Saturday, July 21, 2012

Race Result: 2012 Iron Kids Rochester Triathlon

Event: 2012 Iron Kids Rochester Triathlon (USAT)
Date: Saturday, July 21 2012
Location: Rochester Athletic Club; Rochester, MN
Weather: 70F, overcast with drizzle
Official Results: 2012 Iron Kids Waterloo Overall Results; Male 12 year old Results

Podium Boy's Personal Results Actual: 51:58
Overall: 14th overall in Senior Division (12-15 yo; 49 total); 10th overall in Senior Males (12-15 yo; 27 total); 3rd in 12 yo AG (10 total)

Rock on Team Gear West!

Here is what I've been telling Podium Boy lately. "You are at the age where every morning you wake up faster, stronger, bigger. You don't even have to do anything to get faster. Just wake up to a new day!"

I, on the other hand, wake up to another body part falling apart. Thank God, I have this kid to keep me sane this year with all that I have going on from an overloaded work schedule due to a recent merger to a tibial stress fracture that is keeping me from competing this season. From winning races in 2011 to the bench.

Of course, Podium Boy is not just laying around waiting to improve. He has his swim team, and his tremendous swim coaches in Tom Franke and Justin Zook. Justin, BTW, will be competing in London to try and repeat his world record setting performance and gold medal won in the 100 meter backstroke while competing at the Paralympic Games in Beijing, China in 2008.

Podium Boy has also been training for the upcoming Wayzata boys Cross Country season, which will be his first. Can he follow in Dad's footsteps and win a couple of state team titles (Jamestown, NoDak in '77 and '78)? Time will tell. All I know, his running has been on fire this year. We're talking huge leaps in difference from 2011. And his form.....well, watch the video further on below.

He continues to evolve on the bike. This has been the first summer on a true road bike and its been coming along. He's learning. He is listening. And that's all I am asking for at this point. This was a technical course. Lots and lots of turning. And get this: At one turn-around the kids were made to DISMOUNT completely. So, if the bike times seem slow, imagine four laps in which you had to dismount each time, then get back on your bike and get up to speed again.

And while his transitions at IK Waterloo where ultra-smooth, his transitions here left something to be desired. More specifics below. Lessons learned. All good.

So, let's get into the short summary. Unofficial time is per my own stop-watch as follows:
  • Swim Start to Swim Finish
  • Swim Finish to Bike Out
  • Bike Out to Bike In
  • Bike In to Run Out
  • Run Out to Finish
For whatever reason, Iron Kids does not time transitions. This is a puzzler. We're talking an extra mat at Swim Exit and an extra mat at Run Out. Not a big deal. So, that's why I am listing the unofficial times to give the reader a better sense for his actual times. And because his swim coaches would not be happy if I were to say he swam a 7:32 300!!

Swim - 300 yards (pool swim)

Unofficial Time - 4:35
Official Time - 7:32 (pool plus transition); 2nd in AG (10 total); 24th overall (49 total)

This was a pool swim. And a new twist for Podium Boy. I have experienced a time-trail start that evolves into a serpentine swim on a few occasions. Rather nice, to tell the truth. So during warm-ups I had him practice flips turns and going under the lane rope to get used to it. He did fine. Little congested at one point and he had to break stroke, but he did well.

Podium Boy gets in his warm-up
It was what I would term a satisfactory swim. We are working on him using his core and upper body strength and saving his legs. This was a new concept for him as in swim meets he is told to kick like his life depended on it. As result, the 'easier' kicking reflected in his time as he was a bit slower than expected. Still, very pleased.


Unofficial Time - 2:12

It was a good 120-yards to transition, if not more. Exit the building and go up a switchback sidewalk. Of all five elements in this event, this was his worst. He struggled with various things, like buckling the helmet, that he had working like clockwork just two weeks ago.

We're going to go to elastic laces. Been trying to talk him into it but he doesn't like the way they feel. But he is losing too much time lacing up his shoes. So this WILL change.

Bike - 8 miles

Unofficial Time- 30:42 (15.78 MPH)
Official Time - 30:35; 3rd in AG (10 total); 15th overall (49 total)

This course was far too technical for these kids. Many tight turns. Apparently one turn was so tight that each ride was told to dismount completely from their bike and then run around a cone. For each of the four circuits. So, if the bike speeds seem slow...keep this in mind. In addition, a light rain started as they finished the first of four bike loops.

I had stressed all week that with this many turns he need to be constantly shifting. He said he did, but I know he was riding too big a gear. Way too big. So, I was pretty much telling him to 'gear up' each time he went by. Meaning to get into a higher cadence. This will eventually sink in. Given that his bike split was right there with the age group leaders, we can call this a decent bike effort.


Unofficial Time - 0:35

This was pretty clean other than over shooting his rack spot. Hey, we've all done this. And then it was the run. For some reason, I had a feeling he was going to bust one. And he did.
Run - 2 miles

Unofficial Time - 13:07 (6:34 pace)
Official Time - 13:52 (transition 2 + run); 5th in AG (10 total); 9th overall (49 total)

Podium Boy's form, as mentioned before, has really improved. He actually looks like a runner now. Last year, his form was all over. Like a big long-armed ape slapping big feet on the ground. Something happened. Something clicked. Maybe a summer full of mileage was all that was needed. And I'm not talking a future Steve Prefontaine here, just a good solid runner that will be running well against his Old Man in future road races.

So, when he came through on his first mile split at 6:30, I had to take a double look at the watch. And when his pace was speeding up on the second lap, I knew he was having a great run.

And here is that video I promised. Just a few seconds of his form at the end, but compared to this point last year he has finally evolved into a runner.


Well, they certainly excel at this for the Iron Kids events. Wonderful awards and presentation for the kids. First class all the way.

For those not familiar, there are three divisions:

  • Junior: Ages 6-8 (50 yard swim/2 mile bike/500 yard run)
  • Intermediate: Ages 9-11 (150 yard swim/4 mile bike/1 mile run)
  • Senior: 12-15 (300 yard swim/8 mile bike/2 mile run)
The top three athletes within each age category (e.g., 6 year-old females, 9 year-old boys, etc.), receive a placement trophy. The top five athletes within each age category receive an official Hy-Vee IronKids US Championship presented by Dole Qualification packet. And they also received a very nice technical T-shirt to show they are national qualifiers. (And the goody bag was pretty good as well).

So, Podium Boy's age group was won by a young man from Thunder Bay, ON Canada. This was interesting since our swim team swam up there over Memorial Day weekend. Glad to see so many kids coming from all over for these great events.

This makes three third place finishes in three races in tri's this year for Podium Boy. I told him not to get use to being on the podium, that each race is tough. So he is to cherish each  time.
Up Next

Toying with these events, nothing concrete yet:

» July 28, 2012 - Hy-Vee IronKids Cedar Rapids
» August 4, 2012 - Hy-Vee IronKids Dubuque
» August 25, 2012 - Hy-vee IronKids Madison

For sure, the big one:

» September 1, 2012 - Hy-Vee IronKids National Championship - Des Moines

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Race Result: 2012 Iron Kids Waterloo Triathlon

Event: 2012 Iron Kids Waterloo Triathlon (USAT)
Date: Saturday, July 7 2012
Location: George Wyth State Park, Waterloo, IA
Hotel: Hampton Inn, Decar Rapids, IA
Weather: 82F, heat index of 86F. Very humid.
Official Results: 2012 Iron Kids Waterloo Overall Results; Male 12 year old Results

Podium Boy has been working all summer for two big events: Iron Kids Waterloo and Iron Kids Rochester. These are big-time events. He has continued to swim on the Life Time Minnesota swim team, prepare for the upcoming Wayzata high school cross country season, learn how to ride a road bike (still his weakest segment) and gain the knowledge of Dad's 25+ years of triathlon experience. Looks like his hard work is paying off.

Friday we drove to Waterloo for the 1st of his planned Iron Kids events. By the time we arrived at the race site for packet pickup at 5 PM, it was still 101 F....without the heat index reading. And humid. Guam humid.

The race site was professionally set up. The Iron Kids event is the real deal. Just like the adult events, big league in every sense of the word. We got the race packet and then looked over transition, the swim, drove the bike course and run course, and then headed to eat. We opted for an old favorite....Old Chicago where we shared a pizza. And some other things.

Carbo loading. OK, not really. That was Dad's.
Now pushing 7:30 PM we hit the hotel, checked in and were asleep by 9:30 PM. I got all of Podium Boy's things ready for the race as well.

We were up early and out the door by 6:30 AM and at the race site well before 7 AM. From there we set up in transition where we were assigned a rack which was nice for the kids. It was a little tight, but that's just like the adult events.

I let Podium Boy borrow my Old Man stool
Podium Boy was in the senior division (those aged 12-15) and was in the first swim wave. I had him do a swim warm up about 30-minutes prior to the scheduled start. And then it was time. We had no goal other than to learn from his first Iron Kids event.

Note - We'll talk a bit more about this, but he lost his timing chip somewhere on the way from swim exit and T1. Therefore, his splits are all whacked out. The times listed that follow are my approximations based off my own splits taken. Iron Kids does not have individual transition times. From what I can see, the swim split includes the time from the start of the swim to the entering of T1. The bike split includes the time from the entering of T1 to the exiting of T2. The run split includes the time from the exiting of T2 to the finish.

Podium Boy's Personal Results Actual: 56:35
Overall: 31st overall in Senior Division (12-15 yo; 72 total); 22nd overall in Senior Males (12-15 yo; 37 total); 3rd in 12 yo AG (8 total)

Transition area at IK Waterloo

Swim - 300 yards

Unofficial Time - 11:32; 2nd in AG (8 total)

The announced water temp was 80 F. The water was a small pond, but very safe as a tall child could touch bottom at any point along the swim course. For Podium Boy and the rest of the swimmers the swim course consisted of a single buoy turn, then exit the water and run around some cones, then head back out for a second lap.

The red buoy was the turn. One of two laps.
The start was time trial fashion. As it was our first Iron Kids, we had no idea so I spied a bunch of seasoned kids lining up. By the time we got there and figured out what was going on Podium Boy found himself towards the rear third of the group of seniors. As they lined up they were assigned their proper chip.

The Senior Division lines up for the swim time trial start
Now then, I know my son's times inside and out. I know he can cook a 300-yard swim in under 5 minutes. So when he came out of the water for the first lap a little OVER 4 minutes, I knew the swim course was waaayyyyyy off. Yes, he had a wee bit of a sighting problem and swam more distance than he had to. But this was no 300-yard swim course. I pegged it at slightly over 500 yards.

He came out of the water well. I always remind him to not stand up until a hand touches the bottom. And that has sunk in.

There was a 200-yard (confirmed with race director) run from the water to transition. So, a long run. Somewhere in there his timing chip fell off. As standing outside of transition and talking him through (shoes on, glasses on, helmet on, etc) he has the presence of mind to say, "Dad, my timing chip fell of." He is such a cool cucumber in transition. Really makes me proud there. I think his previous triathlon experiences have really helped him in this regard.

So I send him out on the bike and tell a race official that my son lost his chip. It is found and as he gets off the bike about to enter T2 an official straps it back on. Minor crisis averted.

Bike - 8 miles

Unofficial Time- 28:23 (17.0 MPH); 6th in AG (8 total)

There is no doubt that this is Podium Boy's weakest element currently. I have not gotten him out training on his road bike as much as I would like to have had. But he is making strides. Up to the week before all our training rides of 8-10 miles have been at about 15-16 MPH pace. At first he was very timid about the road bike. So handling was a skill he needed to learn and only road time would solve that. Second, he need to understand that he has all those gears for a reason. So when we train, I ride behind him and am constantly chattering "Go Up" or "Go Down". He now gets it and is making gear changes on his own with me only occasionally reminding him now.

The last training ride before the event, we did a 8 miler. Race conditions. For the front 4, I had him just work on the technical aspects and talked about how one cannot draft and rules of the road and so forth. On the back 4, I had him bust it. He averaged just over 17 MPH for that section and I knew he had made improvements. But would it carry over to race day?

I've already told you the swim course was long. I think the bike course was short. The Senior Division had to do a three lap circuit. I have no way of verifying the distance but based off what Podium Boy did either he just made it hurt and he was fast, or not so much.

From the splits I took, if I just look at the bike portion time only and not include transition time he averaged 18.5 MPH. Pretty damn good if in fact, it was that. But I'm more apt to think he was just under 18 MPH. Either way, his bike split was a full five minutes faster that I expected out of him. So, I was thrilled as he came into T2. "Rack the bike", "helmet off", "glasses off".....and before I sent him I had him take 5-10 seconds and take on some liquids.

By that time is was stinking hot. My shirt was thoroughly soaked thru. My Tighty-Whities, I was later to learn, were so soaked thru they had taken on the color of the denim shorts I was wearing! I was not sure if they had water on the run course so I thought it better to lose a few seconds in transition than completely blow up on the course. For those who raced Heart of the Lakes last year, conditions were similar to that.

Run - 2 miles

Official Time - 16:40 (8:20 pace); 3rd in AG (8 total)

Still, the heat was affecting him. The Senior Division had 2 x 1 mile loops. I stationed myself a ways out from the finish so I saw Podium Boy returning back on the first lap holding his side. He has had off and on side stitch problems stemming back from last year. I had them at his age as well. We had stretched out his sides before the event. One thing we'll do before the next one is get in a few quick run sprints. That has seemed to stem off these side aches during his run only events.

I could tell he was off pace. This is a kid who can run sub 7 minute miles when he is 'on'. But this was the longest tri of his young racing career. It was stinking hot. And he was also starting to suffer from blisters as we would learn later. So I didn't ride him too hard. By the time he reached me again on the second lap, his form was back to looking good and his pace had most assuredly picked up.

His only other mistake was something I put on a race official than on him. As he neared the finish line, there were lots and lots of cones. One line was the cone line leading back into transition....which was the line used from T2 to start the run. Another cone line led to the finish line. Well, Podium Boy chose the line back into transition. There was a official right there and just didn't let Podium Boy know which way to go. But he figured it out on his own and finished very strong. Only losing a few seconds to the mishap.

The blisters stemmed from a couple of reasons. He is simply in between sizes right now. Feet slightly too big for the smaller size shoe and slightly too small for the next size up. He really likes Brooks so he is racing in the T7 Racer series. Just like triathlete Chrissie Wellington wears, the T7 Racer is a minimal road racing shoe.

We talked about it, and he opted for the smaller size pair over the next size up. We have both in hand currently. Plus, he is going sockless in his races. Here is the result of that decision, one of three blisters earned.

Afterwards, he told that he kept thinking about the time Pre (Steve Prefontaine) ran with stitches in a foot. So, at least I know his head was on straight during the run and he is developing the required high pain threshold required to be semi-successful as a triathlon age grouper.

The newest Iron Kid


Well, they certainly excel at this for the Iron Kids events. Wonderful awards and presentation for the kids. First class all the way.

For those not familiar, there are three divisions:
  • Junior: Ages 6-8 (50 yard swim/2 mile bike/500 yard run)
  • Intermediate: Ages 9-11 (150 yard swim/4 mile bike/1 mile run)
  • Senior: 12-15 (300 yard swim/8 mile bike/2 mile run)

The top three athletes within each age category (e.g., 6 year-old females, 9 year-old boys, etc.), receive a placement trophy. The top five athletes within each age category receive an official Hy-Vee IronKids US Championship presented by Dole Qualification packet. And they also received a very nice technical T-shirt to show they are national qualifiers. (And the goody bag was pretty good as well).
So, we were super thrilled that in his very first Iron Kids event to not only finish top 3 (male 12 yo) but also qualify for the national event.

One happy Iron Kid
As always, it is great to podium. But sometimes can be aggravating to wait. And wait. And wait. And wait for awards to start. But as I told Podium Boy, it is far better to have to wait then go home early.
For each age group the top 5 were announced with 4th and 5th getting National qualification packets and 1-3 getting awards and packet (and the packets are really quite cool).
It become like a big giant tease as even though the race order was Senior, then Intermediate, then Juniors the awards ceremony was the reverse. So we waited politely through the Juniors then the Intermediates before they finally got to the Seniors.
And then, they had been going Boy-Girl in age order and once they reached Seniors reversed to Girl-Boy. And right after announcing the 12 yo girl winners, this happened (the "oh, really!" comment is provided by Podium Boy):

Finally, we reached the Male 12 yo age group:

Next Events:

July 14-15 (signed up) - State C Finals Swim Meet
Jul 21 (signed up) - Hy-Vee IronKids - Rochester, MN - 300yd pool swim, 8mi bike, 2mi run

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Two Handsome Devils

Just some additional photos from Graniteman St. Cloud.

Ernest Hemingway leaves the water

I don't look so fat here with the neoprene acting like a girdle. But I can tell you, I'M FAT!

Left calf was cramping just as we approached T2, so I was doing the 1-legged pedal

Not fun being passed on the run. And passed. And passed. Next year it will be different after recovery from the tibial stress fracture

Still, made the podium. Always a good thing.

Here is Podium Boy leaving the water

He's not fat.

Was pretty congested on the bike for them as they were held to the bike path

Not sure what is with the mouth/tongue here.

Or here.

Podium Boy rules!

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm Not Saying A Word

We'll just let the photos speak for themselves. 'Cause y'all will be thinking the same thing I did. Provided by a 'Texas friend.'