Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tritonman & Desert International Race Recap

I love my disc.. people hear you coming a mile away.

Tritonman (500m – 20k – 5k)
 Feb 19

1st off, I have to thank the UCSD triathlon team for putting on a great little race. It was a good early season “shake off the rust” race (even thought there was little “racing” I did). I rode down to Fiesta Island around an hour before the start (I love living a mile away from Fiesta).  Got in a quick 1 loop spin around the island with Bill Jones and got the wetsuit on.  
Unfortunately I didn’t get a warm up swim in, so when the gun went off I felt poopy for the 1st 300-400 yards. I got stuck behind a big pack and by the time my arms came around I was rounding the buoy to head in. I then realized how slow I’d been swimming and probably passed 10+ people in the last 50 yards. Time-wise, I guess it wasn’t too bad of a swim (5:50-something)

Glad this was my 1st race because I probably had one of the worst T1 & bike mounts ever. I, straight up, fell over while taking my wetsuit off, then, for some reason, lacked the capability of getting on my bike. I ended up running a solid 50 feet past the bike mount line before coming to a complete stop, stepping over my top tube, and very slowly/carefully sat upon my bike seat like an old lady... I wish someone caught that on video. Started charging on the bike and felt like I had a tough pace going. I noticed after the 1st 4-mile loop that my back wheel had some close company. “Whatever” I thought, “I’ll just go harder and loose these guys”. Turns out…. that doesn’t work when there are 500ish people riding around Fiesta Island.  I’m going to stop right now and end any further whining about drafting. I should just expect it on flat courses by now; packs are unavoidable on the flats. Got off the bike in 3rd place and noticed that Bill, and some other dude I didn’t recognize, had somewhere around 30 seconds to a minute on me. 
I slipped my shoes on and jumped out onto the run course. It was in the sand/dirt along the water’s edge on the island. I somehow misheard one of the run course directors at the 1st U-turn and kept running up the beach. When I turned around, a dude had passed me and another caught up to me. I got in a pissy mood and stopped running hard. I “easy ran” the rest of the 5k. Realizing there wasn’t much room to catch people on this sand & dirt run course, my childish racing attitude got the better of me. I got over it pretty quick after the race and realized that my season wasn’t at all hinged on this race (& I guess 5th place isn’t the end of the world anyways). Congrats to one of my besties, Bill Jones, for having a monster bile split and (from what I heard) towing the eventual winner around for 12 miles on the bike.

It was great to see all of my collegiate friends! I wish them all the best of luck this season & I hope the WCCTC dominates at Nationals this year. I don’t want to see the Colorado kids gloating about how good they are again ;-)

Desert International Triathlon (3/4 mile swim – 24 mile bike – 6 mile run)
March 4

Wait, isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? Finishing as the 1st overall Male, I was actually 2nd place overall. Let’s get it out there right away… Yes, I got chicked. I don’t have too much shame about it either. Heather Jackson had a good race and a mega fast run. Props to her for beating up everyone last Sunday.

I woke up in my own bed race morning (San Diego) at 3AM and drove out to Palm Desert instead of staying out there. A part of me hated getting up that early, but I enjoyed the time to wake up and move around before the race…. and jamming thru empty mountain roads in a sports car, blasting my new Every Time I Die cd, was fairly epic. I went on a little warm up run with Beth Walsh (who had a great 1st race as a pro) and scouted out the first part of the run course. I made sure to get in a bit of a warm up swim this time.

The swim was a little odd. You can’t really see the 1st buoy, it’s almost directly into the sunrise and the glare on the water makes it damn near impossible to see anything at all. When the race started, the initial swim chaos was far more chaotic than it needed to be. I didn’t need to sight on the initial 500ish meters en rout to the 1st buoy. I was sitting comfortably in the front pack when all of a sudden everyone turned sharply right. Apparently we were swimming off course, to the left, and made a last second turn to round the buoy and make a U-turn. There was a slight break in the pack and, unfortunately, I missed the boat. I ended up swimming the rest of the course on my own, in no-man’s-land. After the U-turn at the 1st buoy I actually started swimming back into head-on traffic. However, I fear I lead a couple people astray as well.. haha. I wasn’t having too good of a time sighting on my own for the remainder of the swim (foggy goggles). I’d have to stop completely and find where I was swimming. I don’t know exactly how long the swim was, somewhere between 1200-1300 meters I’m assuming. I exited the swim around a minute+/- behind the front guys in 17:01.

Don't know why I'm out of the saddle..
I’m glad I had such a bad transition at Tritonman, because I freaking NAILED both of my transitions. I flawlessly jumped on my bike and started cruising. I had mentioned that I was going to change my racing strategy for this race and I did. It’s textbook Keith Butsko racing to hammer the bike and see if you have anything left for the run. Today it was my goal to only go around 80-90% on the bike and save something for the run. When I caught the leader after 15-20 minutes, I had the initial “Holy crap I’m in the lead.. let’s blow the lid off this thing!!” feeling for a little bit, but in the middle of the second lap I decided to back off a bit and Alex Begg, who’s quite a strong cyclist, took over the lead and held a 10 second gap for a while. Alex and I had this piece of crap wheel sucker (who I don’t feel the least bit bad for calling out) wearing an American Interbanc kit, who shamelessly ITU-style drafted off us the whole time. I took back over the lead with 2 or 3 miles to go and got to T2 1st feeling pretty good, with a 40k time of 57:10. It was the 1st time I left something in the tank for the run; I definitely feel I could’ve hammered a lot more on that ultra flat bike course and it’s still kind of eating at me a bit.
I left T2 by myself and met a guy on a mountain bike to lead the run. It took a while to get my legs going.. They felt pretty heavy and didn’t have any pop. I ran at a comfortable pace until I could start pushing hard and get my heart rate up. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel that way until mile 4. Right around the start of the 2nd lap I heard a super fast cadence approaching. I looked back and it was Heather Jackson. I thought to myself “ok, just stay calm and match her pace”. That didn’t happen, she was really booking it. I felt like I was jogging compared to her and i just couldn't get my legs to open up. Looking at my run time, it’s not like I was really running “that slow” either. She finished around a minute ahead of me. I felt pretty demoralized when I finished. It was kind of funny because there were some confused people. I finished the 6 mile run in 34:41, which is better than expected, considering my extreme lack of speed work. The next elite guys came in around 2 minutes later so I felt a bit better, but 2nd place overall still kind of feels like 20th place for some reason..

All in all, it was a great tune-up race for Oceanside and nothing to hang my head about or hang my hat on either.
Feeling much better after a $9 quesadilla & a couple beers

I have to say, the post-race party at the La Quinta resort was flawless. Good times were had and the Bocce Ball competition was heated. Congrats to all my friends who raced as well, a lot of them were up on their respective podiums, which was awesome!

Apparently these orange things are for dancing..
Excited to start adding some speed work into my workouts soon. SuperSEAL is next on the race schedule, and from the looks of it, should be jam packed with local fast guys. This race is always a good fitness checkpoint. I would recommend it if you haven’t done it before.

Thank you to all of those who help support me: B+L Bikes, Rutley Chiropractic, SPY Optics, and all of my family and friends!