Here is something really cool that one of my buds from yesterday, Dean Woerner (55 AG) said:
that nail the spirit of triathlon?! It's kind of absurd to place all of
this praise on a dinky little sprint tri but I think it's true.
Treeathlon is such an absurdly "important" race because it's the first
of the season, the weather is always unpredictable, the swim is
challenging, the bike is way too dangerous, and you never know who is
going to show up. It's also the one local race where a lot of the "50+"
crowd shows up. And similar to you, I also had a new wet suit and new
bike. In a sprint distance, equipment and transitions really make a
was psyched to see D (and Mary), Dave Campbell (and his wife), Dean, my
sister, and NZ newbie Doug Woods, a youngster at 51. Doug beat me by 11
seconds last year though I got revenge on him at Donner and Santa Cruz
later. A bonus was Gary showed up to take pics and hang with us;
awesome! This said, my head was not into it at all and really had no
desire to race. Of course I also had excuses; I had done a quick for me 5
mile run on pavement the previous Thursday and my calves still felt
shredded from it. Lame I know but, of course, it was all I could think
of. And going in to this, I didn't really have "peak" bike or run
fitness though I'd been swimming a lot and last weekend did this
ridiculous 5 mile swim as part of a team event so at least I felt
confident for the swim portion.
any case, on to the swim. We were the second to last wave to go off;
40+ men. The water was 59 degrees, much better than years past. Like
Derrill, I have the new Roka Maverick wet suit. That thing is magic; I
don't normally think wet suits make that much of a difference, but this
one is incredible (2 mins faster in the pool for a mile vs without wet
The gun went off and I
could see Dean sprinting ahead to the first buoy. Damn, that guy is
amazing in open water. I fixated on him and tried to follow. I did feel
someone hitting me (I guess it was D!) but kept going. After the turn,
suddenly, it wasn't crowded any more. I looked up and saw ~6 swimmers
ahead. Kept running in to the next guy so I went to the right, closer to
the docks. Tried to calm down and do longer strokes. Then there were
just 3 of us. Wow, that was exhilarating to be in the lead swim pack;
haven't felt that ever before. The first two guys went for the swim
ladder so I went to the dock. I was exhausted (156 avg heart rate) and
couldn't lift my arms - so I just sort of flipped up like a seal and
finally got to my feet. Ran in to transition in 2nd place overall for
the wave. Left T1 and took 1st place within 30 seconds.
to the bike. Wow, it felt pretty cool to sort of be "in first place" of
the wave. That said I didn't have the training base to really put the
pressure down on the bike. The bike (Parlee) is also relatively new;
it's an amazing bike with disc brakes and an incredible ride quality.
That said it seems to respond better to higher speed and mashing a
slightly lower cadence than my old bike. Unlike the swim, I simply
didn't have the conditioning and confidence to really push it. And, of
course, my head wandered. I was in no-man's land out in front. After the
first turn around, though, holy shit, Derrill was "right there"! Oops,
maybe I slacked a bit!
Then on the start of the
second loop, shit, Doug was even closer! That gave some motivation. I'll
be damn, that bike felt better at 25mph then 23. And at 90RPM vs
100RPM. Finally made it to T2 where there was a long run with bike shoes
on; I probably should have taken them off and run bare feet instead. Oh
On to the run.
Calves still hurt and I have been doing zero speed work. That said it
felt awesome to be "in first place" for our wave. Then it happened;
clip-clopping coming up on me. Damned Doug was right there. We exchanged
a few pleasantries and he said mile 1 was a little too fast, "around
6:20 pace". F! Then Doug just extended away. He went on to finish the
run in 18:59, 6:07 pace (!!!) and took 1st place AG and 4th overall. I
came in 51 seconds later (20:13 5k), 2nd AG and 5th overall.
so interesting to me how this little tiny sprint race is so impactful
and oddly important. The best is when people you know show up; there is
comfort in knowing you all and this small circle of like minded people
who know what it is like to suffer and incrementally improve. And those
that value and appreciate those experiences.
Cheers to those that continue to do this esoteric sport and appreciate how satisfying it can be.