Monday, May 18, 2015

Great Six Flags Triathlon Race Report- When everything goes perfect...until

Yesterday was my first race of the season.  I was super pumped for it.  I couldn't wait to see how all the hard training I did this past offseason was going to pay off.  Having Alcatraz coming up in a few weeks, I knew I needed a prep race to get all the kinks out.  I signed up for the Great Six Flags Triathlon, which as the name implies is held in Six Flags Amusement Park.  Pretty cool, right?

The Kingda Ka as a backdrop for our race is pretty cool
Going into this race, I had a pretty good idea that I was going to podium somehow.  Either overall or at least in Age Group.  I have raced this series before and knew that I could really go after the top prize.

So how'd it go?

I got to the venue at 5:30 am, which is really weird.  Think about walking down Times Square or the Vegas Strip at like 5 in the morning.  Everything is on, but no one is there.  To see all the roller coasters and games all lit up with no one around was pretty cool.

Minimal transition ready to go
I checked in, racked my bike and set up my transition.  Looking at my transition, I realized I was completely minimal for the first time in a while.  All I had laid out were my Skora's, race belt, and Rudy Project Sunglasses.  Everything else was on my bike and ready to go.

The race directors warned us that we should bring a second pair of sneakers to the swim start since transition was literally gravel.  Not soft gravel, like hard gravel, plus the run from the swim to T1 was about .5 mile and it was on that bumpy type of amusement park surface.  Did I listen?  Of course not. I brought 1 pair of shoes and walked timidly to the swim start.

The swim was held in the lake in the amusement park where they do all the water shows, fireworks, etc.  It was cool, but since it wasn't a lake that had access to fresh water, it was the cleanest.  It made swimming in the Hudson River feel like I was in the Maldives.

After changing my stroke this past offseason, I wanted to see if I really got faster.  Or even if I didn't, did I swim easier.  We got to warm up for a few minutes which was cool, and then then got us all ready in a time trail start.  I'm liking the new time trial start most races are doing now so everyone doesn't get run over.

Once I crossed the timing mat, it was on.  I got into a rhythm and went out to the first buoy.  Once I got there, a bunch of us realize the race director didn't tell us about the "hidden from view" buoy so instead of taking a smart route to the buoy, we now how to redirect and go in a different direction which probably added some time.

The swim was a 2 lap swim, so once I got the first lap down, I actually picked up pace and had the proper route so it seemed like I found something in my stroke.  I used this to pass a lot of people on the 2nd loop.

Coming out of the swim and the run from T1, I realized the shoes were probably a smart move.  I passed a bunch of people who were looking for their shoes and I didn't lose any ground, but it was a hobbled and hurtful .5 mile to my bike.

Swim: 28 minutes
For me, not bad. Would have liked 26 minutes or so, but also first open water swim and didn't know about one of the buoys

The bike was great.  The course had a lot of stretches of roads that didn't have a lot of turns, so any time you can stay down in aero and go after it is really fun.  The course had some rolling hills, but nothing super bad or anything that I thought was that hard.  Maybe that's a good sign for Alcatraz.

I was wearing my new Rudy Project Wing 57 helmet with the visor.  I love the visor.  It's awesome and cool looking.  However, for the first 6 miles or so, there was so much condensation on the visor that I was basically riding through a fog.  After taking my finger and wiping the dew from the inside (why didn't I think of that earlier), it was clear sailing.

Since the course had both Olympic and Sprint going off on the same course, whenever I passed race volunteers and asked them how many people in front of me, I kept getting different answers.  One time, I was told 25 people ahead of me, the next I heard 5, then 10, and so on.  It was until about mile 22 that I only saw people with "S" on their legs so I knew I was in pretty good shape when the race director told me I was in 5th.

The only bad part about the bike was that my Garmin Vectors weren't reading power on the left pedal so I was getting half data so I have no clue how hard I was riding other than by feel.

As I was coming into T2, I was feeling good and happy.  I started humming the theme song to Jaws since I knew I was going out for the hunt on the run.  I made a few people laugh when they heard me

1:10- 21 mph avg. Wanted a little higher but it'll do

Now it was time to have some fun.  I threw on my Skora's and went to town.  I got into a good rhythm and my file mile was tracking at 6:16 pace.  A little faster than I wanted, but I knew I could hold it and calm down for the next 5 miles.  At the first mile marker, there was a water station and once I got there, everything just went.  My left hamstring cramped up, and I couldn't move.  It was just one big knot in my leg.  I tried to rub it out, I tried to hop, and make it relax.  But nothing.  I was stopped for a good 3 minutes.  3 FREAKING minutes. I was really contemplating calling it a day right then and there.

After the cramp subsided, I continued on the run.  I stopped feeling great and now just wanted to get through the race.  I didn't know how many people passed me, but I kept passing people on the run and thought maybe there still might be a chance for an AG podium.  I really had no clue what to expect, but there was only one way to find out.

I crossed the finish line with a 10k time of 46 minutes.  I was pissed.  I felt like I could have gone under 40 minutes that day, and then boom.  My race blew up.

I checked the results and looking at them I found out I finished din 13th Overall place and 4th in my AG.  The difference between me and 2nd place in AG was 36 seconds.  36 freaking seconds.  I would have easily had this and probably a 7th place finish without that damn cramp.

Overall, my race was good.  I'm both happy and mad at how it went. Without the cramp and my stoppage time, it would have been a very good day at the office.  But, not everything happens in a vacuum, so I have to take what I can get. I'm not bummed I missed out on a small little trophy, but I'm upset for not doing well for all my partners.

Thanks HoneyMaxx, Skora, Cobb Cycling, and Rudy Project for being there with me.  The results weren't there, but I'm thankful for all the support.

Next up is Alcatraz.  Let's hope there are no setbacks there and I got them all out of my system here.

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