Thursday, July 14, 2011

Boulder Peak Race Report

This year was the 20th annual Boulder Peak Triathlon and my 3rd consecutive year doing this race. It never gets easier, that's for sure! This is going to be a long write forewarned!

Saturday - the Day Before Race Day
Saturday is my pre-race prep day and it's packet pick-up day. So that means I get up, do my day before the race workouts and then head up to Boulder for packet pick-up. This went pretty smoothly and although a little behind schedule, I left around 11:30am. Made a quick stop at Chick-fil-A in Castle Rock for lunch (chargrilled chicken wrap for anyone who is interested). I hit the Res just after 1pm, and just in time to see 2x Boulder Peak winner Tim O'Donnell's Q&A. Barry Siff was asking him some questions and then opened it up to the audience, where he was asked about nutrition, pacing strategy and what was in his flat kit. After learning he was going to have a coke in his bottle on the bike, he was going to red-line the entire race, and that he was going sans flat kit, I got my packet and then headed to Downtown Boulder.
I found the coffee shop that I had spent some time in last year (Brewing Market), although they had a lot more customers in today. Even more showed up during the 30 minute deluge! It stopped raining in just enough time for me to meet the Pikes Peak Tri Club gang.
Pikes Peak Tri Club Dinner at Gondolino's
We, 11 of us, headed down to Gondolino's for dinner. I once again had the salmon, veggies and rice. I was eyeing the garlic bread, but since that's not a part of my normal diet, I skipped it. After an enjoyable meal with some new and familiar faces, it was time head to Jordan's place to crash. This time I brought the air mattress that didn't have a slow leak. Very uneventful evening while I put water bottles in the fridge to cool, put the stickers on my bike and helmet, and make sure I had everything I needed for the race. By 9pm I was definitely relaxing and ready for lights out.

Sunday, Race Day:
That good old 4am alarm was back! I didn't feel like springing out of bed, but wasn't feeling like I needed to sleep, either. Probably because it was 4am on race morning. Once I was moving around I had more energy. I drank some of my water, knowing that staying hydrated for today's race would be important. The forecast was for upper 80s, and the run course is totally exposed, so even between 9-10am when I would be running, it was going to be plenty warm.
I got the car packed up (several trips and being careful not to let the cat out) and headed to the Res at about 4:50. Two hours before go time and I drank a chocolate UCAN and had a packet of Justin's Maple Almond Butter. This worked well before Loveland, so I tried it again.

Shortly after 5am I'm parked, gathering my gear out of the car, and pumping up my tires. A short walk later I'm at transition and find a place to rack my bike. My pre-race routine is pretty standard. Once I get set-up, I go for a short run with some dynamic warm-ups. (somewhere in here I usually make the obligatory visit to the port-o-potty). I had a small gas bubble in my stomach, but it was pretty minor so I ignored it. My warm-up is done on the run course so I can visualize myself finishing the race nice and strong as I head back to transition.
Once I'm back, I leave my running shoes on my towel, make sure my bike is in the right gear, brakes are good and then grab my wetsuit, cap and goggles.
Just after 6:00am I took in a Cran-Razz UCAN with about 8oz of water. Yum. Then I met up with a couple clients of mine to make sure they were doing well. This was one's first triathlon since about 2005! Everyone seemed happy and excited, so I proceeded with my pre-race routine. Time to get the wetsuit on and head down to the water for a short warm-up. The bubble in my stomach was a non-issue at this point, so I'm guessing I just swallowed some air (what little we have here in Colorado!) My back and shoulders felt a bit tight so I tried to stretch them while waiting for our wave to get into the water.
The PA system wasn't working so well, and they didn't have a DJ like the sprint race, so it was an oddly calm race start. The only way to really know a wave was starting was the air horn. But the volunteers had signs for wave staging, and it was easy to find my fellow bright pink caps in the F35-39 age group.

So here goes the race part...
Swim: 36:05
I found myself in the front middle and stuck with the pack as long as I could. Pretty early on, my goggle started to leak so I did make a quick stop to adjust it and it held well enough for the rest of the swim. I bumped into a few people here and there, had some people's feet for a while. We we swimming almost into the sun so sighting was a bit challenging, as it always is! I felt like I was swimming this about has hard as I could to maintain my form and felt pretty comfortable. The course seemed to pass by pretty quickly, except for maybe the last 400m to the finish. I swam until my hands hit sand a couple times and then hauled it up the beach.

T1: 3:13 (not the fastest time, but the mat was very close to the swim exit. AND I had glitch #1 of the day.) My hair is a bit longer so I decided to put it in a pony tail. I meant to check the helmet fit before I left transition before the race start, but forgot. So of course it's too tight as I try to pull the hair through the back. When I went to adjust it, I pulled the sizing piece apart, which meant I needed to take the helmet completely off, put the plastic adjuster back together, and try again. No point in getting flustered over a small set-back (last race it was the shoes on the pedals!) but I certainly lost time messing with my helmet. But once the helmet was secured, I headed out to climb the hill.

Bike: 1:21:39
The mount line was a bit congested so I made sure to move off to the side to mount my bike. Once pedaling, I made my way out of the Res and tried to settle into a pace. I was breathing pretty hard, but my legs felt good (as they should at the beginning of a race) so I just kept at it. I passed quite a few people and started to drink my water. Needed to make sure I stayed hydrated today! This course has a gradual climb for the first 5 miles and then it gets steep. By mile 7ish you are 1200 feet above where you started. And about half that gain is in under a mile. It's just brutal (but "fun"). I'm so glad I put the compact cassette on my bike to give me a couple extra gears. I was only turning over 42 rpm or so on the steep part! I was jealous of the guys with the full compact crank as they had even more room to spin up the hill. Oh well - I still beat my time up the hill by about 2 minutes from last year! Once at the top of the steep one, there is a short flat section and one more climb that takes you to 7ish miles. Then it's FAST. The key is to gain as much free speed as possible (after you pass the 35mph speed zone on the initial descent). Nothing much else to report here - I felt good, I took a Gu (Chocolate Rasperry Roctane) at just past 1:30 into the race as planned. I drank all my water and about half my electrolyte drink (Nuun). Heading back along the diagonal we had a slight headwind, and even though I had a slight burn in the quads, I was having a great time. It felt much better thank the Loveland bike course. (and was about 14 minutes faster!)
Bike Power File
T2: 1:28
Pretty quick. I do wear socks so that takes a few extra seconds, but once I get my bike on the rack, I put on my shoes and then just grab my stuff. I can get everything else taken care of while running.

Run: 50:35
I was hoping to do a 8:00ish pace, and ended up with an 8:09. I walked every aid station to make sure I took in fluids (and I probably walked longer each time). My fueling/hydration plan was this: 2 Endurolytes at mile 2 and mile 4, and a gel (GU Espresso Love) at the turn around. Water at each aid station. I normally do hammer gels, but I didn't get a chance to buy more before I left town and relied on the expo (so not the ideal thing to do!). I picked up some chocolate, but also got the GUs due to the caffeine. Otherwise I would have done Hammer Espresso flavor gels.  ** for any of my athletes reading this...this is why you should have what you know you like BEFORE heading to the race**  On the run I passed a few ladies in my age group, got passed mostly by men (and really fast women in the 45-49 age group!) The last half mile or so is down hill (there's a tree that I use as a landmark) and just tried to go as fast as my legs would carry me.
Run Data
Total: 2:52:58 (23/92 age group, 121/461 females)
I beat last year by over 3 minutes - the bike and the run were my main savers of time! After the race I cooled off with the nice wet towel they gave us, grabbed a cold bottle of water and had a chocolate UCAN as a recovery drink. I then cheered on  a couple of my clients as they finished. Well, I only saw one, and missed the other as she sped down the finishing chute. I caught up with her later and she had rocked the race, coming in 12th in her age group!
Dina and me after finishing the Peak.
More photos.
Next event for me...the Ride for the Cure on 7/16. Stay tuned...

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