EVENT: Olympic Distance Triathlon | Big Rock Triathlon
DATE: 13 April, 2013
LOCATION: Lake Perris, CA
DISTANCES: 1.5km / 40km / 10km
COMPETITORS: 11 in my age group (50-54). 142 Total Participants
TIME /PLACE: 2:22:02 / 1st in age group (50-54) and 10th overall
This was my first time participating at Saw Sports Production’s Big Rock Triathlon at Lake Perris, CA. This was another practice / experience race for me. I have done just a few Oly’s and Sprint triathlons and have been competing almost a year now. I have learned a lot about endurance training and competing, but will still benefit for more races, especially for the swim portion which should be my strongest leg of the race. I’ve had a few mishaps and pacing misjudgements in the swim that still have me a little anxious at the start. I stayed at a local Best Western the night before the race in Moreno Valley and was up in plenty of time to set up transition in the morning.
THE SWIM & T1 TRANSITION
Swim time: 21:26
It was cool, but not cold. There was, though, some unexpected fog. I did a decent warmup of maybe 400-500 yards and found the water refreshing in the lower 60’s. I was in the “older men” wave and both the sprint and Olympic distances were combined in all waves. I positioned myself in the middle of the pack which is my new strategy. When I position myself at the front, I feel the pressure to stay in front and that has led to problems in the past of swimming faster than I was ready for. Visibility in sighting the buoys was pretty poor. You could only barely see the next buoy ahead, and the majority of the buoys were small and looked like someone wearing a swim cap while treading water. There should have been a kayaker leading each wave in a straight line toward the next buoy. Instead people were swimming all over the place. Kind of comical, really. After two laps, I exited and headed for the long, long jog up to T1 transition. It was about a 300 meter or longer distance. I tried a new trick that worked well for these long swim to bike distances. I had placed a small terrycloth towel about half way, and grabbed it as I ran by. By this time I had already peeled my suit half off, and then used the towel to dry off my upper body as I jogged to my bike. In the cool, misty, foggy weather, it was nice to not be dripping wet as I got to the bike. Anticipating this cooler weather, I took longer than I needed to in transition. I rolled on socks, grabbed arm warmer sleeves and slipped them onto my wrists and grabbed gloves to put on when I got out riding. Not very hardcore and manly, but I was dry, I could feel my toes, and perfectly comfortable on the bike portion.
THE BIKE & T2 TRANSITION
Bike time: 1:10:25
This was a two lap, mostly flat course, with one decent hill near the end of each lap. There was traffic control all over and the local police did an excellent job holding up traffic for us. Bike was uneventful. I forced myself to drink some Cytomax even though I wasn’t thirsty, and ate one Gu Gel but not very enthusiastically. I nursed it in small aliquots over several miles. The Sprint and Oly-competitors were mixed over the same course so it was difficult to assess where I was positioned. I was pretty sure I had come out of the water in or near the lead of my wave. Cyclists were spread out quite a bit. I passed some, but there just didn’t seem to be many on the road in my proximity. There was one guy who passed me and I managed to keep him in my sights for the remainder, but could never surpass him (Lee ended up finishing just ahead of me overall and winning his age division). He was the next age group older, so he was not a direct competitor for placing. Although I don’t like being passed by women or older guys, if it is going to happen, I’d prefer the latter. T2 transition was unremarkable.
Run Time: 44:37 (7:12/mi pace)
The 10k run was a mostly flat out and back along the park walking trails to the dam and then about 1/2 way along the dam and then turn-around to return. The Sprint Tri racers should have been mostly done at this point, but they shared the same course, just half of it. I didn’t see too many fast Oly-distance runners heading back and so I was comfortable I had a decent overall position. I ran a slower pace than my last Oly Tri. I ran about a 7:15-7:20 pace today and last time ran 7:02. While I was running, I just kept thinking to myself “Why can’t I go faster?”. Was it my heart rate and breathing as the limiter? My legs? Not training hard enough? It is hard to figure out, and is especially evident and humbling when someone passes you quite briskly and comfortably. They have my admiration and respect.
NOTE TO MY FUTURE SELF AND SUMMARY NOTES:
This was a well organized race at an interesting and beautiful location. Even though Southern California is pretty dry and Mediterranean, there was a strange vibe to the landscape. There were millions of large, smooth boulders dotting the landscape all over the valley. Beautiful in its own way. The fog couldn’t be helped, but conditions for swimming were otherwise good with very calm water. The bike had a few challenges but otherwise should be a fast course with very good traffic control. Registration fees were reasonable. Overall, I’d recommend the race and will likely do it again to defend my first place finish this year.