Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuckahoe Sprint Triathlon Race Report

2010 Tuckahoe Sprint Triathlon
Race Report #11: 8/15/2010


My 11th triathlon of the 2010 season and 97th of my career was contested just 20 miles up the Parkway at the Tuckahoe Sprint Triathlon. The race on this day consisted of a 0.25-mile swim, a 12.7-mile bike, and a 2-mile run. The weather was a departure from the relentless heat and humidity of this, the summer of global warming—mid 70s, overcast and with a moderate breeze from the South.

My hip has responded well to all of the physical therapy and I felt coming into this race that I might be able to finally uncork a ride typical of my rides of prior years. My run was going to remain problematic but at 2 miles, its cost was not excessive. Wes Burns, a good bud and a very strong sprint triathlete was racing in my AG so I was clearly racing for 2nd in my AG. I hoped to be near him off the bike and try to hold on for a top 10 finish (256 starters) as I had finished 12th last year.

The cool thing about this triathlon is that my lovely bride, Judy, was racing in her 3rd triathlon, after having driven for 5+ hours from Washington DC—arriving late on Saturday night. We were also joined by our friends Jon and Jeanine Baum and their daughter Chelsea.

The Swim

At 7:30 am on this morning we were facing a low tide in Egg Harbor. The swim course was a counter-clockwise (my fav) triangle in which the water never got more than three feet deep. The water temp was 76 degrees. I was in the 2nd of 4 triathlon legs with all of the male masters.

Wes and I lined way to the right and at the gun we both surged to the front of our wave with 2-3 others. He was right there on my left hip crashing his casted (recent wrist break) right arm inches from my head. We swam side-by-side all the way to the first buoy were I moved ahead a bit and made the turn first. I ran into some traffic and as we headed to the second buoy, Wes was able to open up a body length or two on me.

Very quickly we turned for home as I crept up onto Wes’ feet. We both stood up a good 50 feet from the shore as the water became too shallow and Wes dropped his goggles and began looking for them. I yelled at him (as I passed him) and told him I’d buy him a new pair and to get moving (I was hoping Wes would place in the top 3 overall and out of the AG awards…).

I hit the beach with an elapsed time of 5:23 and an average HR of 156. As I “sprinted” up the beach to the timing mat Wes snaked past me and actually recorded the fastest swim split in my AG. Truth is I hit the beach first so I’m going to call it a tie between the two of us. I worked hard in the swim as my HR indicates and my guess, given the time, is that the course was a bit short of a quarter mile. In any event, comparing this year’s swim to 2009 shows me to be faster (not apples to apples) and higher placed relative to the field. At the time, my 2009 swim in this race was the “best” of my career so I feel pretty good about these numbers:

2010 2009

Time 5:23 6:12
OA place 17th 21st
OA %-tile 93.8 94.0
AG place 1st 2nd
AG %-tile 100.0 91.7

Transition One

Back to the race, I chased Wes up the sandy hill and into transition. He sped through transition much faster than I recording the 11th fastest T1 overall. I was 38 seconds slower than Wes in T1 (yikes!) and ended up with the 46th fastest T1 overall (82.4%-tile). My total T1 time was 1:59 (one second faster than last year) and my HR averaged 168bpm.

The Bike

I left T1 some 44 seconds behind Wes (all of this incurred after I hit the beach first). I settled in pretty quickly and felt strong and fast despite the quite noticeable headwind. About a mile into the bike, a guy passed me on a Cervelo and then seemed to slow up. I dropped back out of the draft zone (long-time force of habit) and then reaccelerated past him. I was seeing really good wattage numbers. About 2 miles later he passed me again and then seemed to slow up. I dropped back and re-passed. This pattern repeated 4-5 times and when I finally passed Wes, he told me the guy was glued to my rear wheel.

My ride was for the most part (saving the bit above) uneventful. My hip felt great and I was surging pass riders from wave one. At the turn I got a tail wind and began to think that I had another gear or two more. I flew back to transition and my impression is that my body had more to give than I got out of it today. I’ll need to recapture that “hair on fire” mindset in my next two sprints.

My shadow zipped passed me right before the no-pass zone at the end of the ride (very annoying as I had been ahead of him for the last 3-4 miles) and I hopped off my bike with a bike split of 31:38 and an average HR of 166bpm. Officially, I had the same split as last year but by my stopwatch, I had me 18 seconds faster last year (which seems hard to believe). In any event, the wind was much stronger this year and I feel that I actually had a stronger ride this year. I tied for the 2nd fastest bike split OA and entered T2, a few seconds in front of Wes. Here is how 2010 and 2009 compared (I was not able to get a good power reading this year):

2010 2009

Time 31:38 31:20
Average Speed (mph) 24.1 24.3
Average HR (bpm) 166 164
OA Place 2nd 9th
OA %-tile 99.6 97.6
AG Place 1st 1st
AG %-tile 100.0 100.0

Overall, I hopped off the bike in 4th place in a very tight race:

1. Bracconnier 37:54
2. Gerhardt 38:43 + 0:49
3. Mullaney 39:08 + 1:12
4. Christofferson 39:11 + 1:15
5. Burns 39:13 + 1:17

Relative to the race leader, most of my deficit was due to my poor T1.

Transition Two

I thought I did a reasonably good job in T2 but my 60th OA place seems to indicate otherwise. For some reason my T2s seem to be relatively slower than my T1s even though I always think I’m doing a better job in T2. My T2 time was 1:00 and my HR averaged 166. I was 2 seconds slower than Wes in T2 and we crossed the timing mat for the start of the run side-by-side.

The Run

The run is a simple out and back and it is a bit shorter than last year. My time was faster this year but I think I probably ran at a slightly faster pace last year. Wes, of course, crushed me on the run and I ended up 2nd in the AG and I dropped to 9th OA. My run split was 15:25 (7:43/mile) and my average HR was 168bpm—I was clearly dogging it a bit.

Wes had the 3rd fastest run and ended up 4th overall by just 4 seconds—hats off to him, he is out of my league! Overall, my run was OK, still way off where I thought it would be as I try to rebuild my hip, but not horrible:

2010 2009

Time 15:25 15:31
Average HR 168 171
OA place 44th 61st
OA %-tile 83.2 82.1
AG place 2nd 4th
AG %-tile 92.9 75.0

Post Race

The best news on the day is that Judy dominated her AG and won in just her 3rd triathlon. Of the 10 women in her AG she was 2nd in the swim, dominated the bike and had the 3rd fastest run split (swim strong, kill on the bike and hang on for the run—sound familiar?)

As for me, it seems that I am almost all of the way back on the bike. My swim might be slipping a bit and I should probably up the volume in the days ahead. My run is getting better but will most likely remain a problem for all the rest of 2010 including Kona. Oh well—today was fun and I’m happy with my results!

No comments: