Sunday, August 9, 2009

Race Results

When you have a triathlon that has become legendary for the difficulty of its bike course, with the first 12 of its 28 miles being unrelentingly uphill, with a persistent headwind nearly the entire course, and you have a total noob who has never raced on a bicycle in his life, who happens to be a runner, volunteering to do the bike leg as a part of a team, you have to wonder about the guy's sanity. How's that for a run-on sentence?

Earlier today (August 9th) my teammates and I (dubbed "Three Dads-a-Sweatin') raced the Whisky Dick Triathlon in Ellensburg, WA. It was my first triathlon and first time racing on a bike. I'll give the final results first, then break down the individual legs, along with some detail.
Distances were: 1 mile swim, 28 mile bike, 10k run. We finished in 2:58:14, placing 2nd of 5 in the Men's Team division, and 23rd overall, among both teams and individuals, out of 107 finishers. Our splits were:
Swim (David): 24:09 (13th overall)
Bike (yours truly): 1:52:25 (49th overall)
Run (Arthur): 40:28 (8th overall)
T1 was 44 seconds, T2 was about 29

David (my brother-in-law) was amazing! He was out of the water much quicker than I expected. Not being a swimmer myself, I don't really have a reference for his time as it relates to a 1-mile open-water swim...but I know it's fast. He was a freestyle sprinter in high school and was a bit concerned about pacing himself. Obviously there was nothing to be concerned about!

After getting the timing chip from Dave and onto my ankle, I took off on the bike and tried to pace myself the first few miles. For some reason, I had trouble regulating my breathing. A little of it was probably adrenaline, a little was just the toughness of the hill (the first 12 miles are uphill).
At about mile 5.5, the grade became so steep that I had to drop into my bottom chain ring...which I NEVER used in my training rides. That was one flaw in my training. Since the hills I was training on during my repeats were relatively short, I could stay in the low gear of my middle chain ring and be fine. I did that as long as possible today, but if I hadn't dropped down, I knew I would have bonked big-time. So I shifted. The chain didn't budge. It just made a grinding noise as it rattled against the derailleur. I tried to force the issue and off came the chain. That smooth move cost me about 2-3 minutes. Had to hop off and get it back on the low ring THREE times before it finally stayed. Once that was done, my legs rebounded just a bit and my breathing came more under control, but the hill just kicked my butt. There were long sections where I could only average 9-10 mph. And once I finally crested the hill, the headwind kicked my butt some more. My rough goal was to crest the 12-mile hill in 60 minutes. It took me 63, for an ugly 11.4 mph average. I did manage an average of 19.6 mph the last 16 miles...but even then I was passed several times. For the last 10 miles or so, I fought an ever-tightening left glute muscle. I could tell I was losing some power on my left side as a result. Maybe it was caused by the hill climb, maybe from not ingesting enough electrolytes and sodium. Whatever the cause, I was truly humbled out there.

When I pulled into the transition and got off to run, I was incredibly wobbly. That's when BOTH glutes cramped up. Arthur took the timing chip off of me himself and got out of the transition quickly, while I racked my bike and fought my locked-up glutes. I went to high-school with Arthur and ran track and x-country with him. The last few years, he's gotten heavily into ultra-running, placing 7th in last year's Cascade Crest 100 mile trail race (which he'll be running in again later this month). A 10k is short for him, so to knock out a 40 minute split was impressive & my hat's off to him.

And with that said, I'll say this - our placing was really a credit to our swimmer and runner. I had a pretty rough go of it out on the bike. Yes, I can use the excuse that I've never raced on a bike, I'm really a runner, there was the hill, the wind, yadda yadda, but I know I could have trained more effectively. I got lured away from the bike back in June to train for and run a little 5k race...which I honestly enjoyed, but I know it set me back on the bike.

I almost feel a little guilty for saying this, but I'm glad to officially be "off the bike" and getting into my half marathon training. I've REALLY missed running the last few weeks.


  1. Dave was 13th in 24:09, 24:09/m
    You were 50th in 1:52:25, 14.9/mph
    I was 8th in 40:26, 6:31/m

  2. Congratulations Colin!!!! Great job to both you and your b-i-l.

  3. I'm impressed, Colin. I couldn't even begin to do running or biking at this level. CONGRATS!


  4. Thanks Jill and Suzanne. My "level" isn't very high, though! And if you trained for it, you could do it, too!