Monday, May 3, 2010

Las Palomas Triathlon Race Report

Jamie and I drove down to Rocky Point on Friday morning, having stopped at Sky Harbor to pick up Jamie's friend from college Jen who was going to join us and run her first 5K race. And of course, the dogs came with us as well for some fun on the beach and in the Sea of Cortez! We crossed the border quickly and arrived at the Las Palomas resort around 1:00pm. We had a beautiful two bedroom 4th floor condo overlooking the pool area and ocean on one side and the Transition area on the back. We were literally 4 stories above tranisiton! Set up was going to be so easy and relaxing. We picked up our packets and had an early dinner at the resort. I enjoyed a few beers and a maragrita and was ready for bed. I slept well.

Race morning dawned and we got up around 6:00. I made coffe and relaxed until about 6:45 when I started to bring our bikes down in the elevator to claim some rack space. It was empty so I put us up at the very front, only about 20 feet from the mount line. As such, i decided to not leave my shoes clipped in and would just run in them instead as it was so short.

Now I had checked the athlete list looking for the two guys who beat me last year and didn't see them so I was optomistic I might be able to win the race. The names I did recognize I knew I could handle, but of course it's the guy's you don't know about who can suprise you. One name in particular I was looking for was Patrick Bless, a 37 year old pro from Germany now living in Tuscon. He won last year and is usually first at other Olympic races locally when he enters. I mean, they guy went 9:14 in Koan the year I went 9:40.

We put on our wet suits up in the room and then went down to the beach about 20min before the start. The weather was great but the wind coming off the ocean was causing a lot of wave action. I swam around to warmp up a bit. There were two waves for the men, under 40 and over 40 seperated by 4:00. They sent the under 40 wave off at 9:00 and I watched as the surf blew them all to bits and pushed them all over the course. I knew what to expect now and made a decsion on the line I would take to the first marker. I stood at the front of my wave and at 9:04, we were off.

Swim- 1000 Meters, 18:23
I immediatley went hard to get away from everyone. I stayed well to the left as the waves and current were pushing everyone to the right and too far off course. i could see one other guy with me taking this line. The waves were crashing right into our faces and I had to stop a few times to empty out my googles! It was rough getting out there. I felt comfortable and rounded the first marker pretty much alone. Once on the down beach leg, the waves were coming from my right. I allowed the current to keep me well left of any othwer swimmers as I was now getting into the back of the first wave. You couldn't see the buoys due to the waves so I just swam and wuld occasionally glimpse a marker or the Sprint buoys so i was at least heading in the right direction. My thoughts at this time were not of my race but of Jamie who was about to start the Olympic race. I knew this would be the roughest water she will have ever had to contend with and I was hoping she wouldn't panic and make it. I put the odds at 50/50 she would pull out. One of the best parts of this day was when I saw her on the bike, I was so proud of her!

I finally found the turn buoy and headed back to the beach. You would body surf some waves and go flying forward and then the undertow would grab you and push you back out. It was wild! As soon as my hand touched sand, i jumped up and ran out of the water. My watch said 16:XX wich for 1000M made sense and I began the long run to Transition through some deep sand. I mean, it was a LONG way, like over 1:30 over running until the timing mat. It was so far they even had an aid staion along the way! Seriously.

Bike- 24.6 miles, 58:13
Once I got out onto the course, i settled into a nice grove. I had targeted a HR of about 162 but I sort of sat around 157. Due to the three loops with three out and backs, I had a chance to see who was ahead of me fromt he first wave....and there was Patrick. Oh, no. He went by and I was sure I was racing for second place. I was feeling very steady and consistant and each lap I manged to put a little time in on him. The same thing happened last year but there was another athlete between us who finished second. The course becoame VERY crowded by the second loop and I had to shout out "stay right" and "On your left" a lot, especially in parts where the pavement was bad and everyone was trying to ride on the few smooth parts. I drank a full water bottle with 3 gels mixed in for my nutrition/hydration combo. I was very please with this bike and was 2:36 faster this year than last year.

Run- 6.2 miles, 37:00
I headed out onto the course and settled into another nice grove. I was looking for a HR of around 168 for the first few miles and then building from there but I hit 162 and again just sort of sat there. The rolling nature of the course saw my HR move around a lot, but even on the flats, it was a bit low, eventually climbing into the mid 160's. There was one guy ahead of me, about 100 yards, that I could see. he was from Wave 1 and I was within 20 seconds of him. I ran him down by mile 2. He hung with me for about 1/4 mile and then dropped back. I was starting to catch the back of the 10K run race participants around the half way mark. I felt great, very comfortable, whic meant I wasn't really going hard enough, but I was enjoying myself. At mile 4 I saw patrick going the other way and shot him a wave. By the time I got to the same point on the course, it "seemed" to me it took longer than 4:00 which meant he would have still been in first. I ran back up the one really steep hill and down a fairway towards the beach. The finsih was after about a 100 yard beach run. I had my first beer in hand within 5 min. :)

Post Race
I found Patrick by the water and went over to shake his hand. I told him that I hadn't seen his name on the start list and was bummed when i saw him out on the bike. I assumed he had been weel clear of me and told him I was second and he won.We had a nice chat and caught up with our racing and plans for the season. I hung out with our friends until Jamie finsihed 4th in her AG, 15th OA. I was so porud of her hanging tough after a swim that really was hard for her.

With my second beer in hand, we went to get the dogs to let them play on the beach. While up in the room, after a nice shower, another beer, and putting on our pool party clothes, I heard the RD kimo Seymour announce my name asking me to come see him. That's odd. I told Jamie and Jen I would meet them on the beach after going to see Kimo. I found him by the recently posted results with Patrick and the guy I passed on the run course. I asked Kimo what was up. He said, "What wave did you start in?" I said, "Second, I'm 41, why?" Kimo looked at Patrick and back at me and said,"Well, you won." I looked at him and then at Patrick and said,"No, Patrick did." And then he showed my the results and I saw the splits. i had put 1:14 into him on the bike and run and won the race! I was kind of in shock, so was Patrick. He saw me on the course but had assumed I was in his wave. I went down to find Jamie and told her I had won! And I had another beer. :)


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