1 mile swim | 20 mile bike | 6.4ish mile run
July 24th, 2011
Olympic distance races have always been a bit of challenge for me… I just have a difficult time figuring out how to pace this distance. This race was exactly 4 weeks after IMCdA so it seemed like a good step back as a prep for Lake Stevens 70.3 next month and I couldn’t get over to Chelanman this year… so the seafair oly fit the schedule. I hadn’t raced the Seafair sprint course and the oly was new this year… so lots of unknowns.. but sounded like fun. Not a ton of goals going into the race other than putting together a solid race and crossing the finish line with nothing left (something I admittedly didn’t do at IMCdA.)
Wake up 3:45a, eat, and head out to Seward park. Got a close parking spot 1 block from transition (really not sure where people park that show up at 6a!), let someone scribble some numbers on my legs and then set up transition which only took a few minutes. This gave me plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful morning, chat with Sean from Mr. Crampy’s who was racing the sprint (and went 1AG/6OA.) Went for a quick warm up run, threw on the wetsuit and jumped in for a warm up swim. Water was nice.. not as warm as Sammamish right now.. but still nice. Elites go off at 6:30 and 35-39M are the 4th wave… so here we go.
SWIM (1 mile): 26:01 (105th/383 AO)
Wave starts.. so about 50 in my group, double loop. There were a few areas that looked like things could get tight as we started the second loop but wasn’t an issue. Overall I felt fine on the swim, paced it correctly and felt strong.. or at least as strong as I was going to feel without a ton of swim training the last 4 weeks. Thing got a little crowded on the second loop as the Sprint waves had started going off.. so we had to deal with a lot of people on the swim course (but after the IMCdA swim I felt like I had the lake to myself!) Came out of the water checked my watch and knew I was way back off the lead pack but I would try to make up a few places on the bike. Swim felt good but the numbers said it was wasn’t all that great.
T1: 1:32 (2nd/51 AG - 18th/383 AO)
I typically have very quick transitions… wetsuit off, helmet on, step into shoes, glasses on, grab bike, run… bike starts dragging?? Rear wheel locks up. I rolled the bike back and some grass came out.. figured must have just been some grass.. start running.. wheel locks up again???.. clear, run, locks up again… I wasn’t sure what was going on so I just picked up my bike and started running (not sure what I was thinking here… cycle cross? Run the entire bike?) I got out of T1 (so now any time I waste on the problem is “bike time”.. brilliant! :-/) and rolled the bike forward on the pavement… wheel still locking up. Before the race I checked everything out and everything was perfect… so I had no idea what was going on. Locked up much harder than a brake rubbing.. the tire would not turn.. even if I tried to force it with my hand. Now guys are running out of T1 passing me and I am standing there. The spectators could see I was having issues and started yelling out suggestion… I finally spotted the issue… as I was running with the bike I rolled over a gel block in the grass… it stuck to the tire and rolled around and made its way into the very narrow clearance between my seat tube (which is curved along the rear wheel) and the rear tire.. Okay.. I’ll just grab it… nope.. even with my fingers I couldn’t get it out.. it was solidly stuck (which just didn’t seem possible.) After wasting WAY too much time I just jump on and start pedaling and figure it will fix itself (bike must win over gelblock, right?).. and sure enough after a 100 yards everything felt fine and there didn’t seem to have any extra drag… but I wasted about 15-20 seconds in T1 and about 20-30 seconds on “bike” time working on this. Even with the issues I had the 18th quickest T1 overall and 2nd quickest in my AG (someone was 1 second faster.) Opps.
BIKE: 52:15 (20 miles) (3rd/51 AG - 16/383 AO) 22.97mph(based on clock time) The bike was short for an Oly and it was mostly flat… a few rolling hills and some small short climbs. I was targeting 235-245 watts for the ride. The Oly course was the same as the sprint but we rode all the way to the east edge of Mercer island, turned around and rode to the west end of I 90 at Safeco/Qwest field (or whatever they call it now.) Both turnarounds were at the bottom of hills.. oh joy. Oh.. and lots of tunnels… loved it! There was a good wind blowing south.. so a headwind to start, cross wind on the i90 bridge, and a tailwind back to T2. Nothing too eventful on the bike. I hit my power numbers for most of the ride, didn’t get passed by anyone during the bike (always a good feeling,) and passed 4 or 5 guys in my AG. 3rd fasted bike in my AG (even with the gelblock issue time factored in) and made up a few spots from the swim. Back to T2 I go.
T2: 1:08 (3rd/51AG – 19th/383 AO)
Far less exciting than T1. Bike racked, helmet off, shoes on, grab hat and go.
RUN: 46:30 12th/51AG – 71/383 AO – 7:15/mile (for 6.38m ish)
I’m not a great runner.. the goal is always make up some time on the bike and then run as fast as I can and hope I find the finish line before the guys I passed on the bike can find me.…. And the oly distance gives the guys behind me a lot more time to catch me! I felt good off the bike and settled in around a 7 min pace.. at some point Rusty flew by on his second lap.. he was flying! Then I hit the first hill climb (yes, hill climb) just after 2 miles… didn’t mind it much and the downhill run made up for any lost time.. lap one done.. still hitting a 7/min pace. I have to do this again! I passed a 26 year old guy who decide to hitch on… I didn’t mind but the sound of footsteps on your heals is the sound I dread during the run, but at least I knew who it was. Passed lots of people on the second loop but couldn’t tell if they were sprint or oly.. assumed most were sprint or first lap oly. Then the dreaded moment happened… at mile 5ish.. just before the second hill climb I got passed by one guy .. and of course the one person to run by is in my AG. He was really moving and latching on wasn’t an option. So…. I hammered out the second hill climb, shot down to the bottom and pushed hard with everything I had for the last ½ mile. Very happy to cross the finish line. By far my best 10k… oh.. and the Garmin said closer to 6.4 miles…. Hmm…. That’s not a 10K even with my poor American conversion skills. Shortly after crossing the finish line “Jonas” ran up to introduce himself after the race.. this is the guy who was running on my heals during the second lap.. he just wanted to say hi an thanks for pulling him along… very cool (although I think I needed the pull!) Official results show 7:30 pace over 6.2.. Garmin shows closer to 7:15/mile over 6.38ish. I’ll go with the Garmin .
OVERALL: 2:07:26 4th/51 AG – 37/383 OA (6th AG if you count the elite wave guys)
I had a blast, enjoyed the course and the beautiful day. Best Oly performance so far and a good training race for Lake Stevens. Oh.. and the Gel block… well it was still wedged in there after the race.. but now black, not red. No longer in any contact with the rear tire… but it took some effort to get the smashed ball of energy free of my bike.