Monday, August 15, 2005

Last tri of the season for me

Got up at the ass-crack of dawn to head out to Turtleman Tri in Shoreview. This is the big competition between my friend Brian and I, as I upstaged him at last years race, passing him about a mile into the run and finishing about 5 minutes ahead of him. In the interest of full disclosure, last year was Brian's first year doing multisport, so I really should be performing better than him. Lifetime Tri was a bigger race, but we cared about this one more - you know, pride points on the line, and all that.

It's a 1 mile swim, 24 mile bike, 5.2 mile run. Pretty standard stuff.

Got out to the race site at around 6, shortly after the transition area opened. So we were able to snag decent spots right on the end of the racks. Sweet. I've never been this early to a race - usually I end up fighting for an often crappy spot. But not today.

Showing up early also gave me like 1/2 hour to lie down before the race. Sweet. Probably not recommended, I mean, most people warm up w/a short run, and put on their wetsuit and get in the water for a little swimming warm-up ... but not me. I'll opt for the quick nap every time :-) Although I did take the bike out around the block, just to make sure the drivetrain was in order after transporting it out there.

The swim is pretty much an out-and-back, but the cool thing is there's a shallow spot about half way out - shallow enough that you can stand up and run - probably about 2.5 feet deep or so. So you get to run for maybe 50-75 yds on the way out, and later on the way back you get to do it again. The strong swimmers don't bother to run, they just keep swimming. But the shallows are great for blokes like me who would rather run!

I was out of the water about a minute ahead of last year's time - I don't know if I was actually faster, I didn't feel faster. Maybe the course was a little inaccurate, and shorter this year - you never know. Although they said they had some surveyor mark it off w/GPS, so it should have been accurate. Whatever, I'll take the extra minute.

Had a decent T1, and was off on the bike. Started off on a really great note - sometimes it takes me a bit to get up to speed after the swim, but today I was off like a shot. Spent a few miles stuck behind some guy on a Cervelo P3 who couldn't hold a very constant speed. He'd get out ahead of me, then after not long I'd be right behind him again. (For those who don't know, the P3 is pretty much one of the most aero, and therefore fastest bikes out there - when provided with the proper human engine.) I could have passed him on numerous occasions, mostly on the hills, but I new I wouldn't have the steam to charge far enough ahead of him to keep him from repassing on the flats, so I just tried to stay the regulation 3 bike lengths behind him. After a few miles, he broke away anyway, and then I was in the clear. I got passed by very few people on the bike, but I suspect this was because it was a self-seeded race, and the faster riders undoubtedly seeded themselves in the first wave or two. Brian, CB, and I seeded ourselves in the fourth wave.

Last year I averaged 22.4mph on the bike, and I really wanted to improve on that this year - 22.5-22.8 would have been enough for me, 23mph would have been freakin' awesome. Instead I finished only 28 seconds faster than last year, for an average again of 22.4mph. Drat. But still an improvement, so I'll happily take it.

I didn't see Brian on the bike, but he was exiting the transition starting his run just as I was riding in at the end of my bike. I yelled "I've got your number, Buddy!" so he knew I'd be hot on his tail.

Flew out of T2 after sucking down another GU and started the chase. I could just barely see Brian up ahead in his yellow shirt, so at least I knew where my target was. Thankfully it didn't take long for me to get my legs coming off the bike (unlike at Lifetime Tri, when my running legs didn't feel strong until about mile 3 or so.) Weird thing was that it took me much longer to catch him Brian year ... I think I finally caught him at mile 2.5, whereas last year I had him around the first mile. Strange. Brian was looking pretty strong, I told him so, wished him luck, and kept going. I looked back around mile 4 and could still see him, so I knew he wasn't too far behind me. By the looks of it, Brian was having a great race.

Picked up the pace a little in the last mile, but I couldn't remember how far away the finish line was from the last corner, so I was afraid of pushing it too hard. I thought I'd have at least 1/4, maybe 1/2 mile after the last corner - this was a mistake. I overestimated, and before I realized it the finish was coming up, and I kicked it in way too late. Last year I left everything on the course - this year I still had a teenzy bit left in the tank. Sprinted the last 50 yds or so, to finish with a 2:13:48, compared to last year's 2:13:34.

Brian came in with a 2:16, an improvement of several minutes compared to last year (good job Brian!) CB came in just under his goal of 2:30, so he also had a great race (way to go CB!)

I trained more religiously last year, doing at least a brick a week, usually 2. And this shows in my run split. I ran 7 minute miles this race, compared to 6:40s last year - kind of disappointing. This year my training schedule got a little screwed up, being out of town for so many weekends in late June/early July, and all the 90+ degree heat had me riding/running a little less these past few weeks as well. Oh well. My slightly faster swim pace, along with *slightly* faster transitions saved me.