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ITU World Triathlon Chicago - Olympic Course - Triathlon

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Chicago, Illinois
United States
ITU World Triathlon Series
68F / 20C
Total Time = 2h 41m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 25-29
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Transition for Olympic distance opened at 4 am, so it was an early morning. A little earlier than I would've liked. Didn't get much sleep the night before, and instead of sleeping a little longer I decided to get there when it opened since I've had bad experiences in the past where the transition area is a food fight to find space. A system of weather came in a little after I got there and we experienced some rain for 30 minutes. Glad I brought garbage bags to cover my stuff.
Event warmup:

My wave didn't go off until 8:20, 2 hours after the first one of the morning, so I had time to kill. Spent most of the time sitting on the pier next to the start line and watched the waves go off. Talked with a few other people next to me who were doing the same thing as me.
  • 29m 57s
  • 1500 meters
  • 29m 57s / 1500 meters

My wave included my whole age group which was 118 athletes in the 25-29 M category. Water was chilly jumping in but became very refreshing after adjusting. Start went off and I tried to move to the outside along the pier of the harbor. I wanted to avoid the right side as I saw people earlier have collisions with people from the previous wave that already made the turnaround at the last buoy. I think the people monitoring the swim didn't establish the lanes very well in the beginning and I saw they were continuously adding and adjusting buoys when I was waiting on the pier. This issue was fine by the time I got in the water, but it was pretty chaotic for the first few waves.

I was pretty surprised how quickly our wave loosened up. I was expecting it to be pretty clustered the first 200m, but I was able to establish a solid pace right from the start horn. I would occasionally get bumped, hit or cut off by a someone else, but nothing worth attributing to my performance in the water.

Once I made the turnaround to the 1200 m stretch past the start line and on to the swim exit it really opened up. I honestly don't think I came within 10 feet of another guy the rest of the way. I was in a good rhythm but kept reminding myself to not push myself too hard this early.

I would like to say I was towards the front of the middle pack that kind of developed amongst my wave, but that stuff is always tough to gauge while in the water.

Popped out of the water after 30 mins pretty content about the swim. It was an average time for myself at that length. Could've pushed myself harder, but probably good that I was proactive to keep myself at a conservative pace.

Swim was also slightly longer. My watch indicated 1.04 miles instead of the standard 0.93.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe could of pushed myself harder. I knew I had it in me, but as I mentioned probably good that I didn't. I also think I could of been a little more aggressive on getting on the inside from the start instead of staying outside
Transition 1
  • 06m 16s

About a quarter mile jog from the swim exit to transition. There weren't a lot of people exiting the water at the same time as me and I was the only person on that path jogging back to transition. I got back and looked for my green noodle that I put up on the bike rack as a Totem to locate my transition area, but it wasn't there! Apparently totems were not allowed for ITU events and officials took them down when we were all down at the swim. I was able to locate my bike but probably cost myself an extra 20 seconds as I looked for the noodle before realizing someone took it down. I found myself distracted as I prepared myself for the bike. I was initially under the impression that someone stole the noodle, which kind of ticked me off. Why would someone steal my noodle? It wasn't until later when I was on that bike that it occurred to me that an official probably took it down. When I was leaving for the run in T2 I saw my noodle in a pile of other totems other guys were using next to the bike maintenance tent.

Being distracted by that kinda cost me some time. I've also never really practiced doing transitions, so I was one of those guys that stops at the mount line to get on there bike.
What would you do differently?:

I should probably work on my transitions (i.e. strap into my shoes as I ride)

Also I shouldn't let dumb stuff like my lost noodle distract me.
  • 1h 10m 5s
  • 40 kms
  • 34.24 km/hr

This was a very fast and fun bike course. There was next to no elevation and since a lot of the ride was in a tunnel there was very little of a wind factor. I averaged 22 mph for the ride which is very high for me. When I go out for rides on my own time I usually only get myself to around 17-19 mph. Additionally, biking on lower Whacker gives you an even heightened sense of speed since it's an enclosed area. Despite the course running fast, I thought all the turns would compensate but that's debatable. When I got on the 4th lap I didn't realize how fast I was getting through the course, so I guess the turns weren't really playing a factor.

As far as nutrition I made sure to eat a bonk bar within the first two laps of the ride to make sure it was digested enough before the run. I finished my bottle with electrolyte mix and also had a GU 5 minutes before I ended the bike.
What would you do differently?:

I probably need to get my bike refitted. Once I get past 20 miles without a break my lower back will start to feel sore. It's not severe, but on the last lap I would need to get off the saddle and stretch my back a little bit. Probably tacked a little time on.

I think I might be due for a bike upgrade. I bought a new Cannondale Caad 8 roadie a few years ago before I started doing Triathlons. It's been a great bike, but I couldn't help but notice that almost everyone else racing this had better equipment and were just whizzing by me with ease. I was passing people but more people were passing me than I would've liked to. Maybe I'm being stubborn, but I think as I get more into this sport a Tri bike is my next big purchase.
Transition 2
  • 05m 10s

Transition area layout was pretty bad at this event. Dismount line was on one one end of transition, but you had to run with your bike all the way to the other end to enter. Whatever. I unclipped from my pedals and was planning to jog with my shoes on, but when I realized how far I was going to be going. I stopped and took my socks and shoes off so I could run faster barefoot. I never really practiced transitions so I only have myself to blame.
What would you do differently?:

Like T1, learn how to mount and dismount onto my bike without shoes.
  • 49m 48s
  • 10 kms
  • 04m 59s  min/km

I was really happy starting the run. I didn't get off the bike and all of a sudden have jello legs like I have had in the past. I did a fair number of brick workouts in the weeks leading up to the event, so I guess my legs knew what was coming. I also think the ease of the bike course helped too. No wind to really battle and 2/3 of the bike was out of the sun underground.

I really did well on the first lap. I averaged about a 7:20 pace and thought I might of been able to hold it under 7:40 the remainder of the run. When I run outside of races I know that once I get past the 1.5 mile mark I can really hold down the pace I'm going at for a while, so I thought after the first lap I would be able to hold it. When I rounded the fountain for the first time I saw my dad and my brother in the stands who were shouting my name which gave me a nice boost.

My performance started slump when I got to the second lap. The thing that got to me was the sun, and It seemed it was getting to a lot of people too. Not a cloud in the sky at 11am, 85 degrees and ungodly humid. These weren't the most efficient run conditions. It seemed to get 10 degrees hotter around the fountain when you ran on brick, and it also didn't help that the fountain looked like the most inviting pool to go jump in. I started to slow my pace to 8:00 and took a pee break at a port a potty at the 2nd aid station. I noticed the sun was getting to everyone on a stretch heading south back to transition where everyone on the path was congregated to a small 1 ft wide stretch of shade on one side of the path. When I was passing transition throughout the run the sprint distance athletes were starting to set up there areas so it started to get congested in the 200 yds before you started your next lap.

On the third lap I continued my 8:00 pace but found myself walking through both aid stations. I found the gatorade and water they were handing out to be warm, so I didn't really enjoy putting it down. I took a GU as well which was also warm from basking in the sun on my race belt. Crowds were great throughout the event. I always loved giving high fives to the little kids that were holding their hands out.

On the last lap I still kept my pace but after I walked the first aid station I told myself I'm not going to stop to walk the rest of the way. It's a little bit easier when you're almost done to make these type of goals for yourself. By the time I got back to the fountain I started to sprint, not a fast sprint, but a sprint nonetheless.

What was nice about this finish is that I was clear minded for the finish. The last 3 miles of my last Olympic race was in tunnel vision and instead of taking in the accomplishment, all I thought about was getting to the end and not enjoying it.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. Really content with my run result given my preparation and fitness level. It would be interesting to see how well I could of done if the conditions were 70 degrees, overcast and little humidity. Maybe next race.
Post race
Warm down:

The event had athletes directed towards an athlete cool down area with food, water and gatorade. After I ate a banana and drank some water I walked back to the finish line to find my dad and brother in the grandstand, but I was turned away by some volunteers telling me I had to exit through the cool down area. This didn't make sense that there was this separation from the finish line between spectator and athletes. Spectators had to walk out of the buckingham fountain area and back to Columbus drive to get to the cool down area exit to meet whoever they were there for.

After meeting up with my brother I went and picked up my bike and gear from transition and then went out to lunch for tacos and a few much needed beers.

The big take home from this race is that I felt relatively fine after the race. After my last Olympic distance race I felt beat up and depleted. This is good to know knowing that I could've A) pushed myself even harder or B) have gone longer. I'm optimistic regarding the latter since I'm now getting ready for a 70.3 race in August.

Event comments:

Course was well designed. Monroe harbor is a great place to swim even though it was poorly organized to start the morning. Bike course was fantastic. I really hope I get to do that course next year when the WTS Grand Final comes back to Chicago. Run course was great too. Only thing I would complain about is the transition area layout, especially entering T2 with the run around the whole area to get to the entrance.

One major complaint I had were amenities for the athletes, especially in the morning before the swim. I was fortunate to have gotten there early but the line for body marking was out of control when I was leaving transition. When I got to the swim entrance I thought there would be some sort of granola bar/water station for athletes waiting to start, but there wasn't. I had to find a booth at the expo that was fortunately open at 6am to buy a clif bar and bottle water.

My family members who were there also said the volunteers were very short fused and didn't really have a good sense of what was going on.

Last updated: 2014-06-27 12:00 AM
00:29:57 | 1500 meters | 29m 57s / 1500meters
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 06:16
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
01:10:05 | 40 kms | 34.24 km/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: ITU set up a 2/3 of the bike course on Lower Whacker Drive. For those of you that aren't familiar with Chicago it's the lower part of a double decker major artery that circles the city's financial district along the river. Movies such as Blues Brothers and The Dark Knight have been filmed along here. The other 1/3 of the course is along Columbus drive which cut's through Grant Park which is in between the loop and lake Michigan. The mile stretch on Columbus heading north before heading underground offered some fantastic views of the great Chicago skyline. The 40km is covered through 4 laps of this course.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 05:10
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:49:48 | 10 kms | 04m 59s  min/km
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: 3.5 lap course. Highlight of the course is getting to run around Buckingham Fountain, a major Chicago landmark. Since this was an ITU event it had the blue carpets and grand stand around the finish line so it had a very professional feel to it.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2014-06-30 10:55 PM

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Chicago, Illinois
Subject: ITU World Triathlon Chicago - Olympic Course
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