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ChelanMan Trithlon - Half Iron Course - Triathlon

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Chelan, Washington
United States
Lake Chelan Multisport Foundation
93F / 34C
Total Time = 8h 52m 16s
Overall Rank = 101/103
Age Group = M 65 - 69
Age Group Rank = 2/2
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 4:45am had breakfast and got ready then relaxed until time to leave. On site I got my transition area ready and held off on getting into my wetsuit until 15 minutes before start time.
Event warmup:

Got into the water and got acclimated to the water. Just waited quietly until start time.
  • 44m 40s
  • 1900 meters
  • 02m 21s / 100 meters

We were starting in one wave. 109 of us in the wave. I felt fairly calm and then they counted down and set us off. I was behind a few swimmers and we were fairly crowded together at the start but I was moving fairly well. I wanted to move to the left and swim to the inside of the underwater guide line but I couldn't move left or right.

I found myself drafting off a swimmer who was doing fairly well but I wanted to swim around and move a bit faster. It took a fair while but finally a space opened enough for me to squeeze through and I moved ahead.

I kept swallowing water every few breaths. I thought it was odd because the water was calm when we started. Once we rounded the turn buoy the choppiness seemed to increase.

I felt pretty good but felt bad for a swimmer to my right that was swimming right over the guide line and bumping into the buoys every 100m or so. I tried to swim to my left to give the fellow room to swim away from the line but he held the course. He did fall behind for awhile but later pulled up with me and we exited the water at the same time.

The last 200m or so were in shallow water with some big rocks. I kept dragging bottom but kept swimming until nearer to the swim exit. The choppiness increased in the last 200m and I later found out speed boats had kicked up a lot of the chop. I came out of the water feeling the swim was a bit slower than I had hoped.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. I probably took too long to pass the swimmer I was drafting but other than that I was about as fast as I could have hoped for.
Transition 1
  • 00m

No times were provided for T1 or T2. My feelings coming out of T1 were that I was longer than I wanted but not too bad. I can always do things to improve my transition times.
What would you do differently?:

I could practice my transitions before the race.
  • 4h 27m 38s
  • 58.1 miles
  • 13.03 mile/hr

I drove the bike route the day before the race and I knew it was going to be a long slog for me.

I came out of transition running with the bike but there was an immediate steep grassy hill to climb and then I mounted the bike and got out on the course fairly quickly. The course is a series of rolling hills with three good climbs. Stronger riders had no trouble with the course but I just plugged along doing the best I could.

About 20km out on the course I felt my saddle slip and tilt upwards (nose high). Within minutes my butt was complaining loudly so I stopped at the next Aid station and a woman asked what I needed and I said, "It's just a mechanical problem". She just yelled out "Mechanical" and the bike guys were there in seconds and maybe three minutes later I was back on the ride again. I could feel the saddle was still not right but definitely better than before. I actually was able to finish the ride without any further saddle issues.

There was very little flat riding. It was mostly up or down. The first half of the course wasn't too bad and I was riding just a bit slower than I had expected but then I turned out onto the loop and the first big climb. The climb was slow but not too bad. The pavement was heating up and it was fairly rough but manageable.

Once I reached the top of the hill it leveled off briefly before beginning a long descent that was very similar to our local Richter Pass both in length and scenery. But, then I came up to the tunnel. There was no shoulder in the tunnel and I was afraid to ride too near the wall of the tunnel but also aware of the traffic coming up behind me - and not slowing down in the least.

I was very glad to come out of the tunnel and move over onto the shoulder. Soon after the tunnel we turned off the highway and headed up the second big climb. All the riders were so spread out most of the riding was alone but after the tunnel I caught up to a fellow that was struggling up the hill even slower than I was. I encouraged him and chatted for awhile before pressing on.

Once I got up to the crest of this hill I was catching up to a couple ladies and I chatted with each as I passed them. One lady was my daughters age and from Portland. It was her 1st HIM and I let her know this was a tough course don't get discouraged. Then we discussed other races before I moved on and I came to the last tough climb.

I slowed down again but managed to keep going up the hill. I was beginning to worry that my legs were going to be fried from the hill climbing and at various points in my 3rd climb I could feel my knees threatening to quit (sharp stabs in the popliteal area of both knees.

I finally came to the fast descent that runs down to the final return leg of the bike route. I tried to make up some time but I couldn't seem to pick up my pace.

It was a good feeling heading back to Transition but I couldn't believe how slow I was.

My bike computor says we climbed a total of 867m/ 2844'. This actually sounds low to me. This bike route was harder than Lake Stevens (for me anyway).
What would you do differently?:

I've been trying to get stronger and faster on the bike for 3 years but I don't seem to be consistently faster even though I feel I am stronger.
Transition 2
  • 00m

A few days before the race I put on the stretchy quick laces and they saved me considerable time.

What would you do differently?:

I think I did fairly well here but my wife called over the fence that the race people were recommending people go into the lake to cool off before heading out on the run. I thought this was a great idea but then I put on my runners and didn't want to take them off so I could go into the lake. In retrospect, I should have taken the time to get wet. I might have been able to run with a bit of a rest.
  • 3h 31m 11s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 16m 07s  min/mile

By now the heat was pretty intense and the run route had virtually no shade to speak of.

As I ran out of the transition area I was running with the young lady from Portland. She was running really well and I had no chance of keeping up with her. Once we were out on the course she was gone pretty quickly.

I was able to run only for short intervals and had to walk to calm down. When I walked I made a point of walking as fast as I could. My progress was slow and each runner that passed me on their way back was pretty encouraging and lots of them gave me high 5's which did help keep me moving.

The further along I got my running intervals were shortening and my knees were increasingly painful. I also found there were fewer people on the course for longer periods as well.

The heat was very intense but I was wearing a dew rag type of thing that had a pocket for ice and I kept it full for the whole run. At each Aid station the volunteers were fantastic. Just amazing people. I can't say enough positives about them. I loved them all.

I drank water and gatorade at each station plus I added ice to my dew rag and I took ice with me to suck on while I was walking.

I made it to the turn around point still able to run a little but mostly walking. After the turn around I couldn't run anymore. My knees just wouldn't let me. Both knees were sore but my left knee was by far the worst.

Soon after I turned and headed back I met the last two athletes behind me. They were less than 2km/ 1mi behind me and struggling just as much as I was. It was a long slog to go and the heat was relentless.

I still tried to run at times - on the downhills - but I just couldn't manage any running.

I was completely alone for the last 6 miles except for the Aid stations. I felt good in spite of the heat and I thought a lot about quitting but I was still walking as fast as I could and the volunteers were so supportive. Quitting just didn't seem to work for me.

Finally, I reached Pat and Mike's (a local landmark) and I only had 2 miles to go. I was still walking at 9:30/km which was the best I could muster and I just kept going. A woman sprayed me with her hose and I thanked her profusely, smiled and carried on. A little later a woman stopped her vehicle and offered me some water. I declined but I made sure I let her know how much I appreciated her thoughtfulness. I actually was fine in spite of the heat and well hydrated.

Then I could see the Lakeside Resort. I wanted to run but my knees were having none of it. Then I turned onto the last short leg maybe 500m to the finish. I wanted to run but it was a steep downhill and I was afraid my legs might give out if I ran so when I got to the bottom of that hill I did run the last 100 feet over the finish line.

I was determined to stay until the last two people crossed the finish line and the First Aid people wanted to keep an eye on me. I was fine but once I sat down I began to stiffen up.

Shortly after I sat down the last two athletes came across the finish line and I was able to welcome them both. I almost teared up but managed to choke it down and congratulate them wholeheartedly.

We were finished. We didn't give up. It was a long day but it wasn't all bad. I did enjoy it and although I wish I were faster, I am proud of it.

What would you do differently?:

This race tells me I need to re think my training. I work hard and I can swim, bike and run but I just can't seem to get it together. I don't need to be competitive I just want to be better than I already am.
Post race
Warm down:

Sitting with a 4 athletes and my wife in the 1st Aid tent. I drank a full cold gatorade and bottle of water.

I didn't like my times but I liked how I coped with the whole race. Loved the athletes I talked to along the way and I loved all the volunteers. It was a hard race but the people made it worthwhile.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I'm 65 this year but I'm not using that as an excuse. This was fun and I'm going to keep doing it.

Last updated: 2015-07-19 12:00 AM
00:44:40 | 1900 meters | 02m 21s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/2
Overall: 0/103
Performance: Good
Suit: Blue Seventy
Course: Out and back with a line underwater that was easy to follow.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 00:00
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed:
04:27:38 | 58.1 miles | 13.03 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/2
Overall: 0/103
Performance: Below average
Wind: Headwind
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Bad
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 00:00
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
03:31:11 | 13.1 miles | 16m 07s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/2
Overall: 0/103
Performance: Below average
Course: A long out and back along the lake.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2015-07-19 11:40 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Penticton, BC
Subject: ChelanMan Trithlon - Half Iron Course

2015-07-20 9:53 AM
in reply to: #5129795

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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: ChelanMan Trithlon - Half Iron Course
Congrats on your finish! If interested in a PB, keep plugging away at training, and choose a flatter course! Chelanman was my first HIM three years ago and I recall it being a pretty tough course. Conditions were more moderate then (highs maybe in low to mid 80's) but same issues with chop on the swim and, of course, lots of hills. It really favors riders who are strong climbers and have a good bike setup for big climbs. BTW not sure if they have changed the course at all (your description sounds similar to what we did) but my bike computer had it about 2 miles longer than standard distance; I think they also told us that at the pre-race briefing.
2015-07-20 3:14 PM
in reply to: #5129795

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Spokane, WA
Subject: RE: ChelanMan Trithlon - Half Iron Course

Great race report. Congrats on finishing a tough race.

Thanks for posting this as I'm in Spokane and have been considering this event.

2015-07-24 11:16 AM
in reply to: #5129795

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Charlottesville, Virginia
Subject: RE: ChelanMan Trithlon - Half Iron Course
Congrats on the race, George. HIMs are another thing entirely from Olympic length and it sounds like your course was particularly tough due to the hills and heat. Seems like a strong race mentally though and that's a big part of it. Much to be proud of and much to learn from. Rest up and then rethink things with help from your coaches / mentors!
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