This was the 4th year for the Maple Grove Triathlon, and it was my 4th year doing this triathlon. I have done this triathlon since the beginning, which is cool to say, and every year I have done the Olympic\International distance. The race is now owned by Lifetime. Aside from the advertising, the race was run the same as always.
The bike is a little long for an Olympic distance race, at 26 miles, I am guessing that is why they labeled it as an "International Distance". The swim was a little long this year too.......more about that later.
I was up early, as usual. I went through my usual routine and got there pretty early, about 5ish, transition opens at 5AM, and got into transition by 5:30. Long walk from parking to bike, and I was finishing my donut :)
In the past, you racked your bike by wave, anywhere you wanted on the rack for your wave. This year, everyone was assigned a number. Somehow, somehow, I lucked out and my number was on the end of a rack. Hooray.
I setup, chatted with some people, which is nice, as always, took some pictures, and wandered around. I decided to go for a little ride, so I grabbed my bike and went to head out. The night before I put new cleats on my shoes, see my race report from last weekend, and I was pretty sure I did it right. I discovered I put my right cleat on backwards. Lucky, I tend to check my stuff on race day. I got a screwdriver and fixed it. No problem.
I was feeling ok this morning. Not great, not super tired, just ok. This race has a tough run, it is two loops, it can get really hot, and it is not flat. So, not feeling fresh can be a bad thing.
I was in the 10th wave, which sounds like a long wait, but it was not. They did waves, but with time trial start within each wave. Two person side-by-side start.
I started off well. Sometimes it is hard for me to have a fast start with TT. You don't get the same rush you get with a group wave start. The TT does give you a little more room at the start, which is a nice trade-off. The swim felt like it was going well, but it seemed like it was taking a long, long time. When I got out, it had taken me 32+ minutes! What! The longest previously, here was 28 minutes, the last two years I was in the 27 minute range. I know, I know I was not swimming that much slower. After the race I talked with people, we all agreed, it was long. I overheard that someone with GPS on the swim said it was closer to 2000 yards, which is over a mile. I think I let my swim time get to me a little during the race. I was trying to shoot for a goal time, and I let the longer swim time get into my head a little.
The transition run was longer this year, they changed the transition to make it more neutral.
While I was transitioning from the swim to the bike, a guy two bikes down from me started talking to me. He asked if I was Chris Hawes, and when I responded yes, he told me his name and said we graduated from high school together. Odd.
I got out on the bike and it did not feel too bad at first. The wind was harsh, there were points I felt like I was not moving. I am surprised my average speed was not worse. I like the bike course, I think if there was little to know wind, it would be one of my fastest bikes of the year, but the wind is killer. I tried a gel pack on the bike. Not sure this was a great idea. It didn't taste great going down and it felt ick in my stomach for a little while. Luckily, the ick went away before the run.
As I was coming into the last half-mile or less of the bike I decide to start getting out of my shoes. I reached down to undo the Velcro on my right shoe, and a massive ab cramp came. I locked up a little, then I tried to stretch myself out a little. Eventually, it went away enough for me to get out of my shoe. I went to the left and it happened again, not as bad. I did get out of both shoes and the cramps mostly passed by the time I had to dismount. When you come into transition, from the bike, you take a sharp right, go down a short and steep hill to the dismount line. For some reason, people think they don't have to slow down. A bunch of people passed me going into the right turn and down the hill. When I got to the bottom there was about a 12-14 person cluster, with someone on the ground. People need to learn that there are times it is ok to slow down.
I came off the bike feeling ok. I took it a little easy on the way out, partly because of the steep uphill on the way out. They changed the run a little, since they now have the run going through the park on the second loop. I felt about as good as I think I could feel, especially with the difficulty of this run. I started the second loop, going up the hill through transition, and I could start to feel myself slow down. About mile 4 it started to become the real mental challenge. Just telling myself it was about 2 more miles, don't walk, keep running. There are two tough hills near the end, and I did not want to walk them. I ended up not walking, I was able to "run" them. It definitely was not my fastest 10K, but it was not my slowest. The water stops out there were lifesavers
It is amazing how this triathlon has grown, both in number and competition. There was 62 people in my AG this year! That is almost 3 times as many people as 2010. The first year I got third in my AG, now I am not even close. Everyone is soooooo fast now.
So, I had my slowest run and my slowest bike of the 4 years I have done this race. I doubt it was my slowest swim. I think my swim was probably about the same as previous years and close to what I have been swimming this year. I really want to go under, it is actually a goal of mine, to go under 2.5 hours for an Olympic distance tri. If I went 2 hours and 33 minutes, or so, I would hit that goal at Maple Grove, due to the long bike. Even if you take out about 5 minutes for the swim, I wasn't even close. That is somewhat disappointing. But, the fact that I finished, and it wasn't too terrible, makes it ok. At least by not going under 2.5 hours for an Olympic distance(ish) race I still have a goal to shoot for. I think I will continue to do this race. It is well run, mostly, and challenging. They could make the racer post-race food and refreshment area a little larger and with some better shade. It is a little crowded and they were out of some of the food.
This coming weekend, as usual, I am doing St. Croix Valley. Last year I was my absolute worst race of the year. I am not sure what happened, but I, for lack of better phrasing "shit the bed". It was one of my worst races of all time. I had nothing. This is the race I have the best chance for going under 2.5 hours. Not sure I can do it this year. I am definitely going for better than last year.
2013 Maple Grove Triathlon Results
Swim (1640yards?) = 32:27 (2:03/100 yards) - This was NOT 1.5Km (~0.9mi)!
T1 = 3:39
Bike (26mi) = 1:16:01 (20.6MPH, slowest bike split at this race)
T2 = 1:10
Run (6.2mi) = 54:05 (8:43/mi, slowest run split at this race)
Total = 1:47:47
Overall = 120/438
AG = 23/62
Overall Pace = 4:45/mi
2012 Maple Grove Triathlon Results
Swim (1640yards) = 28:26 (1:48/100 yards)
T1 = 1:57
Bike (26mi) = 1:13:14 (21.2MPH)
T2 = 0:54
Run (6.2mi) = 52:12 (8:25/mi)
Total = 1:37:09
Overall = 103/367
AG = 18/47
Overall Pace = 4:45/mi
2011 Maple Grove Triathlon Results
Swim (1640yards) = 27:29 (1:44/100 yards)
T1 = 2:26
Bike (26mi) = 1:13:32 (21.2MPH)
T2 = 1:12
Run (6.2mi) = 50:15 (8:06/mi)
Total = 1:34:49
Overall = 44/216
AG = 9/33
Overall Pace = 4:41/mi
2010 Maple Grove Triathlon Results
Swim (1640yards) = 27:23 (1:43/100 yards)
T1 = 2:27
Bike (26mi) = 1:13:12 (21.3MPH)
T2 = 1:03
Run (6.2mi) = 52:49 (8:32/mi)
Total = 1:36:54
Overall = 31/167
AG = 3/22
Overall Pace = 4:44/mi
Kerry Yndestad, Yndecam, took this picture of my ugly, ugly feet. Enjoy!