Double Du Weekend

Saturday - Beloit Duathlon (1.8m, 10.4m, 1.8m)

Saturday morning was the annual Beloit Du, a race I've done every year since 2007.  The weather was perfect - sunny and warm with light winds.  

Quick race report - I came into T1 in third.  I took over the lead on the bike pretty early, but got passed about the halfway mark.  I repassed for the lead with a few miles to go but couldn't pull a gap and came into T2 just in front of second.  I lost the lead coming out of T2 and that was it.   2nd place this year.

Sunday - Delafield Duathlon (3.1m, 17m, 3.1m)


Another beautiful morning - warm, sunny skies and light winds.  This was the inaugural race and they did a great job. The race took place at the St. John's Military Academy, which was a great venue for a race like this.  

With this being my second duathlon of the weekend, and this race being nearly twice as long, my goal was pacing.  I wanted to test out my goals (mainly the run) for my next olympic distance tri a bit, so I went into the race aiming to run about a 6:30 pace for both runs and bike about 90%.  

Run 1 (20:11 - 6:30 pace)

I was in the last wave and headed out slow and built into a 6:30 pace, which I held the entire time.  It felt surprisingly comfortable.  I just stuck to that pace and chased down as many people from earlier waves as I could.  The run course was awesome.  We ran on some roads, sidewalks, then on boardwalk and then on a golf course.  I was loving it.  Very fun. 

A rare pic of me smiling in a race (heading into T1).

Bike (41:03) 

I had a smooth transition and headed out on the bike with the goal of starting out easy and building my effort throughout the ride.  After a few easy minutes, I cranked it up a bit and could instantly feel yesterday's duathlon and the first run in my legs so I dialed it back a bit and held it there the rest of the ride.  Honestly, the bike was pretty easy.  I finished with an IF of about .85 and was very surprised to later find out I set the fastest bike split of the day. That is the result of the work I've done improving my position.  I can't quantify the difference, but I'm definitely going faster on less power this year.  Working on my aerodynamics is paying off.

Heading out of T1  - slipping into my shoes.

Run 2 (19:19 - 6:20 pace - run was a tad short)

I started out the run just under a 6:30 pace with the hope of stepping up the pace a bit, but first I wanted to settle in and see how my legs responded.  I was in second with the leader in sight, but I had passed someone from my wave late in the ride so I knew he put a fair amount of time on me on the first run so he was a runner and would be chasing me down.  I was slowly gaining on the leader so I gradually increased my pace and chipped away at his lead.  I passed him about 3/4 of a mile into the run, right before we turned onto the golf course, so then I just put my head down and started pushing.  My legs were really heavy at this point and I was ready to be done.  I was running along the fairway on a long, gradual uphill and had to fight hard to keep my pace.  I was hurtin'. 

About the two mile mark, the guy I passed late in the bike caught up to me.  The words of running coach Jack Daniels came to me, which worked for me late in the race at IMWI, "When struggling....speed up."  Just as he tried to pass, I surged and took the lead back.  He hung with me but I remained in the lead for the next mile.  There was a small hill that brought us out of the golf course and onto the roads that lead to the finish line.  I attacked it hard trying to put a few seconds on him and that put a serious hurting on me.  As we neared the finish line, he put in a surge and took over the lead.  I did my best to respond, and we sprinted to the finish, but he got me by 5 seconds.  Even though I lost the race at the very end, I was really happy with my results.  I paced the race really well, negative split the runs, ran a 6:11 pace on the third mile of the second run (this proves I have more running speed in the tank and possibly need to learn how to suffer more on the run), set the second fastest second run split, and had a lot of fun.  He was flat out a better runner than I am, and duathlon wins often go to the runners, but I gave him a run for his money and made him earn it so I'm happy about that.  And my running is improving.

2nd Overall.

The Delafield Duathlon was a great race and assuming I can fit it into my schedule next year, I'll be back.  It was well-run, and I loved the course.  Double duathlons was a fun and tough challenge.

After the race, I headed out for a 50 mile ride to New Glarus.  I was riding easy and enjoying the weather when, about 20 miles from home, I looked back and saw a nasty thunderstorm closing in on me.  Oh crap....nothing like being an hour from home with very tired legs and a storm brewing.  I pushed hard and did my best, but couldn't out-run the storm.  It was one of the worst storms I've biked in.  Hail, heavy rain and very strong winds.  Fortunately, I had a tailwind.  It was so strong, I was passing traffic in Verona doing 38 mph on flat ground. Things got a little sketchy, but I made it home safely....completely soaked.

Riding hard at the end of that ride was the straw that broke my legs...as if double duathlons wasn't enough.  I've spent the majority of the week trying to recover from the weekend.  But it was a fun weekend so it was worth having heavy legs for a few days.

Next up:  The Cooney Duathlon tomorrow - 2m, 21m, 2m.  The Delafield Du was all about the run for me so I think I'm going to make the Cooney Du all about the bike and test myself there a bit. 

Note to Mother Nature - Seriously?  This was the second time in May that I had to bike through hail.  Enough already.  Cut us a little slack....please.


Learning To Time Trial

There's a Thursday night time trial series in Madison, and every year I do a few of them.  I also try to do a couple of the MATTS (Mid America Time Trial Series) time trials every year.  

I've typically done okay at them, but never great. I've never won my AG or category at a MATTS race.  There's always someone faster.

This year, I've decided to change that.  I'm putting a bigger focus on becoming a good time trialist.  No more just showing up with my ironman set up and doing the best I can.  This year I'm putting some real effort into it and trying to see if I can be more competitive.  I'm planning on doing about 7 or 8 of the MATTS races.  I want to win my category or AG (I race either Cat 4 or M35-39) in at least one of them, make the top 10 overall in at least one TT and break 55 minutes at the WI State Championship 40K.

To start, I've been tweaking my position on the bike.  Gone is my ironman set up.  I'm still working on my fit and making adjustments, but this is the first round of adjustments....

Big difference.

I've lowered the bars quite a bit and brought my arms closer together.  I need to head out for some aero field testing and make some tweaks, but this is a good starting point.

I've also changed my training a bit.  With no ironman on the schedule, I'm doing less volume on the bike and working in more VO2 Max work and anaerobic work.  

My first test came a few weeks ago at the Cherry Valley 20K TT.  I raced this one a few times when it was a 30K so I was familiar with the course and knew what to expect.  When I signed up I was feeling ambitious and I signed up to race twice - once in the Cat 4 division and again in the Masters 35-39 division.  My goal was to win Cat 4 and just do my best on my second TT.

Race day was tough.  It was in the low 40s and the winds were howling.  The course is an out and back (more out than back since the start and finish lines aren't in the same place) with the way out dead into the head wind.  

The winds were brutal.  I did my best to keep my head down and just focus on my power. I came into the turn around a little too fast and hit a slick spot in the road and locked up my rear wheel and slid sideways a bit.  Not smooth.  It didn't cost me a lot, maybe a few seconds, so that's something to work on for future TTs.  

The way back had a tailwind which sucked as well.  I was spinning out and my legs were burning.  It was definitely better than the headwind, but far from easy.  In the end, my power was lower than I wanted and my time wasn't close to what I originally thought I could do on that course.  But with the winds, I knew times would be slow so I had no idea how I placed.

Twenty minutes later I had my second TT and my legs were shot.  My power was down about 20 watts from my first TT and I finished more than a minute slower.  I didn't have any goals for that race so I hoped it was good enough to keep me out of last place.  

The results:

Very happy to see I won the Cat 4 division.
I was surprised to see I won Masters 35-39.  Small group.
I'm really happy with this first TT of the year.  I proved I can win the Cat 4 division, which is encouraging, but I was still well out of the top 10 overall.  They only listed the top 6 fastest, but I was nearly a minute slower so I have lots of work to do.  

The top 6 overall.


Race Report: Rev3 Knoxville Oly


Rev3 Knoxville was my first olympic distance tri in 5 years, my first triathlon of the year and my first Rev3 event.  My goals for the race were pretty moderate considering I haven't raced an oly in several years.  I wanted to get one under my belt, see where I am and go from there.  I was hoping to break 23 minutes on the swim, average 90% of FTP on the bike (which should have been about an hour bike split), run under 42 minutes and make the top 3 in my age group.

Then I saw the forecast - low 50s and rain with a water temp of 58 degrees.  At this point, I threw out the bike goal and decided to go conservative and not risk crashing and ruining my whole season.  I also decided to take the time in transition to put on arm warmers and gloves.  

Saturday Practice Swim.  "It's cold."

"It's so cold.  Don't make me get in."


The Swim:  (21:31)

Race morning.  The last time I would smile until after the race.
The swim started a little rough.  I started on the left and about a minute into the swim the cold water got to me and I was having a hard time breathing.  I was gasping for breath so I decided to side stroke a bit and catch my breath and calm down.  A little bit of that and I got back to it and after a few minutes I got used to the cold water and was good to go the rest of the swim.  This was definitely the least amount of contact I've had in any triathlon race.  I was swimming in clean water most of the time.  

It's a river swim so you swim against the current for about a 1/3 of the swim and then with the current the rest of the way.  I broke 23 minutes like I wanted, but probably should have broken 21.  Overall, I'm happy with my swim but have some things to work on for my next race.

Things to work on:  Drafting, sticking closer to the buoys (I swam a little wide and tacked on some distance) and swimming harder (I can definitely push harder than I did - too used to Ironman pace).

Heading toward transition

 Transition:  (4:31)

There's a pretty long run from the swim exit to transition and my right quad started cramping up (odd - this has never happened before - maybe it was from the cold water?) which had me a little concerned about the rest of the race.  I took time to put on arm warmers and thin wool gloves.  Otherwise, transition went pretty smooth.  I got out of my wetsuit pretty quickly thanks to cutting it and using a lot of Body Glide and Tri Slide.  

The Bike:  (1:08:47)

Ugh.  The bike sucked.  About a mile in I dropped my chain.  That probably cost me about a minute because I couldn't get that thing back on without getting my gloves caught up in the chainring.  After that, I got under way and tried to push the pace but it was tough.  It was
Heading out on the bike.  Brrr....
raining pretty hard and I could hardly see.  There were big puddles and I started playing it safe and sitting up a lot and that cost me quite a bit of time.  My right quad wasn't much of an issue but it did get a little twitchy from time to time and threaten to cramp.

By the halfway point, I was so cold my teeth were chattering on the fast sections.  It was easily the coldest, most-miserable triathlon bike ride I've ever done.  In the end, I was nearly 40 watts lower than I should have been and my bike split was slower than I expected.  I figured going conservative would give me a 1:05 ish split.  I obviously went too conservative....but I lived to race again another day so I'm not too disappointed.  

Things to work on:  Not sure.  Since I went conservative it's hard to say where I could have improved.

Transition:  (1:24)

Not much to say.  Being so cold I struggled a bit getting into my run shoes, but otherwise transition went pretty smooth.

Heading out of T2....numb.

The Run:  (41:42)

My feet felt like bricks throughout most of the run because they were completely numb from the bike.  My right quad had loosened up at this point and wasn't much of an issue.  I thought I would warm up but I never really did.  I was cold the whole time and had worked my way into no man's land so there was a big group way ahead of me and I had a decent gap on the group behind me so I was alone most of the run.  I don't know if the cold affected my run or not.  I hit my target of sub 42 so I'm happy about that but I finished feeling like I could have pushed harder.

The finish.

Things to work on:  Push harder.  Suffer more.

Overall:  2:17:56.  3rd Age Group. 

My overall time isn't what I had hoped for, but I had a lot of positives during the race and it was a tough day so I'm happy with where I am.  I did some things right and if you compare this to my last olympic tri back in 2008 this was a huge PR so that's good.  I hit my swim and run goal and got top 3 in my age group which I wanted.  And now that I know I can podium in my age group at the olympic distance it's time to see if I can work my way up the podium. 

Score.  Age group award, new Blue Seventy goggles and Powerbars.

One thing I need to work on is just simply going harder.  I know I can race at a higher intensity for 2 hours so I need to work on that for my next olympic distance race, which is about 7 weeks away so I have plenty of time.

As for this being my first Rev3....they put on an awesome race.  Knoxville is a great venue for a race.  With better weather, this race would have been incredible.  Transition is in a parking garage so it's covered and we were able to park right above my bike so that was convenient.  World's Fair Park makes for a great finish line and Rev3 puts on a great race.  I'll definitely come back next year.

My next olympic tri is in Canada - Muskoka 5150.