Sunday, July 27, 2014

2014 Graniteman Clearlake Triathlon Race Report

A couple of weeks behind......
This was my first time at this race.  Last year, I did two of the Graniteman races, St. Cloud and Big Lake.  I would do all these races again.  They are well run races and they are good sprint course races.  Swim location is good, bike routes are good, and fast, and the runs good.  I would have done St. Cloud and Big Lake this year, except they are on dates that there are other races I wanted to do a little more.  As an aside, the same people now own Buffalo Triathlon, which I did this year, and they did a good job with that race.
I got there in plenty of time and setup.  Realized I forgot my helmet.  First in over a hundred races that has happened.  Luckily, Maple Grove Cycle was there and sold me a nice helmet.  My road helmet is about 8 years old, so I am probably due for a new helmet. 
The weather was warm, humid, and cloudy.  Luckily it was cloudy.  If it would have been sunny, it would have been really miserable.
The swim is straight across a small lake.  A drag race.  You have to walk to the start.  I did not have flip-flops or sandals.  I recommend wearing something for the walk.  The walk is on a trail that is hard\sharp\unpleasant gravel.  At the end of the trail, they have barrels with wave numbers that you can put your footwear in so you can get it back.  Next time I will wear something on my feet.  
I was in the second to last wave, so have to wait a little while to wait and watch the other waves take off and get a decent warm-up. 
Something amazing happened on this swim.  I took off on the right side of the wave, started off kind of aggressively, and found myself out in front.  As I continued to swim, I was still out in front.  When I finished, I thought, correctly, I was first in my age group.  I was. I had the fastest split in my age group.  The guy behind me got out of transition a little faster than me, and never looked back.  He averaged about 24 MPH on the bike and I think his run time was in the low 7 minute per mile. 
There is s run uphill to transition, not a short run.  I got hung up a little in transition getting my wetsuit off.  Out of transition is tricky, it immediately a steep, short, uphill bike out to the road.
The bike is short and fast.  I was passed by the guy in third place within 5 miles on the bike.  He also averaged about 24 MPH.  Never going to catch him.  I felt ok on the bike, I did not expect to be as fast as I was.  That was a pleasant surprise.  I got off the bike thinking I was in third, I was correct.
The run is tough.  It is mostly trail, with a short bit of run on a county road.  The short bit is up a down a short hill and up a decent hill, turnaround, and then back the same way.  The trail is up and down hill, typical trail type running.  It was warm and humid, still cloudy throughout.  I struggle a bit on the run.  Not sure if I struggled because of the bike and swim, or I was just having one of those days on the run.  I was passed by the guy in 4th about halfway though the run.  He was running low 7 minute/high 6 minute mile pace.  I ended up finishing 4th.  I cannot complain.  Aside from the run, which wasn't terrible, I had a race I was very happy with. 
As I have said before, I don't race to place in the top 3.  If it happens, I am very happy, and consider myself very lucky. 
This was a really good race.  I would definitely do it again.

2014 Graniteman Clearwater Race Results
Swim (774 yards) = 11:41 (1:27/100 yds)
T1 = 2:19
Bike (14.3 miles) = 38:20 (22.4 MPH)
T2 = 1:08
Run (3.1 miles) = 24:54 (8:04/mi)
Total = 1:18:20
Overall = 39/250
AG = 4/14
Pace = 4:24/mi

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