Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ironman 70.3 Vineman

Well actually it was Vineman 73.3!

I have written and read enough race reports to (hopefully) be able to keep this brief…so here I go.

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Becca and I arrived at T1 and dropped off our bikes, she had other issues to deal with, you can read about them here. My set up was pretty simple, I had opted to go with my road helmet rather than my aero helmet as I hadn’t worn it in over a year and I was twitchy enough about my lack of Tri bike time. The biggest issue was going to be the mud as the Transition area is a dusty parking lot and when you add 2000+ wet swimmers the dust turns to mud and well you can see the issues. My shoes were on my bike as I planned to run out of T1 and up the short hill at the start of the ride rather than mounting on a slope and toppling over. So with my number/race-belt, helmet and sunglasses hanging off my bike, some gels on my towel I was done…like I said simple.

I pulled on my wetsuit and was able to see Becca’s wave start and the first Pro’s out of the water and with that I headed to the waters edge for my Wave start which was next. As soon as I could I was in the river, getting wet and used to it. I had had a practice swim the day before and my wet suit was nicely stretched out and felt actually pretty good. I hovered at the back and with a countdown we were off.

My swim went really well. I focused on form and sighting and pretty soon I was passing people in my wave. I knew the turnaround was past the halfway point but it seemed a lot longer than that. The turnaround was very shallow and I walked round it. Swimming back was fine and I was mixing it up with others in my AG without issue. I reached the Exit and was on my way to my bike.

My swim measured 1.3 miles and while my sighting wasn’t great I felt good as Becca’s swim was the same distance. Swim Time; 43:11 (a “Good” swim was 42-44:59) given the extra distance it was almost a “Great” swim (40-41:49), this was 3:39 faster than in 2012!

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T1; pretty straight forward, wetsuit off, fuel in pockets, helmet and glasses on and run! 3:31 significantly faster than in 2012 which was 6:08!

So far I was over six minutes up on my 2012 and less than an hour into the race. I settled into the bike. I took the first 10 miles a little easier covering them in 34:33, I wanted to not redline too soon and save more for the second half of the bike and the run. The next 10 miles I picked it up covering them in 30:26. So 20 miles in 1:04:59, not super fast but in the right ball park for around a 3 hour ride which by my previous goals would be a “Good” ride 2:55-3:04:59, especially as the second half of the race would be slower as it had the two climbs in it (M31, M47). I was riding along on the hard shoulder minding my own business and picking off other riders as I went when there was a sudden bang and hiss. I looked down a saw my back tire go flat, why always on the back?! I gingerly pulled over and rolled to a stop without issue.

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Side note. I rarely flat, really rarely, so rarely I can count the number of times since writing this blog (7 years plus); three times (here’s two of them here, and here), this time was the fourth! On this occasion I was riding deep section (80cm) Mavic Cosmic Carbone Tubular wheels. Significantly more fussy to deal with than regular clinchers!

I spun my wheel and sticking out of it was inch long section of what looked like a 1/8 inch broken drill bit. On board I had a can of Hutchinson Fast Air which is a dual sealant and inflator and 2 Co2 cartridges. After some fussing I managed to get some of the sealant into the tire although I noticed it was bleeding out of the seams, then I added the Co2 and in a hiss the air was in the tire and out again, mostly through the newly created hole which was too big to get a solid seal! And like that I was stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire.

Time to start walking!

After a mile or so I reached a road Marshall who then called for the SAG Wagon to come and help. And so I waited and watched a stream of riders roll by. To be honest I lost track of time but eventually the SAG Wagon pulled up. Unfortunately for me they had no spares that could help me so I loaded the bike and climbed in resigned and disappointed that my day was over. The driver Nick then asked if he could get me back on the road was I interested…hell yeah! So off we sped to Healdsburg a nearby town to a local bike shop where they took my wheel as collateral. Nick left a Credit Card number with them just in case I decided not to go back! They fitted the wheel on the bike and I was back in the van heading back to the course. The plan had been to drop me off where I was picked up but someone had crashed and needed assistance so they dropped me off there and I got to ride an extra couple of miles on the bike course…did I care, no! I was happy to be back on the road and all things being equal would finish albeit in a horrible time!

Somewhere around 90 minutes or so had elapsed since flatting so my “race” was over, that being said I pushed through on the bike and got to the end in an earth shattering 4:23:58 when you take off the extra hour and half it wasn’t so bad but the clock is the clock. Even with the flat my timing mat splits show that I moved up 59 places in my AG Division.

T2; this has a bit of a run in and I was trying to pass someone who was walking, I decided to not be a jerk and rather than edge past I would wait for it to open up into the school’s Quad where there would be plenty of room to pass. I got to my rack, which of course was full, ditched my Bike, donned my Shoes and was out on the run. 5:54 for T2, some 1:21 faster than in 2012

The run was hot, the first four miles were ok the rest just went downhill from there, many, many walk breaks later I finished in 2:30:30 (24:24 slower than 2012) wiping all gains from the Swim and T1/T2 away! Looking back on 2012 I finished at 12:35pm, this year I finished at 2:53pm so I really had the heat of the day to contend with. That being said my run should have been stronger. More thoughts on that to follow.

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Here’s the data;

So a disappointing time; yes, but the upside was I finished and did not DNF thanks to some quick thinking from the SAG Monkey support team. My swim was much improved as were my transition times, keeping things simple helped and now things feel more settled and I know more what to expect. But best of all I got this awesome finisher’s photo…which is one I have purchased and is as they say a “framer”!

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As for what’s next…watch this space!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Vineman; thoughts and goals.

So Vineman is upon me. What started as a registration in February 2013 for the Vineman Monte Rio race in June 2013 to get reserved entry into this year’s race has come full circle. It’s ended up (so far) being my A Race, triathlon wise. This was reinforced by having to pull out of St George after my bike crash in January.

Following the crash I switched my focus to the road bike. I had a lot of road rash and swimming was out and running was painful. Since then I completed the Tour of Sufferlandria, my Sufferfest Knighthood, the L’etape du California and the 6 Hours of Temecula. That’s a lot of cycling since getting back on the bike I have covered 2250 miles from Jan 24 to today. The problem is that I have only been on my Tri bike a handful of times, I am not lacking the strength just some of the confidence.

My run is coming back and while I have had some sucky runs I have had some good ones. It’s my go to and although sometimes I hate it, I can usually rely on it to get me to the finish line.

As mentioned in my Week 10 review, my swim has improved, it’s always been the weak leg of the stool but I am really happy that I have been able to reduce my usual 2:20/100 splashfest to something hovering around the 2:00/100 mark.

So what about this weekend? Well it’s a race, against everyone in my AG, the clock, my PR and Becca.

The last and only time I did Vineman (and it’s my only 70.3 to date) I finished in 5:58:39, I had at the time a great swim (at the time) a good bike and a horrible run. My transitions weren’t great either, but it was only my third triathlon ever!

This year I should have, by comparison, a better swim, a fair bike and a good run. How will that translate? Hopefully something like this:

Swim; (2012 46:49)

  • Great 40-41:59
  • Good 42-44:59
  • Crap 45+

Bike; (2012 2:52:21)

  • Great sub 2:55
  • Good 2:55-3:04:59
  • Crap 3:05+

Run: (2012 2:06:06)

  • Great 1:45-1:51:59 (8:00-8:31)
  • Good 1:52-1:59:59 (8:32-9:21)
  • Crap 2:00+ (9:22)

I can shave some time off of transitions too. The joy of a blog is the ability to read back in time, and during T2 in 2012 I put on Compression Sleeves, they’re out this year and went to the loo…not sure about that!

A “Good” race will be around 5:40-45!

Either way I hope to PR and catch Becca in the process!