|Herbalife Triathlon Los Angeles – Olympic Distance
Los Angeles, California
Pacific Sports LLC
80F / 27C
|Triathlon – Olympic
Total Time = 2h 12m 24s
Overall Rank = 57/660
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 2/86
Third and final leg of my three week triathlon world tour. I knew cramming in 3 races in three weeks would be tough but not being able to participate in tri’s because of not being able to run really gave me the itch to race. My coach, Brian Stover, had an idea to just rest me up for LA Tri so I would not come in to it too tired. No need to try and do some last minute training…much more valuable to have high energy levels than anything else. So this last week after Leadman, I took it pretty easy with a moderate amount of training sessions. I decided to wear the new Wattie Ink/454 Tattoo Urban Assault race kit for this race. I thought it looked really clean.
Goal for these three races was to win all three in my age group. I had success at Malibu and Leadman but there was one more to go. GREAT, now I can’t coast. Now I have to try…wonderful. This put just that little bit of pressure on this race that it is always fun to have. Kind of like betting on football to make things more “interesting”. You have a slight stake in the outcome. I was a little worried about halfway through the week as I was still tired. Matt Dixon wrote a tweet this morning that exemplifies why I was worried….”Some athletes need LOAD into a race, others need FINESSE+Sharpening. Don’t try to finesse a ‘load’ athlete. Rest early, then a little load!”….Well, I am definitely a “Load” athlete. I never perform well when I am totally rested. I like to go into races coming off fairly hard training. Problem was, if we did that, I would be too fatigued to perform well. This was definitely a balancing act between being ready to perform and just straight being too tired. I did my pre race blow out ride (about 45 minutes with roughly half at Tempo/Threshold) and felt just “ok”. Power was there, but I was definitely tired. This would kind of be the theme for race day.
I decided to use the morning shuttle as this was a point to point race and I was on my own this year. I parked down at LA Live and the shuttle took us down to the beach. Everything went really well logistically. I was on time at all points and had a very stress free morning. Plus, now my car was parked like 100 yards from the finish which was really nice after the race. Had a nice bus ride down and set up T1 in like 2 seconds. Then just stood around and chatted with all my friends.
Time came to get my suit on and head down to the water. I must say, and yes I know I’m sponsored by blueseventy and I’m not trying to make this a commercial, my freaking Helix has been through hell and back. It has a single hole near the shoulder that has been there since I first got it (got a little excited when I put it on) and has not gotten any bigger. This suit gets worn once or twice a week for the last 10 months and it is still in fantastic condition. I’ve never worn a tri wetsuit this much (I have worn surfing wetsuit until they’ve fallen apart but never a swimming wetsuit) and this is by far the best condition any suit I’ve owned has been in at the end of the year. So anyway, there you have it, go buy a Helix or you’re a jerk…that’s my commercial for blueseventy. 😉
There was tons of talk earlier in the week about some Hurricane down south that was going to deliver massive surf to the swim venue. Now, I don’t pray as I don’t believe in that stuff but I did say a few words to old Mother Nature to bring the big waves. Having grown up surfing and being in the ocean pretty much every day of my teens, big surf doesn’t bother me in the slightest and I look at it as a huge advantage over pool swimmers. So any help I can get, I’ll take. Well…Mother Nature must be on vacation or something as she didn’t bring any kind of formidable surf to contend with. There were a few sets in the 3-4′ range but nothing really tough. Ah well, that’s ok, no big deal.
I headed down to the water and did my normal beach survey. Look at the waves, buoys, currents, lifeguards, other swimmers, tide, Where the waves are breaking and not etc etc just to get a feel for how things are going out there. Once I got my lay of the land, I headed out for about a 10 minute swim. As expected, my body felt good, my energy, a little low. Once again, ok, no big deal. Headed over to the start chute and waited for the gun.
|00:22:23 | 1650 yards | 01m 22s / 100yards|
|Course:||“L” Shaped Ocean Course|
|Water temp:||67F / 19C||Current:||Low|
Lined up towards the front and made sure I found Carl Warren as he was going to be my guide. Carl swims with me at my masters group (CVMM). He is a fantastic swimmer and a long time veteran of this race…and I mean such a long time veteran that the bastard was able to snag a transition position in the VIP section…whatever!…but I digress. So my plan was stay with Carl. I knew this was going to be tough because I know Carl and I’m pretty sure, even with my great gains in swimming, could still drop me if he really wanted to. So stay with him or at least keep him in sight.
We got the 1 minute to go and a big set started to build…aaahhhh yeahhh! I’m going to get my wish! Then, the announcer says, “Looks like a big set is coming in. I’m going to go ahead and hold you guys for a minute while it passes” WHAT IN THE WIDE WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS! Carl and I just let out the biggest sigh right at the same time. So much for that. The set passed, horn blew and we dashed into the water.
I made sure to put Carl on my right as that is the side I breath on and I could keep and eye on him. He got out to a little lead but nothing not manageable. Too far out front of me to draft though so I just kept him in sight. One other guy looked like he was going to keep pace as well. No surf to contend with to the first buoy. I cut it tight and took a much more inside path than Carl and ummm, let’s just call swimmer 3. They were way outside of me but I was still keeping pace with them. Pace was very hard and I was pretty tired but I was able to sustain. Nothing got overly sore or fatigued. Sighting was very difficult with the sun. I used the pier and lifeguards to make sure I was going the right direction. Finally I was able to see the turn buoy by the pier. Carl and Swimmer 3 were just ahead…maybe 10 seconds or so. That was perfectly fine by me as I knew I could hold this pace till the end. If I was a little fresher, I definitely would have made the effort to close the gap. Who knows, swimmer 3 might be an uber biker or runner and I may need that time. But, today I was content to just keep pace. I cut the turn buoy a bit too tight and tried to swim under it but when I tried to come back to the surface, the buoy was on my head. I figured if I just kept swimming, the buoy would get pulled off by whatever anchored it…ummm…still on my head….I need air and this buoy will not get off my head…FINALLY the thing came off and I came to the surface gasping…lol…stupid buoy wanted to come with me for some reason.
On the way back, sighting was a bit easier but still couldn’t see the one and only buoy that marked the final turn to the beach. On the way back I again used the lifeguards but this time, instead of the pier which was obviously behind me, I was using the lateral distance to the beach to make sure I was swimming straight. Pre wave congestion wasn’t too bad and I only had to duck and dive around a few people. Made the final turn and was desperately looking for some wave action to ride in. Never came. I was able to catch one bit of white wash for the last few meters. As I was getting up to wade out of the water, I saw Carl running from the North to the finish chute…haha! He must have sighted the start line as the finish or just got swept up in the current. Anyway…he was right ahead of me so mission accomplished. I knew I was in third.
Nothing..swim was great and I used so much experience from Tower 26 workouts to swim straight when there was seemingly nothing to sight off of. There is always something to reference…just need to be creative sometimes.
Great Transition…suit off and stuffed it right into my transition bag and zipped it up. I don’t think I could have done better here.
|01:02:56 | 24.8 miles | 23.64 mile/hr|
|Course:||Venice to downtown LA…then the course loops back onto itself for a few miles and back to LA|
Heading for the T1 exit I see my arch nemesis Carl also running for it from his ridiculous VIP spot 😉 We ran through at the same time and mounted together. He with his shoes on and I with my shoes already clipped in. While I was getting my shoes on, he rode up and said “That didn’t take long” which we both had a laugh about. He wished me well as he knew he would be a few minutes back on his bike split and off I went.
It takes me a solid 10-15 minutes before the initial fatigue goes away and I can start ramping up the power. Actually, to be accurate, I can hold my goal watts early in the ride but I try not to push beyond that till my legs get warmed up…like for passing and going up small hills, I keep the watts the same. Once I get warmed up, then I start hammering passes and uphills at about 15-25% above my goal watts. This applies to Olympic distance and down…not so much for long course racing.
Course was surprisingly open and low on fellow racers. This was nice and made passing easy and almost an after thought. I was cruising along well and the power was “ok”. I was still a bit tired just like the swim. I knew that if I held the power I was, which was just slightly less that Malibu (like 5-10 watts) I should come in about 2-3 minutes slower than Malibu…so I was looking at about a 1:03-1:04…which I was ok with on this course. Definitely not a fast bike course by any means as it just slowly gains elevation all the way to LA.
Ride up until about mile 15 was very uneventful. Just watching power, nutrition and overall fatigue…you know, normal race stuff. Then, I had some issues to deal with. For those that don’t know, the course is point to point starting in Venice, up to downtown LA but then turns back onto itself via a U turn downtown and heads back in the direction of the beach. It does this for about 5 miles and then makes another U turn, merges you back with the outbound racers back to LA for the finish. This is where my dilemma started.
As I was on my way out on my first loop, the pros were making the turn around to head back to LA and T2. They were merging with me. I was going the same pace as the two pros that just made the turn around. Now, the pros don’t ride under the same set of rules as we do. They ride with what’s called a stagger rule. This allows them to ride side by side unlike age groupers who would be called for blocking or a position foul. They also have different drafting distances they must adhere to. So, to make a long story short, the pro in front on me was making things very difficult. For one, If I pull up alongside him, he doesn’t have to fall back like an age grouper. So if I’m going to make a pass, I have to HAUL ASS to make it, otherwise, I could get caught out there and called for a position foul. So I didn’t attempt a pass. I just stayed back 7 meters as best I could while trying to stay right. The unfortunate part of this is when we would pass other people. I would pass and slightly accelerate and he would ride his normal pace way out to the left. I would wind up catching him slightly to get around slower rides, but didn’t want to pass him on the right or come so close that I could get called for position. This was a VERY complicated ride for about 3-4 miles. I was trying to do my best to understand his rules and what he could do and my rules and what I could do. Well, in the midst of all this BS going on, a motorcycle pulls up next to me and starts writing. Ah shit, are you kidding me? So I yell out, “Did I get a penalty”…he just stares at me. I say again “Did I get a penalty”…again, he just stares. Well, it is now apparent that he’s not going to respond and I probably got a penalty for something. At the time, I didn’t know what for. My guess was position or blocking or something. Now, those that know me know that I am the cleanest rider out there. But at this particular moment in time, I had a lot to contend with. I was just trying to keep my momentum and make the cleanest passes I could while keeping the pro in my mind as well. I also know that the motorcycle was not following for very long to evaluate the situation. I saw him go by and make a u turn. Yes, I knew he was there. I honestly thought I was doing it right. In fact, I would say I was and he got it wrong. But, what can you do? It’s a judgement call on the part of the ref and he just made a bad call…IMO, obviously. What I didn’t like was not knowing what penalty I got and him not responding. I know, I know, he’s probably not allowed to respond or whatever but I think that’s a bad rule. Having a penalty changes things and changes decisions I make while racing. In my opinion that’s something you need to know on the spot so you can make adjustments. It may not be all that important from the middle of the pack and back but I can tell you when you are racing up front, it makes a huge difference.
For a few moments I was genuinely pissed off but after a few minutes it started to settle
in that there was nothing I could do and just assume you have a 2 minute penalty. Hopefully, if the ref got mad enough at me for asking him if I was penalized, they would DQ me and pull me off the course before the run…that would have been nice…lol.
Rest of the ride was again, uneventful besides the smoke coming out of my ears. Headed into downtown, dismounted and began the long run through T2.
Nothing….I don’t know what I did wrong to fix it.
Well…I haven’t made a major snafu in a triathlon since I pre clipped my bike shoes on backwards at Hermosa Day At The Beach Tri a couple years ago….until now. LA Tri T2 is a long transition that has the rows clearly marked. You don’t get to set up your transition the day before as they do it for you. So, in the heat of the moment, you have to find your bag. I don’t know what happened or what number I was looking for but I managed to run about 50 yards past my rack…LOL. I just completely lost focus and had to turn around and find my bag. Probably cost me close to 1 minute and was completely inexcusable.
|00:41:25 | 06.21 miles | 06m 40s min/mile|
|Course:||Two loops with a MONSTER hill up Grand Ave|
No idea how this was going to go. I had my first long run at Malibu two weeks ago…second long run at Leadman last week. After Leadman, my quads were so sore I could barely walk up stairs and get out of my car. When I conveyed this info to my coach he told me to take the day off from running. No need to make them work anymore than they needed to. I did do only a couple runs of about 15 and 20 minutes during the week but that was it. I also felt that at some point I have to start to build some semblance of fitness.
I wasn’t really planning on looking at my watch. There wasn’t anything I could really do if the pace was too slow anyway. What I decided on was just to concentrate on form for the whole run. Don’t worry about pace, just don’t let the form break down. The run is a two loop run with a big hill in the middle that you obviously climb twice. It’s REALLY easy to break this run into four segments. Up, down, up and down.
Took off and knew I was in first but also knew I was dealing with a 2 minute penalty in all likely hood. I had a decent pace off the bat of like 6:40 or something in that neighborhood. I was also catching a couple guys in front of me and the running felt very comfortable and in control. I caught the first guy and he joked that he liked my pace better. I was maybe running 10 seconds a mile faster so he picked it up a bit and started to run with me with the big hill looming. We caught another guy and he was unable to keep the pace but gave us some encouraging words. My run buddy and I started to joke about the hill coming up and the music absolutely BLARING at the bottom of it. So loud you couldn’t hear a train horn one foot from your ear. It was deafening. We started up the hill and he began to drop me just a bit. I knew he was kind of pushing up the hill. I just leaned forward, got real small and pumped my arms as best I could. When we crested it, he totally died and I caught back up. Again, he maintained pace. We race together for the next couple miles where I was getting a constant barrage of “Go Dusty”, “Great Job Dusty” etc etc…the guy thought this was so funny. He was like “Did you bring your whole crew out here” “Does everyone at this race know you”….I told him “Yes, I’m kind of a big deal. I have many leather bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.” He cracked up. We kept it very light…as to how I was feeling, just fine. I was able to maintain this pace without it feeling like I was going to die. I saw Carl a few minutes back but wasn’t sure if he was in 2nd or what. I also saw Tyler a few minutes back from that.
We made our way down to the turn around still running stride for stride. My only thought was on the hill. That made the mile to the hill go by very fast. Once again, we were deafened and then had to run up the hill. Again, my run buddy took the lead and pulled away like 10′ or so. I still felt pretty good but my plan was to try and up the pace just after the downhill, with about a mile to go. Then, just after the turn around, it happened….a 39year old ran by…and when I say ran by, I mean fucking ran by. See ya, adios, have a great race. There was ZERO sense in trying to keep pace because #1 I couldn’t…no way in hell and #2 He already had two minutes on me anyway because of penalty. So off he went on his way to the win running a 34:xx…haha! bastard.
I did keep to my plan and upped the pace just after the sprint down the hill and wound up dropping my buddy by a few hundred yards. The last mile hurt but at least it was just the last mile. It wasn’t the last 4 miles like Malibu. I ran basically the same pace as Malibu and was much much more comfortable doing it. I guess that means some fitness is hanging in there. I crossed the finish line and some dude working a camera asked me how I was doing…I said “Shitty”…he thanked me for my appropriate for TV response and started laughing.
Best run of the three…can’t complain.
Walked around and met up with everyone
That wraps up the three race whirl wind tour. 1-1-2…I’ll take it. After the race I waited around for results and the penalty sheet and sure enough, there I was with a 5.10f position penalty. In the grand scheme of things it didn’t make a bit of difference as I finished 2nd and even with the 2 minute penalty, I was still in second. I knew before the race that it was going to take a 2:08 to win my AG and I came up just short (2:10 + 2)because of my labored run.
I have to say that I couldn’t be happier with the end to this Tri season. Best of all, my leg (the injury) feels great. There is not even a remnant of pain or discomfort coming from that area during these last few weeks. Another big benefit is that I’m not at all burnt out. I’m excited to start really running again and build up some fitness and speed for next year.
So let’s talk about what’s up next. Had a talk with Stover and I’m going to go unstructured for about a month. Running everyday and dropping swim and bike to 2-3x a week with no more than 5 workouts total per week of both. So maybe 2 swims one week and 3 rides or vice versa or even just 2 and 2. After October I’ll go back on a structured run focus plan and I plan to run a lot and actually do a fair amount of run races over the next six months. First tri back will be in 6 months at Desert Tri and then Oceanside as my first pop at a Vegas qualifier. After Oceanside is Wildflower and I haven’t really planned beyond that right now.
Thanks everyone for following along. Over the off season I’m going to do some shorter blog posts as to just what’s going on in general and any single sport races I’ll be doing. Actually doing a swim relay this weekend with a group from CVMM. Thanks to my sponsors 101 Pipe & Casing, Kurt Orban Partners, Wattie Ink and Wins Wheels. Training partners CVMM, Tower 26 and Fortius Racing. My clubs CVTri and LA Tri.
Goal for next year is to develop a formidable run and qualify for Vegas. Pretty clear cut. I’m looking for some major improvement next year and I hope you all stay along for the ride.