This past weekend was the Spring Fever Triathlon in Claremore, OK. It is a nice little race that kicks the season off here in the Tulsa area. This race is great for first time triathletes. It is a time trial format with an indoor snake 400-meter pool swim, which makes it a little less intimidating for the beginner. The other distances included a 12-mile bike and a 2-mile run. The bike course, on the way out, is downhill and the return is uphill and usually into the wind. This course definitely favors the strong cyclist. We had a great turnout with more than 300 competitors. The race filled up quickly. Some folks who tried to register later were turned away. Above is a photo of Dana. She led the peanut gallery as they heckled the athletes as they left T1.
I like to use the race as a tune up for my upcoming race schedule as it allows me to work out some of the kinks before I take things out of town. However, this year I had four of my coached athletes racing which made it less of a selfish endeavor. This race would be the first test to see how the training programs I designed performed. The guys have been pretty dedicated and loyal to the programs and I was expecting some good things. They didn’t disappoint me.
The pool was very hot. I got the honor being number one and went off first. By 200 meters into the swim, I was burning up. It wasn’t surprising that my max heart rate for the entire race was just after coming out of the water and running to T1. I have a new position on the bike, more forward and with a 19 cm drop from saddle to elbow rests. This race gave me an opportunity to see how it worked in a race situation. I felt that the position was great while I was riding downhill and with the tailwind, but when I turned around and went uphill and into the wind, I felt that I lacked power. I was too low. I should have been able to answer to the cyclists who passed me but I couldn‘t. The entire effort, including the run, was at Olympic distance pace and I felt it went very well. I placed 6th overall with a time similar to my past few years but with a significantly lower heart rate average. This bodes well for St. Anthony’s next week. Things should be better on the bike when I raise the bars up a bit.
I get pretty excited about the energy level of my athletes. Everyone is so enthusiastic. It keeps me motivated.
Sean Stevens had a great race and went by me on the run. “Hey coach”. I had the opportunity of coaching him on the fly. I was able to yell some words of encouragement and help motivate him as I ran behind. Sean was trailing the leaders but was in contact and looked like he could run them down. He looked great and ran smoothly. Sean ended up besting his previous time by a huge margin and placed 3rd overall. He just missed second place by one second. That was tough for him. I told him not to worry about it; no one remembers who gets second anyway. Sean’s next race coming up is Memphis in May. He should do very well there. He is currently running lifetime bests, and having a breakthrough season.
Doug Leib won the 50-54 age group and he had a great race. He just purchased a new Cervelo P3, the day before the race, and is starting to get more serious about the sport. He didn’t ride the bike in the race, but he should be pulling it out pretty soon. His goals this year are to qualify and compete in the Age Group National Championships in Portland, OR. He is well on pace to meet this goal. Hotel reservations have already been made.
Eric Lundt recently ran a half marathon personal record in February, and he and his wife just had a baby. Eric continues to juggle training, work, and family. Achieving a balance during this transition is difficult, but Eric felt good about his race. He seeded himself very slowly on the swim and was the 92nd athlete to go off. He was caught up with slower swimmers in the pool, which led to a slower swim time than he expected. This was his first Spring Fever Triathlon and he had no idea that this race was so popular. He is currently targeting Buffalo Springs 70.3 in June. His progression is coming along quite nicely.
Steve Scace is a relative newbie and he improved his time by 7 minutes from last years effort despite being ill all week. He continues to become fitter as he becomes a “triathlete”. Steve is targeting Kansas 70.3 and Vineman 70.3 this year. An Ironman will be in his plans at some point in the future.
This race demonstrated a surge in interest in triathlon in the Tulsa community. I hope that all of the newcomers caught the bug last weekend and this sport continues to grow here.
Special thanks to Whitney Mackellar-Stevens and Robert Flagor for the photos