Sunday, August 14, 2011

Race Result: 2011 Turtleman Duathlon

Event: 2011 Turtleman Duathlon (USAT)
Date: Saturday, August 13, 2011
Location: Shoreview, MN
Hotel: Home, sweet home
Weather: 64F at start with showers which stopped right before the gun; wind from NNW at 6-7MPH
Official Results: Results

Personal Results

Goal: 01:43.57
Official Time: 01:41.35
Overall: 16th overall (139 total); 16th in Males (106 total); 3rd in 50-54 AG (13 total)

I end my duathlon season the same way I started it. Back in January I had a very satisfying race in Houston where I was completely happy with my effort, losing only to two speedsters in my age group. It was the same at Turtleman as I ran and biked well, only to come up short to Thomas Krenz and Charlie Roach. Nothing to be ashamed about there!

It was an auspicious start to the morning. At 2 AM I had been awoken by lightening, thunder, and heavy rain. When I finally got up at 4:20 AM, it was still raining. This was perhaps a nod to Turtleman as this event is a triathlon that was converted to a duathlon for the 2011 version due to low lake levels. So a touch of water meant we'd be getting wet anyway.

As I drove to the race site, the clouds were very dark and I was beginning to wonder if this would be a soggy shoe event. But by the time I had set up in transition the rain had stopped and would stay away. Perfect.

The transition setup was weird in that it utilized two adjoining parking lots. I spied Chris Hawes and he waved me over to where he had set up. Basically, one had two choices. You could set up in Lot A and have quick access to Bike Out but have to then go through Lot B and make a U-turn to get back to your rack on Bike In. Or the opposite. Chris theorized, and I think correctly, that to set up in Lot B you would be closer on Bike In and Run Out. In the end, I think that saved me a few seconds. To-MAY-toe, To-MAH-toe.

To the personal report! Please note that I am listing my own Garmin times along with the official race times. I'm not sure how the race timer calculated the average speeds...but they are way off!

It was a great course. And the elevation map was to die for. Just the way I like it! I hope the race organizer keeps the event as a duathlon and does not return to a triathlon format. It is so hard to find USAT sanctioned duathlons here in the Tundra. Dime a dozen down in Texas, but this is only the other USAT du we had offered this year (Apple was the other).

Elevation map from Turtleman

Run One - 1.8 miles

Goal: 11:18 (6:17 per mile)
Official Time: 10:46 (5:47 per mile); 2nd in AG (13 total)
Garmin Time: 10:47 (5:58 per mile)

I have a million dollar idea for Garmin. A large-faced watch for those who have reached the age of requiring reading glasses. Or the option of displaying current pace only in large format. I'll explain in a moment.

Elites were started as a group. Thereafter it was a time-trail start by order of bib number every 3 seconds. That was OK, save for the fact you had no idea of your position to your main competitors. I was number 80 and it seemed I was up in no time flat. I have been pounding a lot of running miles as of late in hopes of returning to form after the pelvic stress fracture earlier this spring. So I wanted a fast time.

I shot out very strong and within the first 20-yards I felt a twinge in the right upper quad. But for the moment, that is all it was. Just a twinge. I kept on hammering and glanced at the Garmin every few yards to see my pace. I wanted to be under 6:17 per mile. But it kept saying 6:30.....then 6:25..then 6:20. I'm now over 1/4 mile in and I'm pushing like crazy to get under 6:17 pace and wondering why the hell I can't! I had blown by Thomas Krenz early and knew Charlie was starting about 100-spots after me and would be charging.

This should be e-a-s-y for me to get under 6:17. Keep in mind it is overcast and dark. Keep in mind I now require reading glasses. Can you guess what I was actually running?

At one point I glance at the Garmin and the light must have been right or I was holding my arm far enough away to get a good sighting.....I've been running 5:20 per mile pace all this time! Holy merde! I ease up instantly. Now I'm glancing at my watch to make sure I'm not going too fast. I keep it in check at just under 6 minutes per mile and take it into T1 well under my goal and feeling good.


Goal: 01:00
Official Time: 01:07
Garmin Time: 01:08

I was a little cooked, so I took a few deep breaths to relax myself down. I've not been biking a lot as of late and was sort of dreading the bike. T1 in a du is always so much better than a tri. No stripping of the wetsuit and fumbling with goggles, etc. I grabbed the bike and made the U-turn for Lot A to get to Bike Out.

Bike - 21.2 miles

Goal: 59:26 (21.8 MPH avg)
Official Time: 55:47 (24.1 MPH); 3rd in AG (13 total)
Garmin Time: 55:44 (22.8 MPH avg)

I really liked this bike course. It is fairly flat with the only downside of having a lot of tight 90-degree turns. Had it not been for so many turns, I probably average over 23 MPH.

I get dialed in and start to slowly hammer away. Very early on Krenz passes me. He is a very good cyclist and there was no way I was going to stay close to him. So I start waiting for Charlie to pass me. The roads are still pretty wet and I'm slowing waaayyyy down for the turns.

Around mile five I get passed by a person (never got his bib number so not sure of his name). I get stuck in his rooster tail and I'm getting a steady stream of water in the kisser. This sort of awakens me and I pass him back and make him taste water for a while. It goes like this the rest of the bike.

Around the halfway point, we pass eventual female winner Tina Hjeltman. Let me tell you something about Tina (age 41). She has awesome calf muscles. After we passed her, she starts to hang with us as well. So we have something of a 3-person train going. Let me stress: We are doing everything in our power to not be illegally drafting. We stay out of the others draft. We are staying the required distance back. We just keep passing each other.

Each of us makes multiple attempts to break away. At one point, I put in a big effort and open up a good 200-yd gap only to get passed by one and then the other. It was like we were joined at the hip.

We make the stretch for home and we are relegated to a narrow strip along a busy road separated by roaring traffic via orange cones. Tina tries to pass a bike hog. I can hear her yelling, "LEFT, LEFT, LEFT"...and the offender does not move right. She hits an orange cone as a car is also passing on her left. I don't know how she stayed up, but she did. It could have been really ugly.

I see I'm way under my goal, in the upper 22 MPH range. And I'm extremely happy with the way my day is going.

And I'm extremely pooped and still have a long run to go.


Goal: 01:00
Official Time: 00:47
Garmin Time: 00:45

Thanks to the advice of Mr. Hawes, I'm in and out of T2 super fast and hitting the run, trying to find my run legs. I'm thinking how nice and cool the weather is, if not a little bit humid. But nothing like the Guam like jungle scene from Heart of the Lakes where I had to walk most of the run. "That's not going to happen today", is what I tell myself.

Run - 5 miles

Goal: 31:42 (6:30 pace) -note, based on advertised 8K (4.8mi) route
Official Time: 33:10 (6:41 pace); 3rd in AG (13 total)
Garmin Time: 33:08 (6:34 pace)

The run was suppose to be a 8K which equates to a 4.8 mile route. But I knew it was over five miles as I saw the 5-mile mark on the sidewalk as we were coming back from the first run. Early on I'm running just a tad over 7-minutes a mile (now that I could see the readout better!) and I had that down into the 6:30's by the time I reached the first mile marker.

I passed Suzie Finger shortly thereafter. Suzie was my marker for the first part of the run. Someone to run after and hunt down. After that, I was in No Man's Land. There was no one visible for me to catch and I could not hear any footsteps behind me. That hurt my overall time in the second run as I got into a hard, but comfy, pace and never really broke from it. Yeah, I could have gone under 6:30 a mile but had little incentive to do so. And I kept waiting for Charlie to pass. It never happened.

After the race, Charlie told me he had issues with his helmet. He has a helmet similar to my Lazer Tardiz Aero Helmet where you just adjust the fit by turning a wheel in the back. Charlie's has a lever. Somehow that broke. So he actually had to stop his bike and address it, losing valuable time. Otherwise, you don't see me finishing within 1-minute of him, like I did today.

So, Charlie finished behind me. He caught Suzie on the run but never saw me. But he had made up time from the time-trail start to finish ahead of me in the final standings.

So, overall I was pretty darn happy with my effort. I especially am pleased with the current state of my run. The quad is a bit worrisome, but I intend to have an easy recovery week before starting some speed work for the Maple Grove triathlon.

For my efforts, I joined Thomas and Charlie on the podium to receive a nice mug.

Next Event:

Aug 27 - Maple Grove Sprint Triathlon; Maple Grove, MN (USAT) - 0.3mi swim, 14mi bike, 3mi run

As of now, I believe this will be my final triathlon of the season as I turn my attention to fall running events.


Jason DeMuth said...

Congrats on your performance at Turtleman. I was the other "dude" on the bike portion. It certainly was a yo-yo between the 3 of us. Thanks for pushing me so hard on the bike. Tina was awesome. I could not believe the power she was putting out. Good luck in Maple Grove--Jason DeMuth

Brian said...

Nice to have met you as well, Jason. You had a great race. Good luck on your other races!

Mario said...

Nice Race! And you had a faster bike split than Roach... that must feel good.