Culpeper Sprint 2016 Race Report

Race Review

This is event number five on the 2016 VTS/MTS Series which brings me to be competitive for series points awards at the end of the year. Any events done after this race will either be ignored or may increase my total score as only the five HIGHEST scores are counted. I don’t believe I’ll be in the top five at the end of the year, but knowing that I’m on a very short list of individuals who did complete at least five events is a nice little checkmark for 2016.

Swim

  • I finally got my head out of my… um… negative space and had a decent swim. The swim was located at Mountain Run Lake in Culpeper, VA and I couldn’t ask for better conditions. The wind was low so it didn’t create very much chop, there is no current because it’s a lake, the fog covered the sun so I wasn’t blinded on the last section heading back to the “wiggly man”. My plan was to stay on the outside of all the other swimmers knowing that it would increase my total swim distance (which it did by 100m), but that is of minor consequence when I was able to stay relaxed and just swim. That is until the last 100 meters, where the International swimmers “joined” with the Sprint swimmers so I had to contend with people on both sides… and I panicked… just a little. But on another positive note, I did not require any assistance from paddle boaters which is major milestone for this year.

Bike

  • I couldn’t execute the bike plan as desired as I found a new issue when racing in humidity, my new Rudy Wing 57 helmet has a smoked glass shield that easily fogs over making it impossible to see (somewhat of an issue when my top speed was 41.5 mph)1. I was lucky to find a 60yo rockstar of an athlete who was about my athletic ability and I basically followed him for the first 10 miles because I couldn’t see any of the turns or potholes. It wasn’t my best performance on the bike, but I still placed decently among racers.

Run

  • After the bike I felt good, but as soon as you exited transition you are punched in the face with a grassy hill, rabbit punches to the kidneys with a side street hill, and uppercut to finish you with… another hill. Other racers will agree in that somehow everything was “uphill” until the very end. After the first mile I was afraid to push myself in case there was another hill. I would rather be a little slower than have to walk.

Post Race

This is the second race that my family was able to attend as Culpeper is less than an hour away from our house. It was nice to have a cheering section while going through transitions, and at the end just before crossing the finish line giving Vader Gavin a quick high five. BTW; of all the VTS/MTS races that I have done this year… hands down this is the best podium prize as you get a bottle of wine from fellow race participant, and owner of Mountain Run Winery, David Foster!

Race Results

Rankings

  • Overall: Placed 37th out of 353 (top 10%).
  • Gender: Placed 35th out of 215 (top 16%).
  • Male 40-44: Placed 6th out of 21 (top 30%; and that excludes the 2nd place overall winners who was in my age group).

Among the Male 40-44 category there were 21 athletes (excluding the one in my age group that was in the overall winners category)

  • Swim: Ranked 6th (what?!?!?!?!).
  • Bike: Ranked 6th (1st place beat me by 3 minutes and 15 seconds)
  • Run: Ranked 6th (1st place beat me by 4 minutes and 55 seconds)

Updated 2016-08-03 (Race Photos)

Tables

Culpeper Sprint 750m Swim T1 16.9 Mile Bike T2 5k Run Total
Goal Times2 19:00 2:00 47:09 2:00 22:07 1:32:16
Actual Times3 17:32 1:27 47:42 1:10 24:48 1:32:37

Footnotes

  1. I forgot to mention my pro-tip, don’t forget to take off your Roka Swimskin before you jump on the bike… I bet you will look pretty dumb in pictures.

  2. Goal Times were based on Rev 3 Montclair results as it was a lake swim with hilly bike and run: 2:32 /100m swim, 21.5 mph ride, 7:08 /mi run.

  3. Official Race Results available at VTS/MTS Culpeper Sprint Results page.

Colonial Beach Sprint 2016 Race Report

Race Review

Colonial Beach Sprint is the only race this year where I get to compare myself and see my acomplishments for the amount of training I have done since December, as this is the only race that I have previously done. All other races in 2016 are brand new to me (thus setting expectations for the years to come). I knew I could PR (Personal Record) the course due to my fitness levels improving in all three disciplines, but this year we had MUCH better weather to endure compared to last year Colonial Beach Sprint race. And to note, I did PR in all three sections! But of course, something irritated me and I’m having to take time to calm down and put things back into perspective and congratulate myself on a good performance.

First, I would like to note that the course has improved compared to last year as the last right hand turn is now a completely new intersection which is nicely paved and slightly less than the 120˚ turn1.

Swim

  • Another poor swim. Had to hang on two paddle boats this time which is simply not acceptable anymore. Teammate and Superstar Madi stated she thought the waves were harder this year than last year, but I had the opposite memory as I KNOW I wanted to quit at the 350m mark (see 2015 race report), and this time I was able to swim all the way to the 500m mark before I wanted to quit! HASHTAG WINNING! I did swim faster this year by almost four minutes so there was an improvement, but I think I’m going to stick with pools or lakes from this point forward (Sorry AlaskaMan).

Bike

  • Another PR for me in terms of course times and average speed. I beat last year’s time by 8 MINUTES AND 39 SECONDS! Of course this is not quite fair as I had a transition issue on my bike last year plus the conditions were completely different, however, it’s significant enough for me to confidently state I killed that bike course. How much? I averaged 23.5 MPR over the entire course! Also, check these stats:

Run

  • This year’s run was so much better than last year in terms of pure enjoyment. Don’t get me wrong… watching the angry mob of ducks SWIMMING by the route in 2015 was entertaining, but not having waterlogged shoes stomping through a 5k definitely helped. I beat last year’s time by 20 seconds2, but again different race conditions should have resulted in better times regardless. My run has not nearly improved over the year as my bike skills. I will have to work on that for next year (YES and swimming needs work… I didn’t forget that! UGH! GET OFF MY CASE!!! HASHTAG StompsAway).

  • Training Peaks Run Data

Post Race

You may be wondering with a Bike and Run Course PR, epic results on those two, and everyone knows by now you can’t swim for $hit… why am I pissed? Because I received my first penalty. I don’t know the official reason for the penalty, but I believe it was on the bike segment and it would be for drafting3. Four of us were basically matched for speed on the back half of the course and somehow we started leapfrogging each other. I’m sure we were too close, thus we got dinged for drafting. Because of this penalty, I was awarded two minutes on my total time, bringing me from Fourth place to Seventh. It may not seem like much, but that is three spots and I’m trying for Super Series points for 2016 so I need all the help I can get, and now this race is almost worthless in terms of points. I won’t know for sure for another week or so until the Super Series points page is updated.

Race Results

Rankings

  • Overall: Placed 64th out of 337nd (top 19%).
  • Gender: Placed 50th out of 202 (top 25%).
  • Male 40-44: Placed 7th out of 23 (top 30%; and that excludes the three Overall winners who were in my age group. If only I could swim).

Among the Male 40-44 category there were 23 athletes (excluding the Overall winners)

  • Swim: Ranked 21st (I should just race duathlons).
  • Bike: Ranked 2nd (1st place beat me by 12 seconds)
  • Run: Ranked 4th (1st place beat me by 3 minutes and 18 seconds)

Updated 2016-07-13 (Race Photos)

Tables

Colonial Sprint 750m Swim T1 14 Mile Bike T2 5k Run Total
Goal Times4 19:30 2:00 35:30 2:00 22:50 1:21:50
Actual Times5 20:38 1:44 34:52 1:07 22:19 1:22:386

Footnotes

  1. Last year I nearly had a head on collision with a car last year, but fortunately traffic was stopped and I could safely maneuver around their front bumper.

  2. I would like to give a shout-out to the teenage girl behind me towards the finish line. I thought you were the dude in my Age Group that I just passed at mile 2.5, and I could hear you sprinting to the finish line. You had me scared… I sprinted too… and my HR data show my HR peaked to 193. You almost killed me, but thanks for the push.

  3. “‘Drafting’ is basically riding right behind another competitor on the bike course. By drafting behind someone you gain an unfair advantage because it allows you to ride at the same speed as the person you’re following without exerting as much energy. In the sport of triathlon for age group events here in the U.S. drafting is not allowed” - VTS/MTS website FAQ

  4. Goal Times were based on: 2:36 /100m swim (based on Jamestown horrible performance, then minus 20s /100m), 21mph ride, 7:21 /mi run.

  5. Official Race Results available at VTS/MTS Colonial Beach Sprint Results page.

  6. With two minute penalty.

Montclair Sprint 2016 Non-Race Report

After last week’s poor swim performance at Jamestown International, I decided I need more opportunities for Open Water Swim (OWS) to hopefully get out of this head funk I have for swimming. Fortunately there was another race this weekend, the Rev3 Montclair Sprint! This was a good race to participate for two reasons:

  • The event was close to our home which eliminated any need for a hotel stay or any extra time away from the family as this was a last minute decision.
  • It was a short Sprint distance (750 meter swim, 12 mile bike, 5k run) so it wouldn’t take too much time away from any planned Father’s Day activities.

The main goal of this race was fun! So, no post-race thoughts… no section-by-section analysis, just confirmation that I went out and did a OWS in a lake with no wetsuit and didn’t hate (all) of it. Plus, I was able to spend some great face-to-face time with teammates that I haven’t seen since our Sherpa Virgina Training Camp.

Last but not least, I had a pretty awesome private cheering section.

Jamestown International Triathlon 2016 Race Report

Race Review

VTSMTS Jamestown International Triathlon is the place to go when you want to PR your International race distances (1500m Swim; 40K Bike; 10K Run)! That is unless the heat out side has raised the water temperatures to 82˚ F (making the race wetsuit non-legal), you have 10 mph winds to create some chop that is exhausting, and then you get to run in 90˚ F in the blistering sun… then it is not the place to PR1.

Swim

  • My anger at myself is unparalleled while I’m thinking about my performance on the swim. The first 600m was all against the current, but if you were having issues (drowning) the water was shallow enough you could just stand up and you’ll be OK. But then we had to return back to the start line that was 100m out farther into the James River where I basically hopped from one boat aid to another, because I was so tired and I mentally had checked out from the first section. I’m not giving this section anymore space as it would be all negative.
  • Training Peaks Swim Data

Transition 1

  • I learned from my last race, KISS. Only issue was all the athletes had to run nearly a 1/4 mile to get from the river to transition, so my time is long… but so is everyone’s transition.

Bike

  • “Want me to drop the hammer, I’ll drop the hammer!” I loved riding this super flat course that had only one tiny hill, a bridge. The path was an out and back with one sharp 180˚ turn at the mid-point. If you can stay in aero and crank out watts, you will do great. Plus, since everyone passed me while in the water I was picking off slower riders one by one (pew pew pew). I had a smile during this section of the race.2
  • Training Peaks Bike Data

Transition 2

  • I’m happy with T2 as I was able to rack my bike somewhat quickly, strap on my running gear and head out. It will be nice to learn how to do T2 while keeping my bike shoes on the pedals as this would have shaved off a couple of seconds, but I can’t complain as I had the fastest T2 of my age group.

Run


  • Picture provided by Arnel

    I was feeling good! Fun bike, great T2… but I may have felt a little too good as my first two miles was definitely too fast for a 10k in the heat. I had a 7:30 pace for the first 1.5 miles, and I knew that wouldn’t last long so I tried to bring myself back down to a more reasonable level of 8:00 pace. This lasted for only another mile before I started to NEED the aid stations. After mile marker 2.5 I stopped at every aid station for water to “sip, spit, sip, swallow, dump on my head”. The heat was brutal. I began to be concerned about what my heart rate around mile 3.5, and that is when I noticed my watch said 182 bpm. I usually feel like puking when I hit that number, so I forced myself to walk even though I didn’t feel tired. The remaining three miles were a repeated pattern of “run till my HR was too high, walk”. I’m trying to convince myself that I was racing smart and essentially saved myself to ensure that I finished by listening to my HR, but I’ll never know what could have happened if I just pushed through. The good news is my knee and hip issues didn’t surface during this run (not sure if it was due to the flat course, or the double dose of Advil).

  • Training Peaks Run Data

Post Race

The three hour drive back home I was simply pissed. I know I could have done better on the run and WAY better on the swim. The guy in my age group that was 10th place in swimming beat me by over 10 minutes for that portion of the race. The difference between 3rd and myself on the run was only three minutes, so I know everyone gave it all. Hopefully I’ll get some more Open Water Swim time with my Speed Sherpa team mates in the next couple of weeks before Colonial Beach… which reminds me I need to change that from the International distance to the Sprint… because SCREW SWIMMING!

Race Results

Rankings

  • Overall: Placed 131st out of 332nd (top 40% of all racers, blah).
  • Gender: Placed 107th out of 217 (top 50%, still pathetic).
  • Male 40-44: Placed 15th out of 26th (this makes me sick, and it’s all due to the swim).

Among the Male 40-44 category there were 26 athletes

  • Swim: Ranked 24th. F U swim!!!
  • Bike: Ranked 10th (the difference between 3rd fastest cyclist and myself was 4 minutes)
  • Run: Ranked 11th (the difference between 3rd fastest runner and myself was 3 minutes and 36 seconds)

Updated 2016-06-14 (Race Photos)

Tables

Jamestown 1500m Swim T1 40k Bike T2 10k Run Total
Goal Times3 30:00 3:00 1:14:30 2:00 52:30 2:42:00
Actual Times4 44:02 2:47 1:08:06 0:47 50:29 2:46:10

Footnotes

  1. I actually PR’d by one minute compared to my 2015 Reston, VA (hilly) performance vs. the flat course. I’ll take that to help me sleep tonight.

  2. Dear race volunteer, I will not slow down on the turns… it’s a race!

  3. First time I’ve done this course, so times were based on results from Reston Olympic and Kinetic Half: 2:00/100m swim, 20mph ride (Kinetic 2016 Bike), 8:27 minutes/mi run (Reston 2015 Run).

  4. Official Race Results available at VTS/MTS Jamestown International Results page.

Kinetic Half 2016 Race Report

Race Review

There are simply too many words to describe the past couple of months, but the end result is I finally finished my first “Half” (70.3 mile) triathlon. Mental toughness is required, as the numerous temptations to quit continuously ‘punch you in the face’: between drinking five gallons of water during the swim, the soreness of your legs and your “saddle” area while cycling 56 miles, or on the run where everyone simply looks beat down… trying to muster enough strength to finish their half marathon. Knowing that I was able to overcome all of those and cross the finish line was great (plus there was free pizza and a finishers medal).

Swim

  • Today was the FIRST day of the year that I was able to wear my wetsuit. Bad sign #1. I’m slightly over exaggerating in that statement, but it would have definitely helped if I had one Sprint race under my belt this year to make sure I remember how it felt to swim while wearing a wetsuit. Having to sight in front to find which direction you should swim is tiring on your neck, even though you are more buoyant and don’t need to work as hart to stay afloat (and not drown). The first 100m I wanted to quit. I hated every minute of it. I really don’t like people swimming around me, and I knew that I had become a better swimmer over the winter and I wasn’t showing it. It took me forever to get into a groove where I could relax and effortlessly propel myself through the lake. When I finally reached the first yellow turning marker I ingested a couple of gallons of water and had to call for aid. Fortunately, I force myself to cough it all out quickly so I could return to the race (I think I only lost about 30-40 seconds). I was doing fine and feeling great up to the 1500m mark… when I caught up to a swimmer that had no idea where they were going and I had to adjust my swim stroke. Then DAMN IT, I did it again… more water down my throat. So that is TWICE that I had to get assistance on the swim which killed my time. Here is to a better swim next month.
  • Training Peaks Swim Data

Transition 1

  • I thought I would be smart in shoving my race food and gloves (it was cold) in my team cycling jersey and I would simply whip it on before the bike started. Rule #1 of racing, don’t try anything new (and bad sign #2). It was a slow transition but I knew that may happen as I had to remove a wetsuit, but I could have cut 30 seconds and just gave up on the jersey idea, especially since once I got the jersey over my head all the items that I had prep then fell out so I had to pick them up anyways.

Bike

  • I love the bike! Coach Josh’s of Speed Sherpa recommendation to keep my power output at a low and constant setting really paid off in the end as I was able to finish with an average of 20mph over 56 miles. The one thing that was mildly frustrating was during one climb where I was getting ready to pass some other racers but two pickup trucks and a box truck slipped in between. What all of us realized was the three racers in front of me could not climb. I ended up passing all three vehicles and the racers on the left because they were slowing me down. Passing people on the bike is fun, passing cars…. BONUS!
  • Training Peaks Bike Data

Transition 2

  • After what I though was a good bike split (and realizing I finally remember to use the transition button through the entire race for the first time) I was in good spirits. T2 went well in terms of trying to find my spot and quickly put on my running shoes, removing the stupid jersey, and grabbing a couple of gels for the rest of the miles.

Run

  • I was going well till about mile eight when pure fatigue starting creeping in along with my IT band issues. Oh yea… I’ve been dealing with IT Band issues for the past 10 days going to Physical Therapy five times before the race. After mile eight I had to start walking downhills as the pain of my right knee and hip were simply too unbearable. I was able to regain some ground on people as they were struggling to go uphill while I was rested, but it simply wasn’t enough as I watched three people in my age group pass me from mile 8 to the finish line.
  • Training Peaks Run Data

Post Race

Overall, I’m glad it’s over… but really happy that I finished. It was also amazing to see the onslaught of Facebook props my team provided once I returned to my truck and grabbed my phone. It would have been great to have a fellow team member race, but now I get to sit back and relax and watch some of them travel to TN while they race their Half IRONMAN in Chattanooga.

Race Results

Rankings

  • Overall: Placed 118th out of 476 (top 25% against some amazing athletes1).
  • Gender: Placed 99th out of 282 (top 35%, but still the above applies).
  • Male 40-44: Paced 9th out of 36.

Among the Male 40-44 category, I was able to be competitive, but that swim killed my rankings:

  • Swim: Ranked 17th (the difference between 6th fastest swimmer and myself was 3 minutes and 25 seconds)
  • Bike: Ranked 11th (the difference between 6th fastest cyclist and myself was 5 minutes and 12 seconds)
  • Run: Ranked 11th (the difference between 6th fastest runner and myself was 3 minutes and 4 seconds)

Oh, and pro tip… you should really really really wear sunscreen

Updated 2016-05-19 (Race Photos)

Tables

Kinetic 1.2 Mile Swim T1 56 Mile Bike T2 13.1 Mile Run Total
Goal Times2 38:00 3:00 3:17:00 3:00 1:58:00 5:59:00
Actual Times3 38:43 4:03 2:47:50 1:49 1:58:01 5:30:24

Footnotes

  1. First place finished in 4:16:20, and is the same age as me!

  2. I really had no idea what to expect. Times based on slower times compared to Smithfiled: 2:00/100m swim, 17mph ride, 9:00 minutes/mi run because of current injuries.

  3. Official Race Results available at VTS/MTS Kinetic Half Results page.