Saturday, October 16, 2010

US OPEN Olympic Distance - Rockwall, TX Race Recap: Billy Self

Green Member:  Billy Self

Event: US Open Olympic Distance

Location:  - Very cool to have it in Rockwall. 

Class (yours):  Male Local Elite 

Results: 51st overall.  9th out of 19 in Elite Class. 

Local Knowledge and Conditions:  Embarrassing that I actually got confused on bike course... I should have know better. I got yelled at by my coach as he just happened to be passing me at that moment... "Come on, Bill, you know the course!"  Local knowledge... was none. We did notice before the race that all of the pros put their bikes in the small chain ring.  So we did the same to help us get up the hill out of T1. 

Conditions were perfect. Slight breeze on the water made the 1st and 2nd leg of the water a slight challenge, but it was manageable. The 3rd leg was calm due to being lee of the shore, but the sun was right in my eyes. I used a particular corner at the top of the hotel as my sighting object.  It worked really well (got lucky) because I kept swimming right by the small markers (that seemed to appear out of nowhere). 

Pre-Race Strategy & Warm Up:  Swim --- OHHHhh... I wanted this swim.. I wanted it bad.. I could taste it (lake water, yum).  I went with sleeveless wetsuit. Zero practice since April in wetsuit.  I decided on a feet first jump to avoid goggle problems. Still managed to sprint out in front of field with no traffic. 
T2 strategy - I decided to go with socks for the run only due to some blister trouble I've been having... Plus I'm gonna wear socks in Clearwater for sure... So might as well practice here. A very good decision for me. 
Bike strategy was to keep it on the moderate side. I had NOTHING for bike computer. no speedometer. nothing. Which felt like a zen experience. I rode how I felt.  
Run - My goal was simple... to have my first sub 7 min pace on an Olympic distance run. (gotten very close several times)

Psychology:  This was a fun race or training race as I prepare for Clearwater in November. I wanted to gauge where I was and how I felt.  I did get nervous before the start simply because of how big the event was AND in our own backyard.  Since we are a Rockwall local Triathlon team for the most part, I wanted to have a solid performance in front of friends/family. 
Cool moment: walking down to the dock... the security pointed at me, and said, "All elite go ahead to start dock".  Got to walk down to where the Pros were standing to listen to the National Anthem. 

Lessons Learned (Or Re-Learned):  Check, recheck, and Double check the bike/run course.  (Sorry Michael).  Also, I almost had a bad slip when trying to rack my bike in T2. I stepped on a neighbor's wetsuit and just about ate it. Lesson: watch where you step. 

Future Goals (include skills executed well and skills needing improvement):  My bike effort management was better than probably any other race to date. Maybe I need to stick to no bike computer.... at least until Katie gives the go ahead on a power meter. Then I'm gonna get the Quarq set up. But! I am very happy and grateful for the equipment I have right now.  Love you Katie!!

Race Break Down: 
Swim - Sprinted out the front to get clear water... eased into groove about 200 meters out.  Then I surged every 300 meters or so to try and really put my arms through some pain. I wanted a PR for the 1500m... Didn't happen...23:41 was my time. I'm gonna call this swim course "long"... oh well. Happy with my sighting. Came out of the water SUPER Wobbly and goofy. I had given that swim everything.

Bike - Took me ALLL the way to mile 5 to get my lungs under control.  Part of it was the hills at the beginning of the bike.  It was a good tough that probably separated the men from the boys.  The rest of the bike course was smooth rollin' hills.  Loved it. I spun at a higher rate that usual and that helped quite a bit. I was able to pass 2 other elite guys and then this dude named Dawdy came along... I got caught by Dawdy about 8-9 miles from end of bike course. Once he passed, I tried to keep him within 50 yards of me. (I didn't want to get even close to drafting, but he was a good rabbit).  I came into T2 feeling strong and about 20 seconds behind Dawdy.  Bike average was 23.1mph. Personal best for Olympic distance. 

Run - I'm sure this was the case for several people, but getting out of T2 was tough hitting those hills so immediately.  Once I got to the stop light, I tried to lean forward more and get my speed back up asap.  Putting on socks in T2 cost me about 15-20 seconds, but it was SOOOO worth it. My feet were comfortable and my legs felt great. Time to push for a PB in OLY run.  When I approached the run turnaround, I glanced at my watch to see what kind of gap I would have on fellow teammate, Barry Brooks. I knew he was gunnin' for me on the run.  When I did see Barry, I knew it wasn't his day... Not every race is stellar one, and I know Barry has it in him to really pound it on the course. He will be back even more motivated to compete. I look forward to that.  I got passed by an elite male with 1 mile to go... This dude absolutely flew by me. DOH!  No chance to stick with him.  Then another guy came up running slightly faster.  He actually hesitated for a moment to let me try to pick it up. After running along side him giving it absolutely everything I had, he whispered, "I'm in the sprint distance"... HA! All the more reason to stick with him. So we ran the rest of the way in... hard!   What a great feeling to be able to pick it up hard for the last .75 miles.  Another personal best for Olympic distance run split : 6:53 minute/mile.  I'll take it. 

Fitness (endurance, nutrition, hydration):  I want more on the swim. Bike was good and moderate. Hydration was top notch for several weeks. Nutrition for race was one bottle of Infinite Nutrition with 4 scoops. 

Something funny that happened:  A lady on the bike course saw me and yelled at the top of her lungs... "GOOOOO JASON!!!"

Glad To Be Here!

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