Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Solana Beach Triathlon

Photo Credit Swim Out - Angi Smart (Wifey)

I have not written a blog since the Eastern Sierra Double. I usually blog in conjunction with my events, and there have been no events for me since Eastern Sierra. That is, until last Sunday.

I did the Solana Beach Triathlon. A sprint triathlon with a ¼ mile ocean swim, 9 mile bike, and 3 mile run. This race was mostly a training race as part of my preparation for the Austin 70.3 that I am doing in October. The Solana Tri culminated week seven of my 20 week training plan. There will be one more practice tri, my “dress rehearsal” at Tri-Rock on September 11.

The training for triathlon is very different from what I did for distance cycling. Of course I am swimming and running, not just cycling, but the durations tend to be shorter, but more intense. I find after three years of focusing on distance cycling, the hardest thing for me to do, is go all-out. I always want to keep something in the bank for the end.

I didn’t really train to do my doubles fast. When I got into cycling, I just kept trying to ride further, it wasn’t until recently I actually really decided I’d like to see if I can get faster.

Two things about going faster, especially on the bike: One, its fun! Two, it hurts. Not in a bad way, but really, if you are trying to go fast, and it is not hurting, you are not pushing hard enough. That has been a bit of a challenge for me too. I mean, I got into cycling to get rid of 150 excess pounds of girth by doing something I liked. Putting myself into the pain cave was not part of the original equation.

I just started swimming in January, and I have to say I am pleased with my progress. The hardest part of triathlon swimming is the washing machine at the start. Bang, bump, collide. It’s not like everyone lines up on the right and people move to the left to pass. Once I get some room, I can hold my own. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not challenging Michael Phelps, or even the fast triathletes. But my swim has come along better than I anticipated.

The run is the challenge for me. As a kid, I was one of the slowest. I grew up playing baseball. You’ve heard the saying; he’s fast for a catcher. I caught; I was slow, even by catcher’s standards. I started mixing in running three years ago, not consistently, but enough for a bike guy. It took me a while to get to where I could do a 5K in less than 40 minutes. I can now break 30, but barely. 29:26 in the Solana Tri. 53rd of 66 in my age group. As a percentage, my worst of the three events. I’ll keep working at it. This is one of those speed/pain things, as I think I could have maintained that pace for much longer, where I’m sure others would have dropped off. I just couldn’t seem to ramp it up, even for the short course.

Speaking of results, I did the 9 miles in just under 27 minutes, or just over a 20MPH average. The course was on 101. For San Diego locals, depart transition at Lomas Santa Fe, go north to Via de la Valle, do a 180, Make a right on Lomas Santa Fe, and immediately do a 180 and make a right back on coast highway, down the hill to the light for another 180. Repeat, except on lap two pull back into transition at Lomas Santa Fe. Six 180’s on the course really cut the speed. Koz, the group that runs this event lumps both transitions into the bike split, so I really don’t know how I compared to the rest of the field. I can tell you this, I did not get passed on the bike course by anyone from my age group, (the fast guys were already ahead of me from the swim) and only one guy overall, who was on his second lap while I was still on my first. I passed a ton of people! The problem was I saw most of them go by me on the run. Including both transitions I was 26 of 66 in my age group for the split.

I was 47 of 66 on the swim. Okay for my second competitive swim, first in the ocean; and that includes a ¼ mile up hill from the beach at Fletcher Cove to Transition where at least 10 guys passed me running in. There’s that doggone running speed again.

Anyway, I am enjoying the triathlons, and training. One thing, as a cyclist, I can say I really like, is the time trial discipline. I like getting aero, and testing myself against the clock.

Next up is Tri-Rock on September 11th, then Austin 70.3 on October 23rd.

Gear: Swim – Blue Seventy wetsuit, Aqua Sphere goggles
Bike – Specialized Transition, 53/39 crank, 11-28 cassette, Shimano RS80 wheels, Giro Advantage 2 aero helmet.
Run – Nike Vomero+ 5 shoes

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