Monday, October 27, 2008

Soma - A tale of 2 triathlons

It was the best of tri's, it was the worst of tri's.

I've never read the book, (or maybe I did in high school, and just can't remember it), but I think the story would probably resemble yesterday's race for me...

This race was almost a perfect test run for IMAZ, as I was staying at the same house I'll stay at, and so much of the course is the same as IMAZ, with the lone exception being the bike, which had a total of 72 turns or u-turns! (Made for crowded course and lots of slow-and-go.)

Arrival to the race was simple and easy, and I chatted with some of the guys before warming up with a short jog and getting in the water. I was quite relaxed. I knew the field was tough, and I was focused more on getting a good effort in, but I wanted to race. The plan was to stay with the best pack I could, and then get on the bike and go, but not look at the power meter. I wanted to see what I could do and not let the numbers scare me. I wasn't going to look at the Garmin on the run either, as I was just going to see who I came off the bike with and where, and see what I could do.


Right about here is when the worst of times started. I expected Marky V to be off the front, with maybe a second pack of solid swimmers behind him, thinking maybe I could hang onto that group, or in a closer 3rd pack. It seemed that the 3rd pack was where I would be about 200 meters in, and then by about 500 meters, I was in trouble. My swimming has sucked lately, and this was no different. I thought I just needed rest, but it's clear it's not that anymore. I need to get back to the water, because I couldn't hold onto anyone's feet, and felt like I was swimming all arms, and the arms were tired. I get out of the water and tell Orlanda, "That was the worst swim of my life." She tells me there's a big group about 2 mins in front of me.

This just sucked. Struggled with my helmet, and some other items. I can tell it's been awhile. Tahoe was better, but different equipment.

I was on the bike and getting going, anxious to get started and see what I could do. I go around an early turn and hear, "PHSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST!" I look down at the time on the powertap, and it's not even 5 mins in. I can't believe it. I pull over to fix the flat, and this point I just want to quit. Not only has the swim gone crappy, but now I've flatted to start the bike. As I'm starting to change the tire, I'm having a discussion with myself as to why I need to keep in the race. I say outloud, "Well, can it get any worse than this?" Next, the tire iron snaps as I'm trying to pry the tire off the rim. "DOH!" Luckily I had another, but it was crappy, and it took me nearly forever just to get the tire off. Later, my right hand was aching from the force I had to apply with the crappy tire iron.

I get the other tube in, and transfer the valve extender, (need to be prepared better for IMAZ with that), and use the CO2. Pull it off, and I can hear air leaking. DAMN IT! I realize the valve is leaking air thru the extension. I unscrew the extender and pull up on the presta tip. At this point, I feel the pressure in the tire, and it's not very good, about 100 psi. I realize at this rate I may be messing with this thing for a long time if this presta valve is this touchy. I just decided, screw it, it's good enough. If it needed more air, I would stop and fill it again, and try to get it to work. At this point, I just didn't want to be on the side of the road anymore. I packed up the crap and got going. Total time was about 8 mins of standing there.

Since I was all alone, and no one to really feed off of, I changed the plan, and decided to look at my watts. I was going to ride how I felt, but I wasn't going to let it hold me back. I wanted to see what I could do. I was facing a very crowded course now, and needed to just do what I could. I was out of the "race", and was going to get in a good workout. The tire pressure never really bothered me, but after seeing my speed, I think it slowed me more than I realized.

After reviewing the power file, the ride was great! I felt strong the whole ride, never really fading or struggling at all. It was a great ride outside of the flat. Could I have gone faster by being near other athletes? I'm sure I could have. I also would have had much clearer roads from the beginning. It was a great sign in my preps for IMAZ.

T2 and RUN
Orlanda told me I was 10-15 mins behind, so nothing much had changed since getting the flat.I took my time in T2. I just wanted to get in a good tempo run and run as I felt, with a good rhythm. I ended up feeling comfortably fast on the course, and was surprised to learn I had the fastest run split by over 2 mins, with a 1:15:35. I started off with miles in the 5:30's and 5:40's, comfortably. Finished with 2 miles right at 6 mins, with my feet aching from some blisters, need to address that before IMAZ too.

Honestly, I was amazed to see how many guys I was catching. I didn't feel like I was running anything crazy, but I was gaining on a lot of the guys. Josef Major is known for his running, and won IMAZ in April with a 2:50 run split, that was 10 mins faster than anyone else, and I outsplit him on the run by nearly 4 mins. If he's anywhere near what he did at IMAZ in April, this is a great sign for me!

Overall - 4:08:07, 12th pro, 13th overall, (age-grouper had a great race to get me by about 30 secs)

Results can be found here:

It was a great test workout, just as I was hoping to get. I expect IMAZ to come down to the run, so the next few weeks will be a concentration on the run, with a sub-focus on the swim, and maintaining my bike fitness.

I'll keep you posted...


Edit - After a double check of the tire pressure, and referencing the pressures, I rode closer to 85-90 psi! No wonder it was slow still!

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