Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Race Report: Kansas City Corporate Challenge Triathlon

Back in April I was asked to be a backup for the 30 - 39 Age Group Kansas City Corporate Challenge Triathlon for my company.  Back then I still hadn't participated in a Triathlon and wasn't sure if I would even like doing one.  I eventually accepted the backup position and was soon put into an actual participant role once one of the two participants backed out.  He had already signed up for the the Ironman Kansas 70.3, which was to take place the same day.  This was to be a trial run of things that I wanted to improve upon after the Kansas City Triathlon but before my next "real" race.

If you follow me on Twitter or read my Hospital Hill Half Marathon race report, you will remember that I developed a cold and it really impacted my ability to train this week.  No swim, no run, no bike.  I've also been trying to catchup at work each evening, so my priorities were a bit out-of-whack.  Even still, I still have some residual effects today.

Pre-Race - Saturday
I pulled up my triathlon checklist and made a few changes related to my new toys (Garmin Forerunner 310xt and Edge 800).  Saturday afternoon was packet pickup and athlete meeting.  TKB and I took our bikes down to ride the bike route; however, I rode the route backwards.  Oops.

Pre-Race - Sunday
Alarm kicked off at 4:30am.  I was definitely still fighting some lingering effects of that cold because I was really comfy in bed.  I forced myself out and got dressed.  Bagel with peanut butter and a banana consumed.  By a little after 5:00am, TKB and I were off!

TKB was quite a trooper getting up early to go with me.  We parked in the Theatre In The Park parking lot where I hopped on the bike and TKB rested in the Trailblazer for another hour.

There were no preassigned transition areas.  The earlier you get there, the better the options.  I decided to setup closer to the swim transition entrance and run exit.  Transition setup, potty break, and went from a little jog on the run course.

Not sure what it means, but my front wheel always leans a little to the left on the rack.  Maybe I should have that checked out.

My transition area got smaller with the aero bars.  Thanks Aaron!
Around 6:15-ish, I ran into my company's other 30 - 39 age group participant, Ron.  TKB also arrived from the spectator bus about that time.  I took her to the marina's restroom to avoid the pit toilets.  At that point I took off to admire the water.

The swim is essentially a point-to-point race.  You start at the beach and end at the marina (where the transition area is); however, the only way to quickly get to the beach from the marina is to actually swim there.  Some might complain but it gives you a warm up swim. I met up with Ron around 6:50 and we chatted with a guy from Hallmark, American Century, and Wilson & Company.  The first wave started at 7:00am but our wave was at 7:50.  There was a 30 minute gap between the first and second waves.  The team triathlon were the first wave who swam at 1500 meters and then they removed some of the buoys for the individual triathletes (500 meters).

We swam over in the 80 degree water to the start around 7:30 and waited until they forced us to move over to the actual starting pin. The air temp was around 63 degrees.   I took time to tighten up my goggles because my left side leaked in me during the warm-up.  The start of the swim was in the water, so we were about knee deep (everyone hunched down in the water).  I lined up in the back half of the group.

At 7:50 we were off!  I didn't protect myself as much as KC Tri and had to contend with quite a few people.  I felt like I was fighting way too much and may consider lining up a closer to the front for future triathlons.  I find it hard to believe that this was truly 500 meters.  It sure seemed a lot longer than that.  I apparently didn't have my Garmin setup for swim calculations, because it record .8 miles and the map was all over the place.

My understanding is that the watch wouldn't show actual route if it was set correctly.

My swim technique wasn't that great but I also didn't have my wetsuit.  I felt my legs dropping quite a bit but could never get in a good groove.  Two strokes and a breath pretty much the entire way.  I had some trouble sighting, so will need to work on it.  I did stay relatively close to the buoys though.  The first turn had plenty of traffic and had to tread for a few moments until things cleared up.

Can you see me?  I'm the one in the water.

Time: 11:30 / 2:18 pace
Rank: 90 / 215

Transition 1
No wetsuit to contend with but there was nearly a .1 of a mile jog to the transition area.  I felt like I did much better than KC Tri.  I didn't bother with eating chomps or fumbling with gloves.  I almost felt like I was forgetting something.

The ever important Garmin button press shot.
Time: 1:54
Rank: 54 / 215

My mount still isn't worth watching.  I'm not jumping on the bike but instead of fighting with the clips I start pedaling with whatever grip I can get and clip-in later.  This worked pretty well.  I tried to push it pretty hard and was passing people left and right (well, hopefully more on the left).  This course has some pretty nasty hills, no real long hills but a couple nasty short ones.  I powered through most of them and kept passing people.  As good as it felt, I always had two things in mind:

  1. Many people out there were going for participation points.  It seemed like 20% of the bikes were mountain bikes.  Being the last wave, there were plenty of people to catchup to.
  2. Ironman Kansas was going on this day.  I know of a few people that did that instead of Corporate Challenge.  That means good things for me :).
The bike course is 4.5 miles per loop and the individual triathletes do two loops.  I do want to work on hills simply to focus on the correct gearing and cadence.  Anyone have Lance Armstrong's phone number?

The biggest issue I had was on the second lap.  I dropped my water bottle putting it in the cage.  I've done this on training rides before and it isn't a big deal to stop to get it; however, mid-race?  I didn't even second guess it when I waved goodbye to it.  I just hope no one ran over it.  Fortunately, I was in a pretty open space when it happened.

Time: 30:23 / 17.8mph
Rank: 86 / 215

Transition 2
About .2 of a mile to go I slipped out of my shoes and prepped for a "flying dismount".  I put my bare feet on my shoes that were still clipped into the pedals.  About 40 feet from the dismount line I balanced on my left pedal and jumped off just in time.  I've practiced this twice before and its a keeper!  Ran to my transition.  Slipped on socks/shoes/hat and off!  Well, after I put another athletes bike back on the rack when it popped off after I mounted my bike.

Look Ma!  No shoes!
Time: 1:07
Rank: 106 / 215

This is a 2.4 mile route in which you travel with the bike course for a mile and then into the Shawnee Mission Park trail system for the rest.  Both miles were a 7:55 split with the last .4 at 8:16.  Much room for improvement with training.  There were plenty of hills on this course as well.  A 130 feet incline in roughly a 1/3 of a mile to start off.  Fortunately, there were plenty of downs and I even went "Pheobe" for a few yards on one (just having fun, right).

I wanted to push it pretty hard but just need to do more speedwork training.  I just didn't want to be passed by any other age groupers near the end, but that wasn't successful.  The last .4 of a mile is mostly all uphill.

Wow.  I sorta look like I know what I'm doing!

Time: 19:05 / 7:57
Rank: 79 / 215

Quite happy with my finish only because I know I can do better (which probably means I should be mad at myself).  I just need to space out my races so I don't give myself the excuse of perpetual tapering.  This was the third race in 4 weeks with Topeka Tinman this coming Saturday.  Once Tinman is over, I'll be returning to Shawnee Mission Park to participate in the Shawnee Mission Triathlon on July 10.

I can probably find this facial expression in a race photo for each race... which is unfortunate.

Time: 1:03:56
Rank: 73 / 215
Division: 21 / 65

  • Good
    • It's pretty well organized.  I don't know how many Corporate Challenge Triathlons have been at Shawnee Mission Park but they seemed to know how to keep people from getting lost on the routes.
    • It helped to go to the orientation on Saturday, which made up for the lack of communication that is normally provided in e-mails and websites.
    • Post-race Food was good with chocolate milk, yogurt, bananas, water, pop, orange quarters.  I was pleasantly surprised consider the money that goes into this
  • Bad
    • I believe there were only 8 port-a-potties with 2 of them on the west side of the transition area.  I noticed them when I went for a warm-up jog.  There were flush toilets at the marina but I got there early enough it didn't matter to me.
    • I guess it's somewhat difficult to design a course inside of a park that doesn't require runners to cross the bike course but it was only slightly annoying.  I was in the last wave, so there really weren't any athletes on the bike course.
The Proof

Yeah.. I'm still wearing my swim cap; however, the purpose of posting this photo is the lady off to the left.  I really want to know what she doesn't want to see.

I will eventually start running without socks.

Headed back to my transition area to see if my Edge 800 is still on the bike. 

Very artistic, thanks TKB!
Check back again as there is another photo I plan to take, which is the DST team photo!