|Wildflower Triathlon – Long Course
Lake San Antonio, California
65F / 18C
|Triathlon – 1/2 Ironman
Total Time = 5h 10m 5s
Overall Rank = 111/1813
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 18/226
Headed up to Lake San Antonio Friday about mid morning for this spectacular race. We stayed with our good friends in a house they had rented last year. Just minutes from the lake and a stones throw from the new market.
It was a prime spot and a beautiful house. There were about 10 of us the first night and some more joined the second night. Pretty much 90% of the people in the house were racing one of the events this weekend. We headed down to packet pick up Friday afternoon and also went for a short swim.
Water was perfect and the weather was good but a little windy. Everyone was hoping that would settle down by the next day…which the weather forecast was saying. Headed back to the house for a great dinner and off to bed. Staying so close to the event, it wasn’t even that early of a morning.
We got down to the race at about 6:30 or so and rode the bikes down to transition. Everything is so big and wide open at this race, there isn’t much setting up to do. You have plenty of room on the racks and they are all numbered so there is no rush to find a good spot. I took my time setting up and walked around transition looking for people I knew. I also kept popping out to say hi to my friends and Ashley who were with me. It was a VERY relaxed pre race. I finally put on my wetsuit and headed to the water.
The goal for this race was to execute the swim and bike to the best of my ability planning on
having a good run…even though I knew I wouldn’t. The plan was not to crush the swim and bike and walk the run. As most know, I am coming off a nasty and annoying stomach injury from running that has really hurt my run training. My longest run was just a few days prior to the race at 6 miles. That has been built up from literally 1-2 mile runs over the last month or so. So while my swim and bike fitness are good…my run fitness is nonexistent. My coach Brian Stover and I felt that if I could pace the swim and bike well, I would be able to at least jog the run. So that was the plan. This was my first 70.3 distance and my personal goal was to just stick to the plan and let the chips fall were they may.
Not much of a warm up here. I was ready to go. I had rehearsed everything a million times and knew exactly what needed to be done. After the wave in front of us left, we had a chance to get in. I was one of the last in and last out and by the time I was out, we had 10 seconds to the gun. I lined up right behind my friend and swim coach from CVMM Jason Braun and the horn sounded and we were off.
Swim started off a little rough. Nothing to complain about but one guy kept trying to grab my feet and another guy and I were fighting for arm space. We hit arms like 5 times in a row…lol. By the first buoy though, everything was calm and just time to put the head down and swim. I found a guy swimming the same pace off to my right. I stayed next to him for a few strokes when I though, what am I doing? If I just fall back one stroke, I can sit right in his draft. I fell back and fell right into his draft. It was great…he was just pulling me along for quit a while.
My goal for the swim was very simple. Nice smooth pace to get me out of the water in ~30 minutes plus or minus. However, I was going to go all by feel and never really exert myself too much. By the turn around I was feeling really good and I decided that whatever pace I was swimming was feeling great and fast enough. The biggest thing I fight in these length swims is boredom. I just get really bored not being able to see much and being very confined in your little space for a pretty long time.
On the way back, the chop picked up just a little. It was back into the wind but it wasn’t bad at all…oh, and the water temp was absolutely perfect for a wetsuit. Totally comfortable the whole swim. I reeled myself in about three times when the finish got into sight. I felt so good, I would start speeding up and I kept telling myself that a smooth, even pace would be better and pulled it back to my comfort zone. Came out of the water like I just swam an easy 100 yards. Felt great and headed up the ramp to T1. Mission 1 accomplished.
Nothing…this was spot on.
|00:29:02 | 2112 yards | 01m 22s / 100yards|
|Course:||Lake San Antonia Swim. Rectangle course with timing mats at entry and exit of swim.|
|Water temp:||65F / 18C||Current:||Low|
8th fastest T1 in class…took my time also…I was just methodical and deliberate and didn’t rush anything.
Leaving T1 I looked up at the race clock that read 1:00:xx…so I knew I had a good swim. I took off 30 minutes back and knew if I was leaving T1 in 30 minutes, I came in well under…so that was a great boost.
Goal for the bike was 230watts. Keep the long hills below 275 and the short ones below 295. Nutrition was all planned out so I headed out to Beach Hill. Getting on the bike and all settled was pretty uneventful. I hit Beach and had to keep reminding myself…watch your power! Every time someone would pass, I would look down and see 300 or so. I had to bring it down. I passed a ton of people on the way up but was also passed a lot as well. I just kept my power in the right range and plodded along. Got to the top and I think I got everyone that passed me back by the time we exited the park. I take pride in my set up and don’t think I leave a lot out there for others to capitalize on as far as aerodynamics and it shows. Going down really fast hills where you are no longer pedaling, I was blowing by people. Felt good.
Got out onto the first main road and just settled in and maintained my power. Average was high at that point because of the hill, but slowly came down to the right spot after some of the downhills. There were a lot of people on the course at this time. Got to the Olympic turn around and this is were the wind started to pick up. Dead straight headwind. Wasn’t too bad, but definitely not something you would want to ride all day. It was also just enough to make some of the descents a little sketchy with the deep front Jet9.
Made it to the first right at Jolon Rd and was glad to get out of the headwind…or so I thought. The wind now was a perfect crosswind. Much MUCH more problematic. First off, it was playing havoc with my front wheel. The disc was doing good however and as most know, discs actually help in winds not hurt. It wasn’t so bad though that it was making me slow down. I was still able to keep the speeds up. It was also blowing my aero helmet sideways and that was causing fatigue in my neck. The road also goes to complete shit at this point and you just feel like your bike is going to fall apart.
It was nice to finally make it to about mile 26 where the course finally heads downhill for a substantial amount of time. I was cruising along at about 220-230watts and my legs were starting to feel pretty good. Up until that point, they felt a little fatigued…but they were starting to come around. At this point, I had forced some food and Gatorade down, but didn’t really fell like I needed it…so I stopped and just went by how I was feeling.
Made the second right and really started feeling good at this point. It’s a gradual uphill all the way to Nasty Grade, but with the now tailwind, I was on the GAS. Legs felt great, 230watts was no problem and I averaged 26.7mph through miles 37-41…and passed a lot of people. Made the left and headed up Nasty Grade. Being from the area I am with the Santa Monica Mountains hosting almost all my training rides, Nasty Grade really is not that intimidating. As long as I kept my head, and watched my power, I knew it wouldn’t be a problem. It wasn’t. I cruised up it and the only real “issue”, if you can call it that, was that the tailwind was making the air very stagnant on the way up…which means it got a little hot since no air was moving. Simply grabbed a water from the aid station and cooled off and kept going. Got passed by a couple guys on the way up that I quickly passed back and dropped on the way down. I guess people like to be hero’s on the hills.
Had to stay on the bull horns on the way down the fast descent after the climbs. It was just too windy and the front wheel was too squirrelly to take a chance. I got back on the power feeling really good with about 8 miles left and brought it home for a great bike split. I think I did a great job of watching myself when I thought I could go harder and bringing it back to make sure I didn’t pay dearly later. With the level of competition and difficulty of this course, I’m really happy with this split. To even be in the same zip code as guys like Tim Hola and company is an accomplishment in itself…and to only be a few minutes off their pace for this split was very encouraging.
Here is the data
Entire workout (214 watts):
Duration: 2:46:05 (2:46:17)
Work: 2119 kJ
TSS: 184.2 (intensity factor 0.819)
Norm Power: 227
Distance: 55.039 mi
Elevation Gain: 3358 ft
Elevation Loss: 3354 ft
Grade: 0.0 % (3 ft)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 623 214 watts
Cadence: 20 116 83 rpm
|02:45:45 | 56 miles | 20.27 mile/hr|
|Wind:||Strong with gusts|
|Course:||Wildflower….what can you say…lol|
|Race pace:||Comfortable||Drinks:||Just right|
18th fastest T2..not my best but wasn’t really trying to go fast. I actually stopped and reset my Garmin so I had clear info on the run. I was fine giving up 10-20 seconds here to be smooth and leave knowing I had everything..etc.
Back in March I attended a training camp here at Wildflower but because I was still not running much at that point, I wasn’t able to prerun the run course. HOLY SHIT…are you kidding me. This was the hardest run course I had ever been on…lol.
Ok, first, goal was to finish the run…lol. Not much I could really do beyond that. I mean, as I mentioned before, I had very little run fitness going into this race. Everything after mile 6 was going to be uncharted territory. I knew I had to keep things very mellow the first 5 miles while the course headed uphill…after that, just go by feel.
I headed out and clicked off two 8 minute miles that felt VERY slow. I did have a pain in my back right away that was very concerning. Not sharp, just sore, but worrisome. I knew that most of the problems that might arise would come from the support muscles like the lower back that just don’t have the miles in them. Pace was good though and I came to mile 3 which had one gradual uphill in it and I thought, this isn’t that bad.
Then came mile 4 and 5. This was the worst point in my life thus far…lol. This is where the course turns into a fricken mountain climb. Straight up for what seemed like FOREVER. I had to walk…and the good news was that some of the runners coming by were walking too. Thumbs up to that! These were also good runners, I mean starting off the run I was somewhere near the top ten…probably well inside…and these guys were walking too. That made me feel a little better. Finally crested mile 5 and headed down hill and back into the park.
At this point, I was starting to feel better. Pain in the back was gone and I was just trying to moderate effort at this time to make sure I got all the way through this. Sometimes because we swim bike and run so much that miles seem shorter than they are. How many times have you said to yourself, ok, it’s only 3 mile or whatever…I can pick it up. The problem is, 3-4-5 miles is a long way…especially at the tail end of a 5 hour race. So I stayed within myself, making sure to get some water and Gatorade at each aid station and sometimes walk the stations and steeper hills.
Although I have never run the course, I studied the profile and talked to tons of people about the course. So I knew where the uphills and downhills were and basically how to get around the course. At mile 9 I headed into the pit. What a cruel joke this is. This is the only time I wanted the downhill to STOP…because for every step you run down, there is an equal one that has to come back up. Made the turn around at the bottom and struggled back up the hill. It was painful for sure. Finally made it to mile 11 and I knew it was time to pick up the pace. All I had was one mile to go because mile 12 is all downhill. I was running with this one guy for most of the race..back and forth we went and we were encouraging each other. He also picked it up for mile 11 and I think we ran a pretty good mile. At this point my Garmin had lost reception at some point so the mile laps were off but I still had the overall time that I just corresponded to the mile markers.
Heading down Lynch Rd is one of the best feelings I have ever had. I still had enough gas to hold a great pace down the hill and I finished strong on my own through the chute. I was pretty happy to be done. I was very happy to see Ashley at the finish line. Everything was good.
Maybe do some run training 😉
|01:51:12 | 13.1 miles | 08m 29s min/mile|
|Course:||Yeah, toughest run course I’ve ever been on.|
|Keeping cool||Good||Drinking||Just right|
I felt really good after the race. I just paused and caught my breath and reunited with my friends.
Obviously some run fitness.
I don’t think I could have executed much better. All my times were on the right side of my goals and I was able to complete the run injury free.
Let me also say what an experience it was to complete this race. It was the longest race for me to date and I absolutely loved the distance. This really is an unbelievable sport and I’m really stoked I’m starting to make some friends in transition and become a part of it. I’m also really excited to get back at it and see what I can do at Hawaii 70.3. If it doesn’t go as well, that’s ok too…because I know that no matter what, I’m going to have a good time and a few stories.
Thanks to everyone who has helped me get this far…too many to list but you know who you are.