Santa Barbara Triathlon 2011 Race Report

Santa Barbara Triathlon
2011-08-27
Santa Barbara, California
United States
75F / 24C
Sunny
TriathlonLong Course
Total Time = 3h 12m 58s
Overall Rank = 15/603
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 4/69
Pre-race routine:

This race is one of my personal favorites. It’s an awesome, unconventional distance that I feel would really do well if it were more popular. It’s a little more than an Olympic distance and a little less than a Half Ironman. Really a great test of endurance and speed.

Ashley and I headed up to Santa Barbara on Friday afternoon. We stay at the hotel directly across the street from the race which makes things soooo simple. I can literally look outside my window and see what is going on at transition. I went for a quick 10 minute run on Friday afternoon before meeting up with the Fortius Racing crew for a nice pasta dinner. I was in bed fairly early but got a crappy night sleep. Up around 5 am, the plan was to take my bike down to transition and claim my spot, and then head back to the room to relax and eat breakfast. I headed down and the transition police wouldn’t let me in without my helmet. This is the second time this year that I have been denied access to transition because I didn’t have a helmet with me…for the life of me I can not figure out why they have this rule. I mean, if you don’t have a helmet, isn’t that going to be VERY obvious when you ride off on your bike? Anyway, I convinced him I was just dropping off my bike and I would return with my gear. He eventually caved. I headed back to the room and ate my standard breakfast that I brought with me and rested for a little bit before heading back down and setting up.

Got back to my bike and heard the 15 minute warning, which was fine. I can set up in a couple minutes, if that, and get out of transition. I got my suit on and headed to the water. Met up with tons of people I know and finally found Ashley before getting in a quick swim.

Goals for this race were high for me. Actually, let me rephrase that…Goals were set to be attainable given a standard race. ie, nothing exceptional, nothing disastrous and I should be able to achieve my goals. I set all my goals this way. They are the minimum I expect given my training feedback and perceived fitness levels. My expectations, however, of how well my race was going to go were very high. I was well rested and I have never felt better before a race. Maybe too rested? Well see….

 

Event warmup:

Warm up, as always, simply consisted of a quick swim out to the first buoy to get acclimated to the water. The water was fairly warm for Santa Barbara, so that didn’t take long at all. I just cruised out and back and felt fine. I got back to the line to see a huge age group. I walked to the front of the line and settled in and made a few jokes with the other competitors. Before I knew it…we were off.

   Swim

 

Comments:

Lining up for swim start

This portion of beach up in Santa Barbara really doesn’t have any surf. It also gets deep fairly fast. So once you are in the water, you are pretty much swimming right away. I immediately saw a guy off to my right that seemed to be keeping up with me pretty good as we raced to the first buoy. I lined up on the right hand side as the first turn was a right hand turn. That means the shortest distance to the buoy. Problem is that I breath to my right. So I didn’t see what was going on to my left. As we came to the first buoy, I got clobbered by two dudes who were right on my left. One guy decided to sit on my feet around the buoy. He would not get off. He just sat there and I dragged him around. Now, people do stupid stuff to get an advantage, the problem with this move was that this moron was holding himself up as well as he sat on my legs and feet. I got about two strokes around the buoy and said to myself, “this guy has three seconds to get off me”…I slowly counted and he didn’t move…when I reached 3, I let him have it. I gave him the 50 yard sprint kick. That got him off.

The START!

After that, I slowed the pace to my mile race pace and just put my head down and got on with it. I found a couple feet along the way but didn’t have much luck drafting. Swim stroke felt just ok. I was comfortable with my pace but could tell that I would fatigue if I tried to pick it up. I could see a few guys from my AG getting away, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I’d have to “hopefully” make it up on the bike.

I made the turn around and that sent us straight back into the sun. I couldn’t see shit. For a little bit, I started relying on other swimmers to show me the way…which works if you just want to go a general direction…but doesn’t work well if you want the straightest line to the next buoy. I started to get my bearings however, and spotted the next buoy. I could see people swimming like 25 yards to my right and gambled that I was right and they were wrong and swimming too far outside the buoy line. Turns out, I was right and swam straight to the last turn buoy and headed in.

The swim was just ok. Time was solid, but the feeling I had doing it was just blah. When I came in, the clock could have read 2 minutes slower and I would have believed it. Just no snap…no spark…that’s ok…lots of racing left.

 

What would you do differently?:

Nothing that I can think of.

Swimming
00:25:22 | 1760 yards | 01m 26s / 100yards
Age Group: 5/69
Overall: 24/603
Performance: Good
Suit: blueseventy Helix
T1

 

Comments:

Nice Cap Hair!

Transition went smoothly even though I added putting my watch on in T1 and I also put my race belt on as well per the new rule at this race. I still had a very fast transition and this made my T2 pretty fast as well.

 

What would you do differently?:

Nothing

   Bike

 

Comments:

New Shiv’s debut in a triathlon. She was so excited to be there. How do I know that? Because my Shiv and I have an intimate relationship…it’s weird but I love her. 😉

Getting Going....

Anyway, got aboard, incident free, got up to speed and strapped in. Immediately, I felt flat. Ok, not uncommon in the very first part of the bike to be a little tight. Thought it would loosen up a bit as we got going. 5miles in, 10 miles in, 15 miles in….not getting better. I can’t hold my watts. Rut roh…at about 15 Miles in, I decided to abandon my watts target and ride by RPE. One of my goals I didn’t mention above was by all means necessary, have a good run. I wanted to run well no matter what. So, I decided to protect that goal and back the watts down. What actually ended up happening was lower watts on the flats, slight inclines and slight declines, and solid watts on the three climbs. It gave me a high variable intensity, but it was what it was. I had to do something and adapt to how I felt, and this was it.

Before the race, I had a conversation with my coach Brian about nutrition. As most know, I am really on the minimal side when it comes to nutrition. I take in a lot less than most. I wanted to run a single aero bottle and no bottle between the bars. It would have been plenty but Brian warned me about something I didn’t think about….what if you lose that bottle? Then you are screwed. This was double true because at the bottle exchange, I wouldn’t be able to exchange because my cage wouldn’t fit a round bottle. So, I decided to run two bottles. Well, at about mile 10 or so on the first steep bumpy descent, poof, my aero bottle is gone. Must have popped out even with it velcro’d in. I would normally be bummed about this, but I laughed because of the conversation I had with Brian. I knew I’d have to come back and say, “you were right”….;)

I made the bottle exchange and nutrition was going just fine. I ate one Gu on the bike and that seemed to be enough. At about 20 miles in, I started to feel better. That’s also when the course heads mostly downhill…coincidence? I think not. I was able to hold good watts on the slight declines but knew I had one last climb left in Toro Cyn. This is a short but rather steep climb at about mile 26 or something. I had passed two guys in my AG early in the race and had been passed at this point by two guys as well. Then on Toro, I was passed by another. I figured I was in 4th or 5th.

Coming back in...no bottle

The guy that passed me up Toro, I was able to get back on the faster downhill section back to the beach. He came in just behind me in transition and his buddy told him he was in 4th…so I figured I was in third.

As with the swim, the ride was blah. I couldn’t produce the power I wanted but the time was still ok. I made my time goal just wish I felt better doing it.

 

What would you do differently?:

Maybe ride more leading up to the race. I basically didn’t ride for 3 days before the race. Might have been too much rest.

Biking
01:35:16 | 34 miles | 21.41 mile/hr
Age Group: 5/69
Overall: 22/603
Performance: Average
Wind: None
Course: ~2200′ of elevation gain with three short but steep climbs on the course. Descents are often really bumpy.
T2

 

Comments:

Helmet off...time to go

Great T2. As I mentioned, I put my running watch on in T1 and race belt so T2 was so simple. Drop the helmet, shoes on, grab visor and go. 2nd fastest T2 in AG and fastest of the top 10 guys.

 

What would you do differently?:

Nothing

   Run

 

Comments:

The most important part of the day for me was this run. I have been FINALLY able to get in some solid run training blocks and my run has been steadily improving. I need A LOT more to get my run in line with my swim and bike. It is still way behind.

I took off and had my Garmin already on since T1. The reason I wanted my run Garmin on is that it gives me constant pace feedback. I don’t have to wait till each mile to see what pace I’m running. Plan was to take it easy on the way out and push it on the way back. I know this run course really well and this is far and away the best strategy. Timewise, I would like to run sub 70 minutes…which is sub 7 minute pace.

I took off and immediately started running too fast. Can you blame me, there was a dude in my AG right behind me. I looked down and saw 6:20 pace…yeah, that’s not gonna work. I need to be high 6’s on the first 2 1/2 flat miles and low 7’s on the uphills leading to the turnaround. So I slowed and brought the pace to 6:45’ish. One thing I NEVER do in a race is look back. I fully expect to get passed on the run…happens all the time, well, through two miles (6:42 and 6:48) I wasn’t passed and was catching one of the female elites from a prior wave. This was good.

I caught this girl and ran by her pretty good. My legs were starting to come around off the bike and turn into running legs. My next mile was 7:14, this is half flat and half uphill. Then the fourth mile was 7:29…all uphill and that was to be expected. Still no one passed and I was gaining on the guys ahead of me although they were up the road a ways. I was taking in water and energy was good. At this point, the goal and thoughts were just about getting to the turnaround. I was passed at about mile 4.5 by a 21yo and a relay…wonderful..they can go. I made the turnaround and was headed back.

At this point, the guy in transition had caught me and we were running side by side and exchanging some words. My effort wasn’t real high at this point yet as I planned on turning it up on the way back. Problem was, now I was running with someone in my AG. This changes things. This is now for a spot. If I go too early and he goes with me, I may not be able to fight him off at the end. I had to plan this carefully and judge his pain level.

I ran with him for about a mile on the way back. That mile was 7:15, again, half uphill and half down…now I was going to have to go. I waited till after the bridge and some narrow sidewalk where we were single file and not side by side…so my surge wasn’t so apparent and I would just slowly pull away. I picked up the pace very slightly to see what he did. I couldn’t hear his feet…that’s when I went…knowing some solid downhills were coming. Mile 6 6:58, Mile 7 6:46…looking good but this is when it started to hurt. Mile 8 6:51 and now the course flattens out and it is a very very slight incline coming home. I really pushed the effort now and that translated into Mile 9 6:58 and Mile 10 6:45. The last mile I was trying so hard to catch the two guys ahead of me. People were cheering for me but there were no thumbs up or waves coming at this point…I was giving it all I had. I caught the guy in front of me with about 1/4 mile to go but saw his age and it was not for a spot. The guy in front of him was for a spot, but I ran out of real estate.

Finish

This run was solid. Obviously my runs needs a ton of work but I made good decisions and really paced it well. I am extremely happy with this portion of the race.

 

What would you do differently?:

Nothing.

Running
01:09:32 | 10 miles | 06m 57s  min/mile
Age Group: 8/69
Overall: 38/603
Performance: Good
Course: Out and back with about 350′ of gain on the way out.
Post race

 

Warm down:

Nothing

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not sure. Could I have gone faster…yes, I think so. I think I left about 2-3 minutes out there on the bike. Finding that time my be a mystery for now, but I will. Maybe try a few things different prerace and see if that helps.

Event comments:

This was a “good” race. I made good decisions and did the best I could with the hand I was dealt this day. I felt I could have done better. But you know what, there will be other races. When that perfect race comes…it will be so sweet.

Next up is Malibu Tri and then off to Phoenix for Soma triathlon. That will be it for tri’s till next year. After Soma, it will be time to learn how to run and focus on that in the off season.

As always, I have to thank everyone that makes this possible. My sponsors, 101 Pipe & Casing, Kurt Orban Partners, K Swiss, and Wins Wheels. Also my training groups, Conejo Valley Multisport Masters, Fortius Racing, Conejo Valley Tri Club and LA Tri Club. My coach Brian Stover who earned his paycheck this week with some invaluable advice. Ashley as always, who is the best girlfriend in the world.

About Dusty Nabor

I'm an Age Group triathlete out of Southern California...
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3 Responses to Santa Barbara Triathlon 2011 Race Report

  1. Cody says:

    Always love your RR’s Dusty – Great Job Out There!

  2. Elliot says:

    Great race Dusty!

  3. brianestover says:

    I LOVE your Shiv also!

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