Yesterday I kicked off my 2014 triathlon season at the Liberty Triathlon in Rockford, MN. The day got off to a rough start with rain and thunderstorms. 15 minutes before the race start, the race director told everyone to pack up their transition areas and head for shelter. After 40 minutes of waiting out the storm, everyone came back to transition and got ready. I headed down to the water and did a short 5 min warm up. Just after I finished, the race was delayed another 15 minutes. Everyone huddled in the shallow water because it was much warmer than the air (water temp was 71 degrees). Finally they announced the race would be starting.
(Goal time: Under 30 min, Finish time: 30:46)
I was in the Elite wave, which was the 1st wave to start. Our wave had about 25 people in it and it seemed there was a group of 6 guys who knew each other that lined up on the front line. I positioned myself right behind them, hoping to stay behind and draft for the 1.2 mile swim. The gun went off and I lost the lead group within the first 500 yds. A few times through the swim I tried to catch up to the back of the lead group, but I just didn’t have it in me. The rain started back up about half way through the swim, but didn’t decrease visibility too badly. After losing the lead group, I didn’t see anyone the rest of the swim, I exited the water in 8th. The transition took us up a flight of stairs and into the mud puddle of a transition area.
(Goal watts: 250-260/Goal Time: Under 2:25, Actual average watts: 253/Actual time: 2:20)
After I emptied my helmet of the puddle of water that had accumulated I hopped on the bike and headed out on the 56 mile course. It was a lollipop course that consisted of a stick with two loops. The rain had stopped and I passed 2 guys in the first 10 miles with a tailwind at my back. Turning onto the loop there was a large bump in the road where the pavement was 2-3 inches higher from a freshly repaved road. Unfortunately I passed one of my fellow teammates and another competitor who both flatted on the bump. This put me into 5th place. I could see the 4th place guy a ways in front of me and I wanted to speed up and catch him, but I stuck with my wattage goals. About 15 minutes later I caught him. He wasn’t a big fan of letting me pass him. Each hill we went up, he would blow past me (his wattage must have been at least 350+ or more) and then once we got to a downhill or flat section I would pass him again. We played leap frog for the next 15 miles until I took a wrong turn.
I saw 2 signs, the first saying ‘go straight for lap 2’ and the other saying ‘turn right for lap one’. I told myself I was going onto lap two so I should go straight, I was wrong. I realized this about 1 min later. After a quick U-turn I was pissed off, but back on track. I ignored my wattage goals until I manged to catch back up to the 4th place guy. I flew by him and eased back into my wattage goals. My legs started to hurt with about 10 miles to go and I could see the 3rd place guy up ahead. I knew I couldn’t catch up but I did my best to keep the distance as small as possible.
(Goal pace: 6:15-6:30, Actual pace: 6:19)
I came into transition and racked by bike. My shoes and socks were soaked. My hands were cold so it was quite the task to try and tie my shoes (usually I use race laces, but this time I didn’t). The run course was a running/bike trail through a wooded area. This would be great on any other day, but the rain left the trails with small rivers flowing across the trails and puddles scattered throughout. I started out the run wanting to hold around 6:30 pace. I followed the 4th place runner out of transition so I wanted to keep pace with him. At mile 2 he had to take a pit stop to pee and I passed him to take over 3rd place. At mile 6.5 I saw the 1st and 2nd place runners on their way back to the finish. They were too far ahead, I was just worried about hanging onto 3rd place. My legs felt great the whole run and I managed to keep my heart rate below 170.
4:16:55 and 3rd place overall
Overall the race was a great confidence builder for IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene. The weather was a bit of a hassle at the beginning of the day, but things settled down and I was able to have a great race. Looking ahead to my next race, I want to work on my open water swimming and maintaining power on the bike down hills. Huge thanks to my girlfriend Allison for braving the weather, supporting me all day and keeping my family updated on my progress. Also, thanks to my coach Joe Moyer for getting me to this point.
Also, I wanted to thank Erik’s Bike Shop for their amazing service. I had an issue with my bike the day before my race. I tweeted Eriks and Specialized for help with the issues and I got a quick response and they were able to get the bike fixed that night. Very thankful to have a great bike shop like Erik’s in Minnesota!
Thanks for reading and have a great day!