Monday, March 28, 2011

First race of 2011 - Complete!

I competed in my first tri of 2011 - the Sprint Triathlon at Vistancia. It was a good race, well organized and a lot of fun. Here's the race report:

Location: Foothills Center, Vistancia Community, Peoria, AZ
Start time: 8:00 AM start for the women and 8:30 AM start for the men - transition closed at 8 AM
  • 300 yard pool swim, TT start, 00:15 separation, self-seeded
  • 16.5 mile bike, 3x 5.5 mile loop
  • 3.1 mile run, mixed sidewalk and hard-pack trail
Pre-race routine:
Wake up at 5 AM, put on my tri suit, feed the dog, eat a banana and bowl of Cinnamon Life cereal, wait for my friend to show up (fellow competitor and my coaching adviser), and start the 1.5 hr drive to the race. After 1.5 hrs of driving, realize the venue is 2 hrs away. Sucks. I can sense my friend getting a little tense, as he's a bit more regimented and likes to arrive early to futz around. When we arrive, there's no parking. Tara drops us off to pick up race packets and parks illegally in the fire lane. Others decide it's a good idea and park next to us, so now she's a trendsetter! Drink a 5-hr energy even though the race is only going to be ~1:15. I halfheartedly listen to the pre-race talk, then ask everyone around me what was said. Watch the women start their race.

Lot's of running. Run to packet pickup. Run back to car to get gear bag and bike. Run back to transition. After I'm set up, I do a little dynamic stretching of my calves. I enjoy stretching, but don't believe in doing it before exercise. I'm sure I'll write about it some time. We hang out and chat a little bit while the women are being sent off on their swim. After the women are finished, the men line up loosely according our swim ability (TT start w/ 15s intervals). I guesstimate 4:30 for the swim. Then we all stand around chat some more. They start the wheelchair dude after the women and before the men, so we all cheer him on for his swim. I think he's faster than me.

00:04:36 | 300 yards | 01m 32s / 100yards;
Age Group: 2/15
Overall: 11/88

Starting the swim
 I usually avoid pool swims. REAL triathlons are raced in open water! But this was the only one in the area at the time, so I signed up for it. I seeded myself about right, starting around 8th. If you were seeded correctly there was plenty of room between people at 0:15s separation. I decided to use open turns instead of flip turns (which, uncharacteristically, were allowed). No sense tiring myself out for a few seconds advantage. Besides, my flip turns suck and everyone was watching. I don't think I could have handled the pointing and laughing. One problem with the pool was the very slippery tile on the walls under the water line. I slipped several times when pushing off of the wall to go into the other lane. I didn't pass anyone, and was passed once by a guy who had just started as I was close to ending.

Overall, the swim felt good. I was a little tense at the start, and later my breathing got a little erratic. Surprisingly, this didn't make me go faster. The guy who passed me annoyed me a little bit, but based on where he seeded himself and the pace he was keeping I figured he would be burned out in about 50 yards. I didn't stick around to watch the carnage.
Exiting the pool.
Yes, that's a buoy!

Transition 1
T1: 01:00
Transitions were included with the bike time. I took them from my 310XT, but they weren't very accurate.
Feeling strong after the swim, I rounded the buoy and ran from the pool to the bike. For this race, I skipped wearing socks and left my shoes attached to the bike. This made for a fast transition. Using a 1-footed mount onto the bike, I passed someone who 'ran' in his shoes and stopped to mount his bike. Road bike shoes are NOT good for running. If you're ever bored at a triathlon, hang out at the end of the transition area for some good entertainment!
Bike: 00:43:24 | 16.5 miles | 22.81 mile/hr;
Age Group: 1/15
Overall: 6/88
The ride felt good. This was my first race on my tri bike (2011 Felt B2). I lowered my aerobars and adjusted my seat a week ago, and wasn't sure how it would feel. In the end, it felt great! I still need more time at the lower position, but it wasn't painful at all. Makes me think I should lower the aerobars even more. I also put on new race tires and latex tubes, and they were silky smooth. I really felt strong on the bike considering I concentrated on the run all winter.
Transition 2
T2: 00:20
Just like in T1, this was the first time leaving the shoes on the bike for T2. It went really well. I stayed on one pedal up to the dismount line. Hopped off right into a run at the line without missing a stride. This is my usual dismount, but in the past I left my shoes on. Since I switched from MTB to tri shoes, a moving dismount is much tougher. I racked the bike and took a second to put on my shoes. For some reason I felt like I was missing something and I paused for an extra second. No idea why I paused. Originally I wasn't sure if I was going to wear a visor but put it in transition just in case. Wonder if this is what tripped me up? Probably just got confused in my old age. Ended up putting it on anyway. I should have put some powder in the shoes. I got a blister on one foot late in the run. It didn't effect anything though, 'cause I'm tough like that. It takes at least two blisters to get me to drop out of a race.

Run: 00:22:23 | 03.1 miles | 07m 13s  min/mile;
Age Group: 1/15
Overall: 17/88
The run was a 5K PR. There were times when I felt like I couldn't turn my legs over fast enough but overall the pace was good. I've recently added speed work to my running and it seems to be helping. I'm just at the beginning of the plan for speed work, hopefully I'll get faster throughout the season. I've lost too many races due to a slow run.

Cool Down
Stood around the finish line and chatted with my wife. Congratulated other finishers, waited for my friend to finish - he ended 15th. Not bad for a 61 year old! Drank some water and ate a banana. Stretched a bit and waited for the awards ceremony.

The race was fun and well organized. It's tough to tell where you stand because of the TT start, but it's nice the way they run the swim course. Makes passing easier - not that I had to worry about that. The participants were great and friendly. This was my best result so far. Too bad all of the medals were generic. I had to write my results on the back so I won't forget in the future. Some would say it's a little tacky... If you didn't place in a category, you didn't get a finisher's medal or anything. Not a big deal unless it's your first race.

00:04:36 | 300 yards | 01m 32s / 100yards;
Age Group:2/15
T1: 01:00
Bike: 00:43:24 | 16.5 miles | 22.81 mile/hr;
Age Group:1/15
T2: 00:20
Run: 00:22:23 | 03.1 miles | 07m 13s  min/mile;
Age Group:1/15

Total Time = 1h 11m 43s
Overall Rank = 7/88
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 1/15


  1. Dang Tim, you were in my backyard! Lemme know next time you're down in the valley and I'll come out to watch/cheer.

    See you tomorrow!

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