This morning was the first Lake Pflugerville Triathlon. The race limit was 350, but looking at the results, only 311 people completed the triathlon. The race was a 500 meter swim, a 13.2 mile bike, and a 3 mile run. Here's the short and long summary.
Race time: 1:33:00 (that's the second time I've gotten an even race time in a triathlon)
Rank: 9th out of 21 in my age; 187 out of 311 overall
Swim time: 12:20 (9th in age group)
Bike time: 50:11 (11th in age group) / 15.8 mph average
Run time: 26:39 (9th in age group) / 8:53 pace
And here's the long version.
I woke up at 4:45 this morning. I had everything packed, so I just needed to get dressed, eat breakfast and load my bike before heading out. I had my standard pre-race breakfast of oatmeal and left the house around 5:30. The race site isn't too far from my house, so I figured I'd be a little early, but I didn't know if any roads would be closed or not. I think I said it in my Danskin report, but I'd rather get there, lay everything out and stand around for a while than be rushed.
I was early, but there were several other people already there as well. They went ahead and let us in transition. Sweet! I was able to get an end spot pretty much right in the middle. I was very happy with my spot. I got everything laid out, hit the port-o-potty, and then went to get my chip. I also checked out the area between the swim exit and the transition area. The path around the lake is a crushed granite path and from the swim exit to the transition area we would be on it for a while. I have pretty tough feet, but this stuff hurt. I decided I would stash my $2 flip flops at the exit by a tree and hope they were there when I got out.
The transition area closed around 7:15 and we all headed to the swim start to get in our waves. The waves were done in a strange order in my opinion. I can't remember the exact age cutoffs, but it was something like the following. The 40 and older men went first followed by the 40 and older women. This was followed by the women's waves starting from youngest up to the 35-39 age group. Then the youngest men went followed by the next oldest, etc. I was wave 5. The last wave of the women. This meant that the young males were right behind me. Oh boy.
After the national anthem, the swim started. Each wave went off in 3 minute intervals. We started next to a pier and tread water until they told us to go. I started on the front right. When we took off, I had a straight shot toward the first buoy. I managed to keep my line pretty well today. I wanted to try to push it a little more than I did in Danskin, but not too much. About halfway through, I started catching up with the slower swimmers from the wave in front of me. That always makes me feel good. I knew there were several in my wave that were in front of me, but I felt I was in a good spot. About 3/4 of the way in as I was approaching a slower swimmer from the wave in front of me, I got kicked. In the face. This is not an unusual occurance in a triathlon, but it happened because she was doing the breast stroke. Ugghh. And it was in my face. My goggles didn't come off, but they did come loose and fill up with water. I had to stop for a few seconds to empty them and get them back on. The joys of triathlons!
There were several volunteers in the water helping to pull you out of the lovely mud and onto dry ground. I ran up the swim exit area, found my flip-flops right where I left them, ran barefoot until I reached the granite path, put my flip flops on and ran into transition. It's not exactly easy to run in flip flops (especially with wet fee), but it was better than running on that crushed granite. I'm glad I did that.
In transition I kicked my flip flops off, put on my socks and bike shoes, put on my sunglasses and helmet and took off. Once I passed the mount line I got on my bike. I had a little bit of trouble getting my right foot to clip in today but it didn't cost me much time. Off I went.
The bike course for this triathlon is a little deceptive. If you were to drive the course, you would think it was fairly flat. This is not the case. There are lots of rolling hills. Not big hills, but long steady inclines. The good news is that there weren't any extremely difficult climbs. The bad news is there weren't any steep declines on which to build up a lot of speed. In the Danskin race two weeks ago my speed ranged from around 6 mph to 33 mph. Today it ranged from about 13 mph to 25 mph. In Danskin, you can rest your legs on the huge declines. Today, my feet were spinning the whole way. I'm a little disappointed in my bike time and the fact that I only averaged 15.8 mph. I did get passed by several of the speedy men in the waves behind me. They make it look so easy. I need to get out on those country roads more often!
I came back in from the bike, took off my helmet and bike shoes and quickly got my shoes on for the run. I grabbed my gatorade and race belt and took off. To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to the run course. We ran on the crushed granite path that surrounds the lake. I've run it many times on weekends or evenings. But the reason I wasn't looking forward to it is because it is boring. And you can see exactly how far you have to go the whole time you are running. And there are no trees. Luckily the weather was overcast so it wasn't too bad, but on a hot sunny day it is brutal out there. But it is almost as flat as they come, so that was good. They did have two water stops out on the run course. At the first one, I grabbed a cup of water and promptly poured it over my head. I skipped the second one. I'm not the fastest runner, but I did pass two women in my age group, so I was happy about that. And I had a little bit of kick left in me at the end for the finish.
Overall, it was a great race. I think it's a great location for a triathlon and I think it will be one that grows in future years if they can figure out how to make a bigger transition area. The city is planning to put a "beach" in on the other side of the lake and I heard someone from the parks and rec department say that when the "beach" is in, that will be where the swim start is. That should make for a softer run into transition.
I don't have any more races on the schedule right now until October when I have my two big ones. I know that I really need to work on the bike between now and then. I think biking on Wednesdays at the Veloway will help, but I've also got a very experienced cyclist from church who said he would go with me for some long rides on the weekends. You can bet we'll be hitting those country roads.
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