Before we get into the race report I wanted to put up the links to this weekend’s posts. Since it was Labor Day you may have missed these posts, but read the Race Report first then scroll back up here.
Now onto the race report.
This Labor Day weekend I was racing the Avia Austin Triathlon in Austin, Texas. Austin, Texas is the sight of the CapTexTri that I raced on Memorial Day weekend, so what better way to start and end the summer than with a triathlon the Nation’s (those of you on Twitter get the joke) Capital?
I went into this race with the mindset that I wanted to beat my time at CapTexTri and be close to my PR at Disco Triathlon. I knew that the bike course would slow me down some because it was not an open course but instead more of a CRIT style course with a lot of turns and 3 loops.
Since life has been hectic Karen and I decided to head down a day early and try to relax as best as possible. Well, since it was Labor Day, a triathlon being held and UT was playing Rice in it’s home opener finding a hotel for the night was not that easy. We wound up in a not so nice part of town in a not so great hotel but luckily for us it was for only one night.
Now, let me say that I was at race weight before we headed to Austin and let me say that I was not at race weight when the race started. Why? Well, you see I ate in Austin as if I were going to prison the next day. I could not stop eating for some reason. Saturday night we had Mexican with my sponsors Carla and Eddie Webber at the Hula Hut, then the next morning had breakfast at Magnolia Cafe and dinner at Churra’s. It was amazing food and I would only change my portions as opposed to where we chose to eat.
The night before the race I slept very well and I had my goal time of between 2:35 and 2:40 in my head. As any triathlete will tell you they start saying things along the lines of: If I do xx:xx on the swim and xx:xx on the bike then all I need to do is xx:xx on the run to get to my goal time. Then you will create derivatives of this number and keep going around and around until you are so tired of the numbers that you just say this is my goal time and how I get there is how I get there. Around 9:30p that night I had told myself to get between 2:35 and 2:40 and I would be happy.
2:45am and the alarm goes off. Up and ready to roll. I drink my smoothie and have two cups of coffee. From all the food the past two days I am nervous about having to go to the bathroom and sure enough the valve opened up. I wound up going to the bathroom 3 times between that 2:45a wake-up and 4:45a out the door to transition time.
Karen and I hit the transition area around 5:00a and run into Coach C who is assembling a tent for after the race. I help her with that as much as possible but at a whopping 5’6″ tall I can’t get the tent over the top of the bars. Over walk Gigantor (at least 7’8″) and just pulls it up and over (thank you Gigantor.) Once the tent is set I head into transition to get every quadruple checked (remember this part.) All seems set so I put on my shoes and go for a mile warm-up run. The legs feel great I tell myself and start to wonder if I can lay down some good times in the run. The announcement that no warm-up swim is allowed is disheartening but I am ready to go. I leave transition and head to the swim start.
At swim start I run into Jeff from Apex Endurance and we chat and he gives me a compliment without knowing it. I ask him what wave he is in and he says he is in the same wave as me. I say to him that he looks young for 35-39 and he says: That’s the wave your in? Yup, I look younger than I am….thank you diet and exercise.
Jeff is in the 25-29 age group and he gets in the water and that is when I run into Greg. We chat and watch the open wave go and the Jeff’s wave and now he is in line. Greg is in the 30-34 A-L group, then the M-Z group and finally us older folks are up. This swim is not wetsuit legal but I’m ready. I jump in the water and swim a few strokes and all feels good. Maybe I can go faster than 2:35 as the run feels good and so does the swim.
The announcer tells us that we have 2 minutes before the gun goes off and here we are treading water for 2 minutes, then all of a sudden the countdown starts. The watch is ready I hit start and the gun goes off and HERE WE GO!
I quickly find a rhythm and am not being plowed over and whack a few guys out of my way. We are swimming upstream for 1/2 the race, but it is at the start so you are going to be going downstream on the back half of the race. I am in my stroke and every 6 strokes with my right arm I sight. I am going well except that my right lens is foggy. Because of no swim warm-up I never got my goggles situated but you deal with it. Swim straight and no worries.
It is at this point that I see a guy doing the breast stroke and I think ALREADY! Well let’s just say that this guy can swim because I would pass him and think he was buried and all of a sudden there he appears doing freestyle. He alternated between the two strokes but his freestyle was fast as he would pass me there. WE played leap frog all the way to the first turn buoy and the second turn buoy. At this point I was frustrated that I could not shake him and noticed another guy in front of me and set my sights on him.
At this point I changed my stroke from quick turnover going upstream to elongated and much more rythmic going downstream. I easily blew past breast stroke boy and caught up to white jersey guy. I eventually passed white jersey guy only to notice a huge concrete pillar in front of me. Because I was swimming in such a straight line I did not realize that you had to actually turn somewhat left to get around this pillar and then keep swimming straight. Course adjustment and then I started to push the pace.
The last turn buoy came out of nowhere and I was headed home. I was pushing as fast as I could and I saw white caps and red caps as I passed them to the finish of the swim. The swim felt like it took forever and I was spent as I put all I could into it. As I neared the exit the volunteer reached out and I pulled him as hard as he pulled me and I almost wound up tossing him in the water but he got me up and out.
The run to T1 is long but along the way I saw Eddie who was cheering loudly for me and that gave me a boost.
Goal Time: 00:30:00
Actual Time: 00:34:48 (2:19/100m)
PR for 1500m: 00:31:40 (2:06/100m)
Transition 1: This is a long run from the swim exit to the transition area while having to climb rock walls. The run down the bike rack lane felt like forever as well. Once near my bike I popped a Fig Netwon into my mouth, then shoes on, sunglasses, race bib, helmet and off I go. Just like CapTexTri you have to run up a hill in your cycling shoes before you get to the mount line. Transition times are long because of the amount of running involved before you actually hit the rack and then the mount line. Time in T1: 2:53 (27th out of 146 M35-39 with Average of 4:00)
Once you are on the bike you head down a hill into a no passing lane to head up a hill and then the bike race truly starts. This is a 3 loop course with some climbing and in return some downhills. Overall this is a fairly fast course.
You start out by climbing Congress Avenue which at this point I thought to myself well that good feeling is gone and my quads were aching. I just told myself that we were going to keep pedaling no matter what. I hit the turn around point and had a very good turn and it is all screaming downhill now and with limited pushing on the pedals I thought this is awesome and my quads were back. You then climb up the second half of Congress and I had no issues and turn on Cesar Chavez and white knuckle city. A huge gust of wind blew me and my bike to the left about 2-3 feet and I just held on while screaming SH*T! After that though it was fast and I rode well to the turn in the park and up a short steep hill and then it was back to a fast section.
Around this point I thought my foot popped out of the pedal but as I kept going I noticed my foot still stuck to the pedal. My foot then started shifting back and forth, back and forth and I am getting no power from my right leg. This is an odd feeling but since my foot was still attached I kept going and pedaling as best I could. I get to Congress to head back up the long climb and my foot is just shifting all over the place and it dawns on me that the screws holding in the cleat have come loose and thus why my foot is sliding back and forth. I try to just pin my foot forward but that only lasts so long. I am now about to do two-thirds of this race in what is essentially a one-legged push.
I had noticed on my watch that I did the first loop in approximately 24 minutes and as I neared the end of the second loop I noticed that I was around 26 minutes. Doing the calculations in my head I think that I would need to do that last loop in 18 minutes to match my time from the Disco Triathlon. With one leg doing about 65% of the work I know that is just not possible and I tell myself to get it done in that range of 25 minutes and I’ll be happy considering the circumstances.
It is at this point that some guy says something to me and I don’t quite understand it so I ask him to repeat it. He says well we are finally on the last leg. For whatever reason this sends me into fierce combat mode and I fly by him and take Congress Avenue as if I were on Team Cervelo in the Tour De France. I just attacked this hill and with one leg or not I am not going to let this guy beat me. We had been going back and forth on the first two laps already and it was like a gnat that I couldn’t get rid of.
I make the turn and it is time to get in the bars and fly down Congress Ave. As I hit the bridge I feel something hit my chain and look down and it is my spare tube. I hope to the high heavens that it just falls completely off my bike but two pedal cranks later and my bike comes to a complete stop. The tube got caught in the chain and I was fortunate enough to not fall off but I pull over to my left and out of everybody’s way. Lower the bike and start pulling on this tube to get it out of the chain. I am cursing under my breathe big time because this was going to be the fastest lap yet. I pulled and pulled and finally the tube gave way and slipped out of the chain. I roll it up into a ball and in the back of my jersey. I am not on the uphill portion of the bridge having to get started with a shoe that is sliding everywhere…..GOOD TIMES! Get going and I see that the gnat passed me but I was not done with him. I catch up to him and pass him and while still cursing inside my head I feel great that I caught up to him on the second half of Congress and passed him as if he didn’t exist.
The rest of the course I just forgot about my foot sliding everywhere even though I feel it as I’m ready to run and I have time to make up.
Goal Time: 1:10:00
Actual Time: 1:15:53 (19.6)
PR for 40k: 1:08:29.3 (21.8 mph)
Transition 2: My bike rack was about 1/3 of the way in from the bike finish so I got there fairly quickly. Off with the helmet and running shoes on, hat on, grab bottle of liquified EFS Liquid Shot and start to take off. Feel this bouncing in my back and realize the tube is there. I stop and turn around and toss it in the vicinity of my bike. Time to make up ground and just start running. Time in T2 1:39 (17th out of 146 M35-39 with Average of 2:53)
This is a two loop run course where you run through a couple of parks. This means that you are running on uneven surfaces plus some loose sand. In the beginning of loop 1 I was nervous about falling down and took it somewhat slowly but I also know that I had time to make up after the bike fiasco.
Surprisingly my legs felt great and I just kept pushing the paces faster and faster. I get 2/3 of the way done with Loop 1 and there is Carla, Eddie and Karen all cheering me on. What a great sight. Then as I’m pushing I feel this person next to me and I think NO WAY I’M DEALING WITH A RUN GNAT TOO! and start to pick up the pace and look to my left and it’s coach taking pictures. I couldn’t stop laughing and she finally dropped off. I made my way up the bridge by pumping my legs and just looking for the next person to catch. After the turn around you head back down the bridge and paces pick up. Then I get to see the cheering crew again. Once I was past them I knew I only had 3.1 miles to go and I might as well make them count.
I started running with Maria (names are on bibs) and tried to hang on for as long as I could but she was fast. After the water station I knew it was one run through the park, cheering section, bridge and done. After the park I heard a guy yell only 1 more mile and it was time to have the fastest mile of the day. I got near the cheering crew and tossed Karen my handheld and took off like I was shot out of a cannon. My legs felt great and I knew I was having a great run.
Up the bridge turn around and down the bridge and my stride lengthened. I wanted to finish really strong. About 100 meter from the finish line and Greg is yelling to go faster and I do (where did this gear come from.) The finish line is in site and the best part is they have a tape across and I’m the only one in the shoot. that was a great feeling and immediately I saw Karen. Gave her a kiss and then went nuts that the tube got caught in the tire and cost me so much time.
Goal Time: 45 minutes
Actual Time: 46:08(7:26/mile)
Previous PR TIme: 48:26 (7:48/mile)
Since my watch never worked at all I did this race on feel. I saw 2:57 when I crossed the mat and I could not remember if I started 16 or 20 minutes after the gun and thought to myself I am either at 2:37 (PR) or 2:41. When I later checked the results I had finished in 2:41:23. While this was not a PR I was only 3 minutes off of my PR and still 4 minutes faster than CapTexTri which is a similar course. Not a bad day’s work considering all the headaches with the bike.
This race was first class all the way. I will definitely be back every year from here on out. Tremendous venue, tremendous volunteers, organized very well and the sponsors were great and too many to name (except for Boundless Nutrition and HoneyMilk….cookies and milk that provide protein and carbs….YES PLEASE!)
I want to thank all of you for your well wishes on Facebook, Twitter and the blog. It was awesome to see the support before and after the race. Truly amazing.
I also want to thank Carla and Eddie for there unwavering support of my dreams of triathlon from the day we met.
Huge thanks to Coach for putting me in a position to succeed and each and every race. Truly amazing your schedules and workouts are but they fail in comparison to your well wishes and confidence in my ability.
Lastly, a thank you to my wife Karen. Without you none of this is possible. Form Day one you have supported my dreams and allowed me to pursue them with reckless abandon. I don’t think I can thank you enough and just want to tell you that I love you.