Thursday, September 10, 2015

Round and Round We Went: TriRock Austin Race Report

Ready to swim, looking like a nerd in my headband
This past Monday, on Labor Day, I raced the 2015 TriRock Austin Olympic triathlon. It was the 5th race in the Texas Tri Series and my second Olympic distance this season. It was also, on a personal level, my chance for redemption after my sad showing at Jack's Generic thanks to being sick.

I wasn't super excited about spending my extra day off from work getting up really early and driving downtown, but I was looking forward to what I hoped would be a better race day. When I checked in and picked up my packet on Sunday, I could tell this was going to be a big race- there were what seemed like thousands of bikes in transition! It was incredibly hot and humid the weekend before the race, so I knew conditions were going to be less than ideal for what I like to race in, but thankfully it was supposed to be more bearable in the morning.

Scoping out the competition
We woke up at 4:30a and drove down to the start. Parking was easy and free at the One Texas Center, a quick walk to transition. I had applied my TriTats at home so getting in and out was quick for me. I set up my spot, excited that someone hadn't shown up, so there was an extra space between my bike and the girl next to me. She and I split the difference and both got to spread out a bit. I had let the air out of my tires the day before to keep them from popping in the heat, so I pumped them back up.

Or, at least I started to. When I moved on to my back tire from the front, my pump jammed! Thankfully, the guy across from me let me borrow his. I did feel like a jerk when two people asked for mine and I had to say now, it's broken, when they had seen me using it. I promise it was (I was able to fix it with a screwdriver once I got home!)

Because it was such a huge race, transition closed about 20 minutes before the first wave at 6:40, but my wave didn't start until almost 8 am, so we had a lot more time to just sit around.

Bryce helpfully yells, "you're like 20 back!"
When it was finally time for my wave to start, we jostled for position in the start corral and one by one jumped feet first in to Lady Bird Lake in Downtown Austin. This lake is typically not open for swimming, thanks to the wonderfully high amounts of contaminants it contains. I was less than excited to leap in the 81-degree cesspool portion of the Colorado river with the open wounds from my bike crash on Wednesday still pretty fresh. But, away I swam. The course was clockwise, which I thought was super weird, but it was easy to follow as all we had to do was circle around the 4 white buoys. The Olympic distance was supposedly 1500m. However, it felt like it took absolutely forever, and when I was done, my watch had logged a full 1.2 miles! I know it's not super accurate, but after talking to other athletes, they all agreed that it seemed long. I swam just slightly slower than my normal pace thanks to soreness in my shoulder, and completed the swim in 35:39, 14th in my AG, but 1st out of the Tri Series girls (more on that later!)

I jogged to transition, a relatively short jaunt compared to Pflugerville and Decker Lake, and grabbed my bike. Bike out was the opposite end of where I was racked, so I had to keep jogging, but got out in 2:38, 5th in my AG and still first out of the Tri Series. My mount was less than graceful since it was a sharp turn to the line, but I hopped on and blew out of there. The course was about 6.2 miles through Downtown- straight to the Capital, around along the river, and back. This was really pretty, flat, fast, and fun the first time around. The second time it was OK. The third and fourth times I was so bored! The Olympic distance race had to make four loops. I can only imagine what the race had to spend on permits, so I can totally understand a limited area allowed to be covered for the course, it was just not that exciting.

What mitigated that a bit was the fact that it was the most hammer-down, all-out, cut through course I've ever raced on. People, were FLYING, and since the course was closed to traffic, we had two lanes in each direction to work with. This was great to pound it out on, but I was so annoyed and angry with several of the men on the course who were passing people (passing CLOSE to them!) on the right. DO NOT DO THIS IT IS SO DAMNED DANGEROUS. DO NOT pass on the right! If I hear you coming behind me, my instinct, just like any cyclists' instinct, is to move right. You are going to cause a wreck. Stop being a jerk- call out, "on your left," and let people move over. Those are the rules. Passing on the right will earn you a penalty, even a DQ at most races. It's also a dick move.

Anyhow, I raced my own race and enjoyed a negative split on each lap. I got a Oly course PR of 20mph average- really cool! When I was finally able to turn off and go back to transition, a guy wiped out in front of me, but I was able to cut right and avoid a pile up. I finished the bike in 1:14:48, 4th in my AG . Still 1st out of the Tri Series.

T2 was a series of calamities, probably because I was so excited with my bike time. My number tats had worn off my arms and I forgot my number! I thought, for some reason, I was 449, but I was 649. I felt like such a rookie jogging back and forth until I found my spot. Oh well! I got out in 2:44, 10th in my AG. The good news is, I was feeling good and ready to run.

I swear I thought I was smiling!
I had told Bryce that my goal for the day was to run most of the run. With the humidity and heat, I knew I wasn't going to run it all, but I just wanted to do better than my embarrassing 14min/miles at Jack's. I took a gel, doused myself with cold water, and headed out. The run was 2 loops of a 3 mile course, which was much more palatable than 4! I ran the first 1.5 miles before walking through a water stop to refill. The heat was beginning to get to me, so I started running half a mile, walking 2 minutes, and kept that up for pretty much the rest of the course. It worked pretty well, as I was able to run about a 9:30-10:30 min/mile pace when I was running. Unfortunately, my walk pace was pretty slow since I'd pause to get gravel out of my shoe and fill up my bottle to douse myself with. However, I was having fun, which was an element sorely lacking at the last race. I chatted with people I met on the course and encouraged several first time ladies to keep pushing. I dreamed about the excellent nap I was going to take when I got home. I marveled at how gross my road rash looked, and I high fived the super cool volunteers along the course. Overall, way better time this time!

I finished the 6 mile course in 1:14:04, 21st in my AG and 2nd in the TriSeries. I could have pushed a little harder, and maybe should have, since when all was said and done, I only lost to my Tri Series competition by 4 minutes, but I was walking the line between feeling great and puking, so I did what I had to do and I'm OK. The girl ahead of me now in the series is a strong runner- her tri pace is faster than my stand-alone run pace. She deserves it. I'm honestly probably better suited to go kick ass in an Aquabike race, but I like the challenge of all three.

My overall time was 3:12:14, 14th in my AG. I have been checking and checking the results, but can only find a time for one other girl currently in my Tri Series AG. The other two aren't showing up at all- not for DNF, not in the Open Division, not even in the Sprint. In order to get an overall award in the Tri Series, you have to complete all 6 required races, so I'm interested to see where this lands myself and the other girl who raced for sure.

One more race- Kerville 70.3- coming up in 3 weeks, then it's time for a REAL off season before training for IM Boulder begins in February. I'm looking forward to it! I've already found a new (also expensive, time-consuming, and slightly dangerous) hobby to take up my time and have started shooting a bow to get ready to bow hunt for deer season. Always staying busy and outdoors!

No comments:

Post a Comment