Monday, July 15, 2013

Race Reports: Colonial Beach Sprint & International

Last weekend I made the five hour drive to Colonial Beach Virginia to race in the sprint and international races put on by Set Up Events for the Virginia Triathlon Series. Last year I did the International only here and I loved it!! This weekend was good practice for the double I'll do next month at Nationals and a great excuse to spend some extra time in this quaint sleepy town!

Colonial Beach, on the Potomac River midway between Richmond and DC (green dropped pin below), seems to feature golf carts and boats as the two primary modes of transportation. There are no chain hotels, just cute motels and BandBs. I ate well this weekend with great seafood (and more) at the very friendly Denson's Grocery and Lighthouse Thai and French.

The area had some rain on Friday and late Saturday, but both race mornings were sunny, warm, and humid. A 6:50 am race start seemed kind of early until I experienced just how quickly the day heated up.

I went into this race with some concern about how my quad (I know, ho-hum, I keep bringing that up, get over it already you are thinking) would hold up so my confidence got a lift to see that it's turned a corner and I managed both races just fine. My run is not where I'd like it to be -- I'm off what I did last year and even the year before -- but negotiating the "body detours" (as Coach Eric Neilsen calls them) is part of the game of triathlon. And fortunately it's not a running race, it's a triathlon, so all combined I was pleased to finish on the Master's podium both days - third in Saturday's sprint and first in Sunday's International. These are my results (full results are here: sprint, international).

Sprint - 3rd Master's

Swim (750m) - 17:27 (30th/132 women; would have been 39/181 men)
T1 - 1:32 (14th/132)
Bike (20k) - 37:15 (6th/132; 17/181 men)
T2 - 1:22 (26th/132)
Run (5k) - 22:08 (11th/132; 30/181 men)
Total - 1:19:42 (8th/132 women, 20th/181 men)

International - 1st Master's

Swim (1500m) - 36:53 (31th/84 women; would have been 65/189 men)
T1 - 1:42 (19th/84)
Bike (40k) - 1:05:40 (4th/84; 35/189 men)
T2 - 1:31 (26th/84)
Run (10k) - 47:38 (21st/84; 38/189 men)
Total - 2:33:22 (10th/84 women, 39th/189 men)

with Endurance Films Racing Teammate Bill VanCise who topped his age group!


I really enjoy the swim in the Potomac! It's always kind of interesting with the tides and currents-- they pretty much dictate whether the swim course will go clockwise or counterclockwise. Technically this swim is in Maryland, so we swim in MD and bike and run in VA!

I heard some grumbling about the current and chop but to me that is what makes open water swims fun and challenging! It helps to be in a later swim wave and learn from the earlier swimmers. On Saturday we watched the first group of men all get swept wide left heading to the first turn buoy which allowed the rest of us to anticipate and correct for that. The water temp was a perfect 83 degrees and I wore my swim skin, which was fine except I had trouble with my zipper both days. On Sunday it got stuck about 5" down so I just forced myself out of whatever neck opening I had made. I didn't know who, if anyone, I could have asked for help but I asked a race ref later who said it's not "outside assistance" if you get help from a race staff person or volunteer. You just can't ask some random unaffiliated bystander.

 If this picture of me (trying to unzip) could talk it's possible you might hear cursing


The bike courses for both races take us on nice smooth fast roads that are largely flat but have a few small hills to keep it interesting. Saturday's course is a loop and somehow I found myself at a busy T intersection with a stationary flag volunteer who didn't "volunteer" much information or at least not soon enough. I ended up making a right instead of a left. I did a quick U turn and corrected, and though it was a time loss, it gave me a jolt of adrenaline that propelled me forward. Sunday's course was an out and back so fortunately there were no navigational issues there!

The race officials did a good job of monitoring the course and quite a number of drafting penalties were handed down. I made extra sure not to be in the drafting zone and to pass decisively. Garmin had me at 22.6 mph Saturday and 21.3 mph on Sunday.

Sunday's International race was my one and only go at that distance before Nationals, so I wanted it to go well. I consciously (and probably subconsciously even more) held back a bit on Saturday.

 a block or two from the dismount line, one foot out!


Saturday's 5K run was alright averaging 7:07 a mile. I went out too fast. Of course, I can't tell you how fast, because I messed up the "multisport" mode on the Garmin. I pushed "lap" one too many times. I think I am going back to my old way of using the Garmin Edge on the bike and the 910XT on the run and forget any technology on the swim. To be honest, I don't think it's all that useful on an open water swim and the maps are always way off.

Sunday's 10K had me scared. For the last six weeks, trouble has started like clockwork 4 miles in. I had only one training run where I was able to get a solid hour run in, but the quad suffered the next day. I've had ART (Active Release Technique) work four times in the last 2 weeks or so and I really think that work with Dr. Steve Dowell has gotten me through this injury...and in the knick of time. Coach Jim's instructions to me were "patience and persistence" and given the heat and humidity I just kept throttling back and working patiently. At the turnaround I was told "first masters" and knew I had a decent lead on the others.

This race offered a lot of aid stations on the run with icy cold wet towels too. What a treat, especially with dried Potomac salt on our faces!

At an intersection about 3/4 of a mile from the end, I asked the flagger if there were any women behind me and he said maybe 20, 30 seconds. That would be tough for anyone to make up. So I kept churning away with an ear out for approaching competitors, but I they never came.

It was a sweet finish!! Aren't they all though?


Here are a few other pics from the race.

 John Langford, Race Director, giving some pointers to a Set Up Staffer. He runs the Maryland Triathlon Series but came in to direct this race too. Hats off to race directors.
That is just a ginormous job.

Triathlons have a cast of characters! I couldn't resist a photo with the stars-and-stripes clad 70-year-old Karl from DC! I should have gotten the pic of his butt, it was even better.

Brad (3rd AG) is a new One-on-One athlete! It was great to meet him in person at the race.
He said he had a rough run in the heat but he toughed it out.

This was the bike mechanic's rig. Nice setup!

Betsy Henderson, one of my biggest triathlon "idols" shows she can accept
her top age group award standing on one foot!

Edie is graduating and moving to Pittsburgh so this may have been our last VTS race together for a while. We were celebrating our "double" glasses for doing both races (she was 2nd in the sprint, 3rd in the International) so I had to send her off with a kiss, lol! Edie, you will do great things, my friend! Your kind heart, giving spirit, and work ethic will take you far.

Last but not least, thank you Coach Jim :-) for knowing just what to say to put me in the right mindset. Thank you Robert for the weekend pass even though work is burying you. Thank you Oma for feeding the family. Thank you mom and dad for loving me. Thank you Solar Connexion for the race support! Thank you Colonial Beach for hosting this race for 29 years, I'll see you next year!

That was fun. Now let's get back to work....the realllllly big races are right around the corner.

Up next: Portofino Sunset Tri Super Sprint race this Thursday in Pensacola hanging out with Team MPI!!!!

Tomorrow the mobile transition unit sets sail for Florida!!!