Monday, April 20, 2009

Off To The Races

It’s been a while since I have had time to write something on this blog. I haven’t had much time to do anything besides work and train. The work, unfortunately, has taken precedence, but that doesn’t mean that myself and a few of my coached athletes haven’t been able to test our fitness with a few races.......We have;-)

A few weeks ago a few of us flew to the birthplace of triathlon, the land of perpetual sunshine and summer, Oceanside, California for the Ironnman Oceanside 70.3. Californians seem to take this race very seriously. These folks are in tremendous form and very fit for this race. It’s very competitive. I’ve always wanted to do this race but I find it difficult to get myself ready for it with the long, dark, and cold Oklahoma winters. It’s dark when I leave for work and it’s dark when I get home. Most of the cycling this year got done on the Computrainer. After a while, I found myself watching slasher movies to keep my cranks moving at a high rate.

Myself, Sean Stevens, Eric Lundt, and Michael Krupka made the journey to the land of whoop ass. We all had respectable races but we were each handed our tushes on a silver platter when all was said and done.

It was a wonderful day in southern California on April 4th for the day of the race. It was a little chilly in the morning but we were all used to that. The water temperature was a nice 58 degrees. It sure beats the 89 degree water temperature that the health club keeps for the aqua-sizers. Don’t get me started on that.........

My heat was one of the last heats to go. The guy at the ramp keeping us in line, said that it was one of the largest. It was greater than 200 athletes. That’s a race in itself. I don’t think a local race in Oklahoma gets that many entrants.

Before I knew it the gun had sounded and we were off. I was able to swim away from the pack within the first 200 meters or so and continue to extend my lead for the entire swim. Unfortunately, I had to swim over and around the multiple heats which had gone off in front of me. Based on my training times, I thought I would be able to swim a 25 min 1.2 mile, but due to the congestion and taking a wide tack, it was 26:30. I still couldn’t wipe the big smile on my face as I cut through the chilly water in my XTerra Vendetta.

It was great to have the lead and my hopes were high. I started to think “Could a guy from Oklahoma come into their house and take this age group?” I guess I stood there and dreamt a little too long. For some reason, I had a brain fart in T1. I put on a jacket then decided to take it off, then I put on gloves and forgot to put on my helmet. I jacked around a minute longer than everyone else did. I was wasting time and folks were arriving and I was getting left behind. The swim lead evaporated just like that...Duh! The answer to the above question was a resounding.... NO!

On the bike those fit bleach blonde ripped dudes were tearing the cranks off their bikes and just demolished me. I was riding up one of the hills in Camp Pendleton and said to someone as I rolled by. “This hill seemed a lot easier on the Computrainer”. No answer.

Meanwhile, Sean, Eric, and Michael were having tough races too. Sean was holding his own with his swim and bike and was in the top 12 in his age group at T2, and Michael was having his all time best bike split on this course.

Once I hit the run, I was feeling good. I knew I had given up too many places to have a chance of getting on the podium. Being the top swimmer has a dubious advantage; you are able to count your position in the age group race as each competitor rides by. I had dropped from 1st to 18th and had the 24th best bike split. Ugh! Not exactly a glowing Computrainer testimonial, but I think it was mostly due to the lack of time on two wheels compared to my SOCAL counterparts.

I ran up on Eric who had left a few heats in front of me. He was running strong and ended up having a personal best HIM run. I saw Sean running the opposite way and was having a great race and looked strong too. Michael was plugging away and we shouted encouragement to one another.

Sean topped us all with an overall time of 4:42, 22nd in his age group, I went 4:48 for 12th, Michael went 5:13 for 73rd, and Eric ran himself up to 116th in the 35-39 age group from 182nd after the swim and went 5:23. It was a great way to get the season off to a good early start.

A week later, another one of my coached athletes, Doug Leib, 51, finished 9th overall in the Iron Pig Duathlon and was first in the grand masters category. Doug has his goals set on going back to Duathlon Worlds again this year, but also wants to do a few triathlons. He told me young guys half his age were coming up to him and asking him how he got so fast. I know.....The guy works hard!

This weekend a few other athletes raced. Kara Cassel has been tearing up the courses lately. She recently ran a PR 5K of 17:50 after a threshold bike ride workout, and this weekend travelled to Lubbock, TX for the Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. Kara is new to the sport but despite her newbieness, managed to place 26th out of 313 athletes in the event. Her strength is the run and she finished up with a 38 min 10K. I can see big things in the future for this girl.

SOCAL has Oceanside 70.3 for their world championships. Northeast Oklahoma has the Spring Fever Triathlon. It consists of a 450m swim, a 12 mile bike, and a 2 mile run. This race took place this past weekend. People here get really riled up for this event like the Californians get riled up for Oceanside. This year record numbers registered, 379, I think. There were so many, I was shut out. When I tried to register. They said “sorry we are closed”.

I had a few athletes do well here too. Toby Smith was 3rd overall and Michael Krupka was 9th. Eric Lundt ran a PR and broke one hour. My wife Dana had a great race too and finished 10th overall and 2nd amongst the women. She was bested only by local pro Jessica Myers.

Dana and I are getting ready to travel back to St. Croix. It’s a nice destination race. I like the heat. A full report will follow that race. Until then.......


Rainmaker said...

That's a pretty impressive swim time, no matter how ya slice the rest of the race. I like your "this was easier on the CompuTrainer" line... I think I might use it sometime. :)

Good luck down in the islands.

The Bun said...

My husband is entering the Redman and is unable to reach anyone to answer questions... maybe you can help....

Things like what kind of bike to use.... wear a helmet... a wet suit ect.... any help would be great!! Thanks.. Kirsten

Rob Chance said...


Redman is a great event. Most of the folks wear wetsuits, ride on time trial or triathlon bikes, and wear an aero helmet of some kind. Good luck to your husband.