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Kerrville Aquabike - Half Course - Aquabike

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Kerrville, Texas
United States
High Five Events
75F / 24C
Total Time = 3h 18m 32s
Overall Rank = 3/20
Age Group = Female
Age Group Rank = 1/9
Pre-race routine:

I had originally signed up for the quarter distance triathlon (basically an Oly), but was diagnosed with a stress fracture (right foot, 3rd metatarsal) in early August, so switched to the Half Aquabike race instead. I've been biking a lot (and it's progressing nicely) and swimming a decent amount, so I told Marc I wanted to go for the win in the women's race.

Plan for the race was to swim as if I were racing a 70.3, then do the first half of the bike course at ~153W (what I did for a 54 mile TT about a month ago), and then shoot for a negative split for the second half of the course.

I made the drive to Kerrville (~5 hours from home) Friday afternoon, getting in just after 7pm. Met up with friends for dinner and a couple drinks before calling it an early night. Got up for an easy, hour long ride Saturday morning, followed by packet pick-up and bike check-in. After that was all taken care of, there's a winery about 30 minutes away that I wanted to check out, so headed that way and did a tasting, followed by a glass of wine (and purchased two bottles to bring home). Headed back to Kerrville for dinner, then a beer (Grapefruit Sculpin), then reading for a little bit before crashing. I actually slept reasonably well, and woke up feeling ready to race.

Ate a bagel with peanut butter before heading to the race venue to air up my tires and get transition set up.

Event warmup:

No in-water warmup allowed, so I tried to do some stretching and make sure my (borrowed) wetsuit was pulled up enough in the legs and arms so I wouldn't feel constricted -- hint: it wasn't!

  • 37m 17s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 46s / 100 yards

Based on other times in both the Aquabike and Half races, I think the course was long. It was NOT my best swim, but it wasn't a 37 minute HIM swim either. I suspect it was probably more of a 34-35 minute swim.

The first few minutes were pretty awful. Other than a 200m pool swim to make sure this wetsuit fit (back in April...), I haven't swam in a wetsuit in over a year. Not only that, but this wetsuit is not broken in for my size and shape, so I was feeling miserable. All I wanted to do was to unzip it and hope that it felt better, but I forced myself to just slow down and try to settle in.

After a bit, I was feeling okay. I still wasn't pushing it the way I'd like to have been, but I was feeling smooth and like I was making good progress (always a good sign to start seeing various other colored caps). I kept my mind in a good place and didn't get into my "god, are we almost done yet??" funk. I was mostly looking forward to getting onto the bike and seeing what I could do, hoping that I'd feel good there.

What would you do differently?:

Wear my own wetsuit (despite breaking the zipper back in April, I still haven't bothered to get it fixed....this mediocre swim is completely my fault and I need to get my act together!) and actually swim in it a few times prior to racing in it :)

Transition 1
  • 02m 41s

Wetsuit strippers were RIGHT at the swim exit, so I didn't even have time to get my cap and goggles off before getting to them. I did pull my 910 off, but I probably didn't need to since this suit isn't as tight as mine (but I did it out of habit). Once I got the suit down to my waist, they made quick work of getting it off me, and I was on my way up the big hill.

There's a big hill going from the water to transition. Given that my stress fracture is still not healed and I'm not supposed to be running on it, I didn't want to push it too hard....but I'll admit that I did run up the hill (and my foot didn't hurt at all, but that's probably more of a function of it being a race than my foot being magically healed!).

I got to my bike fine, but was a bit clumsy in trying to shove my wetsuit and stuff into the transition bag (two transition area, so everything needed to go into the bag to get transported to T2), so lost a bit of time there. Once all situated, I grabbed my bike and ran (yeah, again, but this time in rigid bike shoes...) to the mount line.

What would you do differently?:

Be more deliberate in my effort to put stuff into the transition bag, rather than trying to rush through. Still not ready to commit to a flying mount or even starting with bike shoes on the bike.

  • 2h 38m 32s
  • 56 miles
  • 21.19 mile/hr

As I mentioned, plan for the first loop was to hold what I did in a TT about a month ago, which was 153W, and then see if I could push it a bit more for the second loop. Early in the bike, I settled into high-140's power with the plan to push it a bit more after the first 10 or so minutes, while letting my HR come back down. I hadn't pre-ridden or driven the course, so I didn't know too much about what to expect other than some chip seal and rolling hills. There was only one climb on the course, and it was short.

One of the big things that I've learned about racing with a power meter is that you really have to be disciplined and race your own race. It seems that literally everyone passes me on the uphills, while I'm regulating my power....but I (more than) make up for it on the downhills as they coast to recover. Even with my compact cranks, I never once ran out of gearing on this course and made up a LOT of distance on people on the downhill sections :)

At the end of the first loop, I had executed exactly as planned -- NP/AP was 153/152, and it was time to bump it up. My plan was to shoot for ~160 and hope it didn't result in an epic blow up!

The second loop was kind of interesting because I had an idea of what the course looked like and what to expect. I had certain landmarks in mind and was able to check them off as I worked my way through the course. Again, people passed me on the uphills, but I passed them back on the downhills (in the entire race, only two people passed me that I didn't eventually pass back). As I was nearing the end of the second loop, I was VERY pleased with my power -- NP/AP was 164/163. I had exceeded my expectations!

And as an added challenge, I figured for the last few miles, I'd try to do 170+. I was over 180 for 2+ miles, but the last few minutes are net downhill with some turning, so I couldn't keep the power up the entire time, but I'm confident I could have if it had been feasible.

All in all, I was very happy with this bike. Back at the end of June, I was really down on my bike ability, and then started working with Marc. He has not only helped make me a better biker, but has helped my confidence and ability to "hurt" immensely. I can't wait to see what kind of progress we can continue to make! Also, at the end of the bike leg, I felt like I still had more in me, so I think I could have pushed even more, which is a really good problem to have :)

What would you do differently?:

For this race, nothing -- knowing what I know now, I could have pushed it a bit harder without blowing up

Post race
Warm down:

Leisurely walked my way through T2 before running through the finisher's chute and turning in my timing chip :)

Ate some food, drank some water, drank a couple beers (not very impressive, imo -- some Oktoberfest beer and some cream ale), packed up all the gear and stuff back at the cabin....then made my way to Fredericksburg for a couple glasses of wine and pizza at one of my wine clubs :)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not swimming in MY wetsuit, not swimming in a wetsuit in over a year, having a stress fracture, and not knowing exactly how hard I could push on the bike without blowing up -- all that said, I'm very happy with the execution of this race and can't wait to (eventually) be able to put it together for a full 70.3

Event comments:

Wish they had chocolate milk at the finish, but the race was really well run and I'd certainly do it again.

Last updated: 2015-09-29 12:00 AM
00:37:17 | 2112 yards | 01m 46s / 100yards
Age Group: 2/9
Overall: 5/20
Performance: Below average
Suit: Nova's Zoot
Course: Rectangular course
Start type: Run Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 77F / 25C Current: Low
200M Perf. Bad Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 02:41
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
02:38:32 | 56 miles | 21.19 mile/hr
Age Group: 1/9
Overall: 3/20
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: Two loop course
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 91
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2015-09-29 7:40 PM

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Houston, Texas
Subject: Kerrville Aquabike - Half Course

2015-09-29 7:54 PM
in reply to: #5143940

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Subject: RE: Kerrville Aquabike - Half Course

Great job! It's fantastic to see you doing really well in the other two disciplines despite the stress fracture. Waita' do that whole lemons lemonade thing. Awesome OA result! 

Speaking of, the grapefruit sculpin ipa is really, really good. Why scuplin ips are so expensive if beyond me though. It sounds like you had a fun weekend on top of a good race. 

2015-09-30 2:59 AM
in reply to: #5143940

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PEI, Canada
Subject: RE: Kerrville Aquabike - Half Course

Great job, congrats on the result!  

An aquabike sounds like the kind of race I should do sometime - suits my strengths well!

2015-09-30 6:40 AM
in reply to: #5143940

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Kerrville Aquabike - Half Course

First woman, third OA....hmmmmm, lots of of people got chicked :-). Congratulations
2015-09-30 8:37 AM
in reply to: marcag

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South Windsor, CT
Subject: RE: Kerrville Aquabike - Half Course
I'm super happy for you Nicole! Nothing like crushing an Aqua bike Race when you've been sidelined with SF's.
Congratulations to you. Excellent pacing on the bike is always a key to long distance racing and finding out your best power to hold is enlightening for future races.

Do you have Garmin or Strava power data? What was your final %FTP raced? (IE what is your current FTP/CP?)
That is beyond stellar for efficiency. VI of ~1.01? =YOU ARE a PRO!!!! I believe the goal is to be <1.05 and I've never even seen anyone get within 3watts of their AP. Holy sh*t, that's amazing.

You need a try 5 and 20 min test to approximate your FTP, which I'll bet is somewhat higher than you believe it to be.

Nice race, Bike Pro!
2015-10-01 5:49 AM
in reply to: dtoce

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Houston, Texas
Subject: RE: Kerrville Aquabike - Half Course

I actually had a 20' test on the schedule this morning.  Based on my latest 5' and 20' tests, my CP is estimated to be 191W, so I biked at 83% of CP.  NP for the entire ride was 159W (AP was 157W).

I've always been pretty good about being able to keep my VI low.  In fact, I really struggle to spike my power -- it's so natural for me to hold it steady on the uphills and then keep it up on the downhills.  It's stuff like that that makes me think I'd be really bad at road racing (I've seen Jason have VI of 1.4+ and it blows my mind!).  Then again, it's also probably a function of my training....I train to be smooth and steady, so that's what feels natural to me


Thanks, all, for the kind words!  Definitely trying to make the best out of this injury, but I am really ready to get back to running (especially now that the weather is starting to get nice in Houston -- there's only a short window and then it's going to be "cold" and I'll get whiney!). 

2015-10-01 11:10 AM
in reply to: ligersandtions

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South Windsor, CT
Subject: RE: Kerrville Aquabike - Half Course
you need a 20 minute test that includes hills and being up out of the seat and pushing HARD...and some training outside your comfort zone

just sayin' (he says to the bike PRO-hmmm, maybe I should just be quiet)

super race though
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