Event: Cornman Triathlon
Date: Sunday, July 11
Location: Gladbrook, Iowa
Overall: 16th (235 total); top 6.8%
Overall Male Age Group (45-49): 2nd (20 total); top 10.0%
The Cornman is a very well run event. It just happens to be in the middle of nowhere...or at least feels that way. It is a quick four hour jaunt from the Twin Cities to the race site. This year it served as the Midwest Special Qualifier which qualified the top 33% per age group for the USAT Age Group National Championship in Tuscaloosa, AL on September 25, 2010. By virtue of placing second in my age group, I did qualify. I'm uncertain if I will actually attend. Just qualifying is achievement enough for me.
Even though it may very well be a case of 'right place, right time' aspect to the qualification, I feel the toughness of the course earned me the spot. I make no apologies. For me, this is a big achievement....just being invited to the big party. If you are curious, here are the 2009 AG National Results.
The lake is small but a fantastic sandy beach. The water temperature was 77.5 F but there were areas of sudden cold pools followed by warmer ones. So it was wet suit legal and that made me happy.
The transition area is different in that the bike racks simply line two sides of a path. At first, I found this weird but came to actually like. I parked the bike at the end closest to the bike mount area. This allowed me time to strip the wet suit as much as possible.
And that's where the fun ended as far as enjoying the course. The course is t-o-u-g-h. Not brutal. Not epic. But is is tough and I would not recommend to a first time triathlete.
The bike was rolling hills and not that bad save for about two miles into the course. That is where you are greeted by a hill of the first magnitude that will have you shifting into the small chainring on the front. I ended up in the granny and was standing. I saw two people actually dismount and walk it and I'm sure others behind me did as well. It really wasn't too bad but certainly has your HR nearing the red zone.
But even worse, it was a hill at the end of the first mile in the run that probably had people swearing, crying or all both. It certainly had me doing nothing more than a fast shuffle. Thankfully, they had an aid station right on the crest and its the first time this year I slowed to take on fluids during a run in a triathlon. More on the course in the race segments.
The event had some nice hardware as well. Three deep in all age groups. The hardware was big and heavy. Here's a photo, the can of Coke serving to show the size.
I recommend the triathlon. Especially for those, like myself, who would rather be looked on as an individual participant and not just a number. Held during the same weekend as the big dinosaur that is the Lifetime Fitness triathlon, this is a nice alternative with the added bonus of being the midwest national qualifier. It also has a nice post race feed.
Let's get into the race segments.
Swim - 500 meters
Goal - 08:45
Time - 8:21 (1:32 per 100 yds)
Overall Rank - 22nd (235 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (20 total)
The start was on the edge of the grass-sand boundary about 10-yards from shore. There was ample room as my wave was just the 40-49 males. I had early contact with one person and then I was gone and had smooth sailing even when I caught the previous waves. Water clarity is murky and there was a slight odor of motor fuel but I liked the lake. Very calm as the wind was virtually dead. Like swimming in your bathtub. If not for the challenging bike and run course, this would be a great swim venue for a first time triathlete.
I believe this is the very first time I have had the fastest swim time for my age group. Twenty years ago my swim sucked and my bike was crap. I lived and survived by being able to blaze the run (low 5's per mile pace). Now that the speed is gone, I have adapted success by being balanced across all three disciplines. Rating a fastest swim split shows my progress and importance of being balanced.
Goal - 2:00
Time - 1:45
Actually surprised I was under two minutes as I dropped my swim googles on the shore as I ran up towards transition. Thought about leaving them but remembering this was a USAT event I did not want to receive a time penalty as I believe there are penalties for leaving items on the course.
Bike - 14 miles
Goal - 37:17 (22.5 MPH)
Actual - 37:59 (22.1 MPH)
Overall Rank - 15th (235 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 2nd (20 total)
I really am pleased with this time even though I did not meet my goal. Trust me, this is one course you do not set a time goal wirthout having ridden before. Lost time on the Big Hill, the loopy turn-around through the sleepy town of Gladbrook, and then some tight corners near the end. My suggestion to the race organizers would be to skip the tour of Gladbrook's back streets. I was averaging 23.1 MPH when we hit Gladbrook and by the time we left and started back I was under 22 MPH.
This is where the AG overall win was lost as it still is true "it is all about the bike". One minute and four seconds separated me from first. One minute and twelve seconds separated me from the winners bike split. But even had I met my goal I still lose so my congratulations to a great ride goes to Tim Hodge.
The roads were fairly smooth (save for Gladbrook) and except for the rollers the course can be considered fast. All intersections were manned for safety.
Goal - 1:20
Time - 1:07
Under my goal. Under 1:00 would have been better. But at least my T2 time is heading down.
Run - 5K
Goal - 20:40 (6:40 per mile pace)
Time - 21:25 (6:54 per mile)
Overall Rank - 21st (235 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (20 total)
Even before I left transition, the big honkin' hill was foremost on my mind. People had warned me of it leading up to the event. It was the general conversation during morning setup. Everyone was dreading it. And suddenly, there it loomed.
The air was perfectly calm. So I'm sure my gasping was made even louder to the spectators who had come to the summit to watch people suffer. Still, I hit the 1-mile mark...just a 20-yards from the top...at 6:30 per mile pace so I was on my way to meeting my 6:40 goal. It's just the hill took some steam out of the legs.
I recovered fine. Sucked up three more runners on the way into the finish and picked up pace the last 1/2 mile. I ran the best I could and take the time given. Fairly earned. No excuses. I left it all out there. I expect better run splits this coming weekend....unless that course has a big hill!
Next Event: Inaugural Dubuque Duathlon in Dubuque, Iowa on Saturday (July 17).