What a fantastic day! Beautiful weather, calm clear water, a gorgeous park next to the lake... big crowds, 500+ triathletes doing the Sprint (and a bunch of duathletes and try-a-tri'ers!).
Pictures of yours truly
This race was very well run, registration was a breeze. Got my swag, bib, timing chip, and got marked within about 5 minutes flat!
I set up my transition area... it was bike porn everywhere I looked. About half the bikes around me were Cervelos, then there were a smattering of every other kind of tri bike you can imagine. The guy who racked next to me had a smoking Specialized full carbon bike... I don't know what model, but it was just amazing. I felt a little "underdressed" for the occasion with my Trek 1200 with the clip-on aero bars! I kept telling myself "it's the engine, not the bike", but I bet this engine could go a lot faster on a Cervelo P3C!!!
With transition set up, I made my way to the beach for a pre-race swim.
The Swim - 750m
Getting into the wetsuit was a breeze, everyone was helping each other zip up so had no problem finding a volunteer for my own zipping!
Water was clear, calm, and warm. 24C they said... I very quickly knew this swim was going to be fine, all my anxiety vanished and I got my head into the race.
They split the group into 7 waves, 3 minutes apart. The elites went first, then my wave (Men 30-34). I was a little nervous about being in such an early wave, as I knew the waves behind me would catch up... but it took them awhile to do it, I was halfway done before I saw the first chasers.
The giant orange buoys they use were incredibly hard to see, as we were swimming into the sun! So mostly I just followed the people around me.
All in all, an uneventful swim, it went as well as I could have hoped! The wetsuit made a huge difference, I was barely kicking but the legs stayed afloat. But I still left the water huffing and puffing and feeling wiped... still needs work.
Swim Time: 19:36, 427/509 (2:37/100m)
Transition was smooth... got out of the wetsuit without any problems. I didn't transition as fast as I could have, was trying to catch my breath from the swim.
T1 time: 2:18
The Bike - 33K
I was completely wiped from the swim, so for the first 10K I was spinning just trying to get back out of the red. It doesn't help that the race course starts with a series of small hills, either! I kept the cadence at 90rpm or faster and tried to coast as much as I could without losing too much time. This is where having good bike skills paid off... I was cornering a lot faster than the people around me, and got better runs down the hills. Being able to keep speed rather than having to accelerate over and over really helps conserve energy.
The course was pleasant, mostly small to medium rolling hills on quiet country roads. Very similar to what I find on my training runs, so that helped. I passed a lot of people, and was passed by a lot of people... it was hit and miss! A lot of strong cyclists in the later waves, and duathlon folks as well.
By the mid-way I found my legs and was able to push a bunch on some of the flat sections. I tried to keep my 90rpm cadence up hills though... the temptation was there to power up, even to get out of the saddle, but instead I downshifted and spun. It felt wrong.
Bike time: 1:05:35, 217/509 (30.2km/h).
Another easy and smooth transition. I had to swap my orthotics out of my cycling shoes and into the runners which added a bit.
T2 time: 1:09
The Run - 7K
I started the run feeling pretty depleted... I missed eating a gel I was planning at the start of the bike due to losing it in my pocket (don't ask). So I got one in right at the start of the run, and then started plodding along.
In my training, I did a few brick workouts, where you go out on the bike then switch to the run. This helped a lot, but even with that training my initial pace was pretty off. Needs more practice!
I hadn't decided whether to take walk breaks or not before the run, but the way I felt I decided it was a good idea. I walked through the water stations, taking about 30s to recover. Definitely helped me keep up a reasonable pace through the full 7K!
After about 2K I started to feel good again, and picked up the pace. It was clear 5:00/km wasn't going to happen, I always underestimate how much the first two legs take out of me... but I managed to keep the legs loose and moving.
Run time: 37:26, 321/502 5:21/km
Overall Time: 2:06:03, 282/509, 31/41 in M30-34
I feel like a triathlete! It went well, I knew what I was doing, where to be, and I did well enough to feel good about the result. :)
The swim went great for me... I know I'm not fast compared to the field, but I expected to do worse! I only really started in January, and with 9 months until my next triathlon there is plenty of time to improve. My 2:37/100m pace was quite a bit faster than my 3:19/100m in the try-a-tri I did in June, so I've definitely improved here. More to come!
The bike was the bike - it always feels like home! :) If I wasn't so bagged from the swim I like to think I could have done even better, but being in the top 1/2 of the field is just fine with me.
My run was a little quicker than the pace I've done in 1/2 marathons... which in retrospect makes a lot of sense. They're similar lengths of effort, around 2 hours. I think I should be able to get the triathlon pace up as I learn to swim more efficiently and manage the race pacing a little better, but for now I'm happy enough with my run.
I had an absolute blast... as with any event where you push yourself to your limits, there are times when it hurts and you're suffering, but I feel I did a good job and was well prepared. The crowds were awesome, from the people at the transition site to the folks at the end of their driveways, there was a lot of support! I made sure to smile and wave when I could to show my appreciation.
I hope my schedule next year allows me to do this race again!