Sunday, May 24, 2009

70.3 Austria Report

Race #1 of the year is done. Man are Triathlons a bunch of work.

As reported my goal was to be somewhere better than the 5:03 from last year in Switzerland and closer to the 4:26 of the winner of the age group in Austria last year. I acomplished the first part of the goal when I went 4:51:27. One point of note, I've never been under 5:00 at this distance. Nothing to celebrate there just a point to make. The 2nd part of that goal was a bit tougher. This years winner of the agegroup went 4:21. That's stupid crazy fast.

Pre Race
For some reason they put my agegroup last on the starting rotation. That means we had 6 groups before us and 55 minutes to wait after the pros went off. Point for all, plan your pre race routine on your start not theirs. Really good thing I think all races should try, 10 minutes between wave starts. It sure makes the swim cleaner.

The Swim 33:41
Really cool swim. We swam 1000 meters in the first lake rougly straight point to point. Got out of the water, ran 200 meters up over a bridge and then swam 900 meters in the second lake. That was hard to manage. Getting back in the water after such a long time was really weird. A really big thank you for the guy in the Orca suit in Lake #2. I know I was annoying, hitting your feet and all, but you made the swim seem easy. A bit sorry I pulled around you at the end and left you on your own.

The Bike 2:39:24
What a great bike course. It had a bit of everything. We road on the Auto Bahn. We road by huge Castles. We road up big hills. And we came down a nasty 14% grade. In between there was no place to rest on the course. A big thank you to Triangle Sports for closing the course to cars.
The only point I noticed any real fatigue was the big climb. It was 8K long with the average being 3.5%. The final 10-15 minutes though were up at 8 - 10% pitch. I've been meaning to invest in a couple extra gears but spending money on my 9 year old bike just doesn't seem right. I think I'll do it because I've got a super hilly race coming up in 3 weeks. I've just found that I don't have that strength anymore to climb big hills in a 21 tooth cog. 24 here I come. One thing I know I'll probably never get used to is flying down hills. It's interesting though, when it's a super technical drop the European athletes fly by me taking the sharp turns with ease. When it's a wide open drop where you can see the entire turn they never pass me. Anyway, you just have to love the way they handle the bike. A couple words for the folks out on the course:
- How in the heck do you crash on the Auto Bahn. The straightest widest road we had and there is a guy laying on the side of the road coverd in road rash.
- Engeorgio - This is an individual sport. There is no room for guys like you. Cutting people off to get the wheel in front of you. Every time I saw you, you were on the wheel in front of you much closer than the 10 meter rule. Heck closer than 10 inches. I would also say, if you are gettting that much rest, why are you so bad a climbing? I was happy to see you going backwards on the steep hills.
- The earth is not your trash can. I know here in Europe you see the Pro Peleton throwing bottles and food wrappers all the time. You are not a pro. Stop throwing your trash on the side of the road.

The Run 1:33:07
All I could think about on the run was coach Gordo. He said "Save some energy to have a strong final 10K". The run was two laps which sure made the mental part of that idea easy. I knew what I was in for. The first lap of the run for me was about finding a comfortable pace and sticking on the Gel and liquids. It was hot and the course had virtually no shade. First lap done now its time to find out how much energy there was, Go! I started to pick it up and to my surprise it felt good. I ran one K at a time and went has hard as I felt I could go. I started passing people, lots of people. There was one guy running my pace about 100 meters in front and I a just made sure he was in my sight. That of course was until I passed him on the track just before the finish. By the looks of it I moved up 10 places on that 2nd loop. Assuming the splits are correct I did the last 6.9K in 26:32. In my mind during that time I was concentrating on running 4 minute K's. That felt good.

Thanks to the guy on the first lap of the run who grabbed a sponge for me. That was a great gesture.
Thanks to my shoes. Nothing hurt on my feet. More on that later.
Finally, you can walk the aid stations and still run well. I think those short walking breaks to make sure I got the liquid down saved my run.

Final Thoughts
A huge big thanks to Mary and Marco. There is no way I could do or would want to do this without you. I know those VIP passes were a bonus (especially the free Icecream). You deserve VIP and a great deal more.
Big thanks to Coach Gordo and everyone at endurancecorner.com.
Big thanks to Triangle Sports the event people. You put on a class event and I would do your races any time.

It's a good life....
Dave
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