Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Clark Lake Triathlon - Defending the 2009 Title

Sorry this write up is a little delayed, but it has been a long world tour and I have finally landed back in my resting place...Dallas (not a grave!).

So following the Aquathlon and open water swim, I was flying high.  pulled out the double win super hungover.  I was playing golf with my parents later that day after the race and told them that hurt way too much to keep putting myself through that, so this week for Clark Lake I decided I was going to be a little more under control Saturday leading up to the race.

Race morning came and it was pouring rain.  I hadn't raced in the rain in quite some time, but I was actually looking forward to it!  Got to the race site, jumped out and quickly ran over to the Alpha list of all the competitors, picked out my bib #, and scoped out the competition.  There were a couple of locals that I knew that would give me a run for my money, so I had to get my game face on.

I let the rain settle a little bit before getting my equipment out and setup in transition.  Got in a nice little 10 min warm up jog, and headed down to the water to start the swim.  After getting rained on and sweating in the warm up jog, it was difficult to put on my wetsuit.  I nearly missed the race start because of rookie mistakes in putting it on, put the damn thing on backwards!

With less than a minute to spare I got it on and made it to the front of the first wave.  The gun was off and the race was on.  First up was a half mile swim.  My plan was to get out hard and get into the lead pack and hold that position, jet through transition, and get out on the bike alone.

Around the first buoy I had already gaped the rest of the field and had a nice cushion, so I maintained my pace, and ran through what I was going to do in transition so that it was crisp and flawless.

Coming out of the water I saw my buddy Kev and the rest of my family and they were heckling me like crazy.  While I was looking for them I was also peeling my wetsuit down as I ran.  I have found this to be the best strategy for me to quickly and efficiently get into transition while actively peeling the wetsuit off.  I unzipped and un-velcroed quickly all in one swoop, then peeled the wetsuit off my shoulders and rolled it down to my hips.  This allows me to keep running and making progress toward the transition area, but saving myself a few free seconds.  Once in transition, I quickly locate my bike, and get to that area.  Then i roll down the wetsuit as far as it will go, and then try to aggressively  pull my legs up and slip them out of the last part of the legs (usually i can do this in one swoop with each leg).  After that I quickly put on my helmet, buckle it up, and head out to the mount line.  Again I secured the fastest T1 by 10 seconds! :)

Out on the bike I tried to push the pace early.  Knowing that there were some faster old guys going in the later waves I needed to race the clock and hammer the entire race.  I was 5 miles into the 13 mile bike and I was feeling pretty good, and had a good cushion on the rest of the wave behind me, but I kept hammering.

Coming in off the bike I was licking my chops going into the run.  I knew my swim and bike were pretty strong and that my best event was up last.  Running has been my passion the past 6 months and i haven't been as consistent as id like to be, but i know that's been my strongest event the past couple seasons.

I had a quick transition, and was off.  The final leg was a 4.2 mile run along the lakeside road, but it wasn't scenic because the houses blocked the view.  The run kinda sucked, I was alone the whole time.  There was a lead biker, but he rode so far in front of me it was more demoralizing than helpful.  Coming down the final dirt road, approaching the last turn, I could see my family and buddy Kev, but knew I didn't have it locked up yet.  I finished hard through the line, and the waiting game was on...did I lay down the hammer enough to deserve to win?

A young guy came in about 2 minutes after me and was flying.  You could tell he was a stellar runner, he put down a great race and a well deserved second.  7 or so minutes passed before an "old" guy crossed the finish line and at that point I knew I had locked it up!  My time was about 2 minutes slower than when I last won in 2009, but I was happy with it.  Racing alone is tough to stay focused, so like I said I was pleased with my performance.

Still waiting on the pics from my mom...