Friday, April 27, 2012

New Orleans Nonsense

So I raced in New Orleans last Sunday. Or at least had the intention of racing a triathlon but ended up stumbling through a quasi-duathlon.

The New Orleans 70.3 turned into the New Orleans 67.1 when on Saturday the race director decided to cancel the swim due to the forecast of windy conditions on Sunday morning. Other than a few extreme situations (ie an impending hurricane) I'm not aware of a situation where the swim has been canceled that early. When it happens, it is usually a game-time decision. And even then there is usually quite a bit of consternation.

But, it is what it is and we were left with basically a bike-run event. After all, its not like there was going to be any real separation in two miles among 35 fit guys who have to ride 10m apart. I had a decent opening run, and was on my bike without any issues. That wouldn't last long, though, as things went downhill quickly.

The details are presented below in list form because I'm in specification writing mode.
  • About a mile (1) into the ride ride my front bottle which was filled with PowerBar Perform, decided it really didn't want to be in the cage anymore, so it flew away. 
  • A Brazilian who I believe mainly does ITU races decided it would be a good idea to ride in our group. He rode like it was an ITU race, so when he finally decided to move to the front preceded to stop pedaling after passing me. I didn't brake quickly enough and there was the draft marshall to give me a 4min penalty, leading to...
  • 4 minutes in the sin box. Never fun, but considerably less so when it is chilly and windy.   
  • Replacement Perform grabbed at the aid station had a leaky cap and was spewing Perform all over my front wheel/frame/body/chain. I got a few swallows and had to dump the rest. 
  • I probably didn't take enough calories, likely leading to a mild blow up the last couple miles of the run (5:45s to 6:15s).
  • The last mile. There was a bridge, then a large roundabout, then the turn to the finish. We had already been through the roundabout once, after finishing the first lap, so I figured the turn for the finish wasn't too far past it after the completion of lap #2. I was wrong. We had to go back over the bridge then turn right and go through some gravel before finally reaching the anti-climatic finishing straight.

  • The finish was in a gated parking lot at UNO rather than the French Quarter, the location of last year's finish.  
On the bright side, I did feel great on my new QR CD0.1 (when I was actually riding it) and felt good running as well (outside of the last couple of miles) so while last weekend didn't quite go as planned, I am looking forward to some solid racing in the near future. After all, might as well get all of the nonsense out of the way at once!  

Monday, April 9, 2012


S: 25,300 yds
B: 7h 21min
R: 3h 58min

Total: 17h 36min

Ouch. It was a pretty busy week, both at "real" work and here in the "other" office. The result was a few really awesome workouts, one day where I got home and fell asleep for an hour and fifteen minutes (oops), and quite a bit of acute soreness. The highlight was, without a doubt the FAST track workout on Tuesday followed immediately by free Ben & Jerry's. Who needs chocolate milk when you can have New York Super Fudge Chunk??

Most importantly though the key workouts were very fast, which leaves me feeling fit just in time for New Orleans 70.3 in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


S: 25,800 yds
B: 6h 12min
R: 4h 8min

Total: 17h 41min

Pretty solid week! Lets see... there was another fast track workout on Tuesday, a 4min power PR on the bike on Thursday (in a workout) and then the race on Sunday.

The race was certainly fun, but also a little bit of a CF... Really a combination of multiple CFs.

We started off with a pool swim which, even when designed really well, never actually goes well (CF #1). I was given the number '10', corresponding to the tenth starting position. Four spots behind me was fellow pro Craig Evans, who is apparently a pretty decent swimmer. Now I dont proclaim to be Ryan Locte by and stretch, but while standing for the start, I quickly came to the realization that there'd be a good chance I'd have to swim over a couple of people. So between the lane lines (300 yds in a 25yd pool...) and the slower swimmers, the swim was a bit rough.

Somehow Craig managed to passed me through the madness and I failed to catch the guy who started 4th, so heading out on the bike I was in third before a funny thing happened... I started moving up. I caught Number 4 about 4min into the ride, then just a couple minutes later reeled in Craig. Needless to say, I felt awesome on the QR CD0.1 so I tried to fly by Craig, hoping to gap him. Apparently he wouldn't have any of that, as he re-passed me a little over a minute later. We spent the rest of the ride going back and forth until, a few minutes out, we came to a pretty big intersection without a cop (CF #2). Thankfully we both recognized it as the intersection where we were supposed to turn right to head back to transition, and did so at high speeds while managing not to kill ourselves. After a couple of misdirections, we were finally back in transition.

Craig entered before me and I fumbled with my shoes a bit, so he had maybe 10-15s on me heading out onto the run. While that doesn't sound like much, it is a lot in a 5k, especially since due to the TT start I'd have to finish 25-30s ahead of him to win. So I took off and finally reeled him in around 6min into the run. From there on out, it was all about putting as much time on him as I could while also not getting lost...

Which brings up CF #3. While it was great to have so many volunteers/spectators (sorority girls) out on the course, I couldve done with more markings and less turns. There were no less than three 180deg turns along the way and the course varied from road to sidewalk, so I was never really sure I was going the right way. There also weren't any mile markers which, although not a huge deal, was a bit disappointing, especially when I crossed the line after after having been running for 14min 55s. I've been running well, but not well enough to run a 14:55 5k!

Craig crossed about 50s later, and no one else for another couple of minutes, so I felt pretty good about the win. This race was a great way to start the season, but hopefully next year they'll get some of the kinks worked out. The RD did personally apologize to me after the race, saying there were two cops at one intersection which is why there was one missing from the one where we were supposed to turn. I made some suggestions, like the idea of having a lead car for the bike and bike for the run, so hopefully the event will be better next year. I've been in that situation before (a college student trying to direct a race on a college campus) so I felt her pain.