Mountain Lakes Triathlon, Saturday August 10th, 2013.
600 yard swim, 16.2 mile bike and 3 mile run.
It was nice having a couple of weekends off and enjoy some family camping and the Summer Sizzle Super Metric Century. Training has been pretty good overall the past few weeks, considering that my kids soccer season is underway and school has started back. I know some people wouldn't think much of it, but I was a little concerned about doing a 75 mile bike ride the weekend before Mountain Lakes Tri. I'll let the results (or impact) speak for itself.
Enjoyed some family activities on Friday night and as usual did not get to bed as early as I would have liked. Normal routine race morning. Loaded up water bottles, bike and consumed my superstition nutrition. For those of you not in the known on superstition nutrition, it is whatever you tried that worked and didn't cause intestinal distress during your race. Mine just happens to be caffeinated coffee, a small glass of OJ, 1 slice of peanut butter toast, and 1/2 serving of quick oats with craisins, brown sugar and cinnamon.
I took about 50 minutes to drive to the rec center in Guntersville. No rush to get a primo rack spot since this race racks you by bib number. I arrived about 0545 and went through the packet pick up, which was painless. I was bib #351. Got my transition area set up and went for a short jog, then followed that with two 1-minute openers on the bike. Last bit of nutrition was a Strawberry Honey Stinger waffle about 20 minutes before race start. This is one race where the "bucket people" are on to something. I usually don't see the need to bother cleaning my feet after the swim, since you're gonna pick up more gravel on the way out of transition. However, I used it last year, and again this year decided to put a small square plastic container just big enough to step in and out of in transition. It washed all the grass/mud off my feet and then I stepped onto a small towel before sprinting out of transition.
Swim start is time trial start and I think the bibs started with 317. I thought the swim wasoverall pretty average. Looking at my time, I could tell that I did not push it hard enough. I think this was attributable to being in the front of the swim pack and also not being able to find a set of fast feet right off the start. I didn't have any problem with the turns or sighting. Although, the final turn towards the beach was looking right into the sun. I just swam towards the burning reflection of the rec center roof. This worked as the lone buoy on the final stretch surprised me directly in my path, as I was blinded by the sun most of the way in. I didn't pass as many people on the swim, but that seems to come with being in the front of the swim start line. Did I already mention the wet grassy mess between the swim exit and getting to transition. I must say it was a wet July in Alabama.
Transition was pretty fast. Considering the distance between timing mats and the other racers in my age group (who have been doing this a lot longer than I have) I am very satisfied with 1:14. If you're not racing in T1 & T2 you are giving up precious seconds. Flying Batman bike mount and off to the [cycle] races.
The bike course has a lot of shade, it is a pretty smooth course and has a few rollers on the backside of the loop. I started strong hoping to maintain a 22 mph average for the course. I started passing some of the relay team bikers and then around mile 6 the "fast group" on their really cool Tri bikes
(someday soon) with disc wheels rolled by (swoosh, swoosh, swoosh). This was to be expected and I didn't let it
bother me. Once they were out of the
way, I began to focus on passing the USAT junior triathletes (no small task). Those kids were strong swimmers, and proved
to be pretty fast runners, too. As I
made the turn onto the causeway, I noticed the two law enforcement vehicles
with lights blazing heading the opposite direction. Apparently, a motorist made the left turn off
the causeway, straight through the cones and had a head-on with a cyclist. Fortunately, the cyclist was reported to be
okay, except for the landing that ruined a perfectly good bike helmet. I guess that is better than ruining a good
cranium. In other news, let it be known
I kept a good eye out for Waldo Whisenant on the bike course, and I suggest you
do the same.
Quick transition (4th fastest in my AG) and onto the run course. I started off fast and ran my first half mile at a 7 min/mi pace. Slowed this down to reality and was aberaging a 7:39 pace at the turn around. I remembered that Dennis Mix said he was going to catch me on the bike, well that didn't happen. And I didn't see him on the run, so after the turn-around I was expecting to hear him come running by me and heckling as he did it. So what do you do under these circumstances? I think it's called "Run like you stole it!" And that is what I did. I picked up the pace and high fived most of my teammates on the way back into the finish line. I ran the last 1.5 miles 25 seconds faster than the first half!
Final finish time was 1:19:42. Strong bike with an average speed of 22.2 mph. My run pace of 7:35 was a new PR pace for sprint triathlons. I must credit Dennis for this motivation, even though he still beat me by 30 secs overall. I placed 6th in my age group and beat my time from last year by 5 1/2 minutes.
Mt Lakes has a great venue and is well directed. The transition layout is done very well and the mill foil was considerably less of a factor this year. The swim distance mapped out very close to 600 yards per my Garmin's calculations. After race pool party and shower facility is always nice to have. Thanks again to Gregg Gelmis and WeRunHuntsville for the awesome photos. Congrats to fellow Fleet Feet Tri Team members, Jeff Schertz and Dink Taylor for taking 1st in their age groups.
Two weeks to get ready for the second Olympic distance of this season and THE best race in all of North Alabama......[drum roll] Rocketman!!