Sunday, July 24, 2005

Race Report: 2005 Pewaukee Lake Triathlon

Official race results here for this Olympic-distance event. My numbers as follows:

  • My time: 2:43:18 (an Olympic-distance PR by about 15 minutes.)
  • My place overall: 31/73
  • My place within age group: 3/6
  • My place within gender: 23/53
  • Swim: 23:49 (a HUGE swim PR)
  • T1: 2:35
  • Bike: 1:19:47 (a 20 MPH pace. more about that later)
  • T2: 1:26
  • Run: 55:42 (an 8:59 pace)

This was my best Olympic-distance race ever, by nearly 15 minutes, and I'm getting ever-closer to that elusive 2:30 BHAG of mine. Yet I find myself oddly dissatisfied.

Most of the improvement came in the swim, where I bettered my best swim time by 9 minutes. At our open-water swim practice last week, Karyn and I talked about strategies for slotting yourself in the pack, agreeing that the outside is the place to be. It paid off in a big way. I started outside and stayed there, avoiding the pack almost entirely. I might've swam a few more feet than the minimum and there was nobody to draft (not that I'm any good at drafting) but for once I wasn't kicked or swam over, and nobody blocked my progress...such as it was.

The bike course's hills, though not as long or steep as, say, the Galena tri's course, were more numerous and there was little opportunity to settle in and cruise. I had time Friday evening to drive the bike course; by my car's odometer it measured nearly 2 miles too long (26.7 miles actual vs. the standard 24.8!) Moreover, my bike's computer, for all its faults, agreed with my car so I'm basing my MPH calculation on riding 26.7 miles.

I rode most of the course alone after the sprint-distance racers turned off at mile 8, never catching riders way in front of me and never letting those way behind catch me. A chain mishap at mile 24 caused me to lose at least 2 minutes putting the sucker back on.

The run's format was 4X1.5 mile loops through Pewaukee's residential neighborhoods; runners returned at the end of each loop to cross a timing mat before heading out again. Loops 1 and 4 were fine; loops 2 and 3 sucked. Overall, I'm disappointed with my run. I felt like I was pushing way harder than an 8:59 pace. I know I'm capable of better, but it didn't happen yesterday.

In the months since I signed up for Pewaukee Lake, I've had several people warn me that the Race Director has a reputation for running (hmmm, how can I say it?) a rinky-dink operation. Some races are too short, others are too long. A few have been poorly staffed, with insufficient numbers of volunteers and/or water stations, etc.

Problems were certainly in evidence yesterday. The bike course was very poorly marked, and many corners had nobody directing traffic at all. Driving the course the night before helped me, but I heard one irate racer talking about getting lost. And, though I'm using my odometer's number, I'm still not sure about the bike course's actual mileage. Neither am I convinced about the need for TWO separate transition areas located just blocks apart; that seems an unnecessary complication if race planners are doing their job.

Summing up: a vertical finish and a decent day's work though, as usual, I've identified lots of improvement opportunities for me...and the race organizers!


Keryn said...

Sounds like an interesting race, at least. And way to go on the PR!

Wil said...

WTG in the PR! I hope you've been practicing your prodium face for Steelhead!

Shelley said...

Big congrats to you!!!

Flatman said...

DOn't be so hard on yourself. That was a great race and would have been faster if not for the chain problem!

Way to go...

Phil said...

Event disorganization aside. At the end of the day: great time.

nancytoby said...

Well done! Congratulations! That does sound like some ... interesting race direction. I swear I should go into race directing, if only I could stand dealing with volunteers... !!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about your run time. It too, was long--about 1 mile. However, the swim was short. As much as I'd like to think my swimming has improved, I'm still not capable of a 20:20 1500m. Anyhow, nice race.

Vertical Man said...

To Anonymous: if the swim was short and the run was long, that'd explain a lot. I'd feel better about my times, as they would better reflect my training.

mipper said...

fabulous job on the PR. it sounds like you did really well and came away with a lot even with the disorganized race and the chain incident. i am very proud of you vm! i can just feel 2:30 coming up for you! wtg!