Last year I had such a great time at Wisdom Oak Winery Sprint Triathlon that I decided to do it again this year in hopes to podium at least one more time this racing season. Once again, Race Director Kate Lucas did an excellent job of facilitating experienced and novice triathletes on how the course was setup and the markings to watch for while on the bike and run. There were great vibes throughout the morning as I was able to befriended a few people in and out of transition, able to watch the Olympic race participants take off at the beginning allowing me to be a spectator for a few minutes, and then at the end of the day everyone cheering on the last few to accomplish their goal of finishing a triathlon.
I’m officially a broken record, so… no news flash my swim sucks! At this point I have no idea why I’m doing this sport and I’m thinking of quiting because I’m not having fun while doing open water swims. The one fact that holds me back is the amount of time and money I have spent on this sport which used to make me happy (any business person will recognize this as ‘sunk costs’, and knows it should not be included when evaluating if something is a good idea). I’m glad we are now at the end of the year so I can meditate on what will happen next year, possibly escape… hopefully gain some perspective that won’t leave me so down while racing once the swim is completed.
Oh, my swim sucked… so excuse me while I CRUSH this bike course. I was fourth fasted cyclist of all race participants, with the only three who beat me were the top three overall winners… including the brother of a Tour de France racer. Strava has me pegged me as top fourth ever which I’ll happily take until the next faster person comes around and pushes me down the ladder. I was able to beat last years bike split by over five minutes, reminding me now why I DO enjoy this sport. This year’s cycling training has definitely improved my splits and am very grateful of Josh and his coaching.
I felt great coming off the bike and thought I had a great strategy of being strong, yet reserved for the first half of the run and then letting gravity take over on the downhill as the route is a simple “out-and-back”. It appears I had the same strategy last year and when I compare between last year and this year’s efforts I was 25 seconds slower according to the race times (although Strava says I was 14 seconds faster, so I’m confused). This run is a crushing route where the first 1.25 miles is essentially uphill at varying degrees of incline. After you are exhausted from running up you get a mild breather of flat roads for a half of mile, and then you get to take advantage of going down hill… but at the expense of your knees as each pounding step shakes your entire body.
The last race (Culpeper Sprint) I gave VTS/MTS kudos for offering out bottles of wine for their podium finishers. I’ll just pretend that Charlottesville Multisports has been reading my race reports and decided that bottles of Wisdom Oak Winery would be an excellent addition to their winners… and it is! I was able to bring home a bottle of Cloché, a “Crisp and refreshing with subtle notes of citrus, lemon and florals. A wonderful blend of Estate Grown Chardonnay, Traminette and Vidal Blanc”.
I know I shouldn’t beat myself up as I improved on T1, the bike, and T2 when compared to last year… while only being 25 seconds slower (which is debatable) on the run. It’s the swim that irritates me so much as I’ve been working on this portion all year without much success except on a few occasions. As I mentioned before, I’m glad the race season is over so I can switch things around and focus on other sports (lifting and/or TKD with my youngest).
Among the Male 40-44 category there were 5 athletes.
|WOW Sprint||750m Swim||T1||16.6 Mile Bike||T2||5k Run||Total|
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.
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.
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.
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!
Among the Male 40-44 category there were 21 athletes (excluding the one in my age group that was in the overall winners category)
|Culpeper Sprint||750m Swim||T1||16.9 Mile Bike||T2||5k Run||Total|
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. ↩
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.
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:
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).
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.
Among the Male 40-44 category there were 23 athletes (excluding the Overall winners)
|Colonial Sprint||750m Swim||T1||14 Mile Bike||T2||5k Run||Total|
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. ↩
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. ↩
“‘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 ↩
Goal Times were based on: 2:36 /100m swim (based on Jamestown horrible performance, then minus 20s /100m), 21mph ride, 7:21 /mi run. ↩
With two minute penalty. ↩
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 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.
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.
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).
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!
Among the Male 40-44 category there were 26 athletes
|Jamestown||1500m Swim||T1||40k Bike||T2||10k Run||Total|
Dear race volunteer, I will not slow down on the turns… it’s a race! ↩
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). ↩