Date: Sunday, January 23, 2011
Location: Bear Creek Park; Houston, TX
Hotel: Omni Westside Hotel
Weather: 47 F, wind at 5-7 MPH
Official Results: Overall results not made available (weird!); Age Group results
Official Time: 1:12:51.6
Overall: 30th out of 257 (top 12%); 3rd in 50-54 male age group (19 total)
|Nice plaque from my 3rd place (50-54) finish|
I departed the Tundra early Friday afternoon on the 21st. I left behind minus 21F when I awoke that morning and arrived in Houston later that afternoon where it was 63F. As in November when I attended a duathlon in Fort Worth, I was met at the airport by my Texas training partner from the late 1980's, Tim "Buckwheat" Carroll.
I had flown in to Houston to race in the annual "Frost Yer Fanny" Duathlon. The race site was located at Bear Creek Park in west Houston. The 3 mile run, 15 mile bike, 2 mile run duathlon was co-produced by Outloud! Productions and Bicycle World & Fitness, and sponsored by the SouthMidwest Region of USAT.
Saturday Tim and I ran both run courses and drove the bike route. The bike route was 3x5mi loops. The course was the best course layout I have ever seen as far as spectators go as your loved ones would be able to view you no less than nine times. From a competitor standpoint the course was super for us flat loving triathletes:
|Elevation for the entire du|
Let's go to the race segments.
Run One - 3 miles
Goal - 18:18 (6:06 per mile)
Official Time - 18:12.5 (6:04 per mile)
AG (50-54) Rank - 2nd (19 total)
Wave one lined up, men and relays. I got my first look at the front runners. I had been told to look for Dana Lyons, an All American in 50-54 age group. His tri-career is solid and he holds many major titles such as 2005 Duathlon Short Course National Age Group Champion, and in 2001 he placed 13th overall and 3rd in his age group at the Duathlon World Championships in Venray, Holland. He now also has his own triathlon coaching site. So, I lined up right behind him.
The gun went off and I was amazed how fast the pace was. Per my Garmin, we hit the first mile at 5:40. I was stride for stride with Lyons and even went ahead at one point....and then I faded. Dana has a super smooth running form. I could see why he is so talented as his stride was so efficient. It was just a mental boost for me to be able to hang with him and not feel like I didn't belong.
Since I've been training either outside in the snow with very poor running surfaces or inside on a very short track, I knew my fitness would be suffering. People told me I would be surprised on how well I would be able to run and in retrospect they were correct. I was able to hold low 6 per minute pace the rest of the first run and had no issues. People were breathing very hard all around me and I felt like I was hardly breathing hard in comparison.
Goal - 01:40
Official - 0:59.6
AG (50-54) Rank - 8th (19 total)
I like that they also ranked our transition times within the age group results. I know I have a lot of work here. But recall that because I use Speedplay pedals, I am unable to leave my bike shoes clipped into the bike. So in my opinion this transition time is good. And looking back at 2010 season I don't think I was under one minute for T1. So this was all good.
Bike - 15 miles
Goal - 40:10 (22.4 MPH average)
Official Time - 40:02.0 (22.5 MPH avg)
AG (50-54) Rank - 5th (19 total)
Three loops of five miles awaited once we exited T2. Hardly any elevation change. Not much, if any wind. But the roads were narrow. There were hard turns where, especially on the first lap, I had to brake and lost speed. I had seen a lot of pebbles and sand the day before on the course and didn't want to roll the bike on the first lap!
Adding to the congestion, as you finished each lap you were now contending with merging athletes just entering from T1 plus slower riders plus USAT officials on motorcycles. Post race, I witnessed a very ugly scene in which an athlete felt the USAT motorcycles were causing more danger by braking and causing congestion on corners and also not passing when the course was best able to accommodate.
On the second lap I was really loving the new saddle I had purchased the day before. I got the Selle SMP Forma model. The gang at Bicycle World of Houston was fantastic in accomodating me. My tires were pumped up to 130 PSI and then the new seat was put on and I was fitted. All in under an hour. Thanks to everyone at the store, especially mechanic Cole Vogtman.
Wow, is this saddle comfortable. And I think it also provides more power to the legs in my own warped thinking but I was able to actually push from my butt down through the whole stroke due to the contour of the saddle....if that makes sense.
|On the bike course at Frost Yer Fanny|
Finishing up the second lap I was really starting to feel comfy on the course and had increased my speed to 22.7 average and was going to push to try and approach 23 MPH. But as I lifted to make yet another tight left hand turn both calf muscles seized up. It was very bad. I would pedal one stroke, stretch that calf while the other cramped. Then pedal another stroke, stretch the other calf while the previous cramped back up. This went on for at least 3/4 of a mile. I thought I might have to stop to get off and rub the calf muscles down. But just at that point they loosened and I now pedaled even harder to make up for lost time. I actually caught the group I had been jockeying with previously, and passed them.
Goal - 01:30
Official - 1:06.2
AG (50-54) Rank - 11th (19 total)
I know, this was slow. Should have been in the low 40-second range easy but as I tried to put on each racing flat the calf muscle would seize up. I was in a lot of pain and literally just forced the foot in while the cramp was at its zenith for each leg. I then hobbled out of T2.
Run Two - 2 miles
Goal - 12:40 (6:20 per mile)
Official Time - 12:31.1 (6:16 per mile)
AG (50-54) Rank - 4th (19 total)
It took me about 1/2 mile to get the legs to the point where I could actually run normal stride. Then I just started to pick people off. No one passed me which I was rather proud of. I was very pleased with this run since both calf muscles were basically shit.
February 6 - Hamel 5K; Hamel, MN