My training has been focused on long course, getting ready for full IM Vineman, so top end and 1 hr power are a little flat, but hey I can go all day long! That said, this olympic distance race made for some great threshold training with the Folsom Bike Triathlon Team.
The Swim: Got out well, pushed hard and stayed with the lead pack until the very last buoy where I promptly got completely turned around and actually swam “upstream”, back the way we had just come for a full 2 minutes until I realized my mistake, stopped more than once to get my bearings and finally turn for shore. It was frustrating of course, but stuff happens and I chose to keep pushing and stay mentally positive hoping to make up time later.
Exited H20 in 25:22 – enough said
t1 3:00 – Hamstring cramps! Not the end of the world, but it took forever to strip that wetsuit and get going, costing me more precious time early in the race.
The Bike: Once I settled in, it felt good out there. The Pony Express was freshly tuned and humming nicely thanks to the lads at Folsom Bike. I stayed aero and pushed consistent watts out and back. Falling behind on the swim and t1 meant I was alone the whole ride with nobody to really chase down, so it mostly seemed like just another training ride. There was a headwind coming home and a new, rougher road surface this year. All together it made for a longer than expected bike leg.
Bike: 1:09:30, kind of slow for watt I put in 😉
t2 in-n-out in under 30s.
The Run: looking at that elapsed time off the bike, I knew a PR was not in the cards, and probably no podium either. So I focused on what was in front of me, laying down a good run and trying to forget about the rest. Man those fire-road rollers are always a good test of fortitude, especially the final climb at 5.5 miles in! Seeing Karyn Hoffman, Scott Williams and others from Folsom Bike Tri crew on the run course really helped lift my morale. I pushed till the end.
Run: 45:04 – 7:13 Pace- a PR on this rolling, cross-country style course. So that’s something.
Final Time 2:23: 45
It’s not the time I had hoped for and there was no podium this time, which was honestly disappointing. But any day out there is a gift and for that I am grateful. I have unfinished business at this race and next year I plan to dedicate more time to short course racing and training. For now it’s back to 140.6 prep! Attitude determines altitude.
Big thanks to Erin & Wilson Gorrell and everyone at Folsom Bike for your ongoing support of the Tri team.
Overall, I’m very happy with my finish in a stacked field. It was a great start to the year and a real confidence builder for the upcoming race season. First time wearing my new Pearl Izumi/Folsom Bike kit.
Here’s how the day played out:
This year there was a single transition set up at the marina, so we racked our bikes on Friday, which allowed us the set up the rest of our gear race morning.
Swim – 41:46
As I made it through the few thousand athletes lined up and I searched for my white cap swim wave. There was a little chaos as athletes stood in line as the pro’s started to exit the water. Once the swim was started it was a pretty easy swim heading out to the turnaround. The waves really picked up at the harbor opening making the turnaround very difficult to sight causing me to stop and spot a couple of buoys. All in all I was slightly slower than I wanted, but glad the swim leg was over. 157 out of 408.
Bike – 2:57
I committed to riding super hard for most of the first 30 miles to see what would happen before hitting the climbs. As I picked people off numerous riders I felt like I was riding faster and stronger than the previous year. My legs still felt good, but my mind started to wander as my idea of a solid bike spilt began to fade away. Some of the riders I had passed soon began to overtake me. As we started headed back the remaining 15 miles I pressed on through the headwinds giving it all I had knowing what waited ahead…136 of 408 overtaking 25
I was worried that the work on the bike would take its toll on my legs, but I gave it a solid go for the first 2 miles, running about 8:17 and 8:25. It became pretty clear that I wasn’t going to have 11 more of those miles in me, so I switched to survival mode and settled into what felt like a sustainable pace. I flirted with the idea of trying to get back to the turn around and catch up with Karyn, but after spotting her as I made was running back on my first lap this was not an option. The last few miles was all about getting to the end without breaking myself and enjoying a run to the finish line! 138 of 408 lost 6 spots in my division
As I said, overall, I’m very happy with this performance. I had absolutely no idea where my fitness was after a pretty lackluster January and February. Thanks for the support Folsom Bike!
Swim– Ironman releases swimmers by Age group and it was really nice to be placed in an earlier wave this year, right after the Pro’s.
Mentally I didn’t have to worry about being last. As my swim wave entered the water, the water temp was perfect and my nerves began to calm a bit. Swam to the starting line, roughly 200 yards out from the boat ramp, waited about 2 minutes for the official horn-alert to start…. I settled into my swim, got comfortable and remained calm after a hard fought battle of positioning. At times I felt like a salmon swimming up River. First half of the swim was smooth, water was calm and sighting was perfect. Second half of the swim was a little tricky coming back to the harbor. My sighting was off a bit from the bright sun and glare off the ocean. Once I saw the rocks that protected the harbor I sighted off those and they guided me right into the swim Shute into T1. Not my best swim but I’ll take it. Swim Time 46:05
T1 Swim to Run
Long run into bike racks, collected my thoughts, took a deep breath and made sure I got a bite to eat before jumping on the bike.
T1 transition time 5:56
Bike– I felt really good jumping on the bike. I know this course from previous years so I understand where to hammer down and where to ease off. I had a little glitch while riding, my nutrition bag on the bike, worked itself loose and dangled upside down for a few miles until I was able to gather as much as possible before it fell off. I settled back into a comfortable speed and hammered down until the hills started around mile 30. I felt comfortable on the hills and cruised into mile 40-45 where you head west for the ocean and, like the previous years, became a wind tunnel. No wind tunnel this year…. Thank you Mother Nature. My bike was on target and went as expected and I felt pretty good about it going into T2.
Bike Time 2:50
T2 Bike to Run
Another long transition that took forever it seemed like as expected, no problems.
T2 transition time 3:52
Run – I was a little anxious on how I might perform going into this run. My primary training focus was swim/bike with less time spent on my run leading up to this Oceanside event. I felt pretty good, got comfortable, up until mile 4 that’s when things started to unravel for me. I suffered a bit after mile 5, legs were tired, became hungry and my mental toughness was weak. I stopped at every aid station to eat as much as my stomach could handle. Around mile 9 my hamstrings became tight and felt like they wanted to cramp. I struggled to maintain focus and finish strong. I dug deep and finished the race. As always, it was a joy to see my beautiful wife at the end of the Finish Line waiting for me; that will never get old.
Run Time 2:16
Conclusion– Oceanside Ironman is one of my favorite races. I enjoyed riding through Camp Pendleton and the community support is always very inspiring. My Swim was consistent, my Bike felt good, but I felt my Run could have been a better effort, and not my best work. My Training focus in the next several weeks will focus a lot of time on my Bike/Run to prepare for my next Tri events in July. This event allowed me to show some consistency in key areas, while also showing me places to continually develop and train for. I am really excited to be racing for Folsom Bike!
Overall time 6:05.29
First race of the 2016 season is in the books! We decided late to jump in to Oceanside 70.3. Having done this race the last couple years and enjoyed it, we found a way to get in post registration close. We then had to hope that the fabulous Pearl Izumi Folsom Bike Triathlon Kits would arrive in time to race this race in style. The great news was the kits arrived more than a week early and we were super excited to represent the best bike store in Northern California, Folsom Bike! In total we had three Folsom Bike Tri Team racers including myself, Scott Williams, Brian Skehan.
Getting the proper training in for this race is challenging due to the winter and no open water swimming. So just tracking the lane lines in the pool would have to do. Focused on runs and some mid distance cycling with some hills.
The race is on a Saturday morning, which is unusual for Ironman. We arrived on Thursday mid afternoon and immediately checked in and got our packets and scoped out the outdoor expo. It was sunny but pretty breezy. On Friday we had an opportunity to get the bike dialed doing a short ride along the run course. We also got in a run and took in the breath taking views of the ocean along THE STRAND. Got the transition bags together and ready for the morning. The only thing yet to do was to rack the bike at the marina which also was our T1 and T2. Being close to the marina, we rode over, racked our bikes, scoped out the buoys and walked back to the hotel. This would be the same walk we would be taking at about 5:30am on Saturday.
4am Saturday morning came quick, fueled, and walked over to the start with friends from the Sacramento area.
Swim: My swim start was not till 7:28am and one of the last wave starts. Reports said the water temp was 62 and the air around 48. Around 3,255 athletes registered in one of the most competitive races in IM70.3. The Pro field is the who’s who of IM.
All the to-dos were done and now it was time to get into my Wave 50-54. What’s cool about racing is that you make new friends and you see old friends. The gun went off at 6:40 for the Pro’s and every 3-minute after another group entered the water. This is a race with no warm up or practice swim. Just get into the ocean swim 50 meters to the buoy and go. That is what I did and the race was on. Felt relaxed and I always know I go from my weakest discipline to my best. I got into a rhythm and tried to not get hammered with elbows or fists. The water did get rough as the current was pushing you back. There was a lot of contact at the buoys. I only hoped that the sun would not blind me as I swam back to the finish, as that is one of the challenges with this race. Got to the ramp and wobbled out of the water to the long transition to the bike. 47:51 (2:01/100yds)
(Rank 50 AG /443 Gender/ 1783OA) My Garmin indicated that I got bonus yards, which is never good in the swim. 100 more than I paid for.
Bike: I quickly transitioned with a little fumbling. Got on my Folsom Bike Pearl Izumi Bike Jersey. Took off my toe warmers before I headed out of T1. It was going to be a warmer day than planned. The bike takes you immediately up a hill, which can be tricky. The majority of the bike is on Camp Pendleton, which makes this event very cool. Most of the volunteers are from the base. This gives you a great opportunity to thank those who are serving. The course is about 2,500 ft. of climbing with a couple steep long climbs. There is also an area that requires you to stay at 25mph or below or face being DQ’d. The result show many were! It is a descent in which there had been a fatality several years ago. I felt pretty good on the bike and around 12 miles in, Scott Williams caught me on the bike. It was great to see him in his sleek Folsom Bike jersey. We chatted quickly and went back and forth. Being I am slow on the swim I need every minute to close the gaps. Scott sprinted off and I would not see him again until transition. I paced well and worked to keep my cadence up. I did catch one of my “friends” in my AG around mile 25. I was surprised and it fueled my fire! Healthy competitive spirit and this is a race right? My goal was to stay under 3 hours.
Goal met 2:59:58-18.67MPH. (22AG/208Gender/1160OA)
Run: When I arrived to T2, I saw Scott in transition getting ready for the run. Quickly chatted and he told me to get moving. I did and sensed I need to catch a few runners. I felt good after catching the “friend” and then putting on the after burners. This is a two-loop course and it is very spectator friendly. The sun was beating down and there was a breeze. I got in a zone and I saw I was passing people left and right. I ran happy. Is there any other way? Between miles 5-6 I saw Scott on the other side around 5 minutes behind me. I cheered him on while I continued to run. My pace was around 8:20 thru 6 miles. There are a couple of short steep climbs but the majority of the course is flat. I continued to push and slowed slightly after mile 9. I smelled the barn and readied myself for the finish. My fueling was good so I knew I would cross the line happy. I entered the finish shoot and could hear my name. 1:52:05 was my run split keeping me in top 10 for the run in AG.
5:51:10 was my finish. While I always want a podium, this placed me 16th in AG despite a PR on this course by 1:10 (2015) and 3:00 over (2014). AG (16/121) (859/3255 OA). The AG in OC70.3 keeps getting tougher.
Super proud to be representing Folsom Bike Triathlon and look forward to my next event.