Sunday, September 13, 2009

West River Triathlon Recap

Saturday (8/12) found me 500 miles west of the Twin Cities only an hour from the North Dakota-Montana border. I was in Dickinson, NoDak for the 5th annual West River Triathlon.

The race was a 450 yard swim, 12 mile bike and 3 mile run. I'll be honest: the bike course was short and the run course was long. I'm estimating the bike was 11.5 miles and the run was 3.25 miles.

I had no particular goals heading into this event. With a long drive to the event, we broke it up by staying in Fargo on Thursday night, I was not sure how I would respond. I had also put in a ton of bike miles the week before and the legs were feeling a little tired.

The results:

Swim (450 yds)
Official Result - 7:36 (1:42/100 yds)
Overall Place - 2nd (44 total)
Age Group Place - 1st (5 total)

Notes - Dickinson's Community Center is very nice. The swim was indoors. I felt good during the swim and hit my pre-race target of 7:10 for the swim, the extra 21 seconds coming from exiting the pool and then running to the exit doors to cross the timing mat outside. Question: Why do we seemingly have to always exit on the deep end of the pool? The arms are tired, and with no pool bottom to push up and out it always makes for an ungainly exit. In this case, I also ended up slightly skinning a knee.

Official Result - 1:38

Notes - It had been raining since the day before. And it still was. So we ran across wet grass...which was actually nice....only to arrive to soaked shoes and bike. I had laid towels over my shoes and bike seat thinking that might help. Nope, shoes were already soaked. No biggie. Can't do anything about being wet.

Bike (12 miles)
Official Result - 30:13 (23.8 MPH)
Overall Place - 1st (44 total)
Age Group Place - 1st (5 total)

Notes - This was western NoDak. So it seemed as if we were constantly climbing. The course was two loops and I swear the first 3/4's of the loop were climb-climb-climb before ending on a long descent where we could wind it up. The roads were wet so a lot of people were tentative. I just laid caution to the wind. As a result, I entered into T2 in first overall. Again, this was not 12-miles. Based on my drive the night before, I estimate at 11.5 miles which puts my speed at a truer average of 22.8 MPH

Official Result - 1:15

Notes - While I held the lead, the top three all came into T2 close to each other. We basically left T2 at the same time. As I rounded the corner 600-yds into the run I held up three fingers to my wife and son. As the other two were already showing themselves to be stronger runners.

Run (5K)
Official Result - 21:35 (7:12/mile)
Overall Place - 4th (44 total)
Age Group Place - 1st (5 total)

Notes - Eventual race winner, Daniel Molnar, is a European seasoned marathoner. He went flying out of T2. He quickly became a blip on the never-ending horizon of NoDak. I was right behind eventual 2nd place winner, Michael Fretland, but he too was establishing an early brisk pace. I knew I was solidly in third place. The ham was feeling just fine but the Achilles was not. So, I made an effort to stay with Fretland in the first mile and then just shut it down. I want to try two more events this season and I knew I wasn't going to do those future events any favors by pushing it for no reason. Again, the advertised 3-mile route was 3.25 miles. I know this as I drove it the night before. So Molnar ran 5:18 pace, Fretland 6:18 pace, and I ran at 6:38 pace. Not bad for shutting it down.

Official Result - 1:02.15
Overall Place - 3rd (44 total)
Age Group Place (40-49) - 1st (5 total)

Summary - It was a nice road-trip for us. Despite sixteen hours on the road, we had a very good time. We visited with family all along the way. We were able to spend time with one of my high school classmates and XC/T&F teammate....1982 NCAA Division III national steeplechase champion..Brad Braunberger who now resides in Dickinson.

And the scenery was spectacular. Western NoDak is wide open country and something straight out of the canyons of Arizona. It is my favorite part of NoDak. I'm not sure when I will return to this event, but we probably will.

The Results

Next Event - Plymouth Firefighters' 5K Run. After driving 1000-miles for my last event, I have a four minute drive for my next one!

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