Tuesday, August 30, 2011

TRI-Star 111 RECAP

Just to explain a bit about what TriStar 111 is, here's what I posted last week:
"What is Tri-Star 111?  Well, its a relatively new international race series making its first appearance in the United States in none other than Minnesota.  Maple Grove more precisely.  The "111" is for the one hundred and eleven kilometer distance the race covers: 1 k swim, 100 k bike, 10 k run.  That's roughly .62 mile swim, 62 mile bike, and a 6.2 mile run."

Ok, now that you know the distance, here's a little more about the race and how it turned out. 

By the time race-day came around they had about 115 athletes in the race.  Not huge, but for the first TriStar in the US not too bad considering the following:
  • There were two other races as part of this event that were nearly, or were, sold out
  • Pigman Half Iron Distance Tri was just last week
  • Ironman Wisconsin is in two weeks
  • Two other triathlons in other areas of the state happening Aug 27/28
  • And there are so many other races on the Minnesota scene that fitting another in isn't that easy to do
Before I recap the race, here are some things about the venue, our treatment, and transitioning...

I thought the whole venue was set up great!  When you see the transition areas and all the in/outs, sectioned off paths, and timing mats, it just looks like a mess, but it was SO ORGANIZED its ridiculous.  What I really liked is that the TriStar folks really made us feel like we were Pro's. We had our own transition area with a couple porta-potties in it; we had numbered spaces for our bikes and our transition bags; we even had rubberish mats running between the racks so we didn't have to run barefoot on the black top.  We also had personalized number bibs as well as our own post-race foods.  It was done up really well.  For transitioning, we didn't set up our transition space--everything was in separate bags on numbered racks. All that was on the bike racks were our bikes.  When you finish the swim, you grab your Bike bag off the rack sit inside a changing tent on a chair, take out your bike stuff and put your swim stuff back in the bag, toss the bag aside, then grab your bike and head out. Same thing when you get back on the bike: grab your Run bag, etc, etc.  Everything went smoothe and I was really impressed with how well it all worked out.  I even went up to the director (the guy that appeared to be in charge of the TriStar portion of the races) and complimented him and Star-Events for how well I thought the race went.

Now on to the race...

SWIM= 0.6 miles (1 kilometer)
Predicted time= 20 minutes
Actual= 20 min 15 sec (1:52 pace per 100 yds)
Placing= 43 of 81 overall finishers, 4th of 10 in AG 40-44

After a little warm-up in the comfortably swimable temperatured lake, they had us line up, pro's first. There were maybe 20 pro's (only one of which was a female).  They took off--all the rest of the TriStar field started 3 minutes later.  I went near the middle of the group and when they said "GO" I took my time and probably was near the back of the pack.  Swim felt long, but probably because many swim sections are short.  I don't work hard in water--I just swim.  I clicked my LAP button after running up the beach. Time was 19:49. However, it wasn't until just before the Transition zone that the mat ended our swim so about 25 more seconds were added on.  Anyway, I was happy with the swim.

Transition 1 (Swim to bike)
Predicted time= NA
Actual= 2 min 58 sec
Placing= 49 of 81 overall, 5th in AG 40-44

I took my time, but was in no hurry.  I had no way of knowing ahead of time how everything was going to be set up so I didn't estimate a time.

Bike= 62 miles (100 kilometers)
Predicted time= 2 hours 50 minutes
Actual= 2 hrs 45 min 35 sec (22.5 mph average)
Placing: 22nd Overall, 2nd in AG 40-44

My goal here was to push it a bit hard than I did in the Chisago Half.  I needed to see how I would run after getting off of a fairly hard bike ride.  Just 10 minutes into the bike I was averaging 23.9.  Adrenaline, flat fast sections for the first few miles, etc.  Speed eventually came down and settled at 23 mph and went up and down a tenth or two for a while.  Then it would fall a tenth, stay there, fall again.  They said the course was flat with a few long rollers that you can stay in the aero position on. They were right about that part, but it wasn't that flat. There were no real climbs to speak of, but it was constantly rolling up and down. There were also several corners.  I only shifted to the small ring twice (once per lap). There was this odd section where we had to cross a river over a wooden bridge that was in rough shape. They had a strip of carpet rolled out across it, but it was still rough.  On the other side was a short, steep little hill that you definitely need to down shift for, but seeing the bridge/carpet, I had already shifted.  On the first lap there were two guys in front of me that I passed up the little hill--I think they stayed in the big ring.  I dreaded having to cross that for the second lap. Speaking of the second lap...  Normally people don't like it when there are hundreds of others merging on to the course from other waves starting--you have to pass, get passed, share road with, go around corners with, etc.... but I loved it at this race.  For much of the first loop of the race (TriStar did two 31 mile loops) you felt sort of alone.  You'd see others in the race, but we were first on the course--before the Sprint and Olympic athletes.  However, then we came thru to start lap two, there were a ton of people from the other races on the road--not to mention that there were literally hundreds of spectators on the curbs as we went by the park. This and all the additional riders made the miles and the time just tick away. By the time I knew it I was at 45 miles.  Just 17 to go.  I started to pay the price for my effort at about mile 56.  I had my bike computer set to display average speed, but at that point I switched it to miles as I didn't want to see my speed decrease, causing me to waste energy trying to keep it up.  Once I started to see more traffic and people I knew I was getting close.  With two miles to go I started clipping a bit faster and spinning the legs a little quicker to get them lose for the run.  I got thru transition and on my way out, Brian yelled "That guy is six to seven minutes up on you" or something like that.  (Brian did the Sprint and was already done racing--he was 2nd Overall!)   I mostly just heard him say "Six to seven minutes up."  Before the race I pointed out Rick Hoover to Brian and said I think he'll win our AG or at least have the top bike split and would be getting on the run course several minutes up on me.  I assumed Brian was talking about Rick when he yelled to me.  Rick, on the other hand, thought with about 100% certainty, that Jeff Fleig was going to dominate our AG.  (Note: Rick did have the fastest Bike Split in our AG; Fleig accidentally cut several miles out of the bike course and ended up getting DQ'd).
On the way to T2 rack and Run bag (Photo by B.Maas)
Transition 2 (Bike to Run)
Predicted time= NA
Actual= 1 min 17 sec
Placing: 28th Overall, 2nd in AG 40-44

Note the mats and how nice and clean the transition area is. (Photo by B.Maas)
Run= 6.2 miles (10 kilometers)
Predicted time= 40 minutes
Actual= 39 min 48 seconds (6:25 pace per mile)
Placing: 13th Overall, 1st in AG 40-44

Going 40 minutes was actually a wish, a best-case-scenario.  The run started on a hill as you ran out of the park which hurt, but adrenaline got you up it.  Then it flattened, but had several small hills throughout the lap--it was a pretty challenging run.   There was one road thru a residential area near the end of the lap that went for like a mile constantly rolling up and down. I had no intention when leaving transition on trying to reel back 6+ minutes.  I just ran how I felt like running.  I was going to set my lap counter to tick off each mile, but then figured I'm not going to look at it again till the end on the final stretch when I can see the finish.  I did look at my cumulative time when I left the transition and remember seeing 3:10 (3 hrs 10 min) and some change. I figured I had 50 minutes to go under 4 hours total. I could do that, but I didn't feel like I was moving very good.  I thought, "If I'm running in the sevens I'd be shocked."  I started passing guys and didn't know if I was moving fast, they were moving slow, or a combo of both somewhere in the middle.  I was mainly only concerned with those wearing TriStar bibs, but there were a lot of people on the course with 3 races going on so it was a bit hard to sort them all out.  The first lap went by really quick, but we had to do two laps.  The second lap was geographically longer as the first one started in the park and went out one side of the park, omiting a section that circled the other side of the park, but when you got back toward the park you went all the way around it--adding the additional mileage.   Things started to thin out during lap two.  At about mile 4 I saw Rick.  No freakin' way!  I didn't push it, I just kept going. I figured that if I got this far and gained 6 or so minutes back on him, unless he really speeds up I should be able to just keep moving as-is and eventually pass him, which I did.   But ahead of me I could still see what I thought were TriStar bibs waving on the backs of guys.  I kept the speed up and caught a couple more then one more in the last quarter mile.    Finally, when we made the last turn and re-entered the park, I looked at my lap time and saw 39:28.  I gave it a little extra kick to make sure I got under 40 min for the run.  The total run course measured on my Suunto GPS at 6.26 miles when it was all said and done.

FINAL TIME= 3:49:51
Placing= 15th Overall, 1st in AG 40-44

What's a little spooky about my time is that a month ago when I registered they had all these extra fields to fill in and one was "predicted time".  I put 3:50:00.  I didn't figure in the transitions though. I just figured 20 min swim, 2:50:00 bike, 40 min run. 

Overall I thought the race went well; better than expected.  Its no Ironman, but a decent test being just two weeks out.  RACE RESULTS  Quick glance at the the top of the results:

Top Men
1. Maik Twelsiek (GER) 3:12:45, Pro
2. Karl Bordine (USA) 3:18:06, Pro
3. Devon Palmer (USA) 3:22:25, Pro
4. AJ Baucco (USA) 3:24:14, Pro
5. Matthew Payne (USA) 3:25:09 * AG

Top Women
1. Jenny Wilcox (USA) 3:53:39 * AG
2. Julie Hull (USA) 3:55:35 * AG
3. Jennifer Martone (USA) 3:58:01 * AG
4. Leah Prudhomme (USA) 3:58:41 * AG
5. Amy Kloner (USA) 4:05:11, Pro (went off course, but finished)

*AG= Age-Group athlete (non-Pro)

1 comment:

Brian said...

Yep, I was trying to let you know that Rick had departed T2 about 6 mins before you. I just blanked on his name!

You now have a nice confidence booster for IM MOO. Go forth and prosper.