|Desert International Triathlon
La Quinta, California
Klein | Clark Sports
75F / 24C
|Triathlon – Olympic
Total Time = 1h 56m 34s
Overall Rank = 21/755
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 2/65
First race of the year here in SoCal. Always fun and the Age Group ranks are always competitive because everyone is freaking out that they haven’t raced in 3 months!! So you get a ton of fast racers that always make the journey to the desert. The pro ranks aren’t all that stacked but the Age Groupers are some of the best.
Made the drive up on Saturday afternoon fairly late. I’d have to pick up my packet race morning as the traffic was terrible. When I arrived, I met up with my girlfriend Karin’s friend Will Geiger from Chicago. He was out for his company’s conference and decided to do the race. I had an extra bike for him, so we hooked up and got him situated on it. At the same time I noticed that my front tire was flat. No biggie, I brought everything I needed to change it, including extra wheels for varying conditions. When I took the tire off, I noticed the rim tape was mangled. I didn’t have another one and didn’t want to take the time to tape it. Luckily, I had a back up Jet 9, so I just swapped them out. It even had the same tire/tube combo. The only downside was that the stickers on the front and back wheel didn’t match. Those that know me, know that kills me. But, from a performance standpoint, identical.
Had dinner that night with teammate Larry OShea, his wife and a couple friends there at the resort. Got to bed early and actually slept very well. I’ve been getting up naturally pretty early lately so race morning was no big deal. Had a small breakfast, nothing really besides a Picky Bar and Orange Juice, and headed to the race site. Got my packet and handled all prerace mumbo jumbo. Met up with Will and got him squared away and then just spent the morning catching up with the TONS of friends that came out to race. I love this race for that very fact. The entire tri community shows up and it’s so much fun.
After an hour or so of messing around, I got my wetsuit on and headed to the water.
They do allow swim warm up but monkeying around in transition got me down there with only enough time for maybe a hundred yards of warmup. Big mistake. I should have been in there for at least ten minutes…Next race I’ll make sure I plan better. Got out and headed to the start, I was the third wave.
|00:17:33 | 1360 yards | 01m 17s / 100yards|
|Course:||Lake course, just an out and back simple course.|
Lined up in the front as I was fairly confident I would at the minimum be in the top 3 or 4 out of the water. The countdown started and I got a great start….ran as far as I could and in for the first dive…POOF, goggles around my neck…ummm…ok…LOL. This race is NOT starting well. I thought for a second, should I stop and put them back on or just pull them around my neck. I thought, well, I’ve seen some pros toss goggles during the swim, maybe it’s not THAT bad. So I decided to pull them around my neck and see how it went. It wasn’t bad at all. In fact, it was perfectly fine. After like 50 yards, I was totally comfortable. So, at least I know I can do a lake swim without goggles…learn something new everyday.
Ok, back to the actual swim. The swim course was new this year. We swam about 50 yards to a small buoy and made a right, then it was just a big out and back. I stayed close to the buoy line while the couple of guys keeping pace swam about 25 yards to my right more towards the shore. I figured, I was going a little, tiny bit faster so I’m not going to join them and let them draft. If they had been creeping by me, I would have made a move to get closer and use them to drag me around.
First hundred or so yards was pretty hard since I could see I was in the lead and wanted to create some separation. This is where I could have used the extra warm up. I fatigued pretty hard and had to slow down to a pace I didn’t like. I wasn’t able to get it going again till about halfway. More warm up would have eliminated the need to slow down to a pace slower than I wanted to maintain throughout the swim. Lesson learned.
Rest of the swim was uneventful after I made the turn around. I didn’t see any grey caps around me and knew I was leading. By how much, I wasn’t sure. Came out of the water strong and looked down to see 17:xx and was not happy. I should have been about :30-1:00 faster but goggles and lack of warm up, both my fault, probably did slow me down a bit. No sense worrying about it now, let’s get moving to the bike…I’ll worry about it on Monday.
Warm up better.
I wrote a blog post specifically about this transition. It was one of my fastest to date and the reason I ended up on the podium. Suit came off quick and helmet on fast and I was off…no screwing around. I also got my first glimpse of Jan Maynard…who ended up winning. We exchanged pleasantries in T2 as he commented on my good swim, I returned the compliment as well…ok, can’t talk…gotta go..you look fast…lol 😉
|00:58:34 | 24 miles | 24.59 mile/hr|
|Course:||As FLAT as you can get…two loop square.|
I was a little worried that I hadn’t ran and jumped on a bike in a few months but it all came back no problem. I was a little disappointed I didn’t have time to get my new Scott Plasma built up to race but the Shiv was comfortable and familiar and I decided not to press the issue and just ride it for this opener.
This course is about as flat as you could possibly make it. It makes for a fast course but it also makes it tough for those of us that don’t live in flat areas and have weather good enough where you don’t really ride the trainer. The constant power is a tough thing to maintain. You get used to the mini breaks on rolling or hilly terrain. Right out of the gate, the power was low…two reasons..One, I just swam .75 of a mile and two, it’s a slight downhill till the two loop square starts. Since the power wasn’t there right away, I decided to just not force it and use the slight downhill as a time to warm up. Slowly but surely the legs started to feel a little better and the power finally came up to a semi acceptable level.
On the second lap, traffic gets really bad. I saw Larry at one point and passed him but then he immediately passed me back. I made SURE to stay out of his draft zone, like an extra couple meters, because we are in the same kit and folks look more critically at teammates when they are in close proximity. I made it so there was no mistaking that I was not using him to get around. Even though at 12-15 meters, there still is a draft benefit.
Made the turn for home and some quick calculations had me easily going under 1 hour so I dialed it back a bit to get ready for my toughest segment, the run. No one passed me on the bike so I was confident I was still in first….actually Larry passed me I guess…but he’s an old geezer at 50 :0
Let’s hope I put in enough time to hold off the runners I knew were there.
Another great transition. I decided to go with socks because of my limited run volume and not being able to train sockless as of late.
Nothing…it will be even faster when I start running without socks.
|00:38:24 | 05.8 miles | 06m 37s min/mile|
|Course:||Two loop flat, off road (mostly) run around the lake.|
So here we go. My worst leg and always the toughest segment for me. Stress fracture symptoms had returned about 3 months ago so I decided to make the journey to Chicago and go see Dr Philip Skiba. I was done messing around and went to his new Endurance Sports Clinic to seek advice from the very best. Long story short, I’ve been able to get a handle on things, also with the help of Blair Ferguson of Ventura Training & Athletics, and am now running pain free and just starting to get the mileage to where it needs to be.
Took off and did have somewhat of a goal of going under 40 minutes for 5.8 miles…which is just under 7:00min pace. I thought this was realistic and would at least keep me in the hunt for a podium. I started off running next to this dude and I asked, “what’s your goal time?” He said, 43…yeah, that’s not gonna work, I gotta go..lol. About 1/4 mile in, Jan passed me. I saw the 35 on his leg and with how he passed me, I knew there was no chance. I mean, I might as well have been walking. Then I was quickly passed by teammate and good friend James Adams. He too is an absolutely amazing runner and he sprinted by like I was a little girl.
After that, I had kind of found my little group. Pace was clicking off at ~6:40’s and that was just spectacular. I wasn’t in any pain other than the fact that I was pushing a solid hard pace for me. So I just kept going. On the second loop I passed a few friends and that was nice. I ran with Stephanie Pacitto who I know from the tri community and she was doing a great job keeping pace. For the most part, I had a running buddy that was pretty much there the whole time but he was a 30yo so I didn’t mind as I had 3 minutes on him. He was great though and we went back and forth a few times and he sure helped keep the pace up.
Really really happy with my run even though it is considerably slower than my peers. But, I’m pain free and now can try and actually build some mileage to get some better run fitness going.
Just run more in training…it will come
Hung out and talked with everyone after the race…really great time.
Run training and injuries…hopefully, they are all sorted out now.
So after the race, I looked at the results and saw that I beat Joby Gutierrez and Jeffrey Ku, both significantly better runners, by seconds that I made up in transition. Whew! 2-4 only separated by like 30 seconds.
Very happy with this season opener. Lots to improve on and stoked on where my swim/bike combo fitness is at this early. Goal for this year is Vegas. Might have an outside shot at a spot at Oceanside but my real opportunity will probably come at Boise. Oside tends to attract a really fast field.
I’d like to thank all my sponsors Wattie Ink, blueseventy, Scott, Power Bar, KSwiss, Kask and Wins Wheels. My corporate sponsors 101 Pipe and Casing, Inc & Kurt Orban Partners. I’d also like to thank my teammates of the Wattie Ink Elite team who absolutely cleaned up at this race. Special Thanks to Tyler Olson for the great photography!
MORE Special thanks to my girlfriend Karin Langer for re-inspiring me to get back after it this year. After a little bit of burnout at the end of last year’s season, she has really become a light in my life and I can’t thank her enough. Love you Bunny!!!