Monday, June 25, 2012

Race Report: Kal R.A.T.S. Sprint Triathlon (Matt)

Racing in Vernon last weekend resulted in some nagging disappointments, which was the main reason for signing up for another race this weekend - I wanted to fix the the issues while they were still fresh. To start with, it was the first open water race of the year, and I was not prepared. I started right in the middle of the pack, and after three or four elbows and kicks to the face, I was definitely thrown off my game, and spent awhile getting out to the edge of the course to find some open water. I never really got my rhythm back after that, and came in from the swim pretty slowly.

This put me in an awkward position, since I passed all of the people around me going up the first hill, but was way behind the main pack. I usually do best when I can chase down person after person ahead of me, and this race I ended up riding solo with no one in sight from about kilometer 3 onwards. So I was lacking in motivation - not that that is a good excuse, but I didn't put much effort into the bike leg, and the results showed it.

So two things to fix:
1) Don't get trampled in the water.
2) Ride harder.

This weekend, I was ready for swim and was completely comfortable elbowing all of these strangers / enemies right in the face. It was great. Felt very liberating.

Only sort of kidding.


I ended up coming out of the water feeling pretty good, in about my usual placing these days - at 48th place coming out of the first transition, I was about one third down the field of 140 or so.  This is good for me.  Like 33% faster than last year good.


The bike ride went really well also.  I had done a trial run of the course on Friday afternoon, and took one planned and one unplanned break as I rode it, coming in at 30:00 minutes flat (riding time).  Today I had no breaks, and arguably time lost running to and from transition, and came in at 30:17, for an eighth place finish overall on the bike leg.  Very satisfied with that, and it moved me up 30 places, to 18th.


I gave away five places in transition dealing with a few issues that I will correct for next race (this is why we have signed up for all of these races this year.  Every race you learn at least three new things.), and headed out to the run course.  At this point I was rationally hoping to make it halfway, based on last weekend, and irrationally hoping that the Superfeet I had put in my shoes would be a magic fix and I would win the whole thing outright.

I made it about 950 meters before both of my knees flared up.  "[unprintable in this blog] frustrated" doesn't really describe my emotions at this stage, but is a good start.

The rest was a run-walk.  I think this is the worst thing I have ever experienced in competition.  Just awful.  All of these people passing you.  All of them trying to be friendly and helpful.  I wished I had an "I'm walking on purpose" sign.  Just drives me mad.  I got:

"Come on young buck, you can do this"

"All downhill from here, why don't you give it a jog in?"

"Don't let me catch you.  I'm coming up behind you.  You got this.  Don't let me catch you" from some [unprintable in this blog].

"You know, if you just slowed down your run pace a bit, you wouldn't have to take so many breaks" from a 16 year old.

THREE separate pats on the back.

I hate nice people.  How dare they be helpful and encouraging when I am trying to be wallow in my own misery.

(3rd for my age group - 51st overall)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kamloops Spring Sprint Triathlon Race Report

We've had two triathlon races so far this year. The first was Kamloops Spring Sprint on May 6. Being one of the first races of the year, it consisted of a 600m pool swim instead of the usual open water swim (brrrr).

We headed up to Kamloops on Saturday afternoon and drove out to the race site to scope out the course. The bike course is a fairly flat loop around town that we have to do four times to make up the 20km bike. The run is a similar neighbourhood loop, this time with a fairly hefty hill, that we have to do three times for 4.5km.

After our recon, we headed over to Dan's. We had our new addition, Kash, with us so there was quite the load of luggage including sneaking said puppy past the "no pets" sign into his apartment. Thankfully, he is still small and actually quite quiet so I wasn't worried about it once we were inside. Who could say no to such a cute face?

After a delicious pasta dinner made by Dan, we headed to bed to be up at 6 to leave for the race. Thankfully Kash was fantastic overnight and I only got up once to take him outside.

We got to the race, picked up our race packages, got body marked, and set up our transitions. The transitions weren't assigned so we set up next to each other. Before long is was time to head into the pool to get in order for the swim start. The start times were seeded based on your estimated finish time. From the chatter in line, everyone was worried they would be slower than the person in front - "just tap my toes and I'll let you by!"

All the sudden it was ten seconds to go time and I jumped in the water. Then I was off swimming zig zigs across the pool - up the right side of the lane, down the left, cross under the lane rope, repeat until the end, before walking around back to the start to do it all over again for 600m. I actually finished pretty close to my estimated time, passing the transition timers at 10:47.

This is me, doing a lazy open turn... sometimes I think I should learn how to flip turn...

A quick run out of the pool and onto the soccer field and I was into T1. Nothing too eventful but a long run to the mount/dismount line.

Now the bike turned out to be the most eventful part of the whole gig. Matt and I both had recently worked on our bike fits. Aerodynamics is very important on the bike and we are working to eek out every second we can from our positions. Well, for some reason, neither of us checked the tightness of the bolts that held our seats on. And both of us had our seats tilt way backwards during the bike. Not. The. Most. Comfortable. Position. I kept trying to bang it back down without luck. Finally I gave up and just rode harder so I'd have less weight on my seat. Grrrr.

Lesson learned - for our next ride we'll both be checking ALL the bolts.

Here's Matt coming in.

Next up was three laps of the run course. It featured a large hill and usually I would have loved this type of course because I can run uphill fairly well. For some reason, though, I really struggled on the run course and never felt like I got going. Matt, on the other hand, looked pretty pro and had a good run for the first time in what feels like ages - almost no knee pain.

In the end, Matt came in at 1:10, good enough for first in his age group and 3rd overall. I came in at 1:16, first in my age group and 2nd overall female. I am in a better place than I was at the start of last season and I learned a lot (again) this race. I can't wait to race again and hopefully work out some of the kinks/feel better on the run.

Plus, Kash really enjoyed the day, mister attention seeker dog!