Today was my third year of doing Tri Del Sol. It is a sprint triathlon (.5 mile swim, 18 mile bike, 4.5 mile run) and is nearby which makes it an easy decision to do. My main goal for this race was to treat it as a brick workout in preparation for Steelhead in 2 weeks. So, I really didn’t do any taper leading up to the race or anything out of the ordinary.
This was going to be a pretty laid back race. Both because I have done it before and because it wasn’t an “A” race. I packed up everything Friday night. They had posted the water temperature online Friday and there was virtually no chance of wetsuits being allowed, so I didn’t even pack it. Without a wetsuit, it makes packing much more manageable – everything fit in my backpack.
I did packet pickup on race morning and quickly got my number and chip. Unfortunately the shirts got held up in customs and had not arrived. So, they will be mailing them out to each racer in the next week or so. I wonder who is picking up the fee for shipping 400+ shirts??
I found a pretty good spot on my rack. We didn’t get there early enough to get an end rack, but the rack I was on only had 5 other bikes so it wasn’t very crowded compared to the end racks with 8 bikes each. After getting marked, it was time to head down to the swim start.
It was a long wait between when transition closed and my wave started. I had a good hour wait before my wave would go out. The reason for the delay was that the My Team Triumph Angels started first and were given a 30 minute head start so that they can finish the swim before anyone else starts.
As the My Team Triumph racers were finishing, they started a group of seeded athletes. This was a new “feature” of the race. Anyone could request to start in the first heat if they thought that they would be competing for an overall or age group placing. There was about 60 or so athletes that chose to start first.
After the seeded athletes, there were two waves of women and then my wave. While waiting to start, I heard familiar voice in the crowd and found two guys that I ran cross country with back in high school.
The water temperature at the start was 83*F so wetsuits were technically allowed, but without being included in the placing. I chose to go without a wetsuit and am I glad I did.
This was by far the most contact I have ever had in a swim. Most of the contact seemed to happen after our wave caught up to the previous two waves and began passing people. I took a swift kick to in the chest by someone doing the breast stroke that really took the wind out of me. Other than that, it was relegated to the standard bumping that goes with an open water swim – just a lot of it.
Compared to last year, my swim time was about a minute and a half longer. However, my ranking in the swim dropped from 175 to 70, so I did better against the field. I attribute this to three things. First, I heard some swimmers saying that the course last year was short. And second, swimming with a wetsuit is generally going to be faster. My extra open water swim training really helped me swim straight as an arrow. I accidentally took the final turn a little wide, but that ended up helping me in the long run because it wasn’t as crowded on the outside.
I finished the swim in 14:49 and charged up to the transition area. As I ran to transition, I really felt like I pushed myself in the swim and was sort of worried I pushed too hard. My transition time in T1 improved by about 30 seconds which is probably time I saved by not putting on socks.
Wow! What can I say. The bike rocked! The course is an out and back course with rolling hills. As soon as I started out on bike I was flying. I was seeing speeds of 23mph and 24mph on my bike computer as I flew by other cyclists. I could have a used a pre-recorded, “On your left” message I was doing so much passing. As a side note, there were a lot of newbies who didn’t seem to know the “Stay to the right” rule. They would move to the right as I passed, but them scoot right back to the middle of the road. I pushed the pace as much as I could, charging up the hills, and riding down the hills at full speed. I stayed aero for most of the ride after the first couple of miles. However, it was so crowded during the first 3 miles, that I was constantly popping up onto the hoods to brake or change gears while passing.
Who has two thumbs and just rocked the bike? This guy!
I only got passed by a couple of people on the bike. All of which were on tri bikes and had aero helmets. Never fun getting passed, but it is easier to swallow when the passer still has a bike number on his bike from CdA.
I backed off the last mile and shifted into an easier gear to prep my legs for the run.
There was a bit of snafu with the bike dismount. When turning back into the transition area, the road was divided into two paths by a rope. The two riders in front of me and myself took the path closest to our turn and ended up on the wrong side. We all had to dismount a few yards earlier and had to climb under the rope. Inconvenient, but not a huge deal.
I ended up finishing the bike in 50:56, about 3 minutes faster than last year, for a 21.2mph average pace. I also brought my bike rank down from 130 to 47.
Like the bike, the run went awesome. I had a little bit of a brick feeling in my legs for the first half mile or so, but it went away quickly. I started to pick off runners one by one as my legs felt better and better. I had one guy pass with a 27 on his calf and I knew that I would have to catch him as to not drop a place in my age group. He went flying passed me, but pulled up about 50 yards down the road. As I passed him, I told him to keep it up and was given a grunt as a reply. I think he must have cramped up or something and did not seem very happy.
In no time, I hit the final stretch. I somehow missed the 4 mile mark, so I was surprised to see the finish line so soon. I felt great as I finished.
The run was a 2 minute improvement over last year at 32:45 (7:17 pace). I also jumped from 128th to 46th in the run ranking over last year.
Overall it was a great race. I finished 43 out of 440 overall and 7 out of 28 in my age group so I am very happy with the results.
I sort of wonder if I should have started in the seeded group? In the end, I ended up finishing ahead of a dozen or so of the seeded group, so I probably would have fit it. Though, it may have been mentally defeating though to be be in the back of the seeded group rather than being able to pass the waves that started before me. I think that if it were an “A” race, putting myself in the seeded group would have made me more competitive. But as this was just a training session, I am glad I started where I did.
As we were leaving, I pointed out a Cervelo P2. Jennie took a picture of it in case Santa needs something for my Christmas list.
Finally, a big thanks to my support crew and photographer! Aren’t the pictures great???
|Age Group Place:||7/28|
|Swim Rank:||70 (6 in AG)|
|Bike Rank:||47 (7 in AG)|
|Run Rank:||46 (6 in AG)|
|Run Pace:||7:17 min/mile|