Sunday, August 28, 2011

Holly Tri Race Report

There are a few ways I could sum up this race.  One would be: "Another hill? #&%."  Another would be: "Do I have any gears lower than 1?"  But, I think the best way to sum up the race is this:

Overall Swim Placement: 110 / 134
Overall Bike Placement: 115 / 134
Overall Run Placement: 21 / 134

The race was scheduled to start at 8am with packet pickup starting at 6am.  I aimed to get there at 6am, which meant leaving at 5am.  Just before leaving, I found a little blurb on the race website that says even though I already paid the registration fee, I have to pay an extra $10 (in cash or check) on race day for a license.  Let me just state that this is the dumbest thing ever.  If it costs ten more dollars, then make it part of the registration fee.  Don't try and slip it in under the radar and bamboozle well-meaning racers.

It was dark when I arrived at Holly State Recreation Area, and after checking in I set up my little piece of tarmac:

Pretty simple

After some rearranging

Next to me on the rack was a friendly German fellow who warned me about a "big hill" on the bike course.  Then the German fellow disappeared and I didn't see him again for the rest of the day.  It's possible that he was an apparition meant to give me course advice.  Or he was an oracle.

I then took a gander at the course.  From the maps on the website, we were supposed to go around the swimming rectangle once.  To my eye, it seemed like a pretty big 500m, but I rationalized that the perspective was all off since the lines were at an oblique angle to the shore.  I then looked at the posted map, and as it turns out, sprint racers only needed to go as far as the pyramid buoys.  Much better.

The beach was disarmingly moist.  Instead of a discrete line between beach and lake, it was more of a continuum.

After chatting with no one (triathletes aren't very friendly, I guess), I got my wetsuit on and meandered to the beach for the pre-race meeting.  For the rest of the time on the beach, the sound system would cut out after about 5-7 seconds, thus needing a reset.  Even after this happened 50+ times, the announcer would always wander away from the reset button and then act surprised when it would cut out 4 seconds later.

Aside: This is my first time racing at a "3 Disciplines" event.  If I were to rate "3 Disciplines" on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being orgs like Twin Cities in Motion and Final Stretch, and 1 being orgs like Randy Fulton races and Team Ortho, I'd give "3 Disciplines" a solid 5.5.

Also, thanks to the kind fellow that helped me zip up my wetsuit.  I guess my struggling was pretty obvious.

I was hesitant about a "time trial start".  I figured that it would make it less of a race, and more of an individual event against the clock.  And that was true.  Yet, I also feared that I would be the last person on the course because it required us to seed ourselves based on projected swim time.  I guessed I would be the slowest, but there was practically a brawl to see who could get the slowest projected time.  I settled for a spot in the 14-15 min range (about 2/3 of the way back in the line).  They told me to go, and then I went.  It was slow, but this being my first wetsuit race, I stayed pretty relaxed.  I found my way around the course, got lost in the weeds a bit, then ran up the beach.

Swim Time (500m): 15'16" (I guess my estimate was pretty good)

Holy Buckets.  This was the worst bike course I could imagine (well, except for something in Iowa, I suppose).  It was crazy hilly with a lot of sharp turns and broken pavement.  And to top it off, I had to do 2 loops.  On occasion, I would slow to less than a walking pace trying to get up the hill, mutter something like "I should have rode Roy", then start singing until I reached the top.  After that, I would fly down the downhill cursing at the stupid flappy paddle shifters that made me shift the wrong way and send my pedal flying into my shin.  Then repeat this about 50 times.

Bike Time (12ish miles): 57'05", 12.6 mi/hr

As you can imagine from the start of the post, I had a good run.  Or, more accurately, I'm a runner, thus I sucked at the other parts and did ok on the run.  These were my thoughts along the run:


"Damn.  That's a big hill."

But, I only passed people on the run, so that was good.  What was bad was that we weren't competing with each other because they could have started minutes before or after me!

Run Time (5kish): 21'10", 6'49"/mile pace

Total Time: 1:37:59, 100 / 134 overall, 76 / 93 men. (There were no age groups.)

I had low expectations going into the race.  I met them.  It was fun, I suppose, but being so terrible on the swim and bike means there aren't any people my speed to run with.  I really should just stick to running.


Cat said...

Don't be hating on Iowa! I totally want you and Katie to RAGBRAI with me in like... 15 years.

Detroit Runner(Jeff) said...

I have to say that it seems to me that triathletes don't seem too friendly at all to me. I see them all the time training and rarely get a "hi" but I probably passed 50 runners today and most said hi. "Just" runners seem more friendly. Great job on the race. I'd be last in swimming and low pack on biking and mid on running. I'd just be happy to finish. I also did a running race that 3d put on - the worst shirt I have received from an event in 2 years but it was fairly well organized.

Anonymous said...

it looks like you need a tag for "hating on everyone who is not a *pure* runner from Michigan or Minnesota". So far, you can apply it to not liking triathletes, duathletes, cyclists, and Iowans! :-)

Katie said...

I'm rather interested in your conception that triathletes are so much less friendly to you than runners are. I actually find that I'm much more likely to have a random person start a conversation with me while waiting for a triathlon to begin than a running race. I wonder if it's all in our perception and a conversation is be equally likely before both types of races. Maybe you subconsciously glare at other racers before a triathlon ("ugh, these stuck-up triathletes") and I subconsciously glare at other racers before a running race ("ugh, these stuck-up runners"), or if runners like men more and triathletes like women more. I've had no issues with triathletes being "unfriendly", as all runners seem to find them, but I actually find the opposite -- before running races, people are generally tucked up in their own little cliques, or completely absorbed in their music (which you can't really do before a swim, by the way). Meeting them out on the street is one thing - you can't really tell them apart! But before races, triathletes have always been more friendly to me. Maybe you're the runner that needs to break the trend and start talking to other athletes, rather than waiting for them to say something?

Cat said...

Lol- We need to get you off the main highways in Iowa. There is some beauty to be seen, I promise!

My mom told me that the principal of the school where she works told the group a parable:
A clerk worked at a gas station on the edge of a town. One day, someone from another town pulled in and started a conversation. "I am thinking about moving my family to this town. What kind of people do you live here?" The clerk replied, "What are the people like where you come from?" The visitor explained, "Oh, where I come from people are terrible! They are thieves and dishonest people." The clerk thought for a moment then said, "You will find the same people here." The next day, another person drove in from another town. Entering the store, he started a conversation with the clerk. "I am thinking about moving my family to this town. What kind of people live here?" The clerk asked back, "What are the people like where you come from?" The visitor explained, "Oh, the people where I come from are kind and honest." The clerk replied, "You will find the same sort of people in this town."

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