Monday, July 14, 2008
Colonial Beach Triathlon - July 13, 2008
Summary -- 2:10 and change, 5th AG for this "short Olympic" distance tri.
This was my first time doing the Colonial Beach Triathlon. A relatively small race, in a "beachy" town on the Potomac river, very flat when compared to races around Charlottesville.
I headed down on Saturday to pick up my packet and get in a short ride and run. The weather was hot on Saturday afternoon, but a nice breeze off of the Potomac kept it tolerable. I checked out part of the out-and-back bike and run courses, then drove over to Debi's house, where she and her husband were kind enough to host me for the night. Pizza and a movie, then off to bed.
4:30 in the morning came quickly, and after a cup of coffee and breakfast, we hit the road for the race site, about 25 minutes away. Our early arrival paid off -- I snagged a primo end spot on the rack in the transition area, then fiddled around endlessly with my gear while I counted down the time until the start. The water was warm, but wetsuit legal, so I took advantage with my short-sleeved suit. My race packet had the wrong color of swim cap, so I got a lot of odd looks and some concerned questions from other racers as all the green caps except me took off in the first wave. After a couple of minutes, I waded in with my group and off we went.
Swim (advertised as 1000 yards, probably around 750-800)
The swim started well. A couple of collisions, then clear water and easy sighting to the first buoy on the triangular course. Turning round the first buoy I could feel swells picking me up and down as I went down the next leg. The Potomac is very wide and salty at this point, wider even than the Choptank at Eagleman, so there was really an "open water" feel to the swim. Stayed on course pretty well, then turned for home. For whatever reason I couldn't sight worth a darn on this leg, and realized after a bit I was drifting downstream, away from the swim exit. I corrected, but I'm sure it cost me a few spots. Hit the shallow water and dophined a few times then ran up onto the pebble beach, down a concrete sidewalk and into the asphalt transition area -- pretty hard on the feet! (13:58 -- definitely not a 1000 yards! -- 8/20 AG)
This flew past -- I thanked my lucky stars for the end rack spot, got out of the wetsuit without too much bother, and ran for the mount line (1:17, 3/20 AG).
Transitioning into the bike always feels strange to me. Suddenly my wet body is pedaling away on a bike and my heart's going a mile a minute. I navigated away from the bike start, held up temporarily by an old guy driving a golf cart (they drive them around town in Colonial Beach). In a few minutes I was rolling down the highway, drinking out of my aerobottle and settling in for the ride. The course was a simple out-and-back, with minimal turns, and was well-suited for putting in a fast time. I kept my concentration on the RPMs -- keep the tempo at 90+, go fast without trashing the legs. I jockeyed around a bit with several other riders in my AG through the first few miles -- passed a few and had a few pass me. When it was all done, it evened out pretty well.
After about 6-7 miles we turned right and started climbing. What? There's a hill? Sure enough, a fairly long, gradual climb. Nothing bad, but enough to make you notice. I kept an eye on the RPMs, and downshifted when necessary, only interrupted by the whooshing sound of Debi passing me up. I kept it smooth, and didn't try to be a hero, since she's faster than me anyway. Over the top, and then a sharp left after a short downhill. Another long straight stretched in front of me, and I started to see the leaders coming back. Here's the turn, and I was feeling good. Best off all, it's a net downhill going back to the river.
I kept the tempo up on the return, playing hopscotch with a couple of riders from the Richmond Tri Club. They pass me, I pass them, they pass me, etc. Kept it interesting. As the end approached I took a flyer and started cranking up the RPMs and laying on more speed. It'd been a good ride. A couple of turns past the crowds, a quick stop and back into T2. (1:09:57, 21.3 mph, 8/20 AG)
Smoked this. Racked the bike, helmet/shoes off, shoes on, grabbed my hat and race belt and go! (:50, 1/20 AG)
Run (6 miles)
The run was an out and back 6 miler, following shore on the small peninsula that the town is on. My legs felt pretty good coming off the bike, and I concentrated on my running cadence for the first 5-6 minutes. Check the watch, count my footfalls to 90, check the watch. My rhythm was good, and started to gradually close in on some runners ahead of me. Passed one -- there's a 48 on his calf -- my AG -- yes! Hit the first mile in 7:30, and felt good. Just have to keep this up.
By now it was getting hot. Water stops were available every mile, and I doused myself down and drank each time. As we rounded peninsula, we hit some shady neighborhoods, which helped. At three miles we turned, and I hit a rough patch. My legs started getting tight and the heat started to wear me down. Back to my old trick I went and started counting my cadence. This took my mind off of my problems and I got back into a rhythm. 4 miles, 5 miles, still on pace, and catching a fair number of other runners. After 5 I caught another runner. There's a "46" on his calf -- I've got to get this guy. I pulled behind, and decided to give it a strong push. As I passed his right shoulder I put as unconcerned an expression on my face as I could and picked up the pace, counting my steps. 10, 20 , 30, 40, 50 -- hopefully he wouldn't realize how tired I was and try to come after me. As I hit the final turn I took a look back and saw I was in the clear. As I crossed the finish I was too tired to mug it up for the photographer, but happy when I checked my watch -- 44:36 for 6 miles, 7:26 pace, 5/20 AG.
I'd hoped to go under 2:15, and I did, with a 2:10:36. Good time, and a fun race.