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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Triathlon season is underway...

Well within the past 2 Sundays I have raced my first 2 races of the triathlon season. I can now gauge much better where my fitness stands and what needs to be done as I head into the bread and butter of the season. Here are some quick RR for your enjoyment.

Lake Mills 2011 1:15:17/2010 1:20:44
This is quickly becoming a favorite season opener for me, as most of the state of Wisconsin shows up for this sprint. It is always a good field, with most of the pro's and elites giving the sprint a go as well. I raced here last year, so this race was a good measuring stick as to the progress I have made since last June. The tradition of this race is slowly becoming to see how far I can be away from the race the night before. Last year I was at a friend's wedding in Wausau with a late night drive to Madison, and this year we decided to stay home here in La Crosse and do the 2.5 hour drive to Lake Mills at 3 in the morning, it's a great way to warm up!

Swim: 2011 6:38/2010 7:53
The swim was wet per usual and us 25-29'ers were mixed in with the 30-34'ers. I did a quick couple of dolphins dives and decided to sprint to the first buoy and try to get some sepereation, mission accomplished. I noticed a couple of swimmers who took of, but I was able to settle in without killing myself in the water and create a small gap on everyone else. The one thing I need to work on with these short swims is keeping my stroke long, as I do with sprint's I get excited and my stroke shortens up a bit. Once I reached the beach I took a quick look back and noticed only one guy on my tail. A 1:15 improvement on less then a 500 meter swim shows some big improvements for me in the water.

Bike: 2011 44:45/2010 46:40
I was stoked to get on the bike as I knew I was much stronger at this point then I was last year. I had a great flying mount and was able to get in my shoes and start pushing almost immeadiately. We rode out of town and I quickly caught one AG'er and was able to push higher speeds. I rode about 22.5 for the first 6-8 miles and was feeling good, then my power seemed to fade, and suddenly I felt like I was going backwards as a handful of AG'ers caught me and overtook me. I can not explain what happened, or know much of what happened, but to me it seemed like I just simply could not push the pace I had hoped for. I was able to keep a group of 4 within my sights all the way into transition, but with my poor running skills I knew taking a top 3 in my AG might be out the window.

Run: 2011/2010 22:37
I was starting to dread the run on the bike, because I felt like my legs "just didn't have it". I decided to simply run at a pace I would be able to hold for just over 3 miles and try to not look at my watch. Within the first mile I was able to catch one in my group. Holy smokes! I was actaully passing people in my AG, this has never happened on the run. I past the first mile took a glance at my watch and saw a 7:00 min/mile. By no means fast, but for me I was a bit surprised. Mile 2 came and went with my pace and stride still strong. The AG'er that I passed earlier was hanging on for dear life behind me and I was ready to sprint it out at the end. Mile 3 came and it sucke towards the end. I hate short sprints as you are so focused on getting to the end, but it always seems to go on longer then you think. We ran off the trail and I could hear the guy behind getting ready to make a charge so I just took off at a blisteringly slow, barely under 7:00 min/mile pace. The damn bugger passed me with about a tenth of a mile left, but I was able to hold on to finish with a solid sprint finish.

A 5 minute PR and improving my times across the board had me happy with my effort. I am trying something new this year and not racing with an official race time on me, just my split times. Had I known how close I was to going sub 1:15 I might have taken off earlier in the run, but who knows I may have blown up as well. I ended up 60th OV and 12th in my AG minus a few of the elites. Overall very happy with the result, but bummed with my bike time. I am really hoping to contend a bit more next year with some more speed worked into my training.

La Crosse "Got Energy" Olympic
This is now my "hometown" race and my first crack at the Olympic distance. I have heard many great things about the distance and was excited to give it a shot. A small field of 80, with many of the states elites and top racers having raced the day before and a quick check into previous years and I thought that I may be able to podium or crack the top 5. I podium in my AG would be almost garunteed with a field of 4 ready to toe the line, this was not the time to be the odd man out or the slow man in the group!

Got in my car to drive to the race and the temp showed to be at 54 and be the time I reached the race we were looking at 47. OUCH! I rode my bike from the car to transition and by the time my 2 minute ride was over I was shivering and my fingers were numb, NOT GOOD! I set up my transition and talked to the others around. A quick observation of few race wheels and only one disc meant either this was a poor man's race, or the experience level was down a bit, still plenty of Speed Concept's were to be seen, we are in Wisconsin of course.

Got into the water to warm up, literallly, and the fog was still heavy over the lake. Our swim start was actually delayed on hour because of this and it was a self seeded TT start. I found myself 12th back on the start when the annoucement was made the swim would now be the sprint distance so we could get the swim in.

Swim: 6:50
I took off with my usual dolphin dive entry and already the guy before me started to swim left, "ah dude we are not swimming that course, but okay" I was able to keep a bit more of a longer stroke and try to pull more water then last week. By the turn buoy back to shore I found the pack that led and was able to swim right through them. I excited the water with a clear ramp infront of me and heard over the PA "Our leaders are exiting the water right now" holy crap did I just pass everyone in the swim? As I transitioned into T1 I could hear the lead motorbike fire up as I stripped my wetsuit off and ran off with my bike.

Bike: 1:07:06
As soon as I got on the bike we rolled out of town and I learned of my position. First was no more then 200 meters up with 3 between which put me in 5th position. Of course with the TT start that might be different, I might actually be closer because I sure as hell was not passed on the swim! We rode out of town and I kept the lead cyclist in my view as we approached the first few rolling hills of the course. After the first roller I was able to make my way into 4th and excited to be in my strong point of the course. I was able to push high gears without too much effort, but my legs just didn't feel right. My HR declined a bit and was close to the 150 range of where I wanted it, but my legs just didn't feel strong. Once we got to the rollers I couldn't even stand on my bike, and instead had to sit and spin my way up. So much for making a move up the field. I relinquished my 4th place spot and had to settle into 5th, with a quick look back no one else was even close so I tried to just keep 4th to me as close as possible. Once we got to the turnaround I was able to figure I was 4 minutes behind the leader and everyone else was within 2 minutes. Just as we hit the turnaround my chin strap on my helmet broke and was now flailing in the wind. I tried to fix it on the fly but it wasn't happening, and so I tried to hide the straps so officials wouldn't see, with no such luck. Just as we were riding back into town we had one small climb left, and I was able to actually pop my chain off while on the hill. I had a quick fix, but I am sure that still costed me some time. Now my straps were obvious as I heard volunteers calling me out on it. I figured once I got back to transition I would be DQ'ed or be serving a penalty. I caught some of the sprint bikers going back intown town and with the 90 degree turns we were making I decided to ease off a bit, spin the legs, and prepare for the run. As I reached T2 I heard that I was still in 5th so my goal was to hold on. No penalty and no DQ!

Run: 51:07
Got onto the run and my legs felt better just as they did last week. Out and back wih 2 loops gave me many chances to check my position and how far the leader was up. By the time I caught the leader on the out and back he was now more then 6 minutes up so my goal was simply to hold onto 5th. First loop was uneventful and I was able to hold a solid 7:50 pace. But as soon as I hit the second loop a side stitch hit me and I had to walk for about 15 seconds and wiat for it to subside, and once I ran again my stride was much shorter. In the meantime I was passed twice, one was a man in a mankini....hmmm. I tried to put me head down and just run as well as I could, but my legs were not firing like I had liked them to, and my pace was slowly decreasing. In the last mile after being passed a couple more times a guy came right on my shoulder and passed and I tried with all my energy to run right on his side, but no matter how hard I pushed my stride wouldn't allow it. I cruised home the last half mile and already itching to try the olympic distance again.

After it was all said and done I finished 13th OV and 2nd in my AG. I fell in love with the distance and cannot wait to give it another crack. I also decided next year to go for the olympic double and race Elkhart Lake and La Crosse on back-to-back days. I already cannot wait.

It's now 4 weeks of a hard training block to make some adjustments and prepare for my first HIM of the year in Racine. Time to get back to work!




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