Friday, July 17, 2009

signs of progress

2009 Vincentown Sprint Triathlon
Race Report #9: 7/11/09


My first time racing at this DQ run event. The triathlon involves a quarter-mile swim in a very muddy, shallow pond, which really seems to be part of a river. The two-loop bike course turned out to be 14.5 miles in length and that was followed by a mostly loop course 5k run. Race day dawned cool (60s and 70s) and calm. A great day to race.

My expectations were to bike and run much stronger than recent races due to my strong two-week training block leading into this race. I thought my swim might be a little off as I deemphasized it to focus on the bike/run. There were 12 guys entered in my age group—only two, Tom Dillon and Mickey Syrop appeared to pose a competitive challenge and there were 204 entered in the triathlon overall.


We went in the last wave as is customary in Chuck’s events. The swim course was an out and back with just three minutes between waves; as we started there were many slower swimmers spread out before us. I started right, away from the buoy line and felt like I did a reasonably good job. I avoided most of the congestion and after the turn buoy swam what I thought was a truer line to the swim exit than most were swimming. I had mostly calm water.

I felt good but sensed that maybe the lack of recent water time had clamped down on my top-end swim speed. I exited the water in 7:31 with an average HR of 151 bpm—definitely a lower quality effort than my normal swim HR of 153-154 bpm. As I ran into the transition zone I did not see either Tom or Mickey, which indicated that I was probably about a minute behind them, which is more time than I really could afford to give up. I ended up 44th on the swim OA (78.9 %-tile) and 3rd in my AG (83.3 %-tile). I was correct in my assumption that I did drop about a minute to Mick and Tom:

1. Mickey Syrop --------
2. Tom Dillon + 0:01
3. Randy Christofferson + 0:57

Transition One

I had a lot of trouble getting my wetsuit unzipped. I had decided to use my old LJ (sleeveless) wetsuit and just couldn’t stretch my arm enough to get the Velcro undone—I am getting very inflexible. I had to stop for a few seconds and finally solved the problem. When I went to jump on the bike I had trouble getting my shoe clicked in (yes I know if they were already clicked in I would not have that problem) so I knew I had followed up my slow swim with a slow T1. My total T1 was 1:43 with a 162 bpm average HR. I was 33rd OA in T1 time (84.3 %-tile) but was 3rd in my AG losing time to both Mick and Tom. The standings after T1:

1. Tom Dillon --------
2. Mickey Syrop + 0:11
3. Randy Christofferson + 1:18

The Bike

I knew right away I was going to have a much stronger bike than I have had this year. I was consistently well above 250 watts and my HR was staying right around 160 bpm. I thought that even though I dropped a little more time than desirable in the swim that I should be able to catch Mick and Tom relatively early in the ride—I thought by mile 6 or so—perhaps I could build enough of the lead to hold them in the run.

I knew that I was in trouble when we got to the end of the first loop and they were still no sign of them. I saw a “group” of triathletes up the road and over the next few miles was able to steadily close the gap. Eventually, around 12.5 miles I passed a bunch of folks including Mick and Tom and knew that there was no way I could hold off Mick on the run. Even though I knew I had a much more competitive bike ride, for some reason, Mick and Tom were able to hold me off much longer than expected.

I finished the bike with a time of 36:28, which works out to a decent 23.9 mph. My power averaged 260 watts which is by far my highest average power output this year—and over a little longer sprint course than normal. My HR was only 160 bpm so I probably could have gone a far bit faster—I was perhaps a little too conservative. My cadence was also relatively low at 78 rpm. This data is consistent with a fairly strong increase in my base aerobic engine but indicates I need to work on top-end power/speed—no surprises here.

Competitively, I had the 7th fastest bike (97.1 %-tile) OA and was 1st in my AG. However, I was only able to put about 90 seconds on Mick and Tom who rode basically the same bike time. Here is were we stood after the bike:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Dillon + 0:11
3. Syrop + 0:24

Transition Two

Uneventful but comparatively slow for me. My total T2 was 0:59 with an average HR of 161. I lost time to both Mick and Tom and was 66th OA (68.1%)/3rd in my AG. After T2 the standings were:

1. Christofferson --------
2. Dillon + 0:05
3. Syrop + 0:12

The Run

I felt much better in the run than I have for most of this year. I felt like I was running considerably faster (I don’t know how long the course actually was so it’s hard to know for sure). Mick passed me relatively early in the run but at a little out and back half-way through the run I saw that Tom was quite a ways behind me and I knew I would finish 2nd in my AG—which I did. My run time was slower than expected at 24:07 with an average HR of 168. The time was disappointing but perhaps the course distance was not accurate. I loss less time to Mickey than prior races on the run but OA I was only 75th on the run (63.7 %-tile) and was once again 3rd in my AG. Overall I finished 20th (90.7 %-tile). My regional race ranking was a healthy 82.2, which is quite satisfying.

Clearly my strongest overall race of the year even though some unexpected results on the bike seemed to constrain me to 2nd in my AG. Oh well. Onward and upward.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

hittin a groove

So 2 real nice training weeks in the book. I actually feel almost like a real triathlete again! Last week included 22.5 hours of SBR work and led to 303 miles on the bike (after 254 the week before) and my 3rd straight 20+ run week (24.4 miles). My swimming was pretty weak but enough hopefully to keep things interesting.

Body comp is definitely changing which is nice, but I'm still quite heavy from an IM perspective. Still I feel real progress in my body (banging out 80 mile days on the bike has a way of doing that).

Trying to let my body absorb the training these next few days. Racing vincentown on Saturday (Mickey and Tom--shoud be a good test) and Sunset the following week. I'd love to get one victory out of the two races but that may be overly optimistic. Just so I don't get too carried away in this my "off" season I have a nine day sabatical planned to Canada and Minnesota for fishing and family starting on the 20th.....

ahhhhh...I love the summer life here in NJ!

peace out!