Blackland Tri Race Report (this is a long one, so if you get bored…tough!)
Once again, Team ProSoap was well represented at the Blackland Triathlon a few weeks ago. Heather Diamond, Wade Fitzgerald and Greg Diamond were all present to tow the line and hammer it.
Great venue: 50 meter pool lanes, fast yet challenging bike course and a spectator friendly run course that featured an off-road section. Throw in the fact that the race organizers implemented a “civilized” start time of 9:30 am and you have the recipe for a fun race experience. Arrived a little after 8:00 am and made our way to transition. The Youth Tri was in full swing by that time and those little buggers can move. They clipped off splits that someday I only wish I could attain. Future Ironkids is an understatement.
All three of us set up transition right next to each other as we had our own private rack. Very nice luxury to have as we all know transition racks can get quite crowded. After some small talk, we headed inside the natatorium to get in a few practice laps. Full field of racers – 400 I believe. Pool temp was almost too warm, but I didn’t hear anyone complaining as it was a welcome treat coming in from the chilly temps outside.
One half of the Diamond Duo found their usual form early in the race and never relinquished that drive for the top AG podium spot. Can you guess which Diamond? Yep, my lovely wife, Heather once again found herself accepting a 1st place AG award. Although her last two months of training have been primarily marathon training and her last race before Blackland was the Take on the Heat Tri in mid August (1st AG), she was more than eager to represent ProSoap in the last local tri of the season. The following excerpt is from Heather:
I was a little hesitant to race this one because I have been doing a lot of slow miles getting ready for the San Antonio Rock 'n Roll Marathon, but 2 good friends of ours were the race directors, so we wanted to help them out with attendance. The swim was very relaxed for me as I just sat on the heels of the person in front of me and drafted the entire way. I'm sure I could have pushed it a little more, but wanted to conserve my energy for the bike. The wind had really picked up by the time I got out on the bike course. It was a challenging little course, with a few hills mixed in, but I enjoyed it very much. (Even after one year of racing on it, I am still in love with my bike, and am still amazed at what it can do!) They say that the engine is what makes the bike, but in this case, this bike makes the engine look good! Then out to the run. I felt like I was running really well for the first 2 miles. I'm not sure of the pace during the first 2 miles as I forgot my watch that morning... but I felt like it was fast. Then the 3rd mile hit and we went "cross-country". Do I look like a cross-country runner? NO! I was concerned about a turned ankle right before the marathon, and I hate running on the grass - so I'm sure that 3rd mile really hurt my over-all run time. None the less, it was good enough for an age group win and 5th overall in the women's race (out of 160+ women). This is definitely a race to add on the calendar next year!
Former Cat 2 racer and first time triathlete, Wade Fitzgerald, tackled Blackland with reckless fury. Go hard and enjoy the suffering was his motto and he delivered. After hanging his bike up from competitive road racing during college and enduring several years of back trouble, Wade decided to start his comeback as an endurance athlete this year. Training began a few months ago and armed with the little knowledge I could bestow up on him and recalling on his past road race training, Wade made it his goal to complete his first triathlon at the end of this season.
Background on Wade: Because our friendship goes back to high school (#1 doubles tennis team 90-91), I know the kind of athlete he is and what he is capable of when it comes to endurance sports. We’re talking about a guy who used to clip off just over 5 minute miles in our tennis training runs, practice for 3 hours on the court and then hop on his bike and hammer out a 50 mile ride. A guy who has the experience of road racing against such familiar pro names as Levi and George. Someone who would regularly enter into running races (5K’s to marathons) and clip off miles at a pace that I couldn’t match on my bike. I’m giving you his background not to “talk up” or boast about my good friend, but to set the stage for what is to come when he is back in top form. To tell you that ProSoap has one hell of an athlete in their midst. A person that will gel smoothly into an already stacked and lightning fast team. Some of you may not even recognize Wade, but he has been to a few our races cheering us on and taking photos. Get to know him as he will be the first to lend a hand and is the ultimate team player. We all know our sport of triathlon has its share of egos brimming with arrogance, but you won’t find that with Wade or any other member of ProSoap, I’m proud to say. Confidence, yes. Our team has the right to be confident and we should be going into any race. Our team and individual results definitely speak for themselves.
Back to Wade’s first triathlon experience: I could tell there was a bit of nervousness floating around, but heck, who isn’t nervous before a race? After a few practice laps, Wade found his spot in line preparing for his plunge in the water. I know the feeling he had…the same feeling that all of us had our first time to hit the water in our first triathlon. He told me he took his time and just tried to stay calm. Mission accomplished. I had just started my run when I saw Heather coming in for the last few turns on the bike and then I saw Wade a few seconds later. Heather looked great as she gave me a thumbs up and I yelled at Wade as he passed. Not sure if he heard me as he was in total concentration mode staring straight ahead. What’s scary is that he averaged right at 20.3 mph on a Specialized Allez that was well over 13 years old without race wheels while I had a great bike split (for me) at 21.6 on a full carbon tri bike running a disc. That tells me that it’s all coming back and like Billy said about Chase, when we get these boys on an updated road rocket or tri bike, get out of their way!! Wade said his transitions were smooth and he took his time so as to not make any “rookie” mistakes. He said he followed his heart rate monitor closely and was able to maintain a certain heart rate to avoid blowing up. Smart training and racing in my book. In the end, he placed 17th out of 48 in the old man AG (35-39 of which I am proudly a part of) and 68th overall. Well done Wade and welcome to the club.
My experience: Gun goes off and the first swimmer is in the water. No doubt a young high school swimmer who snaked his way through the 300 yards in no time. Now he didn’t possess the swimming prowess of our own Chase Ingraham, but he was still pretty fastJ I seeded myself according to my time (4:47) from the Rockwall Tri. When my time came to hit the water, the timing girl told me to wait b/c her machine wasn’t working. That figures. She then said she couldn’t figure it out, but to go ahead and go anyway. I didn’t think anything of it until I checked my splits at the end of the race. My watch time said 1:07 and change. Their posted time clocked me at 1:08:33. Dropped me from 2nd in my AG to 4th and from 9th overall to 13th. Anyway, I digress – decent transition through T1 and I’m off on the bike. I start to pick off riders and end up averaging 21.6 mph on the 13.5 mile course and grabbed the fastest split in my age group. Ran the disc and felt it on a few sections as the wind was starting to kick up. Again, T2 was decent as I headed out on the run. Nice run course and like I stated before, there was an off-road section. It was actually a nice change to break up the constant pounding on the pavement. Ended up running a 7:07 per mile pace and although it wasn’t my fastest running split, I was pleased.
Before the race we decided that the individual who placed the highest in their respective AG would have the honor of choosing the post race lunch spot. Those involved in this little side wager knew right off the bat that Heather would be the victor, but we played along anywayJ Some of us had JC’s Burger House on the brain while others were lobbying for Freebirds. In the end, with Heather’s first place AG victory, she made the executive decision and we dined at Freebirds. Well worth it!
Now it’s officially the off-season and that means a continuation of tri training for those dedicated triathletes…for others that means more golf, a little more food, some mountain biking and another round of P90X baby! Looking forward to a full 2009 season with the ProSoap Team. Go ProSoap!!