Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Saint Paul Triathlon or Almost Completed my First Tri of the Year

No intentional DNF like at St. Anthony's in late April. This one I finished, sort of. I guess the Saint Paul Triathlon is my first race of the season and it was a relay. I did the swim and the bike and Jackie's cousin did the run.

It was a fantastic day for a tri. I got up about 4AM and had my usual breakfast of oatmeal, banana, coffee, and oj. Took a shower and shave, needed to wake up. Stopped on the way to the race for a small coffee and donut, a little pick-me-up. The temperature around 5:30 was low upper 50s-lower 60s. If felt good in the morning.

As usual, I got there early. Sat in the car for about 15 minutes and listened to some music. Finally got out of the car and found a nice spot on the rack. About 20 minutes after I was nicely setup they put out the signs for the relay racks, so I had to move all my stuff. Which was fine, I still got a nice spot at the end. I didn't really warm-up, except for a little swim right before the start.

Jackie and her cousin showed up at about 6:45. Her cousin only had about 3 hours of sleep after working until about 2AM. Jackie only had a little more sleep. We chatted and hung out before the start. I was nervous and antsy.

I was in the first wave, which was International (Olympic) distance all Elite, males under 34, and relay. The start was a bit of a mess like last year. No official at the start and no start line except, everyone in water no deeper than ankles. Ready, set, go, and we were off. I went wide and easy at the start. Since it was my first race I wanted to take it easy for the first lap. It worked well. I was out of traffic and it was very calm water. I did get a little anxiety and had a little problem breathing, so I just took some extra breathes and stayed steady. On the second lap I picked it up to a slightly faster pace. As usual, I didn't start standing until my hands touched the bottom. I stood up, took a few steps, and feel in ankle deep water. A volunteer helped me up. I got going and as I was running up the chute I heard Jackie, her cousin, and her aunt and uncle cheering my name. It was nice to hear cheering for me. I got into transition, had some trouble getting the wetsuit off, it has been almost a year since I have had to do it.

The whole time on the bike was rough. First of all the road it horrible. Lots of potholes and very uneven. It was stressful because I had not been on a bike outside at all this year, except for the Tuesday Night Time Trials, so my bike handling is poor. When I got outside of Phalen Park and to one of the first intersections, a women ran a stop sign with a police officer. I saw it coming and jammed on the brakes, slid, she stopped in the middle of the intersection, and I swerved around behind her. She stopped in the middle because the cop in front told her to and the cop behind her, that she blew by, also told her. I never saw her look in my direction. That left me a little rattled. The second lap of the bike was bad because now everyone from the other waves out on the course and there are people riding 2-3 abreast. Very nerve racking, one reason I don't like urban races. Urban races are usually crowded and the roads are terrible. Another reason the bike was so rough, I am out of shape. So I used the downhills to my advantage, by coasting a bit, and spinning when possible, only really cranking away when I felt up to it. The bike was painful, I was sucking wind, but as the results below show, it wasn't as bad as I thought. I thought I might, might average over 20MPH, and I did.

I got into transition and handed off the chip to Jackie's cousin, who had a really great run considering the conditions she did it under. While she was running I got to hang out with Jackie and her aunt and uncle, which was a really good time. Again, not something I get to do at a triathlon.

Overall it was a really good day. I got to do 2/3 of a triathlon, my girlfriend got to come and watch, her relatives were there, and the weather was perfect.

Results - 7th out of 11 coed teams.

Swim (1 mi) - 28:05 (1:36 100 yard/pace)

Bike (24.3 mi) - 1:08:01 (21.3 MPH)

Run (6.2 mi) - 56

Total time - 2:36:01

What I did last year (2008) on my own at the Saint Paul Triathlon

Results - 5 of 22 (Age group 30-34) and 42/182 overall

Swim (1 mi) - 29:54 (1:42 100 yard/pace)

Bike (24.3 mi) - 1:04:54 (22.5 MPH)

Run (6.2 mi) - 49:21 (7:57 min/mi)

Total time - 2:27:03

A last note, I did this triathlon last year and said then I would not do it this year. I don't like the bike course. It is crowded and the roads are bad. The run and swim are fine. Also, the race is not run very well overall. My girlfriend, who has volunteered with me at a number of races this year, said this was one of the most poorly run races she has seen. I would have to agree. The exit and enterance to the bike transition is dangerous because it is in traffic for the second lap people. Also, the food and drink at the end is poor. Last year they ran short of water. I think all they have at the end is Chex Mix and some fruit snacks laid out. I did it this year because I transferred from a different race and I wanted to do a relay. I think this is my last year doing this race.

No comments: