Monday, October 04, 2010

Giant Acorn International Tri (10/2/10)

Giant Acorn International was the end of the triathlon season for me in 2010, and I couldn't have asked for a better day to get out and race. Comfortable water temps, wetsuit legal, bluebird skies, light wind and sun. Add a fast course, a strong field, plus SetUp Event's usual competent management.

To top it off, a big contingent of C-ville athletes were on hand, complete with tent and post-race goodies. It made for a fun Saturday at Lake Anna.

I got to race early and snagged a sport near the end of my rack segment, got my gear laid out and hung out at the tent for a while, watching the transition area fill up with the usual assortment of contenders, newbies, and "just happy to be here" competitors. After liberal applications of Pam on my legs and wetsuit, I was ready to get started.

As usual, the gray hairs were near the back. Wave 6, in fact. The swim started in-water, then followed a triangular course with a long middle segment before we turned for home and T1. I felt smooth throughout the swim, and sighted pretty well -- easy because of all the people in front of me. Got a nice kick in the face from a red cap on the last leg, but otherwise no big issues.

Swim -- 28:54, 5/28 AG

I was determined to blast my transitions today, and I went hard through T1. The wetsuit came off quickly, and it was glasses/helmet on, grab the bike and go. It always surprises me how many people I see jogging or walking through transition -- I know I can't afford to give up any chance to make up time!

T1 -- 1:45, 1/28 AG

The bike started with a long run over the grass then a run up a hill on some pitted asphalt to the mount line. I was running barefoot, but it didn't seem to bother me any. I got on the bike, keeping it in the small ring for the first minute or so while I got my feet into the shoes and my breathing under control.

I enjoyed the two-lap course, and felt very good on the bike. Knowing the course for the second lap was a real advantage, and I upped my average speed on the second lap. I had a couple of 40-somethings pass me, and then played tag with a 51-year old who caught me on the second lap. He was a bit stronger so I let him go, figuring I'd get him in T2. It was one of my better bike efforts, but I've got to hit the bike harder this upcoming year if I want to be competitive (so look for me bringing up the rear on the Saturday rides in the future.)

Bike -- 1:08:32 (21.72 mph), 6/28 AG.

A flying dismount got me a few kudos from the crowd, then I booked hard down the hill into T2. I slipped my shoes on, grabbed my gear and headed out, keeping an eye ahead for the guy who'd passed me on the bike.

T2 -- 1:31, 1/28 AG.

The run was also a two-loop course, and hillier than I'd anticipated. At the first turn-around, I saw my bike competitor, maybe 30 seconds back, so I had some good incentive to keep it going. The first two miles came in at around 7:45 pace, but I started to fade a bit in the third mile. Fortunately I got a second wind as the second lap began and started picking up speed. Barry Young, a fellow C-ville triathlete (and Masters winner) went flying by at one point, causing the guy I was passing to say "that dude is fast." I could only agree.

By the last mile I knew I'd given it a good effort and was putting on as strong a finish as I could manage, hoping no one would sneak up on me. No worries -- I had space on either side as I finished.

I felt great about the effort on the run -- I was completely cooked at the end. The time was a bit slower than I would have liked, but I'll chalk that up to the rough patch in the middle.

Run -- 48:21 (7:41/mi), 5/28 AG

Overall -- 2:29:02, 4/28 AG

I felt good about the race. I figured I'd need to get under 1:30 to have any chance to place in AG, but that wasn't quite good enough. But no regrets, I gave it the best effort I had that day. It's been a good season, and an eventful year. Time to try and raise the bar for next season.