Monthly Archives: August 2008

Tri umphant?

Previously:

Today was the race.

As is typical when I’m doing something new, I slept poorly the night before, and got up at 5AM. Got dressed, drove to the start (or, to be more specific, the wife drove me to the start), where I ran into my friend Joe. I hadn’t told Joe I was entering and had hoped to run into him right before the swim, but he found my name in the competitor list and gave me considerable amounts of crap for not telling him ahead of time.

He took my bike into transition for me, and I got everything set up. Signing up at the last minute (well, not *quite* the last minute) meant I was at the back of the transition area in a place that was easy to find. We then hung around with the wives waiting for the pre-race meeting and worrying about getting cold (Joe had a shorty wetsuit, I had none). Put on my timing chip (an RFID chip that records when you go through important points). The wife used my camera to take some nice pictures, despite me setting the lens so it wouldn’t focus closer than 3 meters. There’s a gallery link at the end.

 

Our friend Greg showed up, who had *said* he was going to sign up but apparently had to clean his apartment or something and missed the cutoff.

The pre-race meeting never materialized, and we migrated down towards the water. A tentative test of the water temp showed that the water temperature was higher than the air temperature, so we stopped whining about how cold it was going to be. We waited for two waves to head out, and then waded out to waist deep for the start. I decided to wait a bit so I’d have cleaner water, so after a 5 second wait I plunged in and headed for the first buoy (big ones, not the small ones I saw yesterday). I was cold for approximately 12 seconds before I got warmed up, so all that worrying was for nothing. My guess is a lot of guys in wetsuits got too hot.

Waiting led to a slight problem. The people that were directly in front of me were slower swimmers than I was, and they were also more erratic in direction that I was. I’d catch up with somebody, slow down, angle to an open spot, and then speed up to get by. By the time I got near them, there was always a swimmer (either the original person or another) in front of me again. By the second buoy I basically gave up trying to get around them, and just swam into the shore. I swam mostly crawl except for a bit of *** stroke, and I found the head-high “approach stroke” for crawl that I learned in lifesaving class 363 moons ago to be pretty useful to sight where I was swimming to. Swam into the beach, stood up and staggered for a few steps (apparently your inner ear gets screwed up), and ran up the beach into transition (“T1″, in tri-speak).  

Swim time: 7:01.7 (since that’s the full start until the time I ran into transition, I’d be surprised if the swim was a full 400 yards)

Joe exits the water Eric exits - a bit after Joe...

In transition, I peeled of my excel swim shirt, cleaned the sand off my feet (no pool to rinse in…), and put my socks and bike shoes on. I pulled my jersey on, and it got stuck on my wet back. I probably wasted 45 seconds getting it on, put on my helmet and sunglasses (no sweatband or gloves), and ran out of transition. Or, tried to – because of my (required) baby blue swim cap, my heat was sweaty, and my sunglasses fogged up instantly when I put them on, so I groped my way through transition the first 30 feet or so (I’m surprised I didn’t run into a bike rack).

T1 Time: 3:11.3 (pretty darn slow…)

After you run out of transition with your bike, you mount and then ride out towards the bike course (in this case, a run out to East lake Sam, down to Inglewood and flat – pretty flat). We had a lane to ourselves (split into out and back sections by cones), and I settled into a decent rhythm. On the short run east, I took a drink of accelerade and passed a couple of guys (had to go into the oncoming lane to get around them), and after a little jog, found myself on Eastlake heading north to the turnaround at Inglewood. I picked up my speed a little and settled down my cadence at about 105 (a little higher than I’d normally ride to save my legs for the run). On the way out I passed perhaps 5-6 riders and got past by a similar number. The hard part is not to draft, though I saw a bunch of people coming back who were obviously drafting. I kept my computer on time / cadence because I wanted to go on perceived exertion (I didn’t wear my chest strap) rather than some idea of how fast I should be riding.

About half-way out, my stomach started to hurt, an indication that my level of exertion was not compatible to what I was putting into my stomach. That kept up pretty much all the way back on the bike leg, except for the last mile when I slowed down a bit. My polar says that I did 14.6 miles at 19 MPH (19.4 if you cut out the transition sections), while the official timing (which doesn’t include the time running with the bike inside of transition that my polar got) says I only did it at 18.3 MPH. Looks like somebody mis-measured the bike course.

Bike Time: 45:48.1

Back into transition again. With the exception of my stomach, I feel okay. Rack my bike (no, move over a bike so I have *room* to rack my bike), pull off my helmet, switch shoes, and fix my race number, which had gotten ripped off putting on my jersey in T1. Head out of transition on the run course.

T2 Time: 2:05

The 10 minutes or so of the run sucked. My legs actually felt okay – not peppy, but okay – but my stomach was still very unhappy with me. After the first mile it settled down, and I picked up the pace a bit. For a while I ran and talked with another guy about my age who also has a friend who is an elite (not that one, an elite triathlete, which means you get to race in your own classification, sometimes get your travel paid for, and perhaps even with some prize money now and then). We run together and talk for a while, but with about a half mile left he needs to walk, so I run on ahead. By this time I feel pretty good, so when a faster guy (I almost wrote “fast guy”, but let’s be realistic about my running speed right now) came by, I picked up the pace and followed him back to the finish line.

Run Time: 28:27.5

Total Time: 1:26:34
Age group rank: 29/38

That was a bit slower than I predicted, but the ride and run were both longer, so it was pretty close. I didn’t have any goal to be especially fast, and I think I succeeded in not being especially fast.

It was mostly fun. The bike leg had a fair amount of pain on it (I don’t typically do TT-style rides), but that was tempered by being able to ride away from people up the hills. I enjoyed the second half of the run.

The really interesting part was that I was done and it was only about 9AM. That would be on the short end of my rides, especially for an event ride (usually a century-ish one at 5-6 hours).

Lots of things could cut out time. Starting a little higher up in the swim group. Spending a bit more time in the pool. Getting more organized in transition. Practicing running.

I’m not going to decide tonight, but I think I’ll be doing the Kirkland Tri four weeks from now.

Thanks to Elden for inspiration…

Full picture set here


Tri done

Today was the race.

As is typical when I’m doing something new, I slept poorly the night before, and got up at 5AM. Got dressed, drove to the start (or, to be more specific, the wife drove me to the start), where I ran into my friend Joe. I hadn’t told Joe I was entering and had hoped to run into him right before the swim, but he found my name in the competitor list and gave me considerable amounts of crap for not telling him ahead of time.

He took my bike into transition for me, and I got everything set up. Signing up at the last minute (well, not *quite* the last minute) meant I was at the back of the transition area in a place that was easy to find. Got all set up, and then hung around with the wives waiting for the pre-race meeting and worrying about getting cold (Joe had a shorty wetsuit, I had none). Put on my timing chip (an RFID chip that records when you go through important points).

Our friend Greg showed up, who had *said* he was going to sign up but apparently had to clean his apartment or something and missed the cutoff.

The pre-race meeting never materialized, and we migrated down towards the water. A tentative test of the water temp showed that the water temperature was higher than the air temperature. We waited for two waves to head out, and then waded out to waist deep for the start. I decided to wait a bit so I’d have cleaner water, so 5 seconds later I plunged in and headed for the first buoy (big ones, not the small ones I saw yesterday).

My waiting led to a slight problem. The people that were directly in front of me were slower swimmers than I was, and they were also more erratic in direction that I was. I’d catch up with somebody, slow down and move to the side, move to pass them, and then speed up to get by. By the time I got near them, there was always a swimmer (either the original person or another) in front of me again. By the second buoy I basically gave up trying to get around them, and just swam into the shore. I swam mostly crawl except for a bit of *** stroke to move around, and I found the head-high “approach stroke” for crawl that I learned in lifesaving class 360 moons ago to be pretty useful to get a sight. Swam into the beach, stood up and staggered for a few steps (apparently your inner ear gets screwed up), and ran up the beach into transition (“T1″, in tri-speak).  I was a bit chilly for about 25 yards, and plenty warm after that (I bet many of the guys in full wetsuits got a bit overheated in the swim).

Swim time: 7:01.7 (since that’s the full start until the time I ran into transition, I’d be surprised if the swim was a full 400 yards)

In transition, I peeled of my excel swim shirt, cleaned the sand off my feet (no pool to rinse in…), and put my socks and bike shoes on. I pulled my jersey on, and it got stuck on my wet back. I probably wasted 45 seconds getting it on, put on my helmet and sunglasses (no sweatband or gloves), and ran out of transition. Or, tried to – because of my (required) baby blue swim cap, my heat was sweaty, and my sunglasses fogged up instantly when I put them on, so I groped my way through transition the first 30 feet or so (I’m surprised I didn’t run into a bike rack).

T1 Time: 3:11.3 (pretty darn slow…)

After you run out of transition on your bike, you mount and then ride out towards the bike course. We had a lane to ourselves (split into out and back sections by cones), and I settled into a decent rhythm. On the short run east, I took a drink of accelerade and passed a couple of guys (had to go into the oncoming lane to get around them), and after a little jog, found myself on Eastlake heading north to the turnaround at Inglewood. I picked up my speed a little and settled down my cadence at about 105 (a little higher than I’d normally ride to save my legs for the run). On the way out I passed perhaps 5-6 riders and got past by a similar number. The hard part is not to draft, though I saw a bunch of people coming back who were obviously drafting. I kept my computer on time / cadence because I wanted to go on perceived exertion (I didn’t wear my chest strap) rather than some idea of how fast I should be riding.

About half-way out, my stomach started to hurt, an indication that my level of exertion was not compatible to what I was putting into my stomach. That kept up pretty much all the way back on the bike leg, except for the last mile when I slowed down a bit. My polar says that I did 14.6 miles at 19 MPH, while the official timing (which doesn’t include the time running with the bike inside of transition) says I only did it at 18.3 MPH. Looks like somebody mis-measured the bike course.

Bike Time: 45:48.1

Back into transition again. With the exception of my stomach, I feel okay. Rack my bike (no, move over a bike so I have *room* to rack my bike), pull off my helmet, switch shoes, and fix my race number, which had gotten ripped off. Head out transition on the run course.

T2 Time: 2:05

The 10 minutes or so of the run was a slog. My legs actually felt okay – not peppy, but okay – but my stomach was still very unhappy with me. After the first mile it settled down, and I picked up the pace a bit. For a while I ran and talked with another guy about my age who also has a friend who is an elite (not the Halo elite, and elite triathlete, which means you get to race in your own classification, sometimes get your travel paid for, and perhaps even with some prize money). We run together and talk for a while, but with about a half mile left he needs to walk, so I run on ahead. By this time I feel pretty good, so when a faster guy (I almost wrote “fast guy”, but let’s be realistic about my running aptitude right now) came by, I picked up the pace and followed him back to the finish line.

Run Time: 28:27.5

Total Time: 1:26:34
Age group rank: 29/38

That was a bit slower than I predicted, but the ride and run were both longer, so it was pretty close. I didn’t have any goal to be especially fast, and I think I succeeded in not being especially fast.

It was mostly fun. The bike leg had a fair amount of pain on it (I don’t typically do TT-style rides), but that was tempered by being able to ride away from people up the hills. I enjoyed the second half of the run.

The really interesting part was that I was done and it was only about 9AM. That would be on the short end of my rides, especially for an event ride (usually a century-ish one at 5-6 hours).

Lots of things could cut out time. Starting a little higher up in the swim group. Spending a bit more time in the pool. Getting more organized in transition. Practicing running.

I’m not going to decide tonight, but I think I’ll be doing the Kirkland Tri four weeks from now…


Tri-ready?

Tommorrow is triathlon.

Today after work I went to the race site to scope things out, pick up my packet, and get tagged (572 (my number) on my left arm, and 44 M (age and sex) on my left calf). The swim course looks fairly easy though the buoys that are out now don’t leave much open water before you get into the vegatation in the water. that part may be interesting.

Came home, made dinner (pasta and vegetables – I wanted to barbecue burgers but though that might be a bit too heavy), and then fixed a low leak on my rear tire (really tiny metal whisker that just barely stuck out). Took off my HID light (our group rides are finishing in the dark now) and my Bento box, and put on the race number.

My bag is packed. It has:

  • Towel
  • bike shoes with socks in them
  • running shoes
  • Helmet/glasses/headband/gloves (may skip the gloves)
  • Jersey with race number on the front (for both bike and run)
  • Googles
  • Swim cap (light blue to denote which wave I’m in)
  • RFID timing chip (on a watchband sort of thing)
  • Clothes for after the ride

Sitting on my dresser

  • Tri shorts
  • Body glide
  • Swim shirt

I’ve spent 3 sessions in the pool, of 600, 800, and 700 yards. My freestyle is getting better, and I don’t have any worries there, except I seem to keep misplacing my Tyr anti-fog spray in the bag. I can always spit in them, and that will last for the 10 minutes I expect to be swimming.

So, I have a strange mix of confidence and apprehension. I’m confident I can do all three of the events, but I’ve never practiced the transition, I never did any brick workouts (swim / bike and bike / run). I haven’t even run in my fancy new shoes yet. Oh, and because I didn’t get a ride in this week, my knees still hurt from last Sunday’s indoor game.

5am tommorrow morning, leave by 6, race meeting at 6:45, my wave schedued at 7:06.


Tri-curious…

Last Wednesday, I read Fatty’s plan for racing Leadville without, in his words, having trained for it, and wrote a comment on how he seemed to revel in doing things he wasn’t really prepared for.

And I realized that because of my plans (or lack thereof) for this summer, I’ve been pretty normal. Just yesterday I passed up the chance to ride 80 miles in the mountains in 95 degree heat.

So, I was thinking that, and came across a reference to the Lake Sammamish sprint triathlon. Hmm… The cycling part seems pretty quaint – it’s 12 miles on east lake sam, which has one “hill” on it (“hill” means that beginning cyclists would call it that but serious cyclists wouldn’t). We did a hard 25-30 Thursday night, so I think I can do 12 miles on the bike. I’ve been playing indoor soccer once a week and playing some pickup games at lunch, so that seemed do-able (though running is not my favorite activity). Which leads the swimming.

Back when I was 9, I was on swim team, and we swam a lot, usually starting with 1000 yards as a warmup. Though I only swam for a few years, I did it long enough to develop a reasonable amount of efficiency. I haven’t swam much in the last – well, let’s just say it’s been quite a while – mostly because I wear contacts, don’t like the hassle of taking them out, and couldn’t tell if anybody else was in the lane if I did.

But there are people who swim with contacts in, and there are some fairly big goggles out there, so Friday morning I took my swimsuit to the Pro club, bought some new goggles, and hit the pool. 15 minutes of swimming told me a few things – first, I could still swim breaststroke pretty well, second, the goggles could be tight enough not to leak (though they may not be tight enough for flip turns), and third, my freestyle breathing needs some work.

So I signed up for the race.

Today I headed back to the pool, and swam somewhere around 700 yards, with me timing myself on some 100 yard segments. I can do 100 freestyle in about 2 minutes (world record 47.05), and 100 breaststroke in about 2:30 to 2:40 (world record 58.91). The breaststroke time is taking is pretty easy without pushing off at the walls, so I should be able to swim the 400 yards in something under 10 minutes. 10 minutes of swimming seemed pretty trivial today, so I think I’m ready there, though I’ll hit the pool Wednesday morning to get a little more practice.

Today, I picked up some triathlon shorts, bought some “body glide” (chamois butt’r doesn’t do well in water), and bought some running shoes. My time expectations are:

Swim: < 10 minutes

Bike: 18 mph average would give me 40 minutes, which seems like a nice floor. If my legs are good (and they may be tired from the swim), 20 MPH seems pretty easy, which would bump the time down to 36 minutes. So, somewhere in that range.

Run: I have no clue on what I can do here. My guess is that my lungs can write a check that my legs can’t cash, ‘specially after quick ride on the bike, but I don’t think I’ll spend more than 30 minutes on the run, and am expecting to be somewhere around 24 minutes.

So, take those times and add some time for transition, and my prediction is 75 minutes overall.


Group ride denizens

  • AeroBee (aero bars on group ride)
  • The cat (“hang in there baby”)
  • Airfoil (aka “Joe”)
  • Do (domestique)
  • The blocker (gets in your way)
  • Kit (“team kit”)
  • The poacher (?)
  • The passer (passes at strange places)
  • John Doe (who is that guy at the back of the paceline)
  • LSP (long slow puller)
  • Roller Killer (too fast on rollers)
  • Swervo (Swair-vo). Constant oscillation
  • Launcher (works up in paceline, then rides off the front)
  • Coaster (hard/coast/hard/coast)
  • Sir Speedy (speeds up 5mph on the front of the paceline)
  •