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Race Report: Silver Lake Triathlon

Posted Aug 01 2008 12:00am

We got a little lucky with the weather this morning, as there was a 50% chance of thunderstorms. We got rained on a bit on the way there, but then it cleared up and the sun came out before the end of the race and it's turning into a really nice day. Aside from a few wet spots, the roads were dry so the rain wasn't really an issue.

This was the first triathlon Cheri and I have done together so that was fun, and our parents came to watch so we had some spectators. This was essentially the first triathlon that my parents would see me do so I really wanted to do well. They showed up for the Janesville Tri last year, but I didn't do a good job giving them instructions on where to go so they never actually saw me race.

This is only the second year for the Silver Lake Triathlon, and I've been really impressed both years. Last year, I expected a few problems being their first year, but it was really smooth. This year was even better as they made a few minor changes, mainly to the transition area, which worked out really well.

Cheri hasn't been able to run much lately due to her knee pain (I believe it's partially because she's running in stability shoes when she should be in neutral shoes or flats) so she was getting pretty nervous last night and feeling unprepared. Then I packed up my wetsuit and made things worse. She doesn't have a wetsuit and assumed I wouldn't be wearing mine since the swim was only a 1/4 mile. As soon as she saw my wetsuit..."Why do you need your wetsuit? I didn't think you would need a wetsuit. I'm going to die."

After my wetsuit experiment at the aquathons, I'm always wearing a wetsuit. My wetsuit makes me a lot faster and I can get out of that thing in a matter of seconds so the time saved on the swim is well worth it. I told her I was only wearing it for speed, and that we'll have to get her a wetsuit for next year.

Anyway, on to the race report....

The swim: Last year - 8:45 This year - 5:50

Silver Lake is a great lake for a triathlon...clean, calm waters, nice soft sand on the beach. It's great. The only difference on the swim this year is that they changed the direction so we basically swam the course backwards from last year. It worked out better for transition so I think it was a good move. As for my time, I'd love to say all of that increased speed was due to hard training, but it's not. Most of it was, but I didn't have a wetsuit yet this time last year. Wetsuits really do make a big difference and I'm really glad I wore mine because I can now check off my goal of breaking 6:30 at a sprint tri this summer. I think the wetsuit may have saved me roughly a minute...that's really significant for a swim that short.

T1 - Last year - 1:30 This year - 1:07

Bike: Last year - 43:26 This year - 39:39

I'm really happy with my bike split this year. Some of that increased speed is my Cannondale, but I've put a lot of work into my cycling this year so it's really encouraging to see that pay off... and this is my fastest average speed at a multisport event ever - 24.2 mph. The only time I've topped that average is one of my Tuesday Time Trials and the Bong Park 40K TT...but there's no running after a time trial or swimming before so you can't really compare them. I set the third fastest bike split for the day and moved into the lead in my age group on the bike. Once I moved into the lead I really started to hammer the bike because I knew I had guys like Ryan G behind me who are strong runners and could outrun me so I needed to open a gap, and hopefully a big enough gap to discourage them from even trying to run me down.

Here's where I got stupid: Coming into T2, I got out of my shoes (way too early, which probably cost me a few seconds*) and was ready to do a side saddle dismount and run into transition. It's downhill coming into transition so you're going at a good pace. I forgot they moved the dismount line up the road from last year so I was riding into the dismount line side saddle doing about 20+mph. They yelled at me to get off my bike and I grabbed the brakes hard, stepped off my bike and started running. I stumbled a bit and my shoes hit the ground and the back of my bike kicked pretty hard, but mainly I really pounded the bottom of my feet getting off my bike going that fast. What a stupid mistake 2 weeks from Ironman. I should've kept going until I was slowed down enough and just accepted a penalty if they wanted to give me one - which I doubt they would've since this isn't USAT sanctioned and it's just a fun, local tri.

T2- Last year: :53 This year: :27

Run- Last year: 23:46 This year: 20:16

My feet stung pretty bad for the first half from coming off my bike so hard and I kept thinking about how I could've easily broken a foot or toe or injured myself somehow. The run course is decent, although they have you run a loop by the airport on grass and I don't like running on grass. They also don't have the miles marked, which isn't that big of a deal for a sprint tri but it would be nice because I like to see how my speed is at the first mile marker. I kept an eye on my competition at the turn around points and saw each time that I had a decent gap so I felt confident that I could hold on and win my age group. I was hoping to break 20 minutes, but I just didn't have it in me today.

Overall- Last year: 1:18:18 This year: 1:07:18

Last year: 15th overall, 3rd age group - first age group medal at a triathlon
This year: 4th overall*, 1st age group - first age group win at a triathlon

As I'm sure you can guess, I really like the Silver Lake Triathlon. It's fun, it's well-run, and I've done well both years. And the families come out and watch which is always great.

Then there's Cheri.... she told everyone not to expect much and that her knees hurt and she won't do well..... whatever.

Since she refuses to write race reports for my blog, I guess I'll have to do it....

Swim: 7:10

She really needs a wetsuit. It's not that 7:10 is a bad time, don't get me wrong. It's that Cheri is a better swimmer than I am and with a wetsuit and little more time in the pool she could be out there setting some of the fastest overall swim times.

T1 - 1:28

My T1 time from last year was 1:30 which means Cheri puts socks on 2 seconds faster than I do. I no longer wear socks during tris, and one of these days I'll get her to ditch the socks as well.

Bike - 48:05

I figured she would have a good bike split, but this was a little faster than I expected...a 19.96 mph average. We'll round that up to an even 20 since it looks better. The bike is an out and back so I was watching for her on the bike and counting women. Her age group was the first female wave, and when I saw her she was in 4th place so I yelled, "You're the 4th female!" I figured if she knew she was that close to the front, she would dig deep and keep pushing through the pain. She set the 9th fastest bike split among females. I've said it before, but one of these days she's going to need a tri bike....and an aero helmet.

T2 - :41

Run - 28:28

Very impressive considering how little running she's been doing the past few weeks. Her running has improved a lot in the past year, and I think once she gets this knee pain figured out and she can start running consistently again she's going to be able to knock a lot of time off her run splits.

Overall - 1:25:49

68th overall, 3rd age group - first age group medal at a triathlon

Silver Lake is good to us.

When I look at her results and think about how few base miles she has in her legs - cycling and running - I think about how fast her times could be if she really trained hard and put in a lot of hours. I think she could compete for overall female wins and finish high enough in the overall standings to make the top guys take her seriously as a competitor. Combine her lifetime cycling and running miles, and I think I did more miles from January to July just on the bike this year. I really believe she has the potential to be one of the top local female triathletes if she ever decides that's what she wants.

But I don't push her to train hard because she doesn't have to. It has to come from her.

Anyway, it was a good day...good results...lots of fun...can't wait for next year.


* Only 4 seconds behind 3rd and it's killing me....motivation for the trainer this winter
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