Columbia Triathlon Race Report
This was my first attempt at the Columbia and my first Olympic Length Tri. The weather couldnít have been better! I was impressed by how well the event was organized and the professional feel. One thing that really stood out in my mind was the announcer. He seemed to know everything about the event and its participants. Having the support of other MMTC people and the tent was awesome!
I got to the park around 6:00 am. This should have been enough time to get everything ready, make it over for the team picture and then float around waiting for my wave to start. However, I lost track of time and started walking over to the tent for the 6:30 club picture-- without my wetsuit. After I got there and was talking to Erics I decided that Iíd better book back to the transition area and grab my wetsuit. Once there, I realized that I needed to join Over-packers anonymous and decided to take my ďbike boxĒ and pump back to the car so I didnít take up more than my allotted real-estate at the transition area.
As I approached the car I saw a guy I recognized from the Gym, Mark, running back to his car. I asked what was up. He told me he forgot his goggles, AT HOME. I offered him the spare pair I had with me in my bike box (told you I over pack) but he decided he lives close enough and would make it to the Clydesdale start in time with the goggles he trained in.
The trip to the car, offering goggles to Mark, sopping at the porta-pot and finally talk to Bill Wheeler all took more time than I realized. I was talking to Bill when I realized that he wasnít in my age group and looked over in horror to find all the other red-caps already in the Water.
I threw down the stuff I was carrying (keys, phone) and ran down the dock pulling up my wet suit and putting on my goggles and cap as I ran. Patti Harden asked me what the heck happened. I apologized as I jumped in. Then it got crazy.
My wetsuit zipper was stuck on my jersey! I couldnít get it up or down. Finally I asked a fellow swimmer to pull it up. He couldnít so I had him just attach the Velcro. Thankfully, we waited around for a while; I donít know why I was too distracted by my wetsuit. Then Jude (my hero) Apple spotted me. I donít know how he recognized me, but I told him about my suit and he was able to fix the zipper part moments before the horn went off.
As I hit the start button on my watch, I noticed my heart-rate was high (170 bpm) I figured I was warmed up enough to swim. I hadnít spit in my goggles so visibility was only marginal but I was sticking to my strategy of staying to the right at the start and finding someone fast to draft behind. I got out in front of the pack and was pretty sure I was on course. Then, I realized that I in my haste to get in the water I hadnít pulled my swim cap down properly on my bald head. I kept checking it as I swam because I didnít want to be DQíd because my friggen hat popped off in the water! Next time Iíll just paint my scalp.
Loosing track of the guy I was drafting was a little stressful. He turned left a little to stay with the rest of the pack but I stuck to my guns and kept hanging to the right and sighting the second buoy. I never even saw the first buoy but between my wetsuit, goggles, and swim cap kept me distracted enough so I wasnít worried. By the second buoy I was pretty sure the swim cap was going to stay on and was joined by one or two more swimmers from the main pack. I was pretty sure that my spazzoid start cost me a lot of time and was pretty sure these guys were stragglers behind the pack or just lost. Then I started concentrating on my form and looked back to see the bulk of the pack. That felt really good.
The rest of the swim went without incident. It was such a novelty swimming in the lake that I breathed mostly on my right so I could look at the shore and watch people. As I approached the water exit I was almost disappointed the swim was over but not willing to slow down enough to stay in longer.
As I got out of the water I had the presence of mind to hit the lap button but too tired to focus on it. Ray mentioned feeling light headed getting out; I guess that was switching from horizontal to vertical that I never have much presence-of-mind in the first transition. Anyway, when I finally looked at my split for the swim (after getting on the bike) it was much better than I had hoped at
I was more winded than I thought Iíd be, running all the way to the other side of the transition area was pretty tiring. I did my transition exactly as my 5 daughter year old coached but sowed it down a bit because I needed to get my H/R back down. Judging from the number of bikes still on the racks I was doing pretty well.
Saw Greg he yelled at me. It helped!
I did a better time than most of my training rides, but was still getting passed by a lot of people in my age group. It was pretty disheartening.
It was a little different riding with a bunch of strangers. There was one guy who kept blocking. I donít know if he was doing it on purpose or was just oblivious. There were two or three times on Tridelphia road (past Howard Rd.) where I could have passed a small knot of bikers but this guy was in the way. Finally, there is a spot on Tridelphia Mill Rd. (near Tridelphia Lake) where I like to get as much speed as possible going down, then get up in a higher gear. Mr. Blocker didnít care about my strategy and I actually had to put on my breaks going UP! I lost my temper and yelled at him to get to the right if he wasnít passing. He did and then passed me about a miler later without fanfare. I guess thatís just part of the sport.
I was thinking about Greggs strategy of pouring it on after the Highs on the way back. I wish I had something to pour. There just wasnít anything left. I decided I need to continue my leg strength workouts longer into the season next year for those hills. I didnít have the power I did earlier in the year to hit those hills on the big ring, but my HR was good throughout so I think I spent too much time on aerobic in the last four months.
I yelled, ďGo Mid MarylandĒ, for all the MMTC jerseys I saw. I heard a few people yelling for me as well. That helped more than I thought it would.
Most the bikes were back (same ones that were there when I got out of the water). So, I had been passed a lot. Transition was quick. Time: 00:1.31.98 (thanks little coach).
I am not a fast runner. And after the swim and bike Iím even slower. One day, Iíll take that Track workout. Itís just hard to schedule around the family activities.
I had told my wife if she wanted to bring the kids that she should watch from the park off Old Annapolis Rd. That way they could see me twice, have access to a bathroom and playground and wouldnít get lost in the crowd at the main park. It was as they did, and it was good to see them another couple we are friends with (both of them avid Tennis stars and runners) joined her because by then I was really hurting! They gave me enough encouragement to keep running.
My goal was to not walk. I donít know if you would call what I did running, but it wasnít walking either.
There was some guy yelling lean forward going down the hill at the end. I did and wow, that helped! Why couldnít he have been at the start?
I smiled all the way in and got a hug from Patty H. at the end.
Total Time: 2:46:44
I am so grateful for my wifeís and kidsí support. They have are very understanding of my training schedule. I was also very grateful for having the MMTC tent manned so well. It was there when I needed it to drop my gear and get my butt in the water and when I was done and needed something to eat without waiting in the line at the top of the hill with the rest of the rabble :)
What happened with my chip???
While I was typing this up I saw that Ray Lake sent out a note that the results were up. Well, my swim time and final time is in there but not my bike, or run! Iím disappointed. But luckily I was on the ball with my watch which shows the final time within 1 second so the other two are probably pretty close. Though it would have been nice to see exactly how many people passed me on the bike.