It's been a while since I've written, but I hope you'll excuse me. There's been a lot going on -- or rather, not going on -- with my training since early March. I caught a cold which devolved into a case of pneumonia and left me much sicker than I've been in a long while. Two weeks of training scratched. Once I recovered from that, I was off on a 5-day backpacking trip with my son's school. Not something I would have missed for the world, but not exactly tri-specific stuff.
Eventually my health came around, and I started to increase my training load, but I'd missed my usual spring road races and didn't quite know what to expect of myself. But the weather was good, and it looked like a great weekend for racing.
Rumpus has grown every year -- now it seems like a real early-season destination race for Mid-Atlantic triathletes. Lots of Maryland plates in the parking lot, and plenty of calm, competent, and fit-looking athletes in transition. I didn't have very high expectations of competing well in my AG, but I was looking forward to getting a race under my belt.
The swim was in a lovely protected cove of Lake Anna. While the water was a bit cool at 65, the sun was bright and the air warm -- nice conditions all in all. The course was a simple long rectangle, so sighting was easy. As usual, the old guys jumped in late -- Wave 7 -- after nearly everyone else had gone off. I got into a good rhythm and found a nice little pack to swim with, even managing to draft off some feet for a while. As we encountered traffic, the pack broke up as we maneuvered around slower swimmers. Soon enough the swim was over and I scrambled out of the water and ran up the long grassy slope to transition.
1500 meters: 29:40. 14/39 AG.
I've put in some good distance this winter, and been very consistent with my swimming. I feel much stronger over long distances, but it's not showing up in speed in the water. The top 3 in my AG averaged almost 4 minutes faster in the swim. That's about 15 seconds per 100, so I've got some serious time to make up if I want to stay in the hunt with the strong competitors. Time to get some individualized instruction and work more extensively on technique.
Transitions are usually a strong suit for me, and there weren't any problems here. I put on my cycling shoes in transition, since there was a stretch of gravel to run over, but still got out pretty quickly. 2:03. 5/39 AG.
This is a fun and fast bike course. I've had very little time on my tri bike so far this year, having spent most of the winter and spring on the road bike. But I got down comfortably on the bars and started right up. As usual, there was plenty of traffic ahead -- it's the bane of the last waves to have to pass lots of slower riders. I worked on keeping my RPMs up throughout, a point we've been emphasizing in training, and felt good about that. After one lap of the 2-lap course I was holding an average speed of a bit over 20 mph and felt great -- despite a stiff breeze, it was a fun day to ride a bike!
The second lap was pretty much more of the same, though the field started to sort itself out and I found myself leapfrogging around with some other riders in my AG. But as I rolled toward the dismount I started to get a nagging feeling that I'd left too much in the tank.
23 miles: 1:08:39. 14/39 AG.
Lack of training, lack of racing, and lack of time on the tri bike showed here. I was too comfortable, and needed to push the pace if I wanted to be a factor in the race. It was a strong field, but generally my bike times are much more competitive than that. More time on the bike and a more go-for-broke attitude at this distance will move me up in the pack.
Shoes off dismount, fast run into transition, smooth exit. :58. 4/39 AG.
This was a challenging run course. The race was moved at the last minute to a new venue, and a large majority of the run was on a very rough gravel road -- the kind of road where you can turn an ankle if you don't watch where you're stepping. By now the temperatures were rising, but there was plenty of water and ice at the aid stations. Take a drink, dump the ice down the back of my tri top -- worked like a charm!
I started off pretty well, running in the high 7:30s, but started to fade a bit through miles 4-5 of the 2-lap course. Over the last mile I pulled my form together and managed to put together a strong finish.
6.2 miles: 48:53.
Not too bad on the run, especially considering lack of any racing this spring.
I'm disappointed with my bike performance -- I had better in me, I'm sure, but I was just being too conservative. But on the whole, I executed a pretty smart race, and it felt great to be out competing again. There's plenty of work and racing to come this season as I get ready for Wisconsin -- I'll chalk this one up as a pretty solid first step.