One of the cool things about triathlon is that as an age grouper, you might be in the same race as some pretty talented pro triathletes. There aren’t many other sports that can claim that! While David and I were on our way to Austin last weekend to race the Austin Tri Rock Olympic triathlon, we listened to Rich Roll Podcast #24 which happened to feature Chris “Macca” McCormack, Aussie Pro Triathlete and 2x World Ironman Champion. We enjoyed the podcast and the drive went by quickly, but we didn’t think much else of it.
I follow a few Pro Triathletes on Twitter (Rinny, Macca, etc.) and I happened to notice Macca raving about Austin and also how hot it is in Texas (yes!), so I thought, “cool he’s training in Austin right now.” Then at packet pick-up on Sunday, I saw a super-tan, very lean guy with a chiseled (from his leanness) face. I did a double take when I head an Australian “yeah mate” and thought “is that him?” as he walked off. To my surprise, on race day we found out he’d be racing with us! How cool is that? I think he started with the age groupers, and I saw him on the course cheering people on while he was running (he was still going pretty fast). Afterwards we had our bibs signed by him. He was a super nice guy, with a big smile and chatted a bit. I was very impressed that he took the time to talk to a lot of people and seemed down-to-earth and had a great attitude.
Anyway, on to the race report – we headed to Austin Saturday, and on Sunday did a pre-race warm up with a spin at Austin’s Veloway and a short run after. Guys, the Veloway is so cool! It’s a 4-mile closed-to-traffic loop that’s pretty darn hilly. It was super fun to ride and puts Houston’s Picnic Loop to shame.
On Sunday, I was feeling pretty confident and strong, and ready to race. I’d had a good week of swimming and was ready to test myself. The morning of the race went smoothly, and we did a quick jog to warm up our muscles before transition closed.
Swim: The swim was
kind of really gross; there were even warning signs about water quality and lots of debris stagnant near the shores. It felt like I was swimming through kelp beds part of the time. I was sure I was going to exit the water looking like a monster with all the seaweed I was collecting. I really wanted to find someone to draft off of, but it seemed that the faster girls (“real” swimmers) just took off and I was all alone until I caught up with the guy groups ahead of us. I did feel like my sighting was better on this swim and I was keeping closer to the buoys than normal. I exited the water at 31:41, a PR for a non-wetsuit 1500m. Not sub-30:00 (I’d be overjoyed), but 8/37 women in my group.
Bike: The bike was non-eventful other than not feeling right about my bike fit. I had taken my bike to the shop the other week for a couple different matters and wanted to check my fit. Of course, the young guy doing the fit started changing things before I knew it and put me into an extremely uncomfortable position. I came home and have since been working to get it back the way it was, but it just doesn’t feel right and put a lot of load on my quads during this race. But, 20.1 mph was a good average; good enough for 5/37 in my AG.
Run: Unfortunately, I paid a little on the run, or I was just not prepared for the heat. I did this same race last year, and got the same run time. I just couldn’t get much under 9:00 min/mi, my quads were dead. It was hot, but mainly my quads were not happy. This put me somewhere around 7/37 in AG for the run.
My transitions were fast enough to be 2nd and 3rd place in AG each time (I think it’s my secret superpower), and overall I finished 2:45:38, a PR for the course and 4th in AG. I was over 7 minutes away from the girl in 3rd, so realistically little chance of the podium, but I laughed when I saw 4th place again – it’s my 3rd time this year to get 4th place!
Happy to be done!
Overall pretty happy with the effort – but a couple lessons learned (1) always spit in your goggles and wash them out even if the lake water is nasty, otherwise you’ll have to clear the fog during the swim (2) be careful when you pack Gu’s on your bike so that they don’t fall out of your Bento box, mine did on a hill! (3) for me specifically – need to dial in my nutrition a bit better, had some stomach cramps on the run, possibly from the sugar in the Skratch labs drink that I didn’t water down enough. Going to try something else in training over the next few weeks.
David’s Race: David felt really good on the swim and drafted most of the time (jealous!) and stayed near the buoys, exiting at 34 mins. He had a strong bike at 20 mph but even stronger run at 7:30 min/mi pace. He was in the top third of his AG and felt really good during and after the race.
Now for a couple recovery-focused days then back to training!