Saturday, August 13, 2011

Race Report - Lake Logan Triathlon

Lake Logan is nestled in the mountains in the Pisgah National Forest (near Canton, NC and about 20 miles west of Asheville) and is the site of an annual "multisport festival" that features an International distance race on Saturday and sprint triathlon on Sunday.

Last weekend I was signed-up for the sprint event on the Sunday morning, so after my open water swim clinic on Saturday (see previous post) I headed west on I40 towards the mountains.  The long ride was pretty uneventful until I reached Asheville, when the heavens opened for a while!

I headed to Waynesville, where I was to stay the night and meet up with The Snitch and family for dinner (the Snitch had raced the International Tri that morning and, as usual, done so extremely well, finishing second in her age group).  The Waynesville Inn  is a small golf resort that offered special rates for the multisport weekend and so was the chosen location for the Saturday night stay.    After checking-in and finding everyone else, we enjoyed sitting outside to eat dinner (ribs!) on a beautiful Saturday evening while entertaining ourselves by critiquing the tattoos sported by the bridesmaids and guests at a wedding that was taking place!

After an early night and equally early alarm call I headed out in the dark to the race site.  I had called in to drive the bike course on the way to the hotel the previous evening, so I had no problem finding the right place.

This race was about as short as they come for a sprint triathlon:   a 500M open water swim in...  you guessed it....  Lake Logan; a 20K bike course that basically weaves up the valley and back down again and a 5K run that is also "out and back" going uphill first and then returning.

After picking-ip my timing chip and going to body marking (number 77 this time) I set-up my transition area and took my bike for a spin once it was light enough for later arriving triathletes to see me on the road.   This was followed by a short warm-up run and some time spent checking out the swim start and finish areas.

Swim course.   Start was off the jetty on the left, then out and back on a rectangular course, finishing under the road bridge in a small river to the right of where this picture was taken from.

Transition area starting to fill-up

Swim:    13:38.  Age group rank:  5th

Far from perfect, but I can feel some improvement.   I was in the third start wave (all men 40 plus - silver caps) and positioned myself "middle and outside".  The water temp. was 73 degrees F and, therefore, wetsuit legal.  In common with most others I opted to wear mine, but the water really didn't feel all that cold.  I probably made a few seconds by wearing it and then lost them again taking it off again in T1 - probably net neutral.   Once the gun went off I found some good water and a nice freestyle stroke on the outward leg.   I drafted on someone's right hip for a while before passing him and making the first turn.  I kept the freestyle going for the short second leg before rounding the giant orange buoy to return for home.   So far, so good.  On the way back towards the bridge I felt my freestyle getting sloppy and alternated breast stroke and freestyle.   The finish required "hauling out" onto a wooden platform and a relatively long run to the timing mat and transition area.  There were two guys on the platform assisting everyone with getting out of the water.  Normally under USAT rules all outside assistance is banned, so I asked the guys if it was legal before he helped yank me out!

Overall by no means fast, but "better" than some recent efforts.

T1.   01:15

No problems in the first transition.  Wetsuit came off easily.  Opted to put socks on after rubbing my heels at the Triangle Tri.  There was another relatively long run with the bike to the mounting point, but again, no problems.  Shoes were left clipped to pedals and I had no issues with running or mounting.

Bike:  45:22   Age group rank: 5th.

Interesting meadering course alongside the lake and then up the valley and back on two roughly parallel roads.  A little more "bike handling" required than in some races, which made it fun.   Despite the fact that it was, on average, uphill on the way out and down hill on the way back, there were some hills in both directions that required good attention to gearing.   I feel that I did good job of staying down on the aerobars to reduce drag and handling the hills.  Despite having driven the course before, there was one particular hill on the return leg that seemed to surprise everyone and required some good effort!  At this point I passed two guys who had "slipped their chains" - presumably because they had been riding "in the big ring" and had to make hasty and clumsy changes to tackle the hill.

Overall I would rank my bike leg as "good".   I feel that I put in a solid effort, but again lost some significant time against the fastest guys in my age group.

T2:    Again uneventful.

Run:   28:45.    Age group rank:   6th.

Ugh!   This wasn't great.   I should be in the 24 minute range, but my legs just didn't seem to have it.   Worked very hard to keep a high run cadence and felt pretty good cardiovascularly, but just couldn't seem to get moving.  This was a strange race as I hardly overtook or was overtaken by anyone.  A few of the top lady finishers passed me and, with about half a mile to go, a guy in my age group blew past me.  I tried to chase him, but there was no way - he was fast! (I was puzzled at how someone that speedy could have been behind me after the swim and bike).

At the end of the Triangle Tri I was absolutely spent, but this time I felt relatively fresh cardiovascularly but just had nothing in my legs - strange.

Overall:   01:29:40.    Age group rank:  6th (that darned run!)
                                 Overall rank:  42nd

Not particularly pleased with this, but a good learning experience.   Again roughly equally good/bad (depending on how you want to look at it) in all disciplines vs. my competition and, as usual, several guys in the 50-54 age group smoked it and finished with very high overall placing.    Interestingly my time would have placed me ~6th in every male age group except 20-24, which I would have placed first in!

Looking kind of geeky in my new Triangle Multisport kit.....

Looking kind of grumpy after the race!

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