Sunday, June 26, 2011

Loveland Lake to Lake Race Report

Last Sunday I raced in my first triathlon of the 2011 season - the 5430 Sprint. Today (Saturday) I raced in my 2nd. Loveland Lake to Lake is a beautiful, locally run race. It's well organized, the volunteers are great, the bike course is challenging but gorgeous, and the venue is fantastic. A lot of Colorado triathletes were in Loveland to race today!

Shannon, Chris, John, Nicole, Bridget, Kisti
Pre-race: I left yesterday afternoon with one a friend and client to make the 2ish hour trek to Loveland. It was about a 2.5 hour journey - Denver traffic was SLOW. It was moving, but slow. We caught the tail end of the pre-race meeting and met up with the Team In Training group. After scouting out the venue with the team, we headed to Mimi's Cafe for our TNT Inspiration Dinner. Mimi's rocks - a lot of options for pre-race foods, and a lot of us opted for the sweet & sour chicken. And what an amazing group of people raising money  After dinner we all went our separate ways to get as much rest as possible! Transition opened at 5am with the first wave at 6:30am!

Shannon and I stayed at an inexpensive place in Ft. Collins, which was surprisingly nice. Clean, comfy, and a fridge for our water bottles. And thank goodness no rowdy neighbors! We got our bikes and race bags ready, worked on a race plan, and went to bed.

Race Day!
Alarms started going off at 3:50am. I got up at 4:00am and felt pretty good. It took me a while to get to sleep, and I woke up a few times, but for the most part a good night's sleep, although short. At 4:30 we were out the door towards Loveland High School. I downed a packet of chocolate Generation UCAN and a packet of Justin's Maple Almond Butter as my main meal. (Last weekend I just had the chocolate, but felt like my stomach was still a little empty, so tried the nut butter. It seemed to work!)

We arrived at the race site a little before 5am. Perfect. I found a sweet spot on the end of a row for easy access and got everything set up. Even though my rubber bands were a little dry, I went ahead and put the shoes on the pedals. All was good in transition, so I went down to where the TNT tent was getting set up and had my 2nd pre-race UCAN - the new Cran-Raz. This time I only used about 8oz of water and was able to consume the whole thing, unlike last weekend. Then I did my quick run warm-up, got my shoes back into transition and found one of my rubber bands had broke. So I did a quick tie-up job and went on my way back to the Team tent. Time to put on my wetsuit (an XTERRA Vector Pro X2). The swim start is about a quarter mile from transition, so the team and I hoofed down to the water so we could at least get in a little warm-up before the gun went off. I just wanted to have a fun solid day at this race. I had vague time goals and really wanted to enjoy the race!

At 6:30 sharp, the gun went off and I was off along with the elites and all men and women 35-39...

Swim: 36:45.  I was predicting a swim of around 35 minutes in the water, and sure enough, when I reached the shore, my watch had 35:00. The entire swim felt really steady and comfortable (hopefully not too comfortable). I swam fairly straight and didn't have to sight as much as I had to in other races. As I mentioned, transition is about a quarter mile from the water, so the rest of the time is my run. I felt good and had a quick run up the grass, passing a couple people along the way.

T1: 1:38
My wetsuit came off easily, and I put on my sunglasses and helmet. Then I saw that the rubber band had broken so I opted to just grab the shoes off the pedals an put them on in transition. Probably lost about 15-20 seconds with that glitch.

Bike: 1:35:38
This ride was not as smooth as I would have liked. I never seemed to get my legs for very long and I was struggling to find the right effort level. It didn't help that the course profile looks like this (the green):

The bike leg is usually my favorite, but today I really couldn't wait for it to be over. Maybe that's because once we came down the hill and hit the rollers, there was a pretty decent headwind. That and I'm figuring out my fueling needs - so on the bike I had my aerodrink with water, a 18oz bottle with Nuun for electrolytes. I taped a honey stinger gel to my top tub in case I would need it, and at about 1:49 total race time, I realized I probably needed some calories. About 10 minutes after consuming the gel I was feeling better. My neck and shoulders were stiff from the steep descents, and my nose was running quite a bit. My calves were also starting to get a little tight. Lesson learned - that I probably need to make sure I'm fueling about 90 minutes into a race lasting 3 or more hours. Finally the rollers ended and we made our way back to the high school. I pulled my feet out of my shoes and had a pretty smooth dismount. Glad that was over!

T2: 1:18  (I wear socks for the run).
I grabbed my hat, another gel, my bottle of endurolytes, and of course my race belt. And I was hoping my legs would feel better on the run.

Run: 50:31 (8:08 pace)
The first part of the course is slightly uphill, but overall it's a flat run. It goes through a neighborhood and then meets up with the path around the lake. My focus at the beginning was quick steps and a tall posture. I saw a couple Pikes Peak Tri Club folks up ahead and slowly reeled them in. I made sure to walk each aid station to get in some fluid. Mile 2 I took my 2 endurolytes. At the turn around I took in my hammer gel (espresso flavor! probably about 2/3 of it) to make sure I had enough juice to finish. I was holding a nice steady pace, and felt strong so the last couple miles I gave it the rest of what I had and finished strong. It also didn't hurt to see Sonja and her friends and family at the corner with about a half mile to go cheering really loudly!
guess i was feeling better at this point!
Total: 3:05:51, 12/63 age group

The weather held out today - the high was to be in the upper 80s, but the morning was overcast and kept the temps down during the race. After I finished, I found all my Team In Training athletes as well as my NEO Endurance Sports & Fitness clients and cheered as they crossed the finish line. Everyone had a great day!

No comments: