65F / 18C
|Total Time = 4h 42m 5s
Overall Rank = 117/2200
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 12/257
Entering the athlete meeting at Windsor High School, the first thing the MC did was congratulate all participants on their computer skills as this race sold out last year in 8 minutes. They do however maintain a wait list that does a great job of getting folks a spot who aren’t as organized or savvy on the inter-googles. I spectated this race last year and knew from the get go that it was a race I wanted to participate in. Great venue and just a wonderful reason to visit the Napa Valley, although none of the race takes place in Napa or Napa Valley…but close enough.
Decided to fly up on Thursday with Karin, who wasn’t racing as she had no idea she would be going to the event back in November, and Tyler Olson, who did a wonderful job of locating and arranging our rental house. Most of the lead up to the race went smoothly with all luggage and bikes making the journey unscathed. We eventually met up with all our roommates, Jason Braun, Amy Watson, Erin Maruoka, and Courtney Haile. Had a few easy workouts in the couple days prior and everything went as well as it could.
The only wrench thrown into the works was my bike crash the Sunday preceding. I went down pretty good and almost died as a Suburban just barely missed me at about 60mph. The tire actually grazed my back leaving a cool tire mark and popping a Power Bar Gel I had in my back pocket. Luckily, I wasn’t injured. Just lots of blood and road rash…I even finished out the remainder of my ride taking a slightly shorter route home. Even though I wasn’t really injured, the road rash made for a less than stellar lead up into the race. Runs were slow and easy and I hadn’t swum in over a week going in. While I don’t think the crash really affected my race, it did affect my lead up, which in turn affected just how sharp I was going in. So in a round about way, it wasn’t ideal. Nothing I could do about it and I was just happy to be alive really.
Race morning was early but not too bad. It was fun all piling into the Suburban and heading down to the start. We had plenty of Sherpa’s in Karin, Amy and Erin so getting around was super easy.
We arrived and left the task of getting the car parked to the girls. This is a pretty mellow race morning if you have all your ducks in a row. We had a ton of time before our wave went off even though I was one of the first ones. Just milled around and did the normal T1 stuff. No warm up to speak of but that was fine. Not having swum in a week, just the day prior for a few hundred yards in the river, I knew my strategy would be to come out nice and easy and warm into the swim. Nothing really to report besides that…before I knew it I was in the water and off down the river.
- 27m 51s
- 2112 yards
- 01m 19s / 100 yards
|00:27:51 | 2112 yards | 01m 19s / 100yards|
|Suit:||blueseventy Wattie Ink helix|
|Course:||Russian River out and back. Notorious for being super shallow in spots.|
|Water temp:||65F / 18C||Current:||Low|
Off we went and I took off at a very conservative pace. I hadn’t swam in a wetsuit in some time so it felt extra buoyant and easy. No one was challenging for the lead and I was already at a pretty easy effort so I decided to just push forward instead of looking for some feet. There was a group of three right behind me, including my roommate Jason, but again, no one was making any kind of move, so I just stayed in front.
The turnaround came quick and it was shallow. My hands were dragging pretty bad so I decided to do some dolphin dives more to break the swim monotony than gain time. I kept an eye on the pack behind to make sure no one was gaining on me as I screwed around up front.
Started heading back and the lack of swim fitness…well, really “sharpness” was starting to show. I just kind of died the last 500 or so yards and let the guy following me get around. Our age group had 3 different waves so I only knew I was second out of my wave. Turns out I was 4th in my AG. I was really happy with this given the lack of swim prep.
As I mentioned, the lack of swim prep had a big impact on the last part of the swim. Nothing I could do about it and swim was fast enough to put me in a good spot, so no use worrying about it.
- 02m 34s
I decided to grab my shoes and run to the top of the hill instead of mounting at the base. I don’t know if it was faster but it sure eliminates the possibility of a lot of shit going wrong. Anytime you take off on an uphill, that’s just a recipe for disaster. So I think it was a prudent choice but not necessarily a super fast one.
- 2h 31m 50s
- 56 miles
- 22.18 mile/hr
|02:31:50 | 56 miles | 22.18 mile/hr|
- avg:215 | max: 475 | y: 223
Right when I got my shoes on and took off, I saw Tyler on the side of the road messing with something on his bike. He went in the swim wave just ahead of me and I was just hoping it was nothing too bad. Turned out to be a quick fix and he was on his way right behind me.
Vineman starts off with a solid flat section before you hit any kind of terrain. I took this time to basically just warm up. I felt SUPER flat and was really worried about the rest of the ride. All my muscles started to ache and get sore. Oh boy, not a good sign this early…but then again, it’s early, let’s not panic or even think about it. Just press on at whatever wattage feels comfortable at this point.
Came to the turnoff and that sharp steep climb. Had a couple people blow by me but that was just fine. I watch my watts like a hawk and make sure what I’m doing makes sense for me, no one else. Having said that, I did let myself get a little caught up in the rampage but not too bad. I knew the hill was pretty short and a small burst above threshold wouldn’t be too damaging. Besides, I needed to blast some of the fatigue out of my legs. It worked remarkably well. I started to feel much better than I had on the flats. Really, I just got to the point where I was now warmed up.
Spent the next few miles doing the power yoyo with my group in the rolling hills. Some of the faster age group guys did come by and pull away….cool. Once we started to make our way south again, the course flattens out and this is where I’m at my best. Constant power on the flats. I pulled away from most of my group and rode lonely holding a solid average. Maybe 3-5 watts more than I should have but felt solid and comfortable. Didn’t really notice the bad roads too much on the way back to the high school.
All in all, a very good ride.
- 02m 38s
Solid T2….but I must mention…I came in to T2 with my friend Bodie Olmos and he had the fastest damn T2. We racked our bikes at the same time and he ran off. I swear he didn’t even put his shoes on…lol….nice job Bodie as he also went on to a HIM PR
- 1h 37m 12s
- 13.1 miles
- 07m 27s min/mile
|01:37:12 | 13.1 miles | 07m 27s min/mile|
|Course:||More Rolling hills.|
As I ran into T2 I noticed that my feet were very numb. Not sure why. It wasn’t that cold out but the dude next to me also said his feet were numb. Whatever, they’ll warm up.
As I started, I very consciously kept the pace low. I didn’t want to run anything under 7min pace the first mile….7:15 would be ideal. As I was running the first mile, my feet started to really hurt. Like there was sand in my shoes. I had to stop and check but it turned out to be the numbness going away. It was that tingling feeling you get except because I was running on it, it felt like needles. Took a couple miles to go away.
After 5k it was apparent I may have biked just a fraction too hard. I felt ok but my power up the hills was pretty limited. I tried to keep my low 7min pace but it was fading quick up to around 7:30-7:40. Just used the next few miles to stay positive, get some liquids down and just keep pressing forward.
Arrived at the La Crema Vineyard and my stride opened up a bit on the flat offroad section. Started feeling pretty good and got a solid couple miles in. I remember seeing the 9 mile marker for those coming back and thinking, soon, that will be your marker and you’ll only be 4 miles out.
Couldn’t really respond to anyone passing me or pressuring me. I was slowly but surely running out of gas. I tried to cheer for some of the Pros I knew coming back to keep my mind off the task at hand. It was a long, drawn out run mostly because it was a constant struggle to keep the pace anywhere close to something acceptable. I was really hoping to better my Oceanside time and run in the low 1:30’s but it wasn’t happening today.
The final stretch is LONG…lol. But I guess every final stretch is. I ran hard through the finisher chute and finished with some dude right beside me. Turns out he was in my age group and we tied…lol. On the Ironman site, I’m in 12th but on the Vineman site, I’m in 11th. Haha. Doesn’t matter much but I’m glad I already had a Vegas slot because that could have been a bit of a pickle had it rolled down to us.
Keep the ruin training up!
No warm down.
Crash before a week before the event.
So, looking at the data, it’s difficult to say if I would have gone faster if I had let up a little on the bike. The power numbers were certainly within an acceptable range and I don’t know how fast I could have run even if I soft pedaled the bike. I’m going to lean more towards more run fitness and not letting up on the bike. I’ve been running a lot and am super happy with the progress I’ve been making. I just think it’s going to take some time before it shows up in a half. I’ve already seen great progress at the Olympic distance.
Speaking of which, AG Nationals is next and I’m excited to see how well I run there. Goal for that race is a top 18 in AG for a spot on the Worlds team. Looking at past results, it will take a really solid performance for me to do that well. I’m ready for the challenge.
Special thanks to all my sponsors Wattie Ink, blueseventy, KSwiss, Reynolds Wheels, Scott Bikes, ISM Saddles, Power Bar, Kask Helmets, FuelBelt, 454 Tattoo and Speedfil. Corporate Sponsors 101 Pipe & Casing, Kurt Orban Partners, and Wins Wheels.
My coach, Brian Stover, from Accelerate 3.
My body mechanic, Blair Ferguson, from Ventura Training and Athletics.
My girlfriend, Karin…Sherpa award!
After the race we had a special treat of going to the French Laundry for dinner with a great group of friends. Perfect ending to an awesome weekend.