Monday, May 7, 2012

Revenge at White Lake - Race Report

Yesterday was the White Lake, NC Sprint Triathlon and I'm pleased to be able to report that I performed considerably better than I did last year - revenge is mine!   (insert evil laugh here......)

It turned out to be a fun weekend and a nice event and, hopefully, I can provide a flavor of things below.

I drove the hundred miles or so south to White Lake early on Saturday afternoon, but before leaving I laid out all of my gear because I'm paranoid about forgetting something.   Seems like a lot, but the only "extra" items were some swim gear for a warm-up session later that afternoon and an extra tri top "just-in-case".   On top of this lot I had my bike, food, regular clothes, laptop, Weber grill, charcoal and all manner of other junk - I certainly wasn't traveling light!

The drive down was uneventful and I was soon checked-in at Goldston's Motel and enjoying a pleasant hour hanging out on the beach with The Puppeteer, The Snitch, Mr. Snitch and Junior Snitch while waiting to take part in a warm-up swim.   At this time the weather was beautiful and the lake was relatively "mirror like" as advertised in the race promos and illustrated by this snap that I took:

The warm-up swim with The Puppeteer, Snitch, Jenn Mayfield and James went well and after showering we gathered and enjoyed a couple of beers in the afternoon sunshine.
The Puppeteer gave me crap for having more than one!
One of the nice things about triathlon is all of the nice new people you meet and this weekend was no exception.   It was great to meet Sylvain Lefebvre, another TriStacey athlete, who had taken part in the 70.3 mile race that morning and finished as first overall age grouper in 4 hrs 25 mins 30 secs - despite being accidentally knocked off his bike by a volunteer - awesome!   Also nice to meet James (sorry, no last name) and Michelle Staniunas (sp?).....
Sylvain and James

Michelle "en repose"
At 6 pm The Snitch and I drove to the race headquarters to register and pick-up our race numbers, while the rest of the gang got the grill set up on the beach.   It seemed that many of the 600 plus competitors had the same idea and there was, quite literally, a line out the door, so it took a while!

Keen triathletes!

By the time we got back the coals were burning and we were soon enjoying chicken and burgers on the beach.....
Mr. Snitch was head chef

Jenn Mayfield in the house (drinking wine from a pint glass!)

The Puppeteer looking snooty outside The Bates Motel before deciding to blatantly break house rules!....
The sunset over the lake was beautiful........

......but pretty soon after this shot was taken the winds really started to pick up and the storm clouds started to build........
......and soon enough we were taking cover on the motel balcony as the wind started to blow things over and the rain crashed down!   Luckily Jon Armstrong and Carolyn Fellowes-Gentry turned up armed with Irish whiskey to keep the party going (although tempted I didn't partake!).

 While some partied-on those of us racing in the morning turned-in early to get some good shut-eye prior to  the big day!

My alarm went off at 5:20 am and I was soon chowing down my breakfast (Breuger's bagel; cream cheese; banana; bottle of Ensure) and packing everything I would need in to my transition bag.  Because parking can be a big hassle I decided to ride my bike the short distance to the race start, so after checking tire pressure (or tyre pressure if you're reading this in the Old Country) and waiting until there was sufficient light I pedaled to the start and was soon getting "body marked" (thanks Jenn & Michelle!); picking-up my timing chip and setting-up my transition area:
Better set-up properly or the ref. will get ya!
 Warm-ups consisted first of a brief ride and run and it was at this point that I first noted (a) that it was pretty humid and (b) that a pretty good wind was picking-up.   Point (b) was quickly confirmed when I went to the lake for a warm-up swim - it was quite breezy and the lake was certainly no longer "mirror like"!  I wouldn't say that there were white caps, but there was certainly some pretty good chop!

Thanks to Mr. Snitch for many of the pictures below.  A couple were snagged from Set-Up Events facebook page!
Start area for the 70.3 on Saturday.....

....and one of the waves preparing for the start on Sunday at the same spot.

Chatting to Junior Snitch before the race - you can't blame me for the picture of the lady's butt cheeks
as I clearly didn't take the picture!!
OK, so a few more pictures from the race before I get to my actual race report!.......
The Snitch......   either praying to the Lake Gods or doing some sort of duck impression......
Ready to race in new TriStacey suit!
The Puppeteer keeping an eye on us.....

At least I overtook a few people!
Going past a slower guy from an earlier
start wave coming out of T2

Hurting as I turn into the finishing chute.
Don't tell me that this doesn't freakin' well hurt!
OK, so finally, the actual race report.......

Swim:  Yeah! After last year's difficulties I was pleased with a time of 16:09 in choppy conditions and, yes, I did manage freestyle all the way!   :-)    I started at the front of my wave (all men over 40 - a reasonably big wave) and to the outside, hoping to find some open water and avoid too much "bumping and thumping",  I was relatively successful in this and soon found some good water and a rhythm.  The leg out to the first turn buoy was toughest because of the chop, but once around the buoy things got easier and I was able to finish with little trouble - yeah!

T1:   1:56.  Transitions continue to be my best discipline!   :-)  Little trouble apart from two slower guys clogging-up the exit chute.

Bike:  42:40.  Quicker than last year, but not by as much as I expected, which I attribute to the wind.  Plan was to maintain a cadence of 90 and I executed that perfectly - my average over the 14 miles was exectly 90.  I got slowed down on both laps on the tight turn on to Route 701 because the cones were so tight and there were slower riders ahead of me.   Got overtaken by some of the speed demons as usual (including three in my age group) but enjoyed chasing down and overtaking a lot of "victims" of my own!

T2:  1:25.   Again uneventful.

Run:  26:28.  Not exactly "smoking", but again faster than last year.   Focused on cadence, arm swing and toe-off (and making sure that The Snitch didn't catch me from the wave behind!).  Was starting to hurt by the end as you can tell from the pictures above, but I certainly feel that I put in a good effort.

Overall:  01:28:46 (18th of 42 finishers in my age group)

I'm pleased!   I met all three of my pre-race goals:
  • Break 1 hr 30 minutes
  • Finish top 50% age group
  • Finish the swim freestyle without incident
A great confidence booster and a good start to the season!


  1. Great job, Roger! That's always a tough, unpredictable (and often boiling hot) course. You rocked it!