Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Race Report: Caesars Creek International Triathlon

Yes, I know it has been a while since I have updated my blog. It is hard to keep my boss, wife and others happy, while trying to train. Sorry!

I was really excited about this race. It is the only race I will be racing for two years in a row, which allows me to better gauge my improvement. Caesars Creek was my best race of 2006, so it would be a real victory to beat last years time.

My preparation and taper for this race was solid. In the month since I the did Festival of Flowers Triathlon, I have focused on this race. It should go pretty well. The night before, spent some time with my buddy Fern. I have to be careful not to get drunk or stay up late when I visit him the night before a race. Fortunately, we had a good visit and I managed to get to bed in time to be ready for what will be a key race for me. Dave is a great friend to have and I really appreciate him getting my pre-race fuel at LaRosas and a place to crash.

I was one of the first people at the race, even though I picked up my race packet the day before. My transition area was the way I wanted it and my warm up was solid. Most importantly, I made the much needed trips to the restrooms. They need more restrooms at these races. There is always a huge line! Mom made it down to cheer me on and she got to the shore, right about the time I was putting on my wetsuit. Ever since I was a high school cross country runner, my mom has been a big fan and supports me even as a crazy adult trying to recapture those days.

For the swim, they said it was wetsuit legal, but they must have thrown a barrel of ice in the area they took the temperature. It was warmer than the 82 degree YMCA pool I swim in regularly. Plus my tinted goggles broke, so I am wearing clear goggles in the dang sunlight. Oh well, there is always something! We took off and I stayed with the crowd and stayed on course. On lap two, I got a little off course, which messed up my split. Overall not a stellar swim, but it will not ruin my whole race either at 31:59 and it is a slight improvement over last year.

The first transition at 1:54 was a little slow, with a little hitch in my wetsuit removal and some trouble getting my bike mount down.

My bike started out blistering fast (for me) at around an average speed of around 24 miles per hour. All seemed well until we hit this nasty hill which really dropped my speed. In triathlons you are not supposed to draft, but it is hard when you are in a crowd of riders that keep passing each other back and forth. There was this one girl who seemed to draft off over everybody. I never really was able to drop her on the bike. I found out later she was the overall female winner. Another rider I sparred with was Christopher Seely, he trained at the same gym when I lived in Ohio. We greeted each other and put the hammer down. The one lap course had an out and back spur. I got aggressive on the that part. Most of the folks I had been sparring with were all lined up in front of me, drafting like a Tour de France pelaton. I saw an opportunity to to gain about eight places, so I hauled ass around them and busted it to stay ahead. A couple of them got ahead of me before we got to transition, but overall I am happy with my bike leg, which was 1:08:38, with an average speed of 21.7 miles per hour.

Transition two was a rest stop after that effort I put in at the end of the bike. Anything longer than a minute on the second transition is way too long. Having Fern and my mom cheering me on.

As I started the run, I just did not have my usual running mojo. My mindset was: "this is going to suck". It was about 90 degrees and I was soaking myself at every aid station. The two lap up and back trail and gravel road run can drain you really fast. Even though I tore past a lot of people, I still did not have the speed kick in and had one of my worse runs of the year, about 4 and a half minutes off from my personal best at 47:03.

I was disappointed with my overall time at 2:30:43. It seems that it was a tough race, where the race winner did not even break two hours. Plus, I was almost two minutes faster than last year. In the end it was a solid race, but I wish I could have squeezed out a couple more minutes.

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