I took part in the short course event, which comprised a 2.5 mile run; 17.5 mile bike and a second 2.5 mile run. Details at: http://fsseries.com/index.php?action=event&event_id=49
After a breakfast of bagel/cream cheese, a banana, one Ensure and coffee I got to Brooks Park in plenty of time and scored a good parking spot close to the start and transition area. The morning was significantly chillier than forecast and overcast. A slight drizzle appeared a couple of times. I soon had my bike off the car, checked my tires and walked it over to the transition area. Race number this time was 63 and after checking-in, collecting my "race booty" (a nice shirt and socks included) and allowing the nice lady to write all over me at body marking, I found my appointed rack, set-up my transition area and found myself another warm cup of coffee!
After chatting for a while with some of the folks from IOS Delta Triathlon I was accosted by a very nice lady from USA Triathlon who was there to monitor the event and look for ways of improving things. I had a really nice chat about getting into triathlon at my age; races I have done; training and all manner of other things. Later I also ran into Lili Fernandez and her Mom Angie and had another nice chat - Lili went on to smoke her age group and finish a very impressive third overall woman!
Finally it was time to get serious and I found some space to "get my mind in the game" and do the stretching execrises and warm-up prescribed by the Puppeteer and soon after that we were lined-up at the start.
The out-and-back run course ran through Brooks Park and an adjoining neighborhood and featured a few hills. I felt that my first run went well and I finished it in 20:46.5, which is 8:19 pace and reasonably respectable. The first transition went well and I was soon wheeling the bike out of the transition area. Bike shoes were attached to the pedals and the shoes held-up so that they didn't scrape the ground using a rubber band. I find this by far the easiest way to transition (vs. putting on your shoes; hobbling through the transition area and then clipping-in) and The Puppeteer approves - apparently a lot of much more experienced triathletes don't use this technique.
The bike was a rolling course through western Wake County close to Jordan Lake. I felt good and passed a few people fairly quickly, but was equally passed by several "speed demons" on a range of fancy triathlon bikes. Kept things spinning at a good cadence so as not to blow out my legs and finished in 58:48 (18.0 mph average) which, again, I feel was respectable.
The second transition was also OK (although I very neary started running with my bike helmet still on - realised just in time - phew! Would have looked pretty stupid! :-) ).
The Puppeteer suggested that my second run should be within 45 seconds of my first. I could tell that it was slower, but was actually surprised to find out how much. Time was 22:33.5 (9:02 pace) - about 1:45 slower than the first. I don't feel that I "thrashed" the bike leg, but presumably it was enough to take something out of my legs.
|Some kind soul snapped this pic. of me struggling to the finish!|
My overall time was 1:43:32.5, which was good enough for 35th overall in the mens division. Yet again the 50-54 age group was competitive and I was 5th in my age group. Impressively the top guy in the age group finished second overall in a time of 1:24:38.3 - I still have a lot of work to do!
At the bottom of the post is how I stacked-up vs. the guys who beat me in my age group:
Basically, the good guys were good in all disciplines and in order to compete with the "speedsters" I would have to improve significantly in both run and bike. The run pace of the guy who finished second overall was 6:21 - difficult to conceive at this point! That said, my running is improving and I'm very confident that with more "TITS" (time in the saddle) I will be able to push my bike pace up quite considerably.
One minor victory that I hope makes coach proud is my 6th ranking in the first transition - must have been the shoes on the bike!
Overall a nice event and a good warm-up for the events to come. Next up is the White Lake II Sprint Triathlon on May 15th.