to stave off the cramping in my left calf.

Once I hit the flatter portion again, I started to notice the wheezing. The wheezing scared me, and I was concerned about doing more significant damage to my lungs, so I backed off, doing more walking than I would have liked. I would run until I started wheezing or coughing, then walk until I felt it was under control, and run again.

I continued this way until I met up with a nice gal named Kelly at about mile 8.5. We started chatting and ran/chatted the rest of the way in, walking up the two big hills. Thank heaven for Kelly, or I might have called this one. Having someone to chat with kept my mind off my breathing, and helped regulate it.

Had to lean into the wind and hold my visor for the run back across the dam. Saw Ocky and Aidan right as I got to the finish.
What would you do differently?:

TAKE MY INHALER IN TRANSITION!! Take salt tabs on the bike. Be healthy.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked briefly, then found a picnic table and sat down while Ocky got me food.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Illness, cramping, wind.

Event comments:

There are a lot of opportunities for improvement with this race. Certainly the race organization can't be blamed for wind/weather, but outside of the weather, there were a lot of issues. Starting with the downer pre-race meeting and change in placement of aid stations on the run, not having all of the nutrition items advertised on the bike course, having the course marked long, not having the turn-arounds clearly marked (my husband had to arrange cones and tape arrows to direct racers at the second bike turn around, as people were heading towards the traffic barricades), having only one volunteer at nearly all of the run aid stations (who had to mix sport drink, pour cups, stock aid items and hand them out?), having no timing mat or monitor at the run turn around, etc. The lack of volunteers was compounded by a lack of spectators, making this a very lonely course at times. When Ocky and I drove out onto the bike course (2 laps for the full) to cheer on Katie, we found no one around her for 30 miles, and saw other competitors drafting off of friends' cars without any monitoring.

The venue is fantastic, so I hope that either HITS will take steps to correct the issues I encountered, or another organization will put on races here.

Last updated: 2013-01-15 12:00 AM
00:33:35 | 2112 yards | 01m 35s / 100yards
Age Group: 1/16
Overall: 46/187
Performance: Good
Suit: TYR Hurricane Full
Course: Counter clockwise diamond shaped.
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 62F / 17C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 04:02
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:37:42 | 56 miles | 15.44 mile/hr
Age Group: 12/16
Overall: 164/187
Performance: Below average
Wind: Strong
Course: Two out and back stretches with some hills, mostly rolling on the first out and back, and one big, long gradual hill up on the second out (down on the back).
Road:  Dry Cadence:
Turns: Below average Cornering: Below average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:16
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:46:26 | 13.1 miles | 12m 44s  min/mile
Age Group: 10/16
Overall: 159/187
Performance: Bad
Course: Single out and back, with a flat first 1/2 mile across the dam, then ~2 hilly miles, then gradual uphill out for the remainder to the turn around. Surface was both asphalt and dirt roads.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 1
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? No
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? No
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 1

2013-05-20 1:40 PM

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Littleton, Colorado
Subject: HITS Triathlon Series: Grand Junction - Half Iron Course

2013-05-21 9:13 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: HITS Triathlon Series: Grand Junction - Half Iron Course
Congrats on getting through it. It sounds like your cold and forgotten inhaler made things miserable for you. You should check out the Desert Edge Tri at the same venue this fall. I volunteered last year, and I'll be using the free entry I earned to do the Olympic this year. The venue really is beautiful and I heard only good reports on the race organization.

Edited by dr100 2013-05-21 9:14 AM
2013-05-31 10:52 AM
in reply to: #4750145

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Rio Rancho, NM
Subject: RE: HITS Triathlon Series: Grand Junction - Half Iron Course
I did the Oly on Sunday so I got in to town on Saturday about the time you all were finishing up. That wind was brutal!

I agree that it is a lonely course and I hope that improves for HITS.

I also agree with the previous poster that the Deserts Edge tri is good. I did the Oly last year. It was COLD to start but it is a great venue.
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