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My last Tri of 2011–Sydney Australia Hills Club Tri

January 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Finally getting back to things now that the holidays are more or less over. Kids back to school, work back to it’s regular rhythms. Wondered what the damage was so looked down on the scale and whoops…up 5 pounds. Crap and I want this year to rule…

But this isn’t about the year ahead, it’s to finish the year behind.

In early December 2011 I had to head down to Australia to cover for a colleague who had left the company quite suddenly. With little time to prepare I still did want to see if I could fit in a tri and lo and behold, due to the power of the internet, there was a tri out at the Olympic Rowing basin though the Hills Triathlon Club (www.hillstriclub.com).

The race was in the evening on a Saturday, but that would give me a chance to do some things during the day and get ready. I had my Tarmac so was ready to rock.

Unfortunately two of the things I did during the day was to do a run around the harbour in Sydney then do a ride up a small mountain.

So I arrived at the transition area pretty tired and had a wee nap.  When I woke up I felt better but knew this wasn’t going to be my best Tri of the year as least in terms of results, but could be a lot of fun.

The tri is in and around the rowing basin and was a very cool location for a tri.

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Under a beautiful blue sky I racked up in the transition area.

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I won’t do my usual swim/bike/run analysis because I realized with about 15 minutes to go this one was going to be for fun. I was tired, it had been a long day and I was looking forward to a big ride the next day.

The swim was interesting in that you proceeded up the basin to the start line (in our case 750m) then entered. You then swam in a straight line so you were able to stay focused on your swim.  Water was so smooth and we were effectively in a lane so it was a simple case of just following the buoys up the line. At the end there was a nice ramp and lots of helpers in he transition area.

The bike was a bit windy and was a loop around the basin. I felt good and was keeping to my usual 34-35kph when I hit THE wall. I was just done and knew it. I slacked back, finished the ride and did a decent run I think.

My results reflected how I felt at the beginning.  There were 80 men and I finished 72nd (ouch) but what was really bad was that my bike was worst than my swim and I was low there. Usually I am competitive in the cycle at least. Run was in line to where I feel I am now. Anyways it was fun and was a great way to spend a Saturday evening and now I have done Tris in Canada, US, UK and Australia. My basic sense is that there is a pretty standard template for running a Tri worldwide and most of organizers get it right. Another well run event.

My Full Results:

72 Doug DAVIS Finished 1:24:22 Swim: 0:16:14 (60) Bike: 0:39:41 (64) Run 0:28:27 (78)

So a few take aways

1- Evening Tris are not optimal when you have to make sure you rest for most of the day

2- When you know you are going to blow up, best to just slow down and enjoy the ride

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Categories: Travel, Triathlon Tags: ,

2011 Mission Bay Triathlon in San Diego

October 13, 2011 2 comments

After the relative disappointment of the Ottawa Tri in September was hoping that wasn’t going to be the end of my year. As it turned out I had a week long trip planned for Los Angeles early in October and if there was an easy Tri to do I could just fit it in.

So the search began. Naturally these days the search is pretty quick thanks to the web and there was a very interesting Triathlon in San Diego called the Mission Bay Triathlon. And it turns out that it’s effectively the world’s oldest Triathlon (at least according to Wikipedia). It’s a very short sprint race, .5k swim, 15k bike and 5k run. Still it looked uber cool.

As usual all the info is up on the website, I paid my dues and a couple of weeks later I found myself outside of Holland’s Cycles in San Diego expecting to pick up a Specialized Transition…except it wasn’t a exactly a Transition.

Naturally on their website they have a nice picture of a fully Tri ready Transition…granted one from a couple of years ago, but it was going to be $50 or considerably cheaper than the hassle of shipping my bike down. The shop was easy to find and I entered to get my bike. To be fair the process was quick but it was obvious the bike was more of a rental hack. It was a transition frame, but had a Tiagra front derailleur, regular handlebars, heavy wheels and pretty crappy brakes.  But I am a pretty stoic guy so I just had them slap my pedals on and away I went. Since I was used to racing with a road bike at least it seemed no worst than usual.

Here is a picture of the bike racked prior to the race.

Bikeracked MBT 

I tool it for a spin around a bit of the course on the Saturday and it was heavy, not very fast it seemed and my front overlapped the front wheel so when I took a sharp turn they met. Still I had a bike and I felt ready.

The Race

Sunday dawned warm but dark as the Transition area was gong to be closed by 630am and I had to be racked and ready by then. 1st off no official pictures, yes there were some but the price is SHOCKING…$16 for a mid-res download. I thought about it but in the end decided to forego it.  Saving up for my own Tri bike don’t ya know.

If I had known that I would have taken a few more pictures but I did get a few with my iPhone. Here is the transition area.

MBT transition

As you can see it was a beautiful morning, the were very little wind and I was about to enter my first ocean swim! Mind you we were in a very protected bay so no waves but still the atmosphere was very cool.  I was in the very last wave so had a lot of time to get my transition area set up.  Then headed down to watch the other waves go off. There were about 1400 participants and I was one off about 140 40-44 age-groupers. Soon enough it was our turn and we were off!

The Swim

I have my own Zoot suit now and that coupled with the salt water made it seem like I could glide over the water. I felt very strong and the swim went by in a matter of minutes (9 minutes 10 seconds to exact) and I was out of the water. I was able to get thru the transition in pretty good shape but it was still slow at 2 minutes 56 seconds. Still need to work on that. But soon I was mounted and on the bike leg.

The Bike

This is my strength and it’s the one area I can make up time. I had a pretty crappy bike and the course (as my Garmin outlined it below) was a bit technical. I didn’t hold much hope with the bike compared to the array of Tri weaponry on display with my rack buddies.

image

Still, it was a good bike leg. I had a bit of an off and on battle with a dude with a fully decked Felt Tri bike and another with I think a cannondale. We passed and repassed each other until about 10k in when they pulled ahead a bit. At one point another dude ripped by me and I pushed to retake him then put him well behind me. In the meanwhile we were cutting thru the wave ahead of us and I think I passed about 100 or so riders. On one corner I was coming by so fast I almost came to grief and had to yell “COMING THROUGH” as everyone was cutting the corner at about 10kph slower than I was.

After all was said an done I did the 15k in a respectable 29:14 according to the Tri timing but an even better 27:48 according to my Garmin. Depends a bit on where they start and stop the timing and I didn’t start until after I was mounted and turned it off before I discount. Still the average pace was higher than I expected. Also the distance came out higher on my Garmin?

image 

BTW my timing is public at http://connect.garmin.com/activity/120303250

Either way it was a competitive bike leg on an uncompetitive bike. I was also surprised that I was the second bike back to our rack (there were about 20 positions on it). So up to the run I can be competitive.  Still I could rule the bike leg. Based on this I have decided to take the plunge and get a Tri bike soon.  I think I can really push myself a bit harder and a Tri Specific bike is what I need.

The Run

This leg was what I am the most proud of. I have been working on my run for a while now. At the beginning of the season I struggled to break 30 minutes in a 5k. After a short 2 minute transition I was off and I felt better running that I have in the past. I seemed to be keeping up a bit better and not being passed as much. I pushed harder in the second half and I finished my 5k in a personal best off 27:32 which for me is a big deal!!

I crossed the finish line in a time of 1 hour, 11 minutes and 2 seconds. That was good enough for 341st place out of 1,466 entries and in my age group I was 37th out of 137th. Nice! So I am getting there. My bike is saving my bacon but I know, I just know, that if I lose 20 pounds and learn how to run I can be very competitive.

Conclusion

This was a great way to finish off the year. I ended up doing 4 Triathlons including my first Olympic distance and hope to improve both my bike and run over the winter and having a fantastic season next year!!

Categories: Travel, Triathlon Tags: , ,

Ottawa Canadian Sprint Tri–or how to screw up your transition

September 19, 2011 1 comment

OttTribanner

So I don’t consider myself a Rookie per say. I have done 8 triathlons in the last 13 months or so. So on Sept. 3rd when I did the sprint Triathlon distance at the Ottawa “Canadian” you would think I would be ready for it.

Oh Boy…was I wrong. It started quite simply with the night before. Things were tough at home with school starting (I have three young children attending), Hockey season ramping up and the fact that this was on a Saturday instead of a Sunday. I was still winding down from work etc…

This also wasn’t the race to take it easy on. The Sprint course is a 750m swim, 30k bike and 5k run so it’s a bit longer than usual in a sense. As well there were many many races (right up to Ironman) and lots of co-ordination to handle.

So I wasn’t fully on my A game Saturday morning. I left home a bit late and got into the Transition area later than I should have. Also I decided to make two trips from the car park to the racks…doh.  Just wasn’t thinking. And it was the first time I would have to put on a wetsuit so I needed a little bit more extra time for that.

I also made one major assumption. That this was going to be the same Tri course wise as last year. I was wrong. The run course was all new. And I wasn’t able to get to the prerace update so I wasn’t fully aware the run course was new. So a lot going wrong already.  I quickly glanced at my rack space before I headed down to the beach and hoped I would remember where it was. That was going to cost me later….

A while later it was finished and I felt defeated.

In the end I was faster than the year before. I did a1:46:40. Last year I did it in a 1:51:09 so about 5 a bit minutes faster. So that was good news. A major improvement in time is always welcome. But the year to year leg comparisons held some nasty lessons as well. And in general I was not happy with this Tri.

Swim

The 750m swim was in the the Mooney’s Bay swim beach area and is a very nice location for it. The water was going to be smooth and the course was exactly the same as last year. For this one I had my new Zoot suit so hoped to do well. As I got down to the beach, later than I should have, I noticed I was still wearing my flip-flops. What was I going to do with those?? Just goes to show how scattered brain I was. I also realized as I slipped on my wetsuit that I had forgotten my  sunglasses in the car..Damn…

I put the flip-flops under a picnic table and hoped they would be there in a few minutes, got my wetsuit on (not too bad in the end) and waded in to warm up.

In 2010 according to the online results I did the swim in 16:30 and in 112 out of 255 swimmers. In 2011 according to the online results I did the swim in 19:29 but 49 out of 187.

Leaving the water thinking I did a better swim than I did

Huh… I think the timing was different. The fastest swimmer in 2010 was 11:16 and in 2011 was 11:45 so I think they added some transition time?? Unfortunately the transition time is not available Sad smile so hard to say for sure. If next year the timing is the done the same way will be able to tell. But anyways I was quite a bit slower it seems. And I had my wet suit, and the swim seemed to go well. So can’t explain this. I think my time out of the water was good, will have to remember to take my own splits as well.

Bike

As I ran from the beach up to the transition area I was looking forward to the bike. I felt my wetsuit would leave me a bit more rested after the swim and I certainly didn’t have any of the cramps that I had at the Brockville Tri. Alas my lack of pre-race planning began to tell. As I ran into the transition area I couldn’t quite remember where my bike was, but I found it in the end and I think I only lost 10-20 secs here. Still had a chance of making a good time.  Changed, grabbed my bike and soon I was off. But again a small thing happened that put me off. For some odd reason my Garmin 500 took FOREVER to grab the satellites. It had never done that before. So I wasn’t able to start getting my speed until about 500m into the race. Not a big issue but again something just a little off.

Still carrying a few too many pounds!!

The bike course is fantastic, closed road (Col. By Drive) along the Rideau canal. 7.5 k out then back, with two loops.  I felt fast, faster than I had yet this year and soon I was back at the dismount zone.

Here is my Garmin record of my bike leg. 36kph more or less isn’t too shabby!
Gave up a little bit at the end which is a bit worrying.

GarminOttTri1

With some transition time (I think) I ended up with a bike time of 53.12 for an average of 33.8. That was good enough to give my 18th of all the men (out of 100!). If only I could lose a few pounds again I think I can win these bike legs. And this is still just on my road bike, still no tri bike.  I had the pleasure of passing quite a few folks on Tri bikes but I wonder how much faster I would be if I was on a Tri bike.

Last year my official time was 1:01:29.

So I was 8 minutes faster in the bike, but lost 2 minutes in the other bits. How did that happen?? 

Mostly I think  it all fell apart with the worst Transition ever….

1st I could not find my transition rack. Without the bike as a reference spot ran up and down a couple of rows before I found it. But found it and changed into my shoes and headed towards the run exit…but wait. Where the run exit was last year was simply another exit.. Arrghhh…where is the run exit? Like a mad man possessed I ran around the transition area then gave up and finally asked. 1st guy I asked wasn’t sure either…ARRGHH..There were a number of possible exits but finally I found the right one with help from another marshal.  FAIL!  Finally I was out of the transition area and on my way.

Run

Feeling a little out of sorts I got down to the run. I had been running quite a bit more in the second half of this year and was thinking I could really save some time year. A few days before the race I did a race simulation that seemed to indicate I could shave 2-3 minutes off last year. However….my official run time was worst at 34:01 compared to 28:49. WOW…that really sucked.  And I don’t think I ran slower. My transition simply speaking was soooo bad that it effectively added 3-4 minutes to my overall run time.

Wasted run after a bad transition

Finally the finish line beckoned and one neat thing about the Canadian is that they film the finish then send you a link to your finish. Mine is below at 10:22

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yyzqkw9C-7A&hd=1&t=10m22s

Conclusion 

Naturally I learned more through this particular triathlons than most in the past. While I was faster, it was mostly due to my bike leg. I lost most of my time in the run. That is something I really have to focus on. I have been running tons more than I have in the past and it seems to be working, but I have a long way to go. And need to really pay attention to the transition process!!

Since I don’t want to end on a sour note I have signed up for the Mission Bay Triathlon in San Diego Oct. 2nd. I am “stuck” in Southern California and that ones looks like an awesome one! Expect a report soon!!

Categories: Triathlon Tags:

Mission Accomplished–2011 Smiths Falls Triathlon

Back in my goals for 2011 from January 2011 I stated this:

“I will crack 1hr 25 minutes at the Smiths Falls Tri. That means I have to shave 10 minutes again (shaved 12 minutes in 2010). Very doable if I take my running a bit more serious and get better transitions.”

Well, I did, and by a wide margin!!

Since the tri last year I made great strides in my training and was able to bring my time down from the 2008 time of 1:46:06 to my 2011 time of 1:20:59!!! That is a full 25 minutes faster in three years! I skipped 2009 but really started to train early in 2010.  Doing the same event every year gives you a good sense of your overall improvements.  My results this year were far above what I expected! This also means a few things to ponder.

  1. I am in the realm of a competitive time, which means I could move up again next year. Which means I have to train harder.
  2. I am still overweight, at 5’ 8” and 192 pounds on race day I am still 20 pounds too heavy at least so I have to diet harder.
  3. My bike time was very competitive, and I could set the fastest bike time next year. And that means I have reached the limit of my existing bike, time to look at a Tri bike.

Let’s review the progress.

Totals

  • 2008: 1:46:06 Slow, and almost last
  • 2010: 1:34:53 Faster, and mid field
  • 2011: 1:20:59 (run was 200m shorter but still!) FASTER and top 1/3!!

So definitely my plan has been working. And how did the race day pan out.

Swim

No pictures of the swim as the Smiths Falls picture vantage point (folks scrambling over the rocks on the exit) means they are of the most unflattering sort. So I don’t look good. If there was a picture here you would see that I am still without a wet suit. Don’t like em and my swimming fitness is still holding me back so no quite ready for one yet. But still I was quite a bit faster this year. The lunch swims definitely helped. I had some problems at the start and got driven over a few times so I think I can get this time down a bit if I learn a bit more race craft here, but not too worried about it.

  • 2008 Time: 16:16
  • 2010 Time: 14:00
  • 2011 Time: 11:05

So a shaving of 5 minutes and 11 seconds since 2008!

Transition was stronger too, got on the bike smartly and off I went. Was a bit winded for the first 300-400 meters then got my rhythm.

Bike

 

As you can see I guess I came to a gun fight with a pea shooter, if you agree that you need a Tri bike to win these things. I rode my road bike unaltered in the bike leg. Thanks to the photos taken at the event I know that 9 of the top ten guys had full on tri bikes, of the top 20 14 had tri bikes, 5 had tri bars on road bikes and then me. So if I want to win the bike leg next year (pretty sure I can) I think I will need a Tri bike. Although I find it fun passing folks on full on tri bikes with this thing. I always said I would not get a tri bike until I felt I was being held back. I think that maybe it’s holding me back now. Have some shopping to do over the winter!

My bike times have evolved nicely over the years.

  • 2008 Time and Speed: 55:46 28 kph
  • 2010 Time and Speed: 49:27 31.5 kph
  • 2011 Time and Speed: 43:40 35.7 kph

So a shaving of 12 minutes and 6 seconds since 2008

My time was the 22nd fastest time of the day and 20th among the men.

The top men’s time was 39:37 and average of 39.4. I think that with a bit more training and equipment upgrade I can easily average over 40. So there is a goal for next year.

Quickly as it turns out the bike leg was over, had another good transition I think and off we went.

Run

 

The picture above taken at the end of the tri I think says it all. At the end of the 2010 tri I was pretty much exhausted and looked it. This year I ended strong and felt pretty good afterwards. Considering I shaved off 14 minutes in one year goes to show that being fit means you end better as well. The run this year was a bit shorter due to ongoing construction on the Abbott Street bridge but still 200m shorter is not going to cost me more than the 5 minutes I reduced my time in this year. I was able to run the whole time and didn’t feel too winded. Still a competitive time is 20 minutes so have to cut 2-3 minutes here at least. Another goal for next year.

 

  • 2008 Time: 34:05
  • 2010 Time: 31:27
  • 2011 Time: 26:14 (4.8 km instead of 5)

So a shaving of 7 minutes and 11 seconds since 2008

Conclusion

For me this Tri could not have been better. Beat my expectations in every discipline, rocked the bike leg and didn’t feel like I had been run over by a truck the next day (actually did a lunch hour run I was feeling so great).

I will be doing at least one more Tri this here and look for that report around mid-august!

Categories: Triathlon Tags: ,