Rocky Mountain State Games Sprint Tri Race Report
First, I’d like to say how cool it is to do a race with some of the athletes you are coaching. It’s great to see them on the course and give them encouragement and cheers along the way. They see you walk the walk, and you have a better idea of the conditions that they went through, which greatly helps the post-race analysis!
A few weeks ago I decided to race in the Rocky Mountain State Games Tri. It’s pretty much the only open water triathlon in Colorado Springs, and it was “just” a sprint. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, it just means I can use my fitness to get through it, even though I haven’t been doing much tri-specific training. It was also great because I had a couple Team NEO athletes racing, and a good number of Pikes Peak Triathlon Club members were racing as well. It is also had a new race director (it hadn’t been very well run in the past) so I was curious to see how it would be executed. And honestly, I was also interested in checking out how my Garmin 910XT worked in open water (and how straight I can swim!)
I got my bike and my gear ready the night before, after my weekly Cafe Velo – NEO Endurance Friday ride. The course was going to be flat for Colorado, but with a lot of turns on each lap on a 4 lap course, so I opted for the road bike. I put the race wheels on after that ride. It needed a few tweaks with the brakes and a quick tune on the shifting as the cassettes were different, but I managed to get it to a good place without too much hassle.
I finalized my race-day routine and my plan, and got a decent night’s sleep. With a 9am start, I was able to get plenty of rest. I slept pretty well. Once I got up, I double checked my packing, made my Generation UCAN smoothie (vanilla UCAN, banana, and peanut butter in 16oz water) and headed to the race site. The sky was clear, and it was going to be a hot day.
I checked on my Team NEO athletes, Molly and Scott, and they were doing well. It was a pretty social gather before the race. Lots of people were around for the kids’ races, which started at 7am. I chatted with Bob Seebohar for a minute. He was there with a lot of Kids that Tri athletes. I found the Pikes Peak Tri Club tent to store some gear and the club members to chat with.
I then went through my planned pre-race routine. Dynamic warm-ups to wake up the muscles and get the heart rate up a little. Then 40 minutes before my start a Cran-Raspberry Generation UCAN in about 8 oz of water. I did a short warm-up swim to make sure the goggles were good. Water was 76 degrees so those of us with wetsuits wore them. I’m not turning down extra buoyancy, especially in a short race. At 9:15 my wave (the 2nd) went off so here’s what happened:
Swim: 18:17. (includes some transition time.) My Garmin shows I swam 720m in 17:30. I know, pretty slow, but I haven’t been swimming much at all (about four times in the last two week since January) so my plan here was to just go nice and steady, and that worked for me. My breathing was quite comfortable. I came out of the water feeling pretty good and ready to get on the bike.
T1: 2:08. Since I haven’t been training for triathlon, I hadn’t been working on my transitions. It’s something I have my athletes do for sure, but I winged it today. While not super speedy, I didn’t have any issues. Hopped on the bike and off I went.
Bike 39:15 The four laps went by pretty quickly. The turn-around was really tight so we had to slow way down, and it got a little congested at times, but otherwise the course was pretty spread out. The bike was my key hydration time, so I tried to drink as much of my bottle (water with Nuun) as I could. Even though I put ice in the bottle in the morning, it was warm by the time I needed it. Still needed to drink it – no aid stations on the bike and the run was going to be hot, so getting as much fluid in now was going to be critical.
T2 – 1:56. put on socks (my Colorado ones, of course) and my shoes. I didn’t bother with quick laces for the race, so it took me a little extra time to tie my shoes. I also took a few seconds to squirt some water on my hat since it was really toasty outside.
Run: 26:09. Not my fastest 5k run by any means, and here I was once again reminded that mental preparation is just as important as physical preparation. When it’s hot and you are pushing yourself, your mind plays games with you. So you have to ignore those little thoughts, especially when everything else feels good, and keep yourself moving.
Total: 1:27:39. My target time was 1:30:00, so goal achieved! It came with the 9th fastest bike split and a 3rd place Age Group finish, so no complaints! And I was able to see both Scott and Molly finish. Molly ended up taking 1st in her age group and Scott had another good day out there learning the intricacies of the sport of triathlon in his first season!
Kudos to Ken Axford, the race director who put on a much more organized race than had happened here in years past. And thanks to all the folks who came out to volunteer and cheer on the athletes!
So, what’s your next race?