Sunday, May 16, 2010
Encinitas Race Report
I've got some exciting news. Today at the Encinitas Sprint Triathlon, I nailed my transitions. A couple of days ago in my Countdown to Encinitas post, I had predicted a total of 5 minutes in transition times. Today I achieved an aggregate time of 5:35, but that includes a minute or a minute and a half of running from the beach and up a bluff to the transition area. So I figure my "in-transition" time to be at least a full minute off my predication. Nicely done, me.
However, as to the rest of my race performance I am eating some crow. My final finish time of 1:29:21 was 10 minutes slower than I had predicted. Next time, I'm not going to do my own pre-race analysis. I think I will make all the course info and my training logs available to someone else and see if they can guest write a post. When it comes to predictions, I'm being biased, though I can also think of some other phrases to describe it.
That said, it was still a pretty solid race. I lost most of the time on the bike, which I wouldn't have expected. But as I've been thinking about the race since, I've identified where my problems where. And as you will read, they where kind of dumb.
My hotel was about half a mile from the race, so when my alarm went off at 5:45, I was out the door pretty quick and at Transition by 6:00. Space wasn't an issue, so I got a good spot, put everything together, and headed down to the beach to watch the Elites go off at 6:40.
What's cool about races around here is you never know who is going to show up. Chris McCormack and Luke Bell raced today. I think it's awesome when the pros show up. It's not like you see Derek Jeter showing up at a local semi-pro baseball game to hang out and take a few cuts. I think it's smart and good for the sport. Being that there is such a tremendous "fans are also participants" dynamic in multi-sport, the engagement between the fans and the athletes as ambassadors is tremendous. But I don't mean to be crass - Primarily, these guys enjoy being out here racing. And other than being ridiculously fast, they fit right in - no drama, no entourages. Just another early morning at the beach.
Remember when I said that the surf report called for a slow 3-4 foot swell? Yeah, well that was wrong. Try a fast 5-6 foot swell, with not a hell of a lot of times between sets. Remember when I said that I thought the course was an upside down triangle and that I thought there would be a nice long leg parallel to the beach with the current? That wasn't the case either. It was straight out 375 meters, and then pretty much straight back. The good news the water temp was pretty darn comfy.
I was in something like wave 12, so I had plenty of time to watch the mad-house that was swimmers trying to get past the shore break. 4-5 people couldn't do it and gave up, which sucks. This certainly wasn't going to be the calm Newport Bay swim I enjoyed last month at the Kring & Chung race.
Believe it or not, for all my lack of swimming speed, I have a few Navy Seal moves in my arsenal when it comes to clearing the shore break. So getting into relatively calm water behind the break was fairly easy. Then I just had to deal with a strong northerly rip tide.
A question - If I am off course, but am completely aware of it and constantly making the adjustments to correct, is this still considered good navigation? Because of the rip-tide, swimmers where entering the water on a heading about 30 degrees south of the buoy. The theory was that because of the rip tide, the current would carry you just to the left of the buoy as you needed to turn around it. But because of my slower speed, I was only about 2/3rds out when I was lined up. So I had to swim south-west to adjust. Once I made the turn, I sighted off a big palm tree and enjoyed pretty clear sailing from there until the swim exit. It's always nice to be able to sight off something 50 feet taller than the swell.
What was odd is that except at the very beginning, I didn't make contact with any swimmers until I passed a few people from the previous wave (which is a first by the way). At one point I looked around, and everyone was just really spread out.
From the beach exit to the transition was a typical heart pounding beach run and then a climb up a steep path to transition. There's nothing like getting on the bike to mash it out with your heart rate already at 160 BPM. Chris McCormack was winning the race (by something like half a second over Luke Bell) as I left transition. Granted, they started 40 minutes before I even got in the water, but still....
750 Meters/820 Yards - 19:46 - 2:25 Per 100 Yards.
Riding a bike on a wide open road without having to worry about traffic signals is something to live for. And I do. I always enjoy the bike portion of the race the most. This was a great course - two out and back loops on Coast Highway with the Pacific 200 yards away. Most of the time, I felt strong, stayed aero, kept my cadance in the high 80's/low 90's and just rode.
Where I had my problem was on one 3/4 mile hill that was halfway through the back-side of each loop. Perhaps it was less of a problem and more of a tactical error. While climbing the hill the first time, I stayed on my aerobars and as a result had to drop into a lower gear. What I should have done is sat up, got my hands on the pursuit bars, and just mashed it out. I realized this at the top of the climb. But you know the saying - first time shame on you, second time shame on me. I stayed aero the second time around and was forced to shift down - AGAIN. As a result, I award myself the Dip-Shit of the Day award for my less than stellar judgment and significant loss of speed.
20 Kilometers/12.4 Miles - 40:13 - 18.5 MPH
The run was a nice course in and around a shopping district. So there was plenty of cool stuff to look at. There where plenty of spectators too, which is always fun. Once I got out of transition, I just got into my pace and started cruising.
I read a great post on Rockstar Tri a few days ago called "Unwritten Rules". In it there are 27 unwritten rules of racing, most of which I agree with. One of them - "Don't sing out loud while racing if you wear an ipod." I totally agree with. In fact, I would take it one step further - no hooting and hollering at all. Amongst other things, it's waste of energy.
However, I am going to give a 5 foot 2 dynamo of a woman, who according to her markings was a very young 59 years, a pass on this rule. As she was passing people, she had very long winded and quite colorful comments for everyone. She was giving positive encouragement of course, but she was definitely a pistol. Amazing. I also overhead some guy ask his friend for a cigarette. I think he was joking, but I hadn't heard that one on the course before on the either.
I was going for 7:30 miles, but a few pesky little hills got me. I had to settle for a little less. But I felt strong, and I love to run, so there is nothing to complain about.
5 Kilometers/3.1 Miles - 23.55 - 7:43 Minutes/Mile.
As far as I can tell, the City Of Encintas hosts this event. I'm not sure if they brought in an event management company to run it, but whoever put it together did a fantastic job. I mean really fantastic. There was plenty of volunteers, plenty of aid stations, acceptable lines at the porta-potties, plenty of lifeguards, and the whole thing went off on time. I loved it.
My final result was 389th place out of 754 finishers and 49th out of 85 for my age group. Yeah, I wanted to better but I didn't quite do it. There's always next time.
So until next time...