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


bwheat said...

Awesome job under tough conditions!

Adam Beston said...

Will be fun to see the pool time for the next event. So hard for kids that age to get pacing right so its a good thing to do another race before Nats. Sounds like bike skills will be the biggest thing so no wasted energy on the run. Putting the ownership (and the next results) on Dad here ;) Journey has her first Tot trot in a week. She said she was training when we were playing catch (she still cant catch worth a damn) so she runs a lot and threw in some butt kicks and high knees on her own.

Jumper 2.0 said...

Excellent job podium boy. I like his attitude and effort even more than his results, which were fantastic.