Sunday, June 3, 2012

Playing Catch-Up

It's been a while since I've written anything on my blog. My apparent lack of interest in blogging and the subject of triathlons in reality couldn't be further from the truth. Since I became the web-guy for my local bike club I've been creating content there to the detriment of my blog. So, if you're ever interested in what's up next for me check out www.BikeSCC.org. That's the website for the Southern Crescent Cycling club. Almost all of the content on the site was written by me, good or bad.  I've also been running, cycling, swimming, racing and more.  Someone has got to put more hours into the day!

With that disclosure out of the way, here's a little of what I've been up to lately.

On April 21st I ran the Run of the Mill 5K and rode the Get Chicken Fit 60K bike ride afterwards.  I finished the 5K 1st in my M50-54 age-group, 8th overall, and 3rd master with a finish time of 19:43.
Run of the Mill 5K / Get Chicken Fit 60K

On April 28th I ran the Race for Riley 5K in the Serenbe community of Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia. The plan was to run the 5K and than ride 65 miles with my SCC club and Ironman Florida buddies.  My wife, Susan was riding the shorter 32 mile route.  After the race I had the opportunity to have a picture taken with Bob Dalton.  I just barely beat Bob for the Masters award last year in the same race.  I beat Bob, not because I'm a better runner but, because he was chit-chatting as he ran and didn't realize I was over 40 years in age.  Bob didn't make that mistake this year and beat me handily.  I had a great run at the Race for Riley yesterday.  Again, I was 1st in my M50-54 age-group, 6th overall, and 3rd master with a finish time of 19:44.  Those results are eerily similar to my Run of the Mill 5K results.  Oddly, I finished the 2011 Summerfest 5K in 19:44 as well.  I think I see a pattern here!  Ironmen Chip, Richard, and Tracey kicked it as well.

The Race for Riley bike ride went well, sort of.  I rode the 65 mile course until about mile 45 when I took a wrong turn - again.  I say "again" because last year, riding with Chip and Richard we took the same wrong turn only to decide soon after that we had had enough and headed back to Serenbe to get something to eat.  That's what happens when the course winds itself so close to the start that you could smell bacon cooking, if someone were cooking bacon.  Anyway, I suppose getting lost the second time is my punishment for ditching my riding partners and going off with a faster group.  I was in 3rd place at the 45 mile point, even though it's not a race.  I had been behind (drafting as much as possible) a Beck Boy and a 7' tall, 58 y/o machine before they left me in the dust.  I ended the day with 56.88 miles.  My will to go on was broken after the wrong turn and I quit 8 miles short of the 65 miles.  Susan rode 33 miles. Good for her!
2012 Race for Riley

May 12th was the AMS Race to the Finish Line 5K/10K race and 30M/65M bike ride at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.  A race before a ride seems to be a common theme.  I won the Masters award for the 10K and was 2nd overall with a finish time of 42:43.  Being second was little consolation however since there were very few runners and the 20 y/o overall winner beat me by almost 6 minutes.  The 10K race was basically 4 loops around the race track.  By the time I was starting my last loop the winner was so far ahead of me that I couldn't even see him.  One thing I noticed about running on the track was how unforgiving the concrete track was.  It made me long for the soft cushiony feel of asphalt.

After the AMS 10K me and my SCC buds did the bike ride.  The plan was to ride 65 miles.  Again, Susan was going to do the shorter 30 mile route while I contemplated the longer 65 mile route.  The weather was cloudy all morning and it started to drizzle as I finished the 10K race.  By the time we were ready to start the bike ride it was an all-out downpour.  We waited a few minutes to let the rain subside before rolling out onto the race track.  The course had the riders line-up at the finish line for the start and complete almost 2 loops on the track before heading out onto the roads of Henry County.  I was surprised to see how steep the corners are on the track.  As we exited the track onto the Speedway Bypass I realized I had Susan's car keys in my jersey pocket.  That meant that Susan, who was smart enough to decide not to ride in the rain, was back at the track without any keys.  I left the group for the 1/2 mile ride back to the start and tossed Susan the keys.  I turned around and tore off down the road to rejoin the group.  By now the group was long gone.  I knew the route so I tried to catch-up.  That effort was thwarted by a leg cramp.  I stopped on a hill and stretched before heading out again.  As I neared the cutoff for the 30 and 65 mile route I had already formulated a strategy in my head.  I would cut the corner and save myself about 2 miles of riding and rejoin the 30 milers.  However, just as I was about to implement my strategy a boy scout and his dad dutifully pointed me onto the course.  "Turn Here" they yelled.  "I wanna go straight" I thought to myself.  My plan was foiled.  There I was again - on the chase.  Both bike groups had awesome police support.  The 65 milers were way beyond my reach but 30 milers were attainable.  As I crested a hill I could see the tailend of the group.  I passed the line of frustrated vehicles to rejoin the 30 milers.  I later learned that the police called me a straggler.  Straggler my butt!  I had covered what had to be a 2 mile deficit in less than 10 miles, with a leg cramp.
Race to the Finish Line

A week after the AMS ride was the Peachtree Int'l Triathlon on May 19th.  Before I go any further I have to quantify my performance.  My wife had me scraping wallpaper and painting our house for six full days before the Peachtree City triathlon. (She called it "wax on/wax off" grasshopper training).  I don't know how much elevation I covered, one ladder step at a time, but I know it was significant.  My legs were sore, my arms were tired, and my neck had a crick in it from painting the ceiling.  Check - Check - Check - my taper was complete, I was ready to race.

My wife and I drove the short distance from Jonesboro to Peachtree City on Friday afternoon to pick up my race packet and checkout the transition area.  We met up with a few friends and Southern Crescent Cycling club members while we were there.

The morning came early for Susan and I.  We had packed the car the night before so that was one thing we didn't have to do at 4am.  That wasn't much of a consolation since Susan and I were leaving for a vacation in Destin, Florida right after the race and the car was packed to the gills.  We arrived before dawn in Peachtree City and parked at a church near Drake Field.  The transition area was well lit and Drake Field was abuzz with activity.  I met up with one of my bike club members, Greg Bush, who was doing the SuperSprint.  We both went straight over to get body marked. 

Susan took a few pictures as we went in the transition area.  I was the second or third person on my rack.  I set up my transition area in minimalist fashion and was about to catch up with some friends when I was told my bike was racked backward.  I quickly turned it around, relocated my gear and was back on my way.  We were taking pictures as I heard my name called over the PA system.  "# 335 please report to your transition area"  What now?  I ran back to my bike to find the female racer next to me on the rack having a hissy fit.  "You have to move your stuff!"  "That's the way I pull out my bike!"  Apparently, this was her first rodeo.  I told her and the other ladies nearby to relax and that it was gonna be a long day for everyone.  I was satisfied to later know that I beat my grumpy rack neighbor by an hour.

Carlos, Tommy, and I waited for the race to start as we spoke to another racer.  The nervous excitement was evident.  We had all been anticipating this morning for months.  Note to self , "do not discuss your past experience with over-training and gross hematuria with strangers".  Susan was not there to throw out the TMI flag.  Within a few minutes we were all in the water time trial style - 2 by 2.  The swim appeared long.  I averaged 2:17 per 100 meters finishing the swim segment in 35: 56.  I know I'm not an efficient swimmer but I'd expected to do better than that.  My prolonged effort was partly due to me going too wide around the buoys. 

I exited the water and ran through the shower to my bike.  My new SCC team tri top had not arrived so I planned to wear my SCC bike jersey instead.  I decided not to wear my jersey under my wetsuit so my transition would take longer than normal as I put it on after the swim.  I'm also a sock wearer so add a few seconds there too.  I was through T1 and on my bike in 2:17 - not too bad. 

The bike segment was my time to shine.  I don't know how many people I passed but I do know that not one passed me, and stayed there.  I was passed shortly by someone but his time in the sun wouldn't last as he was quickly put back in his appropriate location behind me.  I remembered to remove my feet from my bike shoes so I was ready to run from the dismount point into T-2.  I finished the bike averaging 21.7 mph. 

I was out of T2 in 1:13 and onto the run course feeling pretty good.  My pace seemed quick but I wasn't killin' it.  I worked my way past this and that runner going up this short hill, down through that tunnel, and around the corner as the trail wound its way along the paths near Lake Peachtree.  Somewhere near the 4.5 mile point I was passed by one runner.  He would be the only one to pass me since the swim, except maybe someone in transition.  I finished the run segment in 47:11 averaging 7:37 minute/miles.  I've obviously got to improve my run to something closer to a 7:00 minute average to be competitive in the Augusta 70.3 in September.

I finished the Peachtree Int'l Triathlon in 106th place amongst the men.  16 women out performed me.  I was 5th in my age-group which rolled up to 3rd place in the M50-54 age-group.  My time was 2:35:42.  Susan and I didn't wait around for the results to be recorded so I didn't get my award.  We had a long drive to Florida ahead of us and were ready to go.
2012 PTC Int'l & SuperSprint Tri

We arrived in Destin, Florida around 5pm local time very tired.  While in Destin we rode our bikes almost everyday.  They have some nice bike/jogging paths that run along the coast from near Topsail State Park to Seagrove Beach and don't even get me started about how clean it is! 
2012 Destin Trip

So, that's a condensed version of what I've been up to over the past two months.

Thanks for Reading.

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