Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lake Guntersville Olympic Triathlon, 5/19/12

Lake Guntersville, Al
It's as if Lake Guntersville popped straight out of a post card.  The mountains are truly amazing towering over the lake.  The dramatic changes in elevation produce some amazing views.  It feels almost like Lake Guntersville would be kept in God's art gallery.  I had no idea there was such a beautiful place sitting in the corner of our state.  I only wish we would have had more time to enjoy it.

'Rise of the Phoenix' is due to all the
destruction from the tornadoes that
ripped through the park
For the morning of the Lake Guntersville Olympic Triathlon, I was the first bike in transition.  In keeping with my routine, I wasn't able to sleep much.  After racing the Gulf Coast Tri last weekend, I realized the value of prime real estate in the transition area.  I stood there wondering how many bikes might be there when I returned from the little bike ride that awaited.  I went through the usual visualizations of all the steps that go between the lines.  As the other athletes began setting up, I noticed coolers and towels, hydration belts, and feet wash buckets all around me.  Lying on the ground next to my QR CD0.1 was a helmet, and a beat up pair of running shoes with a headband and a pair of shades on top of them.  I saw several guys that looked like they were preparing for the triathlon apocalypse.

Sure is nice to have flat water
Warm up was no big deal, the water was calm and flat.  I decided to hit the beach aggressively on the return as I would during the race and found that the "beach" was crushed shell.  It only took me a step or two to realize there would be no hustling across the beach.  At that point, I committed to staying horizontal as long as possible coming in.  As I was coming out, the race director called all athletes to transition and began going over the usual stuff.  Then, "Oh Say Can You See," and we preceded to swim start.  

Mom and Dad showed up to surprise me before the race.
I like this only child bit.
Deep water start.
I can't say how surprised I was to learn it was a deep water start.  That means we were to jump off the dock and tread water with all the Male 19-39 racers until the horn blows.  I decided that I was going to go as hard as I could during the swim.  I know I bombed the GCT swim, and I just wanted one good swim to justify all that time I've spent in the pool over the last year.  I started with the front guys and held on as long as I could.  Maybe I made it to the first buoy with them, maybe.  Then I felt lost as I made my way out to the turn around.  There was no one around me.  I couldn't see anyone ahead or beside me.  I thought I had gotten dropped by the whole group.  Again, I started pouting and let off the gas. As I got to within ~400 yards of shore, I was engulfed by several swimmers.  I realized that I hadn't fallen out of our whole age group wave, but had fallen off the back of the front of the wave.  I was still in a pretty good position.  I buckled down and kept it churning until my hands hit shells.  I was still 20' off shore, so I grabbed handfuls of shells and pushed my way forward until I was calf deep.  
8th out of the water!

I popped up and heard Dad say "32 minutes!"    Its 1500m, so I was expecting maybe a 28:xx at the slowest, but 32?  I thought, "32 minutes? Why do I even bother to swim?"   I hustled through transition and Emily met me at the mounting line and yelled " You're in 8th!"  Wow! 8th, huh? Course must have been long.
1500m Swim: 32:26 
17/162 Overall
1/14 Male 30-34

I always forget to secure my shoes at the back so I can just jump and go.
Across the mounting line I went and off to my bread and butter.  I could see 2 guys ahead of me, but before I could pick them off, I was passed by a dude rocking an Auburn collegiate suit.  I figured he would be sporty, but he'd have to be real sporty to make that pass stick.  I slipped into my shoes and up the first climb.  I quickly made my way around him and then two other guys.  I found three more within the first few miles.  Then I hit a long straight and couldn't see a soul.  I looked back to see how Auburn was coming along, and I was all alone.  I kept my head down, and as I approached the turn around, counted myself into 4th place.  I was half a mile behind 3rd and half a mile ahead of 5th and it stayed that way for the rest of the ride.  I kept the pedals churning and made my way back to the park with a just a few too many miles for an Olympic distance race on the computer.  (Maybe this long course thing is the trademark of this race?)  As I approached transition, I made a wrong turn and darted into the wrong parking lot.  I am going to have to start familiarizing myself with the courses better.
Not sure why it didn't list everything.
NP=245, VI=88.3

1868 ft of climbing

Bike: ~25.X miles 1:07:53 Garmin Data

3/162 Overall
1/14 Male 30-34

Coasting in side saddle for a quick transition

I'm always glad to be off the bike.
And I always wish I was back on it after a few minutes.
I came off the bike well and racked it up.  I slipped on my kicks, grabbed my shades and headband.  I counted 3 bikes in transition, and I hit my feet and out I went.
Love seeing empty racks in transition!
Lots of spirit at T2 Exit.
Just a thumbs up coming in?
The first mile is flat and along the shoreline.  I spied #3, and I wanted him.  As I made my way up the first hill, 5th place was a long way back.  At 1.5 miles, I was climbing and roasting.  I stopped to walk and pull my suit down to break out my Bear Chest.  As I crested the hill, I saw 5th catching me.  Somehow, I became the hunted.  This was new for me.  As I passed the first aid station, I could hear him yelling for water.  My pace had dropped, and I was really struggling to make the climbs.  I started walking, and my breathing stayed labored despite abandoning the run.  When he passed me, I just clapped.  I said "He's got a lot of time on you, better hurry!"  I made the turn around and timed 6th place to be 4 minutes back.  I was all alone again.  I decided to walk every hill and just coast in.  No point in killing myself for a few seconds that do not matter anyway.  As I started getting closer to transition, I saw the other racers and they were all encouraging me to not give up.  I felt like I was really setting a bad example, so I finished strong.  As I ran down the final stretch, there were spectators sitting all along the retaining wall.  I was slapping hi-5s all the way in.  Later, I grabbed a handful of Chips Ahoy! and wondered how dirty all those folks hands were.  :-(
681 ft of climbing is a tough 10k
Run 6.2 miles: 44:25 Garmin Data
10/162 Overall 
2/14 Male 30-34

2:24:45 Overall Results 6th (turns out there was a collegiate wave later and I got sniped down a slot)

Lake Guntersville Olympic Triathlon Official Results

This race was relaxed enough, Mom and Dad had lots of access.
Dad volunteering as a finish line catcher!

Watermelon? Yes, please.
This is a Halo headband.  It has a small gutter
inside that sweeps sweat off the sides
 and out of my eyes.  Love this thing.

Fast run split !
Emily ran here way to a 50:20 10 k on a very tough course.
I guess when you are flying, the course isn't so bad!

1st Place M30-34
Not to be out done, of course.
1st Place Mixed Relay
She signed up the day before when she
found a guy that wasn't going to run due to an injury.  

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