31 May 2015

Sand Hollow Duathlon -5/30/15

I raced the duathlon yesterday morning at the Sand Hollow Tri-Du-Run.  It was put on by BBSC Endurance Sports and was held at Sand Hollow State Park near Hurricane Utah.

I felt like I had a good training load going into this race but my pre-race day was pretty hectic. A coworker scheduled his retirement ceremony for 4 PM on Friday and one week prior, my oldest son's school announced that his band concert would also be on that Friday at 7 PM.  After all the running around was done, it was midnight when I rolled into my hotel a few miles from the race start. Luckily, my wife had gone up earlier in the day with some of her triathlete friends and our youngest son and was able to pick up my packet and parking pass.

On race morning, the alarm went off early - 5:15 AM.  Getting up and going was rough and I laid in bed until my wife was ready.  After that, it was a quick donning of my kit and waking the boys so we could get downstairs for a quick breakfast before driving to Sand Hollow SP.

Once I got to the park, I unloaded my bike, grabbed my gear bag and headed to the transition area. When I got to my rack, it was already pretty full and I had to scramble for space to set-up my gear. Once I was set-up, I ran my pump back to the car and went to find my wife who was racing the Olympic distance triathlon.

Once her race began, I had about 40 minutes until my start so I went back to my transition area to double check my bike gears and don my racing flats.  Once that was done, I pooped two Advils and went to my start line to wait for the race director.

A few minutes before the 8 AM start, the race director gave instructions to the duathletes as well as the 5K and 10K runners.  Once that was done, we were off and running.  The race course for both of my runs was and out-and-back 5K with decent hills   I felt pretty good on it and felt like I pushed pretty hard on the second half.

run course elevation chart
As I ran back up the final hill to T1, I mentally rehearsed my blow at the rack - visor off, helmet on, running shoes off, bike shoes on, grab bike, go.  T1 went pretty smooth except for one hiccup in that I forgot to have the velcro open on my bike shoes and had to waste precious seconds on that function.

After exiting T1, I hopped on the bike at the mount line, clipped in and came out of the seat to build some quick speed going into the short downhill section that started the 20K (12.4 mile) out-and-back course.  Shortly before the hill bottomed out, there was a 90 degree turn that required a lot of breaking and then we began a climb.  As noted on the elevation chart, there was a pretty significant elevation change after Mile 3 with a 6% grade over the steepest section.  That climb was pretty tough but once I reached the top, I was back out of the saddle and pumping my legs furiously to build some speed back up on the chip/seal road. On the way back, the steep downhill was very fast but required a lot of braking in one section that had a cattle guard with a piece of plywood over it. After that, it was work hard back to the transition.

bike course elevation chart
As I worked the final hill to T2, I once again mentally rehearsed my rack produres - rack bike, remove helmet, don visor, remove bike shoes, don running shoes, go run.  That part went off without a hitch. Where there was an issue was when I came to a stop at the dismount line. I hopped off the bike so quick and braked so hard that my bike started to do an endo and when the back tire came down, it hit hard enough that my gear container popped out of the seat holder which required me to scramble after it.

Coming off the bike and heading into the run, my legs felt really good and I felt like I was running well.  I slowed down briefly to grab a water as I passed an aid station around the one mile mark and felt like I pushed pretty hard after the turn around and really worked the final hill.

Unfortunately, as good as I felt on all three sections, it was not reflected in the times for either of the runs or the bike. All three sections were 50-60 seconds slower per section than when I raced a very similar course (slightly different run, same bike) in September when I raced the duathlon at Kokopelli.  As I mentioned, my training going into this was solid so was it the poor sleep the night before?  The onset of 100+ temps in Vegas over the previous few days and some possible dehydration?  I don't know but I need to have better times when I get back up there for Kokopelli in September.

post race

10 May 2015

Tri - Du - Run for Your Cause - 5/9/15

I raced the duathlon yesterday morning at BBSC's Tri-Du-Run for Your Cause at Lake Mead near Boulder City, NV.  I signed up for this race months ago to lock in the early bird price when the registration first opened up so I have been looking forward to it for a while.

Packet pickup was Friday afternoon at McGhie's in Henderson, NV.  Packet pickup for local BBSC races is always nice because we know the owners and a lot of volunteers from Las Vegas Tri Club events and other BBSC races. The packets contained t-shirts, bibs, chips with ankle bands, samples from sponsors and assorted flyers and catalogs from sponsors.

On race morning, we were up at 4:15 AM for breakfast and loading the car. I set all of my gear, bike included, in the living room the night before so I was prepped and ready to go pretty quickly. After that, we made the hour drive to the lake and got there right as the transition opened at 6 AM.  My wife made the rare decision to not race the triathlon for this event and went straight to her volunteer duty as a body marker.  I set up my bike, helmet and shoes in my section of the transition area and then went to find her to get my arms and calf marked with my race number.

Almost halfway through Run #1
My first impression of the race area was that it was a little chilly. It was overcast and the temperature gauge on the car was showing 54 degrees with the forecast not scheduled to warm up much.  There was a bit of joking/grumbling from the triathlete crowd about getting in the water to warm up (water temps were in the mid 60s). At 7 AM, the first triathlon group started their swim and groups started out into the water every five minutes after that through 7:45.

A few minutes before 8 AM, the race director called all runners (duathletes and the 5K/10K crowd) to the run start for final instructions. While getting the instructions, I doffed my sweatshirt and handed it to my wife.  I also made a quick decision to put on my cycling gloves before the start of the first 5K so I wouldn't have to mess with them in transition.  Once the directions were done, the air horn blasted and we were off.  The 5K route was an out/back route with the first mile being on dirt/rocks with the first 3/4 being level and the next 1/4 uphill. After reaching the top of the hill, the course turned onto a paved road that took us to the turnaround. After that, is was back along the paved section to the dirt/rock final mile. There was an aid station set up on the paved section right where it met the dirt/rock section.

As I ran the final straight section over the rocks to the transition, I mentally rehearsed my steps for when I got to my bike.  Visor off.  Helmet on. Running shoes off. Cycling shoes on. Bike off rack. Hustle to the mount line and get on bike.  Transition went just like I mentally rehearsed and I was away on the Cervelo.

The first .42 miles are not a fast start to the out/back 12.4 mile course since it is a climb from Boulder Beach to Lakeshore Road and climbs a little over 100 feet in that distance. Combine that with zero momentum with the uphill coming immediately after transition and it made for a slow grinding start on the bike. However, once I made it to the top of that hill, I was able to shift gears and pick up the pace.  On the way back, I did hit some good headwinds as I crested a ridge around the 8.5 mile mark but overall, it felt like a good ride.
bike elevation chart
As I came down the hill back to the transition area, I once again began to mentally rehearse transition.  Unclip before the dismount line.  Hop off bike and run with it to the rack. Rack bike. Take off helmet. Switch shoes. Run.  This one didn't go as smooth as the first during the donning of my running shoes.  Prior to the race, I made a decision to wear my Hokas instead of my race flats with quick laces due to the rocky terrain on the running course.  While it was the correct decision for the terrain, getting the laces tightened and tucked away made for a slower transition than other racers who entered the transition right after me.  After that the shoes were on, I headed back out onto the course for the second 5K.  As I began the run, I peeled off my gloves and shoved them into the pockets on my jersey.  Shortly after that, I mentally kicked myself for not putting on my visor in transition.  On the beginning of this run, my pace felt pretty slow.  I had a bit of a groin strain going on and didn't feel like I could open up my stride.  Once I got to the pavement section, I opened it up a little bit more and pushed relatively hard on the downhill section.
After I crossed the finish line, I gave my wife a quick kiss across the fence and then got my finisher's medal and handed in my ankle band with chip.  I walked straight to my bike and grabbed my bottle of Powerade off the back of it.  After chugging half the bottle down, I went to check my times.  I finished with an overall time of 1:49:24 which was good for 12th out of 39 finishers.  My split times broke down to 26:07 for Run 1, 50:40 for the bike, and 29:23 for Run 2.  Overall, I am happy with the times. I will get another chance to race this course in September and look forward to improving those times to get sub 1:45.

Next up - another duathlon at the Sand Hollow Tri-Du-Run at the end of this month in Hurricane, UT