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Spring Fling Triathlon 2015 Race Report

Created: Saturday, 25 April 2015

2015 Spring Fling Tri2015 Spring Fling TriI just completed my first triathlon of the season, the Spring Fling Tri at West Point Lake in Lagrange, GA.  600m swim - 15 mi bike, 5k run. It was a fun race, and I learned a lot,  so I have plenty of interesting info to share with you.

 

Let's first go back several months to see how I got here.  Last year, I raced 11 times, and finished in the top 5 in 9 of them.  The triathlons were my biggest challenge, and that became my focus for this year. Mostly because I had just learned how to swim. All winter I focused on improving my swim techniques, and get more confident in the water. 6 AM Masters swim classes in Buckhead, weekend Masters classes in Acworth, plus endurance swim training on my own, I was determined. 

 

Loving my new Zoot shoes and transition bag.Loving my new Zoot shoes and transition bag.Others saw this determination, and are supporting me on my journey.  I wore Zoot in my races last year, and this year I'm part of Team Zoot!  They make the best and fastest footwear in the triathlon business. More about these awesome shoes later.  I stayed fueled using Hammer Nutrition.  They became my second sponsor, and I have learned so much about the best way to keep my body Fueled with Hammer Heed and Gel. Pre-fuel with Race Day Boost.Fueled with Hammer Heed and Gel. Pre-fuel with Race Day Boost.nourished without anything unnecessary. Hammer products do not contain refined sugars like Gatorade, Cliff Blocks and most other popular products. Finally, I picked up a sponsorship from TriSports.com, which supplies all the rest of my my training needs.

 

Zoot Ultra Race 4.0Zoot Ultra Race 4.0Back to this race! After training all winter in Zoot Solana ACR shoes, I decided to race in the Zoot Ultra Race 4.0 shoes. They have the Boa quick lace system for fast and secure lacing during transitions. Flatter for speed while providing great support. And they look.... um.... I'll just say they were the most noticeable shoes in the entire race! Zoots partners were also represented. I wore my new Smith Optics sunglasses. The lenses are interchangeable based on the sun conditions, and colors are much more vibrant, allowing me to see road details more clearly. To keep track of every step of my race, I wore the Garmin 910x.

Fueled with Hammer and ready to go!Fueled with Hammer and ready to go!

To fuel my body, I used Race Day Boost from Hammer to slow the release of Lactic Acid on race day. During the race, I used Heed in my water bottles and 2 gels, plenty of electrolytes.  There was not going to be a problem with nutrition on this day.

Yep, I got everything!Yep, I got everything!

I used the app on my phone to ensure I packed everything in my transition bag. I got plenty of rest for 2 nights entering the race. Well, no one sleeps the night before a race. I was in in bed by 9, and woke up at 3:30 AM. Left at 4, drove 2 hours to Lagrange. After arriving, I set up my transition area neatly, then left to get my body marked. There were only 2 bikes already there.  When I returned, someone had moved my bike!!!  That's racing violation. Never touch another man's bike. There was still plenty space on the rack, so I moved my bike to the edge of the rack, back on top of my transition area.

Relaxed, and ready to swimRelaxed, and ready to swim

Swim

There were 3 different races going on at the same time: Olympic Tri, Sprint Tri, and Aquabike. After finding the Sprint tri start, it was relaxing to see familiar faces. Frances and Lawanda were lined up for their first race of season too.  We did a warm up in the water in our wetsuits, and everything felt good. I was relaxed, but anxious.  It was time to start.

Survived the swim. Off to grab my bike!Survived the swim. Off to grab my bike!

Then a guy comes up and says, "I heard you just learned how to swim!". Frances sent him to me. He then told me this was his first open water swim, and was looking for a quick lesson. I'm thinking, this race starts in 30 seconds, and and this guy wants a lesson?  I tried to be nice. "It's too late to learn something new. Relax. Think positive thoughts. And swim how you're comfortable."  The starter sends my start wave into lake.

 

I swim straight to the outside of the wave so I wouldn't get swam over. They will literally swim on top of you if I'm in the way, and I know I'm slower than most folks. My plan was to stay to the outside of the pack and stay away from the turn buoy so I won't panic from the crowd. There were 2 moments of concern. After we left the shore, the water got rocky, and I took in some water. I spit it out, turned onto my back, and calmed myself by singing. That was the only time I got worried.  Once I got to the middle of the lake, the waves got real big! I felt myself rising up  and down a good foot or so.  I've been in this situation before, so I just timed my breaths at the top of the wave and i was fine. I just continued, staying away from the turn buoys. Eventually, I got to the swim finish and ran out.

 

Time: 18:27, Pace 3:05. The last one out the water in my wave. I needed about a 12 min finish to be competitive, but the longer swim distance made it a much longer swim.

I saw my brother-in-law and father-in-law cheering me on. I gave them a thumbs up and stripped off my wetsuit. Through a gel in my back pocket. I put on my cycling shoes,  Smith Optics sunglasses, helmet, and I was on my way.

 

T1Transition Time: 1:41.  This was average for my age group. Time for the chase

BikeThe Chase beginsThe Chase begins

I hopped on my bike, and started right away chasing down my age group competitors.  But I noticed right away, that I didn't see any of them.  I passed a bunch of folks. I was flying, but still, couldn't find my competition.  Since the course was combined with the other races, it made it challenging to know who was who, but that became clear when the routes split at the 5 mile mark. Now that the route was clear, I was ready to really run down anyone I saw.  After I made the turn, it was along straightaway, and I couldn't see anyone.  That's when I realized that my swim time was so slow, that I was too far back to catch anyone. My first 5 mile bike average was 21.5 mph! 

Ugh, returning with no one in sight to chase.Ugh, returning with no one in sight to chase.

I looked behind me, no one is chasing me. From that point on, I continued to bike hard, but had no reason Kill it.  The roads were very hilly and straight, so I could see good half mile to a mile at a time. There was no one to chase down.  The next 5 miles I averaged 18.5 and the final 5 18.7. I slowed down greatly before the finish to loosen my legs up for a fresh run. My legs stayed strong throughout.  I could tell on some of the hills that my legs would normally start to cramp, but I had no problem today. The Hammer Nutrition did it's job.  Here's a lesson for you: To reduce cramping due to sodium loss, do not correct it by taking in more sodium (salt). Sodium loss is a byproduct of your body burning through its fuel. Instead, use low sodium fuels full of electrolytes with slow burning fuels like Maltodextrin. Do not use fast burning fuels like Sugars, syrups, fructose, suctrose...

 

Bike Time: 48:14  Pace 18.7  This was an average pace for my age group. The winners averaged over 20 mph.

 

In the transition to the run, I felt good. Butt was a little sore, but that was it.  Mentally, I was demotivated.  I was supposed to be pushing for a fast transition, but I was instead taking extra sips of water and taking my time. Zoot shoes on, number clipped around my waste, TriSports.com visor on, an extra sip of water, and I was off.  I had previously place 2 gels in my Zoot number belt.  It fell out while I was running out the transition area. Arghh!!!  I ran back, picked them up, and placed them in my pocket.  I will need to investigate that before my next race. I can't have my fuel falling off during the last leg of the race!

 

T2 Transition Time: 1:30.   Slightly slower than average.

 

Run

Running strong off the bikeRunning strong off the bike

The run course was flat.  I was off on a good fast pace. My legs felt strong, but heavy. I knew I couldn't run at my goal pace, close to 8:00/mile. I passed as many folks as I could, and finished strong. Several folks gave me words of motivation on the run! Many loved my shoes. Ha!  They were bright. Others loved my Hammer kit. I appreciated the comments. I saw Frances as I was finishing, she had just started her run leg. I passed her one of my Hammer Gels. I think it worked, she got 3rd in her age group!  My run splits was 8:29 for the 1st mile, 8:33 for the second, and finished strong with a 7:45 final mile as my legs loosened up.  

 

Run Time: 24:44  Pace: 7:58  This was average for my age group

 

Finished strong!Finished strong!

Overall time: 1:34:34    Finished 10th out of 13 people. 9th place did not have any splits, I don't know what was up with that. Anyways, his time 1:29:15. First place was blazing fast!  1:14:17. He finished the swim in 10:25, averaged 21.6 on the bike, and ran at a 6:42 pace. Congrats man! 

 

After the race, I stayed for the award ceremony. In addition to Frances winning 3rd in her age group, big congrats to Lawanda for her 1st place win in the Athena category. They both deserved it, and I'm happy for them. 

 

Big thanks to my father-in-law, Mr. Pickens, and my brother-in-law, Melvin, for coming down to cheer me on. This is the first time I had family cheering for me in a triathlon, and it made a huge difference in my morale. I was very confident and relaxed going into this race. If anyone read my race reports from my 4 tris last year, that was not the case. And the race performance reflected that. This race, I felt strong throughout.  Also thanks to Veronica who sent me a bunch of photos.

 

A bunch of us ate lunch afterwards at Longhorns. That marked the end to a great race day.  I learned a lot. I will be continuing to focus on my swim. My goal is to be competitive.  You can tell from all of my posts, I don't race to finish, I race to win.  That's the competitive side of me. Don't talk me out of it. I love to compete, and fine if I don't win. I'll just work harder so that one day, one year, I will be up on that podium.

 

Thanks again to my sponsors. I'm honored to be part of Team Zoot. I stalk every athlete, and I'm so impressed and motivated to better myself. I love Zoot gear! I have 4 pair of Zoot shoes now, and they each are great for their purpose: training and racing. Thanks to Hammer, I have learned more about nutrition than I could imagine. I'm eager to share this knowledge (and discounts) to anyone that wants it.  And thanks to TriSports.com.  This is a very, very expensive sport. If you need to save on any swim, run, or cycling gear or equipment, let get you 20% off from their website. Includes free shipping.

 

Grrr....  the beast will be back to race stronger and wiser!!Grrr.... the beast will be back to race stronger and wiser!!

My next race is on May 17. It will be my first Olympic distance triathlon in Knoxville, TN. 0.9 mile swim - 25 mi bike, 10k run.  I have yet to swim a mile in the open water.  I have more training to go do!!  I'm off to swim....

 
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