Monday, May 9, 2011
Rio Salado Olympic Triathlon Race Report
Woke up around 4:00am after a pretty decent nights sleep. Jamie was going MTB riding and was sleeping in and I made some coffee and had a Cliff Bar while I surfed the morning net. I had all my gear packed and didn't have too much to do. I went outside to check the weather and it was calm and warm. And a funny thing happened. I felt utterly at peace.
It had been over 6 months since my last triathlon. Kona didn't go as well as I had hoped and ended what was my best season of racing ever on a bit of a down note. I had a great run winter racing season, winning a few OA 15K trail races and setting a PR of 1:19 in the half. But I am a triathlete at heart and felt I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to perfrom well at my first race especially since I DNS'ed the Marquis race due to illness. I suffer from the same pre-race fears and anxiety that effect all AG'ers. Be it to podium an AG, set a PR, or for some just to finish the race, it's all the same and we all need to manage our expectations, those we put on ourseleves and those we feel others put upon us. I wanted to do well not only for myself but also for my great ZOOT Ultra team and all our terrific sponsors. In that quiet moment out in the pre dawn dark, I was able to let that go. I was going to have a great day, I decided, regardless of the outcome. I was going to race in a triathlon.
I arrived in Tempe around 5:30am. Transition was the usual bussle of nervous energy which I realy enjoy. It makes me calm to see other people anxious for some reason. I had a chance to catch up with pro's Lewis Elliot and Kevin Taddonio and all my firends from DURAPULSE, ONE Multisport, and Tri-Scottsdale. It was a really fun pre-race environment and by 6:15, I was with my friends Matt and Joan squeezing into our wet suits. Whne I pulled my amazingly awesome ZOOT Pophet suit out of my bag, a little piece of paper fell to the ground. It was a not from jamie she his in there the night before with some wonderful words of encouragement. It just made my day complete and it was only dawn.
I jumped into the warm embrace of Temepe Town Lake ;) and swam easy to the start line. The Pro and 39 and under wave started 3 min ahead of M40+. All the Sprint athletes were already started, so we were pretty much at the back. I lined up to the left and noticed peter Ney, a top swimmer near by, so I knew I was in the right spot. The horn sounded and I went hard for the first 100 yards until I got under the Mill Ave. Bridge and then settled into what felt like a good tunrover. I have really been trying to make improvements in my stoke and focused on the things I have been working on adopting. Shallow left hand entry, fingers down earlier in the catch, better reach. All felt very smooth and comfortable and I really love the new ZOOT Prophet wet suit.
As always, the sun was directly ahead and made sighting a challenge as did the speed inwhich I ran into the back ot the wave ahead. I made the turn bouys and continued to feel great. I made a sighting error early after the second buoy and found myself too far out to the right of the markers. I quickly came back in but lost a bit of time. I tried to pick up the tempo as I neared the final turn into the stairs and for the most part swam in clear water. I hit the starirs with a 23:xx on my watch which was about what I had been hoping for.
Strippers! It's been a while since a local Tempe race had strippers but I always enfoy the convenience so I took the time to stop and have my wet suit peeled. You then have to run the length of Transition to the timimg mat and enter at the back. As I ran towards my rack, I saw my firend Trevor Sher just beginning to leave. He's gunning for my bike course record at DueceMan this year and is going to be very competitive in general. I was happy to have put 3 min into him on the swim, I would likely need it.
I had my shoe's clipped into the pedals and ran fast to the mount line. I was able to get my right foot into my shoe as I mounted and took off with my left foot on top of the other shoe. Afetr negotiating the "S" curve on Rio Salado, I went to slip my foot in and the strap came free of the metal holder. That's the second time that's happened, I need to get different shoes. So I had to dick around with it to put it back through and two guys went by. Stupid mistake which cost a bit of time. I had the 4th fastest T1 regardless.
Once I had myself sorted out, I settled into a good cadence. I was going to target a HR of 157-160 and hoped that my training would support that effort for 40K. The first lap was pretty uneventful, I felt great, and began to work on my hydration/nutrition which consisted of a single bottle of water with 4 Cherry GU Roctanes mixed in. Calories and water all in one. Trevor had gotten away from me leaving T1 and besides him, there were a few other guys in the wave ahead I needed to put time into on the bike if I was going to win. The course provided a few out and backs where i could catch sight of my quarry, but somehow i kept missing them. I passed the enterance to Transition to start my seconfd lap in 29min, so iknew I was riding great and could be a bit more conservative towards the end of the ride and still be sub 1 hour.
About half way throught he second loop, I saw Trevor ahead of me. I was suprised to see him, he should have been off the front. As I caught him I could see why. He had crashed at one of the corners and had some decent road rash on his rigt leg. I asked if he was OK and could tell he was but obvioulsy had backed off the pace a bit. He and I rode within 30 feet for the remainder of the race, switching back and forth and having some trouble with traffic. At one point a few Tri-Scottsdale guys were really cloging the road and I yelled up to Trevor to get around them ASAP and we both dropped the little pack.
As we came down Mill towards the end, I finally saw Erik Svans and Brian Folts. Everyone was here! The three guys I needed to be most concerned about and me with a 3 min cushion heading into T2. We were all laughing and trash talking as we entered the parking lot. I was so preoccupied teasing Brian I wasn't paying attention to my dismount and managed to drop a shoe as I came off the bike! What was with me and shoes today?! I had to stop and wait as a nice volunteer picked it up and brough it to me. By now, the boys were gone and I ran in alone.
T2 was a disaster. I had a hell of a time getting my right shoe on. Again with the shoes!!! Then I realized I had meant to unhook my Garmin from the bike quick release before T2 and put it in my pocket but forgot as I caught the gang, so now I had to take that off and put it on my wrist strap. When i fially got out to the run course I had given up anywhere from 15-30 seconds on Brian, Trevor, and Erik.
I headed out the south side rec path and fell into what felt like a good early pace. I needed to try and keep the group ahead from opening up too much time but they were spaced out and it was impossible for me to keep track of the splits ahead. So I decided to run my race and letr the results be what they would be. I cam around the north side and up ahead saw a Brian Stover, a coach from Tuscon and DesertDude on ST. He had a 40 on his calf! I had no idea he was there or that he had aged up into my AG. I ran up alongside him and said;"Hey B!" He looked at me and said he was done and I was now in the AG lead. I told him I though I already was!
Passing Brian gave me some additional motrivation to try and push the pace and in front of me was another sub 40 year old guy who turned out to be Russ Brandt, a friend of a friend and a guy I had beaten at a few of the winter run races. I didn't realize it was him and as we began the second loop, I found myself closing down on him. As we came across the Sctossdale Rd. bridge, I passed him. Although he relaized I was from the wave behind, he decided it was a point of pride and he hung with me and overtook me on the north shore rec path. I should have gone with him and had i known it was Russ, i would have ben very motivated but I didn't. That was a mistake, I was running too easy by just a bit and can't allow myself to fall into that zone. My HR was low 160's where it should have been high 160's. As I came across the Mill Ave. bridge I could hear the MC announcing the first 5 male olympic men were in. Not so fast there, buddy! I picked up the pace on the downhill and came into the finsihing chute.
Final Time- 2:04:14, 3rd OA, 1st Amateur, two of our local pro's, Lewis Elliot and Kevin Taddonio had a pro wave finished in front of me.
All my best to my fellow ZOOT athletes, race hard, be safe, WIN!
Posted by Zoot ULTRA Team at 2:53 PM