Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tinfoilman Sprint Triathlon Race Report - 2011 Tucson

While most people were busy preparing their Halloween costumes, this week I got to work making myself into a real-life walking zombie.  I knew hit the mark when I walked into Trisports on Saturday for the Tinfoilman packet pickup, and the staff actually commented on how much I looked like a zombie.  But that was the plan, and with both the Amica 19.7 Sprint Championship and Ironman Arizona fast approaching, I had little time for rest during my hardest training block ever.

The goal of the Tinfoilman was to get in a fast threshold workout and compare it to a race earlier this year on the same course.  Now to be fair, I had crashed 10 days prior to that race, but I thought it would be a wash with the extra fatigue for this one.

Swim (9:59):  The Tinfoilman features an 825 yard swim in the University of Arizona pool.  The race features 10 waves, with 30 athletes per wave, and 2 athletes per lane.  

As I was standing on the deck I introduced myself to my swim lane competitor Neil Segel.  Fortunately for me he mentioned that his team - the Tricats - had just picked up a very talented freshman by the name of Ben Kanute.  However, I was all too familiar with Ben - he has been rocking me in the sprint distance for quite sometime.  For those unfamiliar, he is one of the USAT golden boys on the road to the 2016 Olympics.

I embraced the news as I planned for an even tougher threshold workout.  My wave was up, the gun fired, and I took off down the lane.  Surprisingly I had half a length gap on everyone - that is until I hit the wall - and then I found myself suddenly half a length behind.  Now seeing as I don't believe in doing flip turns, and nor do I believe in pushing off the wall, I knew that I would sacrifice some time here.  I can only imagine what it looks like from the pool deck, but based on the number of coaches that have watched me swim thru the years, I am pretty sure it is a horrid site - but hey it's Halloween!

Usually I keep good tabs on my pace in pool swims, but today I forgot my pool goggles at home, and my open water goggles don't allow me to see my watch clearly.  It probably was a good thing as it allowed me to focus on swimming as hard as I could.  As I exited the pool I took a quick glance ahead of me.  I didn't see Ben and I knew I was easily a minute behind. 

Bike (28:17): The bike is a relatively flat, 12-mile, 3-loop bike course around the U of A campus.  The roads of this urban bike course go from smooth as glass to "hold on for dear life" rough, and they can be quite challenging with cars, dogs, and competitors to watch out for.

The bike is where I expected my legs to be most fatigued and sadly they didn't disappoint.  Nonetheless, I pedaled as fast as I could as I tried to close the gap on Ben.  The power on the smoother sections was good at 330, but I couldn't put out any power on the bumpy sections and with all the turns the final power only came in at 279.  In better news, as the laps rolled by the split differential was coming down.  After the 1st lap it was at 1 minute, by the second lap it was down to 40 seconds, and when I rolled back into transition it was down to 20.  This was all good, but I knew I needed a great run to win.

Run (17:17): I got back to transition, racked my bike, and swiftly put on my run shoes.  I had a GPS watch that I was going to use for data, but it served little purpose in trying to chase down a future Olympian.

I took off on the run with the mindset that I was only 20 seconds down - surprisingly the legs felt pretty good.  It always amazes me how much fresher legs feel after short races than the longer races that I am accustom to.  On the downside, fresh legs means there are no excuses but to run fast.

The run is a flat 2-loop course that offers multiple opportunities to grab splits. That first opportunity came at about 1K and I was roughly 250 meters down.  Ben looked strong, but the gap didn't seem unreasonable so I pressed hard.  I was flying by other participants from earlier waves but my gap to Ben was growing and the signature smile was fading to a grimace.  I continued down the homestretch and could only mustard a faint "on your left" as I flew by participants.  I left it all on the table, but in the end I would finish nearly a minute and a half down.

Overall (55:34):  I had my best swim ever swimming 825y in 9:59.  That may not impress many - but it continues to show that my swim work is paying off, and a strong swim is key to my success at the next level.  The bike was lacking today but I knew it would be and the run was on par.  Overall my time was 55:34 and good for second place and was a good minute faster than my race back in May at 56:37.

For the record, the last time I raced Ben Kanute was at the 2009 Tri-Shark sprint triathlon in Normal, IL.  At that race he beat me by nearly 4 minutes - here it was only a minute and half.  A big part of improving is looking at my peers.  Considering he was only 17 at the time I feel like this race was a success.  In addition, it was good preparation for going fast and I look forward to next week's race at the Amica 19.7 Sprint Championship.

As always, I want to thank Trisports.com - use my Trisports coupon code to save 20% on your next order. Each code is unique for you so please contact me thru the above "Contact" tab and I will email you back the 20% off code. Codes can be used at anytime - no waiting for a special sale. They expire 12/31/14. Please remember to fill in your email address so I can reply back to you. If you don't provide an email there is no way for me to contact you. You can also tweet at me or message me on Facebook if you prefer.










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