USAT Sanctioned: Yes
Date: Sunday September 12
Location: Polk City, IA (Big Creek State Park)
Results: 2010 Sprint Results
Overall: 17th (204 total); top 8%
Overall Male Age Group (45-49): 1st (11 total)
The last tri of the year for moi. I just wanted to have a solid race and have a good feeling to dwell on during the cold, dark months ahead. So off I went to Iowa for my third event there, this time with the Boy® and the Well Kept Wife™ in tow.
The temps were fine, probably lower 70s F by the time the first swim wave started at 10AM. The water was 68 F. The sun was out and shining. And then there was the wind. For my second triathlon in a row, the wind just took the sails out of everyone's bike. It was not horrible, mind you, but just a stiff breeze that only affected the bike (out and back course). Per my close, personal friends at weather.com, the gusts were up to 19MPH. I think a tad worse!
This was also the ChaCha! In Iowa pitting myself against William Jenks. Let me be clear, this was just a friendly little competition...not even sure it can be termed as such. William and I have gotten to know each other over the last couple of years. He has been instrumental from afar in my training, words of encouragement to each other, and friendship. It was a pleasure to meet him finally.
|Myself with 'The Professor'|
Swim - 500 yards
Goal - 7:55
Actual Time - 7:09 (1:25 per 100 yds)
Overall Rank - 20th (204 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (11 total)
|Prior to the start of the swim|
Another very good swim for me. The waves had gone from a total of six to four over night. I had been originally scheduled for Wave 6 (just us old farts) and we ended up swimming with Males 35+. So it was a pretty big wave. I just stayed wide, more because the buoys were getting blown around and it was not a straight line (see photo and video). So, by staying wide I avoided traffic while also making a beeline for the farthest buoy.
|The swim at Big Creek State Park|
Goal - 2:10
Time - 1:19
Really a ultra smooth one. I dropped my goggles in the sand but lost like only 2 seconds when I stopped to pick them up. Nice grass transition area.
Bike - 14.3 miles
Goal - 38:13 (22.6 MPH)
Actual - 39:48 (21.6 MPH)
Overall Rank - 15th (204 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (11 total)
I think I was certainly on course for a 23+. I was 25.4 MPH at the turn-around and then BOOM! The wind. At times I was churning as hard as I could and only mustering 16 MPH. But I kept passing people so I must have been doing OK. I was only passed three times myself.
Goal - 1:05
Time - 0:49
Smooth again. In the video, the person just ahead of me as I leave on the run is the person who got 2nd in my age group. I did not know that at the time.
Run - 5K
Goal - 20:09 (6:30 per mile)
Time - 20:00 (6:26 per mile)
Overall Rank - 22nd (204 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (16 total)
As I ran along during the first mile everything was going very well. My stride was comfortable and I felt good. Then, it was as if twelve little monkeys jumped on my back. About 15-minutes in, I was seriously contemplating walking. I wasn't in pain, but there was nothing in the tank. I committed the cardinal sin twice by looking behind as I rounded corners. There was no one there so I eased a bit, recovered, and then was able to stretch out the pace again. In the video, you will see my personal coach, the Boy®, egging me on to sprint to the finish. If only I could have! As a result, we decided that since he beat me to the line it was his honor to pick up the first place medal.
Let's get back to the event itself and break down the typical components, discussing what was done well and what needs improvement.
Packet Pickup - First, we spent a good 40-minutes just trying to find the place. No directions on the web site. Thank goodness for the on board navigation systems available in vehicles now, otherwise we may still be lost in Iowa! Once there, I was allowed to pick up my packet early despite being a little ahead of the game..no waiting! Friendly staff answered all my questions. If only we had not had such a devil of a time finding it! Note - HUGE playground for those with kids. The Boy® indicated it was one of the best he has played on.
Grade - C
Suggestion - Directions to the site for out-of-towners.
Volunteers - Really nice bunch of college kids. Good humor. Very good safety on the roads.
Grade - A
Suggestion - Just repeat in 2011
USAT Officials - Not sure how prevalent they were as I only saw one motorcycle on the bike course. That was it. No presence in transition. Never saw an official.
Grade - C
Suggestion - Each event seems to vary as to how prevalent USAT is. In this case, I was sort of pissed because I had a guy drafting off me for a good portion of the bike on the return into the wind. I could see his shadow right behind me. I purposely changed my line several times to let him know I knew he was there. Finally, I think he got the message and passed me saying, 'Sorry 'bout that." I made note of his number and was going to say something to an USAT official afterwards, only I passed him in the run and just let it go.
Swim Course at Big Creek State Park - I liked the swim, although the lake was pretty murky. I was just slightly annoyed because it was to have been a counter-clockwise swim and was changed to a clockwise. Since I breathe to the left, this makes it hard for me to sight. But, given the entrance/exit setup it did make the best sense.
Grade - B-
Suggestion - A few more buoys would have helped swimmers sight better.
Transition area - Nice grass transition area and lots of room. I found a spot on the rack closest to the bike exit and was happy with that.
Grade - A
Suggestion - Same for 2011
Bike course - The wind will not affect the grade here!! Not much anyone can do about that. Traffic control was very good, especially at the key intersections. My thanks to the law enforcement officials as always. The roads are in good shape. This was a flat course for Iowa, but there are a number of minimal hills. Without the wind, I think we would have seen some exceptional times.
Grade - A
Suggestion - Mileage markers were clear but sometimes hard to see because of being painted on the road. I prefer upright markers.
Run Course - I really liked the course. There are several areas where you can actually mark your competition (see photo below). This made the run highly strategic and added another element.
Grade - A+
Suggestion - No mile markers were seen. The back half is on a path and you are running in trees and no idea of "how much farther!". So markers would be a big plus.
|Cy-Man run course|
Awards/Goodies - No T-shirt but nice Sweat Vac hats instead. You had your choice of yellow, red, or white. I like T-shirts as I'm saving up for a race T-shirt quilt, but the hat was a nice change of pace. Lots and lots of give-aways via drawing at the awards ceremony. Medals to top three in 5-year AG's.
Grade - A
Suggestions - None.
|Award from Cy-Man|
|Back of my 1st place (male 45-49) award|
Overall - I recommend this race to seasoned triathlete and novice. The finish line area has a large viewing area where loved ones can watch someone finish. A solid fundraiser, nice venue and course. If you need to shack up for the night, I highly recommend the Hampton Inn in Ankeny. And if you have family and a little extra ka-ching go for the queen suite room. I have had great luck with Hampton on the road this season.
Next Event - Plymouth Firefighters 5K in the ol' home town on September 25.
Mario Minelli - Congrats to Super Mario on his amateur overall win at the Treadman Duathlon on Sept 12.
Matthew Marks - Congrats to Matt for winning the male 20-24 and 6th overall in the CAT Sprint Triathlon on September 12 in Conway, Arkansas.