Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Topeka Tinman Race Report

Wasn't really expecting much going into this race. Training has been suspect as of late, the tri bike hadn't even been touched since Triple T! I still haven't written race reports from those races yet, but in the races with biking following the long swims, I felt really uncomfortable to be in the aero position. I forgot that I needed some time in the aero position, it wouldn't take long on the bike to remember! But I'm getting ahead on myself...

Got home from work a little later than intended, hooked up the "Tri-pod", packed, and loaded the car in under 30 minutes, a new PR! After several segments of road construction, I got into Topeka and to packet pickup with 10 minutes to spare. Packet pickup was at HyVee wich worked out great, I was able to pickup a heaping portion of Chicken Fetuccini Alfredo for $2.99 as well as some breakfast snacks.

After driving to the race site, I headed out to drive the bike course. The race site was slightly different than in 2004 when I won the duathlon, but once out on the bike course it seemed about the same, rolling hills with lots of rough pavement! In general, I think Topeka had some of the worst pavement I've seen in the US! After driving the course, I arrived back at the race site and started thinking about where to camp. After a short trip to McDonald's for dessert, I decided to camp in the athlete parking area under some trees. Around 10:30pm as I was doing some work on my bike (after neglecting it since Triple T) when a park police officer stoped, I fully expected I was going to be told I couldn't stay. Indeed, he told me that camping wasn't allowed, but since the campground were full, he said I could stay! Awesome...

4:30am and the alarm goes off... 4:39, it goes off again and I'm up. After airing up my tires, I grab my stuff and head to transition. Only several other bikes are set up so I get a great spot. After setting things up, I head back to my trailer for a 50 minute nap. For the next hour or so I verify everything is set to go prior to the close of transition at 7:30. Transition closing an hour prior to the start of a race is a big pet peeve of mine! I sort of understand the logic behind it, but it isn't necessary in my opinion...

Anyway, at 8:30 my race starts. Wasn't really sure what to expect after the previous weekends 800 meter swim at Eureka Springs Xterra race where it had supposedly taken me 16 minutes! Supposedly the swim was wetsuit legal, but I chose not to wear one as everyone was saying the water was too warm. I focused on relaxing, but ran into problems when multiple times I couldn't see the bouys, I decided then and there I needed new googles!Overall, the swim felt good and I finished with a 26 minute swim. Once to my bike, I had to remind myself that I was racing as I found myself taking my time in transition!

As I mentioned earlier, it didn't take me long to realize how uncomfortable I felt in the aerobars! I actually found myself looking forward to the hills as it meant I could get out of the aerobars! After passing several people, I found myself getting passed by several of my fiends I really wasn't expecting to pass me on the bike! It kind of served as a wake up call and over the next several miles I concentrated on getting comfortable in the aero bars. Finally, around half way through the ride I felt decent and was able to concentrate on picking up the pace a bit. Ended up averaging 20.8 mph on the bike, nothing to get too excited about.

Had a decent T2 and was out on the run quickly. Felt good, but had to remind myself how hot it was. Ran a 6:55 opening mile and then a 6:35, but then things started to deteriorate. The next miles were 7:17, 7:43, 8:55, 8:18, and 5:47(.9 mile). It was hot, hilly, and humid!! Fortunately, there was plenty of cold water and ice on the course. Several cups of ice went down the front of my speedo in an attempt to regulate my core body temperature. Indeed, I actually felt like I was recovering during the last 2 miles and made an attemp to reel in two competitors ahead of me. Unfortunately I was unable to do that, but did end up getting first in my age group so catching them turned out not to be too important.

So while I did end up winning my age group, I finished in 15th place, over 20 minutes down on the winner, Joe Company. After earlier success this year, it was hard not to be disappointed with this race. Fortunately I didn't have high expectations coming in and will make sure this race serves as inspiration to: train smarter, get better swim goggles, and loose some weight!