Category: Race Reports (page 2 of 2)

Olympic Women’s Triathlon Recap

The Olympics gave us another awesome race to watch and be inspired by! If you missed it, you should check out the recap of the Men’s race. The Women’s race turned out to be very similar, but with a bit more excitement for the Americans watching it.

Course Description

The women’s race was run on the same course as the men’s race. Instead of going back and explaining it in detail like I did in the Men’s post, I’ll just hit the highlights here. It was an Olympic distance race (obviously, since it’s the Olympics and all) so it was a 1500m swim, 40k bike, and 10k run. The biggest stand outs were the beach start for the swim and the steep climb on the 8 lap bike course. Continue reading

Olympic Men’s Triathlon Recap

The Olympics are the biggest stage for almost any sport. Triathlon is no different. One could argue that the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii is a bigger event due to the larger number of competitors and yearly schedule, but the Olympics are… well, the Olympics. The Men’s Triathlon race took place yesterday (8/18) and boy what a race it was. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Course Description

First of all, it is an Olympic race, and that means it is run at the olympic distance.The athletes had a 1500m swim, 40k Bike, and 10k run. A few things made this course a little unique. The first is that it was the first beach start at an Olympics. The athletes usually start on a pontoon and simply dive in the water. This year, they lined up on the beach and got a running start. This is kind of like when you were a kid and finally got to the beach and could run as fast as you could to dive into the waves and rinse all that sunscreen off that your mom just slathered on you. Continue reading

Race Story- USAT Long Course Duathlon National Championship

This past weekend was the Cary Du Classic which served as the USA Triathlon Long Course Duathlon National Championship (For info on what a duathlon actually is, check out my recent post answering just that question). I raced this last year, and from the moment I found out it was the national champs this year I had made it my main goal this season.

USAT Long Course Duathlon Nationals Logo

Packet Pick-Up

Getting to the race, I went to packet pick up on Friday afternoon once we arrived in town and I got my family settled in. The pick-up process was very smooth as I have experienced in the past. FS Series is very well organized and I think that all goes back to this one lady with a British accent who is always there directing things. At the pick-up I got to meet a fellow Trisports sponsored athlete which was neat to be able to meet some others on the team (I’ve got 20% off codes for anyone that wants them… hit me up on twitter!). The one thing that stuck out most to me was number of people there getting things done to their bikes. A few were not competing the next day, but many of them were, and some of those were getting things like new aerobars or pedals put on… the day before a race! So much for nothing new on race day!

USA Triathlon Long Course Duathlon Men's Wave

Long Course Men lined up for the start

Pre-Race

The next morning I knew what I was getting into from last year, so I was more relaxed. I arrived at the USA Baseball National Training Complex just before 6am to get everything set up. This year, however, was quite crowded. Since it was a national championship race, the number of competitors almost doubled! The parking lot was packed, but I was able to find a spot and head on to the transition area.

As we all lined up for the start of the race, there were two guys beside me who started talking about how nice the weather was. It was a cool 58 degrees at the start, but the funny part was one of them said it was probably snowing back home (Syracuse, NY) and the other said that the day’s high (82) was the low back home (someplace in Florida)!

Run 1- 5 Miles- 37:34

The countdown started and we all got up on the line. Once the horn blew the group of men took off (the ladies would follow 4 minutes later). I always seem to get caught up in the opening sprint, so I made sure I was off the front a bit and made a conscious effort not to get carried away by the guys off the front. I watched about ⅔ of the group run away from me as we exited the parking lot, and when I looked at my watch I say I was running 7:00/mile pace… there was no way I could keep that up! I settled down a bit and got my pace down to 7:30/mi which is still way faster than I wanted to be going at that point. It’s a long race and I didn’t want to blow up!

As I expected, many of the others started to slow as we got past the first mile. The course is an out and back with a turn around at the 2.5 mile point. What makes this unique is that it is almost entirely downhill going out… which mean it is almost entirely uphill going back! That totally messed up my strategy since I forgot to take that into account when I planned out the race. I still managed a quick first run… about 7 minutes faster than I had planned!

USA Triathlon Long Course Duathlon Transition

T1- Before I realized my shoes were stuck

T1- 00:44

I got into transition and made quick work of getting on the bike. I ended up almost doubling my usual time for T1 though because my bike shoe velcro got caught on my transition bag and when I grabbed my bike I ended up dragging my bag along with it!

Bike- 30 Miles- 01:23:56

Once I got out on the bike course I immediately realized it would be an interesting bike leg. Since the short course wave started 15 minutes behind the long course, many of the athletes were getting out onto the course at the same time. I quickly caught up to a large group of people and started to pass them. The issue was that others were passing within the group and it was difficult to make a pass without drafting (the rules stated that each cyclist had to keep at least 3 bike lengths behind the persons in front of them unless passing and they have 15 second to pass). As a made my way though the groups there were points where it was impossible to pass and some times there were even people riding three wide and blocking the whole rode! At one point I saw a car get stuck between two groups of cyclists and was forced to drive at their pace.

Thankfully, the race official came around a few miles into the bike leg on a motorcycle and began enforcing the no drafting rule. The moto would ride at the back of a pack and write race numbers down. I hung back behind the moto for a while and the groups cleared out pretty quickly once everyone realized the race moto was there. Then the moto would move on to the next group and I could make my pass. On one hand it was nice to be right behind the enforcer since it made the groups easier to pass. On the other hand, there were points where I could have passed the moto but it wasn’t safe and even at one point I had to break going up a hill which made me lose all my momentum from the previous downhill. I found out afterwards that in all they race official handed out a total of 14 2-minute penalties to long course athletes and 6 of them to short course athletes! That’s a lot of penalties for a race of 234 finishers!

Once we got about halfway through that lap of the course things had spread out and I was able to get into a rhythm. Once I got there I was able to cruise right on through the rest of the bike course. Overall that was my fastest race split on the bike with an average of 21.3mph!

T2- 00:40

T2 was another simple affair. I again took about twice as long as usual because I racked my bike on the wrong side of my shoes so I had to run around my bike to get them. It was my first race that I racked up against the fence so I think that’s what caused the issues there. I’ll know better next time I guess.

Run 2- 5 Miles- 42:05

Getting back out on the run course was painful. I was moving really slow and I started to cramp up. I had grabbed a bottle filled with Skratch Labs Hydration so I was downing that for the first mile or so. Once I got that into me I started to loosen up a bit. I probably didn’t

Trisports Baby

My cheering buddy… pre-race obviously

drink enough on the bike. The rest of the course was fairly uneventful. Everyone was in pain and you could feel the camaraderie in our pain out there on the final 2-3 miles.


The best part of the day was coming back into the parking lot to make the last loop towards the finish line. My family was there and my daughter (almost 2 years old) had her cow bell and was saying hi to me and “Go, Daddy, Go!” When I waved to her she squealed with delight. It was hilarious! That got me around the last 400 yards of the course and on to the finish line. It was great!

Post Race

USA Triathlon Long Course Duathlon Finish Line

Coming own the finishing chute decked out in USAT logos!

I finished with a time of exactly 2 hours and 45 minutes. There were volunteers at the finish that swarmed everyone that crossed the line to get the timing chip and hand them… not a finisher’s medal, but a bottle opener. That’s right… not finisher’s medal for the national championship race… just a cork screw. Not that I’m bitter or anything. Last year we got socks though. Those were cool. I actually raced in them this year.

Final Thoughts

Overall this was a great race and it’s always well organized. The one place that FS Series struggles in its races are in the post race activities and all around athlete experience. This year they again did not have a race photographer, which is totally unacceptable in my opinion in this day. The all around contact and experience before and after the race doesn’t get much thought from them and that is a huge let down after such a well organized race.

As far as Nationals goes, I placed 11th in my age group which is good enough to qualify for the 2017 World Championship in Switzerland. I’d love to go, but logistics need to be worked out before then. Of course, I have 16 months to do that!

USAT Long Course Duathlon Collage

Hagan-Stone Park Du

This weekend was my first race of the season, the Hagan-Stone Park Duathlon hosted by Trivium Racing. This race was a part of the Triad Duathlon Series as well as the USAT Mid Atlantic Region Duathlon Series. Trivium always does a great job with their events, so I was excited to be able to notch this one off with them.

Pre-Race

I got to the race early so that I could pick up my packet and get all settled in. I was also a little concerned about parking from looking at the maps, but that turned out to be no problem whatsoever. There was a nice little grassy area right by transition and another paved parking lot by the playgrounds about 250yds down the road. I opted for the playground lots since I know my wife and daughter would be spending some time there while daddy was out on the course.

Getting everything set up in transition was easy. Duathlons generally have simple transition areas since it is simply two entrance/exits with the elimination of the swim leg. I try to grab one close to the Bike in/out so there is less running with the bike. I’ll even go further in from the aisle to grab a rack near the bike in/out.

I got set up and did a bit of exploring/ course preview since this was a new race for me. It was a 5K trail run that started in a different area from transition so I was curious as to how that worked out. It turns out that the start/ finish line was just around the corner behind a little grove of trees, so it was easily accessible and not really that far from transition. I also discovered that the trail was almost entirely woodchips. We were told there were a few muddy spots the day before so park maintenance went ahead and laid wood chips the entire 3.1 miles. Kudos on them for the extra effort to make this a great race, although I would have prefered a more hard packed surface and simply wood chips over the soft spots (you’ll see why later).

I rode back to the car and got the trainer out and did a short bike warm up. This was my first time bringing the trainer along and I think that was a great plus. It added a bit more structure to my warm up since I didn’t have to find a place to ride on the course and then IMG-20160312-WA0015have to ride back, not to mention the issue of doing high intensity intervals in traffic. As I finished, my cheering section drove up and started the day at the race 🙂 I’m always happy to have my family at the races with me.

When I got back to transition someone had racked their bike over top of my shoes and bag, so I had to move over a slot. Not a big deal, but kind of annoying. I saw the port-o-potty line was gone so I emptied the tank and then went out and ran along the first .5mi or so on the course and got loose, and then we had the obligatory pre-race meeting. The group of 75 racers plus spectators made the short walk to the start line. After a short delay, we were on our way!

First Run
FB_IMG_1457914882092Pacing on the first run is always an issue for me so I knew I needed to watch it from the start. I also knew from my warm up that GPS reception was spotty on the trail, so every time I looked at my watch I had to judge whether that was accurate or not based on how I felt. I didn’t get too caught up in the beginning sprint this time, so that

FB_IMG_1457914865041

You can see me in the background with the guys I was pacing with.

was a plus, but I stayed with the front group fairly well. The pack thinned out by mile 1 and we were forming various pace groups. I was holding pace pretty well with two guys in front of me.
They were only slightly pulling ahead of me so by the end of the run they were about 15-20 seconds ahead. I ended up running a bit faster than I wanted. I set a conservative goal of 26:00 but ran 24:38.8.

IMG-20160312-WA0001

Coming into T1

T1

T1 went great as usual. The transition area was set up so that my wife and daughter could see me the whole way. That was cool to have them right on the other side of the fence cheering me on. I was in and out in :20 flat! One of my best transitions I think! I passed the other guys ahead of me and headed out on the course

Bike

As I was exiting the park I had a bit of trouble getting my shoes on. A guy sped on up behind me and yelled at me for swerving a bit… but at that point I had finished getting my shoes on and really started pedaling again. He ever passed me and I never saw him again.

Hagan-Stone Du BikeOnce I got out of the park it was immediately uphill. I went a bit hard up the hill (over 500w), and on the whole first lap really, but I felt great. The main point of discussion on this two lap course was the lack of discipline by other riders. I saw one lady racer with a male companion riding with her. I wasn’t a racing, but as I passed them he was riding the

10339719_1158819457474998_2740649078103915064_n

Spectator riding side by side with a racer

course with her side by side. It was a bit irritating to pass since they were two wide and it is an open course so there were cars passing too. I saw him at the start and finish lines with his bike so he was just a spectator who went for a ride with the racers on the course.

The other irritant for me was since it was rolling hills, almost every uphill came right after a down hill. There was another racer who would speed past me with his momentum from pounding the down hill, but couldn’t maintain his momentum up the rest of the hill, so he would slow down a ton, leaving me with the option of either braking to get out of his draft, or increasing my power to get past him. I opted for the latter.

10464211_1158818967475047_425627154772832537_n

Again, our little group. I’m just around the corner off the back.

This is why my NP for the bike leg for 215w… giving me a IF of
1.02 for the race. Not a big deal since it was a short 16mi ride. In a longer race it would have been worse, but I was able to power through and I don’t think it affected me much in the end. I finished with 47:58.3 on the bike, so about 50s faster than BestBikeSplit predicted. I give that up to my higher than planned Normalized Power.

IMG-20160312-WA0014T2

Not much to say here. The two guy I had been hanging with on the bike made it into transition a bit before me, but all that time was made up in transition. I was feeling a bit of cramping at the end of the bike so I grabbed my extra bottle and was out running step for step with the other guys.

Second Run

Second run was paced a bit better than the first. I help it right around 8:30 most of the run. The first mile or so was quite the struggle getting my legs moving again. I also was fighting back some cramps in the calfs but they went away during that first mile. Our little group of three broke up pretty quick with one guy pulling ahead of me and the other taking a break to adjust his shoe about 500yds into the run. We held those positions the rest of the run and I was thankful I was able to keep my pace steady the rest of the way in. I got a bit of a hamstring cramp right near the finish line but I pushed through and finished in 26:27 giving me an 8:34 pace.FB_IMG_1457913850268

Final Thoughts

To wrap it up I feel like I had a great day on the course. I finished 20th overall and 4th in my age group. Since I aged up this year to the 25-29AG I am happy with that result. My final time of 1:39:51.7 was just 15.7s off the podium! Being that close always makes you wonder “what if?” But I know I left it all out there physically and since this was really just a dust off race I couldn’t have expected more.

I was really pleased with how well Trivium Racing did with this event and I will most definitely be back next year. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season too! I’m on track with my training I think… Next stop… Nationals!

Cary Long Course Duathlon (May 16, 2015)

Race Description

First race on the new Bike!

First race on the new Bike!

This is my race report for the Cary Long Course Duathlon, or Cary Du Classic. The Cary Du Classic was the Mid-Atlantic Region stop on the USAT Duathlon Series. With that and the fact it was organized by FS Series Races, one of the largest race organizers in North Carolina, I was kind of expecting it to be a bit bigger than it actually was. There were around 300 participants, with over half of those being in short course race, so I was racing against roughly 130 people.

The Long Course race was planned to be a 5 Mile Run- 30 Mile Bike- 5 Mile Run. When I got to packet pick up on the 15th the organizers informed us that the county had decided to do road work on the bulk of the long course bike route, and therefore the long course had to do 2 loops of the short course route. That wasn’t a big deal for me and actually gave me a little hope because the course profile now had two climbs along a nice long false flat that I felt played to my strength on the bike. It also lengthened the bike leg by 5 miles! Another hope is that the course will be nice and smooth for next year!

Pre-Race

Come race day, I arrived a little later than I wanted to the USA Baseball training complex in Cary, NC. I got my transition area set up and ran to the bathrooms. No Port-a-potties for this race! We used the stadium bathrooms 🙂 I completed a quick run warm up with a few sprints and got ready to start. This was my first race without my wife at the start because it was a little too early to be waking up our daughter (pro parent tip: never wake a sleeping baby!!).

Run 1- 5mi

First time seeing the family after Run 1

First time seeing the family after Run 1

The run course was a nice out-and-back through some neighborhoods and a greenway. Going out was almost exclusively downhill which made pacing a little hard because coming back was almost exclusively up hill! I still managed a nice 8:50 min/mi on the first run, knowing I was going to need to hold back with the extra distance on the bike and a total of 10mi running!

Bike- 35mi

Transition was smooth. You know what they say, smooth is fast! It was about 45s which my wife told me was at least twice as fast as most others going in and out of transition. (My wife was here at this point). And I was on my way on the bike.

Getting the shoes on out of transition.

Getting the shoes on out of transition.

This is the part I feel bad for my fans and spectators on because it is such a long time to wait for more action. I can only imagine what it’s like watching an Ironman. The 35mi went by fast for me though! Like, 20.5mph fast. I did a lot of passing on the bike course. Especially passing people with nice fancy bikes and aero equipment who were either not comfortable, or were struggling to keep the speed consistent. One man in particular was standing out of the saddle on a flat section. I was reminded that it doesn’t matter how aero your stuff is if you cant hold an aero position for long periods of time or during hard efforts.

Run 2- 5mi

I got off the bike in a good position and reminded myself of the number one rule of packing the second run: “you are always starting too fast.” It was a struggle to keep my pace steady at the beginning, and about 1.5mi in I started to get some cramps. I brought a bottle on the 2nd run and had emptied it by the time I got to the turn around. I took a few walk breaks and the camps subsided. I was able to get across the line first in my age group and was quite pleased with the performance.

1st Place 20-24 Age Group!

1st Place 20-24 Age Group!

Post Race Thoughts

I keep working on my transition runs. Running off the bike has been a weakness for a while, and duathlons have really amplified that.

Overall it was a nice race and a nice course. I was a little disappointed with the lack of attention from race staff. My wife had some questions for a staff member to get a better spot for spectating, but was brushed off and ignored. Not like he was actually doing anything else while everyone was out on the course. I also was disappointed there was no official photographer. FS is a huge organization and this was part of the National Duathlon Series and they couldn’t hand one of their staff a camera and say “go take pictures”? They had enough people standing around doing nothing, that would have been pretty easy.

Other than those complaints, I was happy with the race and the Greek food the family had afterwards 🙂

EDIT: FS and USAT just announce that this will be the USAT Long Course Duathlon Nationals race for 2016! 

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