2017 Manteno Sprint Triathlon Race Report

When:  07/29/2017, 8:00am

Where:  Manteno, Illinois

Distance:  Sprint:  400 yard Swim, 11 mile Bike, 3.1 mile Run

Results:  1:02:40 – 9th overall, 1st place M50-54

I expected to be underwhelmed with this race a little.  There wasn’t much information to be found online as I looked into this race.  The club that hosted it doesn’t really have a website or Facebook page that I could find, the host location (Manteno Sportsman’s Club) had just one post on their FB page, and the sign-up website didn’t list the race distances or provide a course map at all.  I was kind of in the dark about it all.  I ended up emailing the listed contact on the registration site and asked for info.  A day later I was emailed the athlete guide.  At least I now knew when packet pick-up was and when transition opened.  When I did sign up for the race I asked my wife Kari if she would be interested in doing the duathlon.  She committed and we joined the field.

I set my alarm for 4:30 am, but had a really restless night of sleep.  I got up and got ready, while Kari groaned.  We hit the road around 5:30 am and drove the 25 miles or so to Manteno, Illinois.

After arriving, we picked up our packets and walked our junk to transition.  It was a rack it where you like transition, so I chose an end rack location not far from a large tree for ease of finding the bike.

I decided to burn off some race anxiety and ran a couple loops of the run out course.  After that, Kari and I walked around trying to stay warm on a somewhat cool 63 degree summer morning.

Race day water temp was 80 degrees, so no wetsuit.  I did see one guy with one on, but he also had a white swim cap and I remembered hearing that a guy with a white cap would be in the water helping the unsure beginners in the water.

There were four swim waves – Men 39 and Under / Men 40 and Over / Ladies 39 and Under / Ladies 40 and Over.  I was in the second wave and sized up my competition.  I didn’t really see anyone in the M50-54 age group, but I knew there had to be a few.  There was a guy in transition who was a first timer and I answered a few of his questions in transition.  He approached me on the beach and asked more questions.  I was glad I could offer him some advice.  He was a little nervous.  I hope he did okay.  I didn’t see him at the finish.

SWIM:  400 Yards, 9:07, Average pace 2:17, 3rd in A/G, 58th Overall

The horn blew and I waded into the water as others ran.  The water was perfect.  Smooth and a comfortable temp.  We got to the one turn buoy in fairly good time, and I was feeling pretty good.  There was some bunching up, and some minor contact, but it settled down and we all began swimming straight back into a blinding morning sun.  I felt like I had a great swim, but was surprised to see my time in the results.  I guess that includes the run to T1, but I know I swim faster than that.  I got to T1 and spent 1:16 getting ready for the ride.

BIKE:  11 Miles, 30:14, Average speed 21.8 mph, 2nd in A/G, 10th Overall

I got to T1 and decided to go without socks.  I got ready as fast as I could and took off running out to Bike Out.  Once on the bike I took off.   I hit 27 mph leading out of the event site and was amazed how easy it felt.  A few turns later I was out of the town and in cornfields, passing numerous first wave starters and most of the duathlon competitors.  I got passed by one guy on the bike, right around the 0.5 mile mark.  He and I left transition together, but he mounted his bike before the bike mount line and the referee told him to dismount and mount after the line.  I wonder if he got a 2 minute penalty.  But he blew by me, and I was still doing 25 mph at that point.  He must have been ticked.

The course had two hairpin turnarounds, which weren’t that big of a deal.  I had to slow for a slower rider at the second one, but I ramped it back up quickly.  The day had started to become slightly windy, but there were enough turns where you weren’t dealing with a headwind for a long stretch of time.  There was a cop standing at the bottom of the hill with a radar gun.  I went by him at 27 mph.  Later on at the awards ceremony, they crowned the faster rider at 35 mph I think.  They gave him an award.

I hustled back to T2 and made the quick change to running in 1:14.

RUN:  3.1 miles, 20:46, 6:42 per mile pace ave., 1st in A/G, 8th Overall

I started running and immediately wondered if my heart was going to explode.  It didn’t and I quickly settled into race pace.  I passed a guy about 1/2 mile into the run and he said I was crushing it.  He probably thought I was crazy, because I certainly did.  But I just started going and picking off runners one by one.  It wasn’t until about the 2 mile mark that I saw two guys running together in my age group.  They said I should join their old man group and run with them, but I gracefully declined.  I kept my pace going and they didn’t try to match it.  I’m glad they didn’t, because the results showed that I beat them both by 19 seconds.

FINISH TIME:  1:02:40, 1st in A/G, 9th Overall

After finishing, I recovered with some water and walking around.  I found friend Brian Swift, a para-triathlete who had done the swim portion of the relay, while his kids did the bike and run.  Very inspiring to watch him do the swim.

IMG_6606

Not long after that I grabbed my camera out of transition and went to watch Kari finish the race.  We cooled down and had great conversation with a few others we knew and some new triathlete friends we met.

After getting some pizza and a banana, I decided to check the results and was shocked to see that I had finished 1st in the age group.  At the awards ceremony, I took my place on the highest podium, a first for me, and received my award, a drinking glass etched with 1st place on it.

IMG_6602
I’ve won 1st place in my age group before, but never got to stand on the top tier of the finisher’s podium!

CONCLUSION:  

Even with my questions about how well run the race would be, it turned out to be a great day.  The venue was more than adequate, the lake was very nice, and the bike and run course was all on pavement that was in great shape.  And Kari confided in me later that she actually had fun!  I would definitely do this one again.

IMG_6609
Two happy campers ready to head home.

RACE RESULTS:  http://results.itsracetime.com/results.aspx?CId=17095&RId=276

 

2017 ET Batavia Triathlon Race Report

When:  6/11/2017

Where:  Batavia, Illinois

Distances:  400 yard Swim, 14.7 mile Bike, 4.1 mile Run

Time:  1:19:01

Back for the fourth time to do the race in Batavia.  I really enjoy this one.  It’s a quick swim, rolling hills bike route with plenty of time to go fast, and a flat and fast trail run.

This week I experimented somewhat with pushing my limits a little.  I decided to use my full disc aero wheel on the bike, something I chickened out with a year ago.  I also decided to swim without the wetsuit, thanks to the water temperature being just warm enough for my comfort level.  I’m glad I didn’t have to fight with it to get it on and off.  That is a chore.

The temperature of the morning was comfortable, but the day would get warm later.  It wasn’t bad on the bike, but I did start to feel it somewhat on the run.

 

IMG_6415
Satisfied with my pre-race transition set up.  

 

SWIM – 7:16 minutes, 208th overall

The swim started well for me.  I felt like my pace was good.  I got to the turn and made it to the backside of the swim and kept swimming.  It is pretty shallow in this part of the man-made, sandy bottom public swimming hole, and most people walk the back side of it.  I decided to keep swimming until about 10 yards from the turn for the second lap.  Once swimming again, I found myself in a much crowded field of swimmers, as more had joined in on the fun, thanks to a time trial type start.  But I made it through and started walking the back part of it earlier, just like everyone else.

T1 – 1:44 minutes

Getting to T1 was quick, no need to fuss with removing the wetsuit.  Grabbed my bike gear and bike and was gone to Bike Out.

BIKE – 40:58 minutes, 21.5 MPH average, 36th overall

There is a sharp climb right away which sent my heart rate into the red, where it would stay for quite a while, most of the ride actually.  I really pushed myself on the ride and it paid off with a quick ride.  There was some cross wind, but it didn’t last long.  I ate a gel just into the first mile, and one more just before getting back to T2 to fuel for the run.

T2 – 1:18 minutes

RUN – 27:43 minutes, 6:46 average per mile, 27th overall

There was a slight deviation to the final mile of the run as the trail near a public works facility was under construction.  Fortunately, the detour had a nice downhill leading back to the bridge that takes you back over the Fox River and the trail on the other side to the finish.  The run was going well, but I was feeling the heat a little even though it was almost completely shaded.  I took water at the water station twice and splashed it on me and in me as best as I could.  I passed a lot of younger racers and not seeing hardly any in my 50-54 Age Group.  That’s because they were ahead of me!  There was one guy with 50 written on his calf.  I decided to pace with him for a little while and then pass him in the last mile if I could.  He had is bib on backwards, and I realized his bib was white, which meant he was in the duathlon (run/bike/run) race and not in the triathlon.  So, knowing that I wasn’t really competing with him, I decided to push tempo again and pass him.  He must of saw my 53 on my calf and he reacted.  Once we got to that downhill at about 3.25 miles, he took off.  I started to chuckle because I knew he was racing me even though I wasn’t competing with him in his event.  I slowly worked on catching up with him, but I knew that I didn’t have to worry about him.

When I got back to the finish, I cooled down and got some fluids in me.  I knew it would be a while before the award ceremony, so I decided to walk back to transition, take a shower, gather my bike and junk and take it to the car.  I then drove back to the VFW where the finish line area was located.

I decided to grab a couple pieces of pizza and check out the results.  Fourth in the age group – no award this year.  I was kind of expecting to finish a little higher than the 3rd place I won last year, but just didn’t have it in me.  Upon review the posted results online later in the day I realized my swim time did me in.  It was a full minute slower than last year!  I’m not really sure why that is.  It could be the wetsuit I guess, but I really did feel like I swam pretty well.  Oh well.  The swim ranking had me 208th overall.  That is really sad.  I also dropped in the overall ranking from 2016, from 23rd to 37th.  The guy that beat me for 3rd place beat me by 7 seconds.  One glimmer of hope, the 2nd place age group winner was a 50 year old, so he is the newcomer to the rank, whereas I am starting to age into the next group.  Not my day, I guess.  Maybe next year I will be kicking butt in the 55-59 A/G as the young gun.

 

IMG_6417
Still proud of my medal.  Glad to add it to the rack.

Here’s the link to the race results:  http://cc247.raceresults.space/2017/2017_ETBatavia_OA.htm

 

 

2016 ET Batavia Triathlon Race Report

Lessons learned, lessons to relearn…

The Experience Triathlon club puts on a good event, and I enjoy racing at the Batavia Triathlon.  So I signed up back in March, and set my alarm for 3:40am in order to drive the 45 minutes to Batavia for the 6:30am start on June 12, 2016.

After a very hot Saturday, Sunday race day was blessed with a nice and cool upper 60’s degree morning.  Matter of fact, the water temperature of the quarry where the swim takes place was 74.5 degrees and warmer than the air temperature.  During the period for swim warm-up, I went to the water and waded in up to my knees.  Still felt cold for me, but as I stood there I could tell it wasn’t too bad.  I was on the fence about swimming without my wetsuit, but I saw many others putting their’s on, so I somewhat reluctantly pulled mine out of the bag and tried to wrestle it on.

I got in line around the quarry to prepare for the staggered time trial start and realized that I needed to set my new triathlon watch to the multi-sport setting.  Only I didn’t know how.  I knew I had seen it before, and how could one of the most triathlon dominate sports watches not have that function.  I must of pushed fifty different combination of buttons until I realized that I had to go Settings.  No kidding.  Unlearned Lesson #1:  Make sure to have a good understanding of your new device before using it in a race.

I was also thinking how to approach the swim.  Last time I did the race the swim did not go well.  I figured since I was a newly minted Ironman, I would just go all out for the 400 yards or so, and rock it.  I was hyperventilating by the first turn.  This time I forced myself to not run into the water and to really hold back.  It worked!  I swam really efficiently and got through the two lap swim actually swimming.  I say actually swimming because on the backside of the swim the water is very shallow and most will stand and walk that portion.  That’s what I HAD to do last time.  Not this time.  Lesson learned.

After exiting the swim area, I found a grassy area where I decided that I would shed my tri suit.  It came off very easily this time.  I really didn’t lose much time wrangling with the dumb thing.  Off to the bike and grab my bike gear.  Pretty smooth through that too.  When I got to the bike mount line is when the wheels came off – almost literally.  When I was driving in I could see that it was pretty breezy out, so I decided to remove the full disc wheel that I had put on the night before and replace it with my FLO 60 aero wheel.  Apparently I neglected to get the gears right and the bike was not liking me trying to peddle it that way.  People were looking at me.  It finally clicked into the correct gear and off I sped.  Unlearned Lesson #2:  Avoid a total newbie move and make sure that your bike is ready to ride right out of T1.

The wind was from the east and man did it make for a fast ride.  I was hitting 25mph easily and passing tons of riders.  I think I maxed out at one point at 32mph.  About a half mile out of T1 I realized that I didn’t know if I needed to push the Lap button on my watch, so I pushed it.  And then pushed it again.  After reviewing my watch activity it appears most of my ride was considered a transition.  Oops.  It was also then that I glanced down at my bike computer and realized it wasn’t on.  I got it on and it searched and found the satellites quickly, but I had forgotten to reset it from Saturday.  So I was essentially starting out with 85 miles on the odometer.  I reset it and reminded myself to get my head in the game.  Unlearned Lesson #3:  See Unlearned Lesson #2.

Here’s a link to my Garmin Connect race activity:  https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1209927507

Only one faster rider passed me on the ride, a tall strong looking guy.  I was doing 25 or so and he was faster.  I figured I would get him on the run.  But that was it.  Nobody else passed me on the ride.  I had a GU early on the ride and another at the back end to help fuel the run.  Heading back in was tough as it was a double whammy of some uphills and the wind in my face.  But back into town provided some wind buffer and soon I was whipping around the turns and pulling into T2.

The bike to run transition was smooth as silk.  I repeated to myself out loud that I needed my shoes, my visor, my bib belt and off I ran to Run Out.  Just before getting there I forgot one thing – I had arm warmers on for the ride that I forgot to take off, so I decided at the last minute to toss them in transition just before the exit and figured I would pick them up after the race.

I forgot to hit the lap button again, and truthfully I was pushing it not knowing if I was supposed to, but I remembered about a tenth of a mile into the run.  I really just wanted to know my pace, which at that time was a 6:33 mile.  Now I didn’t want to know!  Not sure how I planned to hold that pace, but I kept it up for about 3.5 miles of the run.  The run was different this year as we went south on the trail instead of heading north.  This made for some crazy crowded trail.  Not only was there runners running in both directions, but there was some sort of bike event going on locally, so that added some crazy to the whole thing.  But as I kept charging ahead I realized I was passing a ton of triathletes.  I did not get passed by anyone during the run.  I just kept picking off one runner and the next.  I paid attention to the age group markings on the calves of the runners and found I was passing a lot of my age group peers, which made me feel great.

At the 3.5 mile mark there was some switchback type turns and a little hill and bridge that kind of took the wind out of me and slowed me down.  But I knew that I basically had a half mile to go and the race was ahead of me and not behind me.  I finished strong into the finishing chute for an unofficial watch time of 1:18:21.  This is a 6 minute PR over my 2014 time!  I was shocked.  Learned Lesson #2:  Know the course well and trusting your running ability.  Always bet on the runner!

The hard part was post race, being slightly wet on a cool morning – I was uncomfortable.  There was quite a wait for the final finishers to wrap up their races, so I ate some banana, pizza, a cookie and downed another water bottle.  I approached the tent where the timing guys were hanging out and was told they would be posted soon.  About an hour later (!), they posted them.  I waited in line to get a look and found my name on the first page, and learned that I had finished 3rd in the M50-54 age group!  This race was a USAT Nationals Age Group Qualifier, so by finishing 3rd I should be qualified!  I may not be able to go to it, but it is always nice to know that I had qualified.  Now I had to wait until the end to get my award.

IMG_5613
As I type this, I realized she gave me the wrong award.  Oh well, I did actually get 3rd in the M50-54 according to the results.  And the guy did call my name.  The girl passing out the awards was in the F50-54 and had just won an award herself.  I think she was distracted.

I knew that transition was going to close at 11:30am, so I jogged the mile back to transition.  All of my stuff was there thankfully, even though the place was mostly cleared out.  I grabbed my bag and went into the lockers and took a shower because I was starting to get rank.  I packed up my stuff and walked back to the car.  I was 5 miles or so away when I realized that my favorite pair of arm warmers were still laying in transition by the Run Out.  Unlearned Lesson #3:  Don’t ever say to yourself that “I’ll remember” to go back and do something!  Now I am out my favorite pair of arm warmers.

So, to sum up the race itself I would say that packet pick-up was a waste of an afternoon driving to Geneva on Friday to get a bib and two stickers, a shirt and a swim cap.  Next time use the morning pick-up, I was there in plenty of time to get it.  Also, the new run course finishing at the Batavia VFW was way too crowded and busy for the racers, and the finish was way too far from transition.  Hopefully they will get some negative feedback on that and move it back to finishing downtown.  And if I do finish and get an A/G award, head back to transition, take a shower, pack up all of your junk and then go back to the awards.  There will be plenty of time.

Good race, nice day.  I’ll be back.  That’s a lesson that I have learned.

http://results.bataviatriathlon.org.s3.amazonaws.com/2016/triathlon.html