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Desert International Triathlon - Triathlon


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La Quinta, California
United States
Klein | Clark Sports
63F / 17C
Overcast
Total Time = 2h 47m 43s
Overall Rank = 198/338
Age Group = M 45-49
Age Group Rank = 21/28
Pre-race routine:

I drove to Indio on Saturday and went to check in and packet pick up. Due to not thinking about the time change coming into California, I was running a little early. The weather was great on Saturday but winds were expected to pick up throughout the evening and into the day on Sunday. The venue, lake, and transition all looked nice, and things seemed organized. I had a light dinner and an early bed time.
Event warmup:

Despite some high winds on Saturday night, Sunday morning started off okay. However, on the way to the event, there were some strong gusts. I was starting to get nervous that the lake would be really choppy – a tough swim had not even been on my radar for concerns coming into the event. As I took my equipment to get set up in transition, they started to announce that they would be making a decision regarding whether to hold the event. Apparently, they were concerned about safety on the bike course and whether the course markers and aid stations would stay put once set up. They had removed the markers on Saturday due to the high winds (a couple of the pop up tents from the expo had blown into the lake and were being fished out on race morning), so if they were going to proceed, they would need to set everything up before starting. They told us to wait for a go/no go announcement.

When the race was originally scheduled to start, they announced that they were going to go ahead, but they had to get everything set up. Finally, after about a 45 minute delay, things were ready to get underway. I was able to take a few minutes to get in the water during the delay, so I at least knew how cold the water was.

Swim
  • 35m 18s
  • 1320 yards
  • 02m 40s / 100 yards
Comments:

Despite the water being cold, and the weather being windy, the lake was calm. I didn’t feel great in the water, but there was no panic – just slow moving. After ten years of little progress, I have pretty much given up on big improvements in the water – very little return is seen for time invested. I just train enough to get ready for the distance of the next race and maintain my comfort in the water, but do very little more. I find that spending my time doing additional biking and running is more worthwhile.

I finally made my way around the course, and was relieved to be heading out on the bike. I knew most of the field would be in front of me and I would have to contend with a lot of crowding on the bike course, but that is the penalty for being a below average swimmer.

Transition 1
  • 03m 38s
Comments:

There was a decent distance from the lake to the transition area, and I had a lot of trouble putting on my bike gloves. Not ideal.
Bike
  • 1h 04m 19s
  • 24 miles
  • 22.39 mile/hr
Comments:

I put a lot of effort into bike training over the winter. I started doing more structured workouts on a new trainer and using virtual power as a metric (I won’t go into details about this here, because it is very boring to most people, but if anyone is interested, I would be willing to talk into you’re tired of hearing about it. :)). Through the course of the new training regimen, I realized that I had not been working nearly hard enough on my sessions in previous years. The new workouts forced me to push harder and I felt like I had improved as a results. This would be my first opportunity to find out, and it would be on a relatively flat course, which plays to my strengths.

I knew the winds were expected to pick up throughout the day, so I wanted to finish and get off the bike before they kicked up. I briskly made my way out of the park and seemed to be maintaining a good speed. I got onto the loop section and went to work. Since the course was flat and straight, I just wanted to maintain a strong effort. Every time I looked down, I was between 22 and 23 mph, which is really solid for me. I felt like I was giving a good effort, but not pushing too hard.

I finished the first loop, and knew that there would be no surprises the rest of the way since I had seen the whole course. There was one guy who I kept trading spots with, and every time I passed him he managed to catch me not too long after. I finally decided to see if all of the training had given me a new burst. After a few exchanges, I was coming up behind him. I switched into a higher gear and hit the pedals. As I went by him, I heard him yell out ‘Nice!’. He caught me later on the run course (they usually do…) and told me how much fun he had racing me on the bike. He said that after the last time I passed him, he started to crack and couldn’t catch me again. I told him that the run course was where I crack and to enjoy the rest of the race. It was a nice exchange.

I finished the bike and estimated that I averaged about 22.5 mph – not quite a PR, but very good. I feel like I am stronger than I have been even if the speed doesn’t necessarily reflect it. I’m carrying a little more weight right now, and I didn’t feel like I had pushed as hard as I could have. I’m getting a new bike frame, so that might be a nice last hurrah for the trusty Cervelo that I have had since 2009.

Transition 2
  • 02m 33s
Comments:

Okay transition. Nothing notable
Run
  • 1h 01m 52s
  • 6 miles
  • 10m 19s  min/mile
Comments:

The run gave me some trouble on a few different levels. It was a little hiller than expected (not extremely, but enough to notice). In addition, most of it was on sand and gravelly road. I tend to perform best on flat pavement. The winds were also starting to pick up in a big way. Here we go.

I wasn’t running well, but I was able to sustain an average pace over terrain I wasn’t fond of. I was getting passed by a bunch of people I had passed on the bike, which was discouraging but expected when I am not in my best run shape. I got spoiled at the end of 2014 and most of 2015 – being a lot lighter, running was much easier and I was able to hold people off much more effectively.

Regardless, I kept making my way around the lake, and finally finished the first loop. One more to go. On the second loop, the wind really made its presence felt. Being a desert course, and having a beach area around the lake, the wind was blowing sand everywhere. Since I was already covered in water and sweat, the sand was sticking to me, creating a nice sandpaper effect. Also, note to self – sand moving at a high velocity hurts when entering the eyes. I fought the wind/dust storm for the final two miles, past aid stations that had become unmoored and had no cups left standing, and assisting a spectator with retrieving a hat that had blown off and was flying across my path. Even though it was miserable, I knew the situation was still somewhat laughable, and would make for a great memory and good story later. I came into what was left of the finisher’s chute (the inflatable finish arch had been removed) (or blown away, I’m not sure) and finished the event with a not-unrespectable 2:47.

Post race
Warm down:

I went to retrieve my things from transition, and saw additional carnage left by the winds. My bike had blown off the rack, and my helmet and swim cap were missing. Other people’s equipment was strewn all over. I finally tracked down my helmet a couple of rows over. My swim cap was lost (although these are issued by the event and are rarely kept anyway). I assembled everything and made my way to the car. I felt grit and sand in my mouth for the rest of the afternoon, but it was a good and memorable start to the season.

Event comments:

The organizers did a good job with the event under less than ideal conditions. It was well organized, and they can’t control the weather. They made the right decision to proceed. It would have been a big disappointment to cancel, and conditions were fine for most of the morning. Everything that was in their control, they did well. It was a quality event.




Last updated: 2016-03-12 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:35:18 | 1320 yards | 02m 40s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/28
Overall: 0/338
Performance:
Suit:
Course: One long triangle in Lake Cahuilla.
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Rounding:
T1
Time: 03:38
Performance:
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
Biking
01:04:19 | 24 miles | 22.39 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/28
Overall: 0/338
Performance:
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: After riding for a few miles out of the park, there is an eight mile loop that is ridden twice before returning to the park
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
T2
Time: 02:33
Overall:
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
01:01:52 | 06 miles | 10m 19s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/28
Overall: 0/338
Performance:
Course: Two loops of a course around the lake
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall:
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Evaluation
Course challenge
Organized?
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

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2016-03-12 5:33 AM

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Knowing where the fluids are, how they will fit on your bike, how much to reach for, and when to reach for it should be understood prior to ever setting foot on the course.