Beaver lake is a 1/4mi swim, 13.8mi bike and 4.3 mile run – Kind of an odd set of distances for a sprint, but since the lake is about 2 miles from my house it sounded like a great option to get some more experience before next months Olympic race. It wasn’t until later that I found out the race is considered one of the tougher sprints around here because both the run and bike (in particular the bike) are on hilly courses. Not only was I sure to get in some good practice, looks like I was going to get in a good workout too.
Didn’t really do anything special here – got up (at 4:50 AM….) had breakfast, put the rest of my race gear together and headed out. Since the lake was so close I decided to skip dealing with parking and just rode my bike in. Got to the transition area about 6AM and found the place pretty much to my self (just me, a few volunteers and the local ducks).
So I set up. It’s interesting that you need a packing list to remember all the crap to do a race (biking shoes, running shoes, goggles, HR monitor, bike, wetsuit etc.). and amazing how simple all your stuff looks when its all put together.
after I was done I had plenty of time before hitting the lake for a warm up swim, so I took few shots of the lake and race setup
Swim (0:08:27 – 1:55/100)
It was 48 degrees this morning (seriously, WTF happened to the summer here) so a bit cold when we were waiting around but the water thankfully was plenty warm. We were the 4th swim wave to leave. When the horn sounds you’re swimming in the middle of 30 people all kicking and flailing about. It’s kind of crazy. I’m pretty sure I kicked 1-2 people behind me, but didn’t get kicked by anyone in front of me so it wasn’t too bad. First 1/3 of the swim was hard because the sun was in you face and it was hard to sight properly. Thankfully there was a large house with white columns almost right behind the first buoy so you could use that to help guide you. After you rounded the first buoy the next 2 were out of the sun so sighting became easier. Drafted with another person in my group for the last 1/3 of the swim and managed to catch up to the last few people that were still in the water from the wave in front of me. Good swim, all the practice in the lake this summer has helped a ton.
Slow’ish transition, just wasn’t thinking it through all the way. Nothing else really to say, got out of the wetsuit, put on my bike shoes, glasses and helmet and headed out
Bike (0:50:09 – 16.1MPH)
Slow ride for me, I knew the course had a long hill, but I really had no more details than that. The first part of the ride passed pretty quietly, the decent down the the valley was fun, got over 45mph on that section. Then a short section through the valley on a major highway. That kind of sucked, but finally turned into some side roads which begins the uphill segment back. Turns out the long hill is both steep (starts out at 4% but then quickly goes to 9-10% grade for a good portion) and long. The steep section was over soon enough but the length is what makes tough. Didn’t get passed much, but didn’t pass much either. Riding into T2 I was pretty sure I had paced myself well on the bike and was expecting to have at least a decent run.
Helmet off, bike shoes off, running shoes on. No real problems. Grabbed my race belt and I was on my way.
Run (0:35:23 – 8:12/mi)
Felt surprisingly good as the run started. Toughest part of the run is typically the first mile or so as your legs adjust from pedaling a bike to, well, running. Leaving T2 I caught up with the same person I was trading places with on much of the bike. He was running a pace that felt good, so I hung in back and just paced him for about the first mile or so. After the first mile the hills kick up again and the guy I was pacing started to slow down a bit. By about 2.5 miles I passed him and just focused on getting up the next few hills or so before we got to the flat before the finish line. Last mile or so were a bit tough – started to feel like crap, my heart rate was way high for most of the race and I was starting to feel it now. Thankfully I’ve run this part of the course many times this year so I knew I was close enough to the finish that I could push through and keep going. It helped a bunch that the homeowners around Beaver lake were all out yelling like crazy and supporting the run/bikers that would pass by. I probably picked up a few seconds/mile in my pace just because of that.
- Special note to the two 17yr olds that passed me on the run. You know when I was 17 I could have… well actually – when I was 17 I was a smoker and couldn’t run then either.
- I suffer from bike envy – About 25% of the bikes in these races are worth well over $3k. Silly what it costs to loose 1/2 pound of weight on a racing bike these days. I want one.
- Average HR was 103% of LT, probably doesn’t mean much to most people but what that means to me is either:
- My LT is set wrong
- My crappy Polar watch is getting ready to die.