Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lookout Mountain Triathlon 2014

Lookout Mountain Triathlon
525 yard pool swim, 10 mile bike (10.37 by cyclometer in 2012, 10.56 by MapMyRide), 3.1 mile run
7600' elevation, 837' elevation gain on the bike, steepest climb is an average 4% grade for 1.32 miles

Another perfect day for racing.  Cloudy and overcast with a little breeze but not too cold.  Doesn't get any better, especially in summer.  And of course the sun came out a bit after the finish for foods and awards.

Transition area was crowded by the time I arrived at just past 7:00 a.m.  The race had started at around 6:30 a.m.  I didn't start my swim until 8:30.  Such are the logistics of a pool swim.

Best part of the race was spending the day with some friends from masters, one whom I had convinced to race and another whom I'd met once or twice and a nice lady.  We were spanning all 3 age groups from 50-64.

It's a low key race with lots of beginners.  The race announcer was hassling people as they left transition, saying things like, 'Geez dude, how old is that bike???!!!  Time to get a new one'.  He was also playing loads of good 80s' music.  For once I didn't have to suffer through Bruce Springsteen which I guess is also 80's music but so bad, such a bad cliche to play 'Born to Run' at a race.  And no Queen/We Will Rock You either!  Yay!  So I started the race in a good mood.


My good mood ended with the swim.  I swam a 9:30 pace for 525 yards last year and the race organizer lady puts me in a lane with a guy who swims a 6:30 and a woman who is also way faster than me.  They're from Kansas and claim they will be slower which of course they will but not that much slower.  The third woman is more my pace, shooting for 10:00 minutes.  I was hoping for a lane with 3 people faster than me so I could go last and go my own pace.  It takes me a while to warm up and there's nowhere really to warm up so I know I'll start slower and pick up speed.  Which is exactly what happens so the woman behind me, who starts out fast, has to pass me.  And I end up stuck behind her for almost the rest of the race.  I should have passed her back but then she'd by drafting off of me and we'd spend the whole swim going back and forth so I just swam behind her and enjoyed the draft.  Meanwhile we had to stop twice to let the speedy guy pass us, my goggles fell off which has never happened, and once again I lost count of my laps and the woman minding our lane did not signal the last lap for me, probably because she lost track of it all as well with all the lapping going on.  So I turned to do another lap and nearly ran into the woman behind me who I'd passed after stopping for the other guy and who was trying to exit the pool in the lane I turned into.  Which was confusing anyway but the whole thing was a big mess and as a result my swim time was not so fabulous, 10:17 compared to 10:25 the year before when I'd done an extra 50 yards.  Oh well.  On to the next.

Bike - 10 miles advertised, probably more like 10.5 according to other measuring sources

I borrowed Jonny's road bike this year and supposedly it's around 4 lbs lighter than mine which is a big deal in the road bike world.  I didn't ride it a whole lot before the race, about an hour total if that which is typically not advisable for a race but I'm almost as much a stranger to my own road bike so I figured what the heck.  I'd forgotten to ask my coach to add in some road rides so all bike training has been mountain biking.  Which is fine because this course is all about the climbing and descending with little to no flat bits.  And it's FUN.  Short hard climbs, fun fast descents.  This year it feels easy, maybe because of the fancy bike but probably a bit because of the training.  In any case I have a blast on the bike, even end up passing some super fit looking guys including my super fast lane swim mate.  As I pass I say, 'Good job' and he laughs a bit and says, 'Way to make me look bad.'  But I think it's awesome that someone from Kansas would attempt such a race at 7600'.

I also ended up passing a guy back and forth near the end of the race, I'd fly past on the downhills and he'd catch me on the climbs.  I wasn't thinking about him beyond trying not to hit him or cut him off when I passed but at the end of the race he came up to be and said he'd enjoyed racing me which made me laugh because I hadn't thought of it that way at all.  I was racing the clock, hoping to break 45 minutes.  I didn't have a cyclometer but when I hit the final climb to the transition area I knew where I was and figured I could do it if I pushed hard up last hill.  And I did, finishing in 44:25, over 4 mins. faster than last year's 48:11 and placed 3/11 in my age group.  So very happy with that even if it might have been partly due to a lighter bike.  On the other side though his bike has a harder gearing than mine so I had to push some harder gears up those steep hills which takes a bit more strength than my bike so I was pleased I was able to handle the hills with the harder gears.


My nemesis the run.  Was hoping for a faster time, any amount faster than last year after being so much slower at Lory in May.  I've been working so hard on my run, it's frustrating to end up slower in a race.  But this race was held at the same time last year unlike Lory so finally I'm comparing apples to apples.

I start off plodding along, trying to get my breath back, feeling the all too familiar cramps coming on.  Not bad but there in the background.  I ignore them and plod on, up a steep hill, stopping to walk for a few steps here and there in hopes of getting my wind back but it makes no difference so I go back to running.  Such a short run, can't waste any time.  It gets better but not a whole lot better.  But it seems to be going by fast.  I'm going up the steep hill through the subdivision before I know it and then it's almost all down hill.  I pick up the pace on the downhills but my breathing is keeping me in check more than I'd like.  I pass my friends on their way up the hill and they're looking good.  I also pass some girls in their 20's who are yacking away to each other, moving at a casual pace and oblivious to the fact that they're in a race.  So weird to me.  I'm not super competitive but if I pay and entry fee and you slap a bib on my chest I'm going to race as hard as I can.  But whatever.  It's they're race to run as they want.

Their voices disappear behind me and I hit the final short hill to the finish.  A guy holding a GoPro  passes me and says, 'Smile for the GoPro'.  I smile and wave and I don't mind that he's filming me but I imagine someone somewhere out there does.  The internets and availability of cheap video cameras have created some interesting privacy issues.

Meanwhile I hear those girls again behind me and the heck I'm letting them beat me to the finish.  I don't have a whole lot in my but I push with what little I have and cross the line out of earshot of them.  And I have to stand for a moment and support myself on the finish gate railing or I'm going to pass out.  I see a guy looking concerned but thankfully I don't black out and in a minute or so I'm fine.  The run was slower than last year by 49 seconds but my overall time is 1:33:40, 3 minutes 33 seconds faster than last year.  I'll take it.  Excited about that, especially given the swim debacle.

Transition times were fast, 1st in age group for both T1 and T2 and high in the rankings overall and for women.  I end up 5th out of 11 in my age group which is super competitive this year.  If I'd been in my old 45-49 age group I would have ended up in 3rd on the podium.  Funny to think that 50-54 would be more competitive.

My friend ends up winning her age group so we stay to get her award.  Some very amazing athletes in the older age groups.

Overall a fun race and a great day in the mountains.  Doesn't get any better than that.

Final Stats

525 yard swim:

10:17/1:58/100 yards, much confusion in lane, goggles fell off, started to do extra lap  (Last year did 575, 9:31 mins. pro-rated, 1:49/100 yards pace (10:25 for 575 yards)

                            83/219 overall (men and women) (86/206 overall in 2012)
                            39/115 women
                            4/11 age group (2/14 age group in 2012)

Dash from pool to transition:  34 sec (46 sec. in 2012)

T1:  1:17 (1:10 in 2012)

        31/219 overall
        6/115 women
        1/11 age group

Bike:  10 miles advertised, 10.37 by cyclometer (in 2011), 10.61 by gmaps pedometer

44:25 (48:41 mins. in 2012)

82/219 (129/206 overall in 2012)
22/115 women
3/11 age group (9/14 age group in 2012)

T2:  1:05 (1:04 in 2012)

        18/219 age group
        4/115 women

        1/11 age group (1/14 in age group in 2012)

3.1 mile Run:

35:59 mins., 11:36 min/mile
(35:10 mins., 11:21 min/mile in 2012)

161/219 overall (147/206in 2012)
74/115 women
7/11 age group (9/14 age group in 2012)


1:33: 40 hours
(1:37:13 hours in 2012)

94/219 overall (127/206 in 2012)
33/115 women (50/113 women in 2012)
5/11 age group (5/14 age group in 2012)

Results do not include DNF's if there were any.

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