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Lake Lanier Sprint Triathlon 2014 Race Report

Created: Saturday, 27 September 2014

Welcome to my first ever triathlon race report! The Lake Lanier Sprint Triathlon was held, of course, at Lake Lanier, September 28, 2014, at 7:30 AM. This race was full of errors and challenges on my part, and I paid the price. But overall, I had a very strong race, especially on the bike and run.

The challenges of this race actually started the other month when a loose dog ran into a peleton of sprinting cyclists, resulting in the carbon part of my frame being broken. I just received my repaired bike the other week, and rode it in the North Georgia mountains last weekend. It rode great. I had my compact crank on, allowing me to tackle the steep climbs easier. I just replaced it with my standard crankset for today's race so it will be optimized for speed on a relatively flat course. In doing so, I had trouble fine tuning the front derailleur. One of the best parts about races, is the free bike tune ups.  

I had a surprise road trip to Alabama on Friday,  and returned on Saturday, just in time to pre-rack my bike and check in a day before the race. I drove straight from Birmingham to Lake Lanier, so I was pretty tired when I finally got home to start packing my transition bag.  On Sunday morning, I planned to arrive an hour before the race, thinking that would be plenty of time since my bike was taken care of and I already checked in. But I didn't calculate the half mile hike from the parking lot to the transition area! So now I only have a half hour to get ready. On the way, I saw Kathy. She checked to make sure I was calm, and I definitely appreciated having someone there cheering me on. That support makes a big difference. Big mental boost. In the transition area, I pulled out my tattoo numbers, which I never used before. I thought they would be like the kid tattoos, just press and they stick. Nope.  I should've applied them the night before. I was wondering why some folks used markers to write their numbers on them. Now I know. And now there is just 20 minutes left to set up. After spending the last 2 days hydrating my body, I had to go the bathroom first. So off I went, and there was a half hour line for the porta-potties! I found somewhere else to go, but now there's only about 10 minutes left, and I hadn't even warmed up yet. The announcer on the loud speaker said there is a long walk to the swim start, so we need to make our way down immediately. Argh!!  Off to the swim start I go!!!!

 

A mess coming out the water!A mess coming out the water!Swim Start

It's 7:15 AM.  Dark, pleasant temperature. A few folks wore wet suits. I jogged along the beach to warm up, then jumped into the water. It felt good, and I was focused on staying calm. A group of college kids from Alabama did their school chant. I noticed there were college teams from Tennessee, South Carolina and GA as well. Lots of out of state folks came out. As I returned to the start of the swim, I started visualizing the course. That's when it dawned on me: I never set up my transition area!!! Even worse, I packed up my running shoes inside of my transition bag. And I grabbed my swim cap without grabbing my stocking cap that I use to keep my locs in place while hoping the too small swim cap stays on. Since it was dark, and I was rushing, I couldn't find the stocking cap. So now my visualization is how to quickly get my running shoes out my bag and still have a short transition time.

 

7:30 AM, the first swim wave starts. Within the first 20 yards, the life guards were pulling someone out the water. I looked away, and started singing to myself.  I was in the third wave, at around 7:40. I'm noticing that it's still dark out. :-| These darkly tinted goggles aren't helping. I start off in the back and to the side. But even more folks lined up farther to the side and behind me. I guess half the group had the same gameplan. I click start on my Garmin 910xt. Off we go!!! 25 yards into the swim, this guy is doing the back float and in my path.  And he has his legs and arms spread out wide, so I have trouble getting pass him. He looked like he was panicking. Again, I turned away, started singing. Folks were grabbing my legs, arms, but i was able to stay calm and tried to stay clear of the crowd. I pushed one guy away from me. I learned that from Ralph. It worked!! Since we're both in water, it doesn't hurt anyone.

 

Halfway through the swim, I'm staying wide to avoid getting swam over, but there are docks in my way. Hmmm, so back in to the main path I go. Now the wave behind me has caught up to me, and I got kicked hard in the head. It wasn't one of those kicks where you could shake it off. I had to let the pain out. So I switched to the breast stroke and yelled "OUCH!!!" Now that that's out my system, back to swimming. Now the rest of the wave is about to swim over me. Recognizing this, I swam straight to a paddleboard where I life guard was chilling, and waited for the group to pass.  I saw Dedric on the same paddle board. He gave me a nod, and off he went as I arrived. I waited until the coast was clear. Started singing, and away I went. I grabbed one more paddle board just because it was so crowded in the narrow corridor. Then I finished the swim.  My swim split was 16 minutes for 400 yards. Pathetically slow. The average swimmer was about 8 minutes. I was easily one of the slowest in the water. But I survived! Stayed calm. And didn't panic. Mission accomplished.

 

Transition 1

This is the worst transition course ever. It's about 600 yd run over a foot bridge then a very long, steep, cement sidewalk climb.  I passed a bunch of folks here. When i first came out, I ran into the guy in front of me. He stopped to put on flip flops. Really???  On the run, there were several folks wearing shoes up to the transition area. I guess I didn't see a rule preventing this, I just made sure I pass as many folks as I could. I found my bike with no problem. As I visualzed, I ran on one side to open my transition bag, and remove my running shoes. I see my compression socks on the ground too. I usually wear them due to calf issues, especially in races. No compression socks today! I run to the other side of the bike to put on my bike shoes. I grab my bike, and off I go! As I approach the mount line, the lady yells, "Where's your helmet?"  Oh shit!  I laid my bike on the side wall, and run back in to grab my helmet and sun glasses. Now I'm ready to bike. Transition time: 3:10.  Despite my issues, that's still faster than most of the competitors. Well, half of them were walking.

 

A beast on the bike!A beast on the bike!Bike

Now I'm in my comfort zone. The report said this was a flat course. Great!  First thing I see out on the course is a hill. Then another, and another. So I don't know where the flat part was. I was blazing past everyone I saw. Lots of folks were trying real hard to keep up with me. "Bring It!" I said to myself. What's funny, is that some of these folks challenging me didn't have clip-on pedals, or even a road bike. As soon as I hit the next hill, they were dropped. I saw Dedric on the course, gave him some words of encouragement.  Then I saw Andrew, challenged him to catch me. We ride together all the time, so it was in good humor. I continued the course looking for any reason to pick off the person in front of me. He has trouble shifting gears, get him. He has a heavy bike, get him. He's tired, get him. I looked at my Garmin watch, and noticed that it's stuck in the transition phase. I couldn't get it unstuck. So I had no idea how fast I was going. I averaged 19.4 mph. Definitely slower than my goal, but still a great time. If I had known what my speed was, I think I could have pushed a little harder. Finished the 13 mile course in 40:08.

 

Transition 2

My legs felt strong, but strained. I quickly removed my bike shoes, donned my running shoes and race belt, and I was off!  T2 time was 1:29. Comparable with the faster folks.

 

Run

Run like a champ!Run like a champ!I don't know why they have such a narrow run corridor out of transition.  Folks were all up in my way. I started yelling "On your Left", but that then decided to run outside the cones. Tracked down anyone I saw in my age group. There were several extremely fast runners that passed me that I had no chance of catching.  So I just worried about those that I could catch. There was no 3 mile marker. Since my watch wasn't working, that really messed me up, not knowing how far I had to go. I heard the crowd and loud speaker, that was my queue to sprint all out!  I saw Kathy cheering for me. I did it, completed the race.  Very happy with my results, and thankful for all the folks that helped me get here. I started swimming with beginner lessons almost exactly a year ago.

Finishline photo  with Dedric and Andrew.Finishline photo with Dedric and Andrew.

Theme Song

You may be wondering what was I singing to myself during the swim. It was the Nicki Minaj/Rhianna "Fly". These are the words:

I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive
I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise
to fly
to fly

 

Final results: Age Group: 40/78. Overall: 356/886

Splits:  Swim -16:1 -9, Pace - 4:05, T1 3:10, Bike - 40:08, Pace - 19.4, T2 - 1:29, Run - 25:33, Pace - 8:14,

Overall - 1:26:37

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