25-29 AG- 6 Overall Amateur- 8 Overall Place- 28
Pre-race and Set Up
Most races, my wife travels with me and helps keep me sane leading up to race time. She couldn't make the trip, but luckily I had a good friend of mine from Dallas ride down with me to watch the race. My age group drew the second to last swim wave so I was not pressed for time. We arrived to transition at about 6:00 a.m. and I got everything set up and ready to go. I wanted to stay away from all of the nervous energy at the start, so we waited a while to make the half mile walk to the dock where we jumped in and just relaxed. For some reason, I was much more nervous for this race than I ever had been before. Mostly because I have higher expectations for this season than I have in the past.
I am really happy about how the swim went overall. The water was smooth as glass but a little chilly. I wore my full sleeve wet suit despite the fact that I usually end up subluxing my left shoulder whenever I do. Fortunately, I had no such problems. I felt like I had a great start overall, and had the smoothest swim of any triathlon I have ever done. I didn't get kicked around at all. When I started tri's, the swim was definitely my weakest leg. I spent a lot of time the last year and a half working on fixing that and it seems to have paid off...at least in Galveston.
I am not where I want to be in the water yet, but I was happy with my progress. I ended up posting the 4th fastest swim in my AG and 57th overall. Something I have never done before. After the Swim as Hard as You Can part of the swim, I didn't see anyone else with my cap color for the entire. I actually enjoyed the swim portion and wasn't wondering when it was going to get over with the entire time.
I was able to get the wet suit off quickly and easily marked my bike. I lost probably 2 minutes in transition because the strap that allows my helmet to tighten and loosen around my head separated from the helmet. I tried to just put it on like it was, but as I was running to the Bike Out, it kept on slipping down over my eyes. I decided for safety sake, I should probably fix it. It took my two tries to get it snapped in correctly. Anyway, I finally got the helmet fixed and was off and riding. At most, this cost me one place overall (if that). If this is worst thing that happens during a race, things are going well.
I was actually really nervous for the bike leg this race for two reasons. First, I got a new bike in December, a Cervelo P3, as well as a set of Hed Jet 90's to go along with it. Because of the winter in Iowa this year, I had only rode the bike 3 time outside prior to race day and only two short rides with the race wheels! I switched to a much more aggressive fit and was on a 54 rather than the 56 P2 I previously rode. Needless to say, I wasn't 100% comfortable with my bike yet. Also, I spent a LOT of time working on my bike power over the Winter. I was excited and nervous at the same time to see how it would pay off.
The start of the race was interesting. The roads were really bumpy and rough. I was glad that I rode the first and last couple of miles of the course on Saturday. I didn't bother dropping down into aero position until I got to the highway both so I could get settled in and so I had a little better handling and didn't crash or flat on a pot hole (I got a flat on my training ride the day before and definitely did not want to do that in the race!). This bike course was good for me for a variety of reasons. First, it was really flat. Being I had been training 99% indoors leading up to the race, I didn't have much practice on hills. There are also not many hills around me here in Iowa either. There were only about 6 turns on the whole course which helped being I didn't feel 100% comfortable on my bike yet. The wind was pretty brutal and primarily a cross wind. It made drinking a little difficult for me.
I could tell I was a little rusty on the bike handling skills. I was playing leap frog with another rider for the entire first half of the race. Once we got to the out-and-back turn around point, he disappeared. He only gained about 45 seconds total after looking at the overall splits, but I am guessing most of that came from the turn. He took it much faster than I did. At least I caught him on the run...
My plan was to try to hit 250 to 260 Watts for the ride. I ended up averaging 274 which is a new 2 hour average for me. The last time I tested, my FTP was 285 Watts, I am going to do another test in the next few weeks to see if that has changed at all. My race data was pretty boring overall. My peak 20 minute output was only 276! I had a few spikes in power when I went to pass someone or tried to push up a few of the mini hills but it was a pretty flat power slope. Speed was really consistent throughout as well. I averaged 24 mph and had a max of 30.3 mph.
Untitled by six_cubes at Garmin Connect - Details
I felt great on the course and didn't want to hold myself back. At the beginning of the day, I decided I was going to "go for it" and really see what I could do. I was willing to accept bonking if it came to that but I could not accept regret of not pushing myself hard enough. In hind site, I am guessing I should have planned more aggressively being I formulated my plan based on my indoor training numbers which are always a little lower than my outdoor numbers.
I am pretty satisfied with my nutrition plan. I drank 2 bottles of Custom Infinit blend, 6 oz of Highly Caffeinated Napalm, and 1 bottle of Gu Brew Electrolyte drink. The temp was hovering around 80 all day, but I never really felt warm. I am surprised I only went through three bottles on the bike. In Vegas I went through 6! I had all three bottles with me so I was able to just fly by all of the bottle exchanges without slowing down which helped save time (or earn back the time I lost due to having three bottles on my bike for the first 30 miles!).
There were some awesome views of the coast along the way. Unfortunately, there was not a lot of fan support once you left town, but the volunteers were awesome as always. Overall, I felt great about the bike portion, but think I can still cut off some time once I get more comfortable on my new bike and get some more outdoor rides in (we got three inches of snow this morning, so that may not happen soon...). I was 9th in the AG on the bike leg and 48th overall showing much improvement over last year (but also showing room for more!).
T2 went about as well as it could have. I was able to find my spot quickly, slip on my new Zoot Ultra Kiawe shows and RP glasses and get to the Run Out.
I feel alright about how I ran. I feel I paced well for the most part. During mile two, my VMO's both cramped up and never let go. I don't think they cramped due to nutrition, I am guessing more that I pushed harder on the bike. Regardless, next race I will take more fluids in on the bike leg. I took 2 salt tabs during the third mile, and had Infinit Highly Caffeinated Napalm at miles 5 and 8 (I planned on taking more in on mile 11, but I lost my flask somewhere). Otherwise, I took in water at every station. There were a lot of people running so I had to fight through the crowds of people at every station but I was able to get what I needed at all but one station. I didn't have the patients to wait for water at the mile 12 station, so I just skipped it. At that point, I wasn't to worried.
The quad cramps were really painful, but they didn't really hinder my stride too much. My two slowest miles were the only two miles with any notable DOWN hill because they require a much bigger quad contraction than the flats. I felt strong on the small uphills and consistent on course. There wasn't a ton of scenery on the course, but the three lap course meant that there was great spectator support. It is always cool when the friends and families of other racers call you out by name and encourage you. It is one of my favorite parts of being involved with the Tri community.
I want to be running 1:15's by the end of the season. To start off with a high 1:18 felt pretty good, especially with the quad cramps that were bothering me pretty much the entire race. My fourth mile was fastest at a 5:41, and the slowest was mile 12 at 6:21. The first 5 miles were all under a 6:00 pace, hopefully I can hold that pace for longer at the end of the season.
|Avg Pace:||6:04 min/mi|
|Avg Moving Pace:||6:03 min/mi|
|Best Pace:||4:53 min/mi|
This was a great way for me to start my first season as part of Team Trisports.com. I learned a lot about myself prepping for this race and learned a lot about pacing (especially on the bike). For the most part, everything went very well and according to planned. I can't expect that out of every race but it is certainly a blessing when it occurs!
I will be heading back down to Texas in just over a month for Ironman Texas. After this race, I am even more excited to see what I can do for a full as well. I have a little tome to try to progress and get more comfortable on my bike, but the race will be here before I know it. I think I made good progress towards my goals for the year, hopefully this race is a reflection of how the whole season will go!