Event: Tri-Waco Sprint (400m o.w.s.; 12.8 mi bike; 3.6 mi run)
Location: Waco, TX
Class (yours): M 35-39
Results: 1:11:18, 3rd Age Group, and 21st overall.
Local Knowledge and Conditions: None. First time to do this race. It was VERY WELL run, and the City of Waco puts a lot into the race. I HIGHLY recommend going to Waco in 2012 and at least doing the Sprint, if not the Olympic. The Oly run course has the same first mile and last 2 miles as the Sprint, but adds a 3 mile loop in the middle miles with steep hills through Cameron park that dramatically alters the run. If you go, reserve a room in the host Hilton as early as possible. You literally walk out the back door and into transition. On race day, it was hot. Water in the mighty Brazos River was 90 degrees and swampy. Not much current. T1 is long due to the distance up to Transition from the River area. Bike course is pretty dang flat, with possibly a false flat on one stretch, but no hills whatsoever. Can get a little windy, and it will hit you from every direction at some point on this out and back curved course. The 1st half of the run course is great, slightly downwind and very shaded. The 2nd half of the run course seems like it goes on forever, and is completely exposed to full sun and at least a cross-wind.
Pre-Race Strategy & Warm Up: Just go have fun and use this as a baseline before I start training for US Open.
Psychology: Try to swim strong with good lines, lay down the law on the bike, and see what's left on the run.
Race break down:
Swim- 8:22 (400m)
Bike- 31:31 (12.8 mi; 23.7 mph)
Run- 27:51 (3.6 mi; 8:11/mi)
Felt like I had a great swim and stayed on good lines, so I was stunned to see 8:00 on my watch when I climbed out of the river. The swim seemed very slow for everyone. Perhaps it was just due to the warmth of the water. Course certainly didn't look long, but everyone had slow swim times. Our wave was the 3rd wave to hit the water, so there was some traffic in the water and on the bike course. (I never understand why some races start the fastest AGs behind slower AGs.) I was pleased with a strong bike split, which was only 10 seconds behind the overall race winner's split (his was the fastest split, and mine was 2d or 3d fastest overall). I apparently came off the bike with about a 2 minute lead in the AG, which I lost just past mile 2 marker to Barry Brooks, who took our AG to the house! At that point, my dang shoes weighed about 5 pounds each due to my natural excessive sweating, and dumping too much water on myself, and I was starting to blister badly. Hobbled the last mile and unfortunately got passed very late, which slid me into 3rd.
Lessons Learned (Or Re-Learned): This was the first time to race in the new ProSoap kits. They performed very well, on a short course at least. Since I'm a massive sweater, I may consider wearing socks in even a sprint when it is this hot/humid to avoid blistering. Consider whether the few seconds of putting socks on will save more time than that on the run, and make for a less miserable experience. My pace/mile went way south once the blistering hit. Also, be careful how much water you pour on you during the run to avoid shoes filling up.
Future Goals (include skills executed well and skills needing improvement): Will definitely go back to Waco! Great venue, and great race support.
Fitness (endurance, nutrition, hydration): I had not run much at all in the past 3 months, due to vacation and a focus on a cycling event in Colorado. It showed late in the run. And I literally had to reassemble my tri bike the week of the race, as I hadn't touched the tri bike since it was shipped back from St George IM 10 weeks prior!
Something funny that happened: Some Baylor-tri-shorts wearing college age dude was drafting behind a girl like this was a NASCAR event. When I passed him at a considerably faster speed, I told him to knock it off and I received a loud "thank you" from the girl whose wheel he'd been sucking for who knows how long. As I'm leaving T2, I see this same dude literally run with his bike all the way through transition and go out the T2 exit with his bike. The volunteers are yelling at this guy like, "hey, go back to Transition and leave your bike." He ignores them and then darts off the run course for a nearby tree. Apparently he was racing Tri-Waco as a "bandit" racer and had his own little transition area under the tree. Ah, those starving college kids…