Thursday, June 20, 2013

Race Report: KC Corporate Challenge Triathlon

Saturday's Topeka Tinman went so well, why not do it again on Sunday!

I knew this was going to happen.  After agreeing to do Tinman with Dane and Joe VI, I had a feeling Corporate Challenge would be on the same weekend.  Since the race I actually paid for was first in the weekend, I didn't mind doing a free race second.

This new year brought some new rules.  Instead of allowing two participants per age group, each company could only designate 1 person.  One of the age groups could have a second participate.  In theory this would cut down the number of participants by roughly 45% (my non-scientific estimate).  Apparently the organizers must have gotten complaints that there were too many people on the course.  Keep in mind that the duathlon was also taking place at the same time.

Here's the deal.  I'm sure many companies have a hard time trying to field a full compliment of participants.  I did some research and it only reduced the number of participants by 18%.  That's 146 people, so it's still sizable.

I'm not sure why I care so much but I think I know another reason why they tried to limit the participants, which I'll get to.

After Tinman, we took it easy.  We went to a party at a friends house and an early dinner of Mac & Cheese at Granite City.  Once we got back I messed around with my bike.  I actually took the tires and tubes off to see what I needed to do to allow it to take air.  I basically reinstalled everything and filled it up.  It was just fine so I put everything back on the bike and packed up for Sunday.

We took off for the park around 5:45am after the normal morning ritual.  Everything was going to be the same except I didn't bother with my bento box.  Parking was out in the grass of Shawnee Mission Park and it was a mess.  It had stormed on Saturday so everything was still muddy.

I took my bike off the car rack and started to top off the air, just like Saturday.  No go.... or should I say "No flow".  I decided it was still pretty full plus there should be bike support at the start so I can have them help.

It was a long trip to the transition area (probably a mile or more), so I hopped on the bike and rode to the transition area while TKB was taking a bus.  While riding I started hearing a rhythmic "thumping" noise on my back tire.  Was it mud?  No big deal, I'll check it out in the transition or have the onsite bike mechanic review it.

Once I pulled up to the transition area, I noticed something else quite odd. Something I've never seen at a triathlon (granted, this was only my 8th and 4th at Shawnee Mission Park).  There were lines leading into the transition area.  Sure, you normally have body markings creating lines but we had tri-tats for this one.  Most people applied those before arriving and  I already had them on.  No.  They were checking bags!!!  As in going to a sporting event and the event crew check the contents of your bag.  I have this HUGE transition bag.  So large it probably won't work as carry on.  This was going to take forever.  When I finally got to the front, the person asked me to open my bike bag too.  What?  This tiny bag is holding two tubes, tools, 4 CO2 cartridges, tire levers, CO2 adapter.  It was going to explode when I opened it. This was going to be a headache.

Fortunately she just wanted me to open the bag, not purge the contents.  It didn't add too much time but it was a little annoying.  I'm sure they are going to do this for SMP Triathlon in 3 weeks.  This may also be why they wanted to limit participants.

I found a transition spot near the swim exit and run start.  I got everything set up and met up with TKB.  We chatted with coworkers and then headed over to the marina for real bathrooms.  I took note of the port-a-potties and they seem to have twice as many as normal.  Nice!

After the bathrooms it was 5 minutes from closing the transition.  Once they called the transition area closed, I noticed I didn't have any of my swim stuff.  So I got my warm-up run in by sprinting to the transition and getting my cap, goggles, and watch.

My swim start wasn't until another 40 minutes.  If you remember from my comments about Tinman, I enjoyed starting almost right away because apparently I get fidgety.  So fidgety that I dropped my Forerunner 310xt and it hit the concrete so perfectly it smashed the screen.  Crap.  It obviously serves no purpose during the swim, and I have my bike computer for the 2nd leg.  But I was going to be running blind.  That's not necessarily a bad thing because the last time I did a race without the Garmin, I got my personal record in the 5k.

As usual, we have to swim about 200 meters to the beach from the marina.  This provides a nice warmup.

Getting ready for my warm-up swim, sans-digitalry clockage.

Swim - 500 Meters
The swim was also a little different this year.  They did a time trial start where they released two triathletes at a time about 5 seconds apart. I do like this because you don't have the washing machine effect at the start; however, you never really get a good "pocket" to get comfortable in the swim.  Since they don't line people up by swim capabilities, you continually run into swim slower swimmers.  If you are lucky, you get paired with someone slightly faster so you can draft off of them.

I felt like I took a good line because I was consistently swimming against the buoy line.  It also led me to swim real close to the dock at the boat launch where TKB was waiting.  I tried waving a few times on my recover stroke.
Me in the middle trying to wave
Swim, swim, swim turn, swim, turn, swim, swim, BEACH.  I felt pretty strong on the swim considering I didn't use my wetsuit.  The race was wetsuit legal.  Actually, this race is always wetsuit legal regardless of water temps.  I felt strong because I was passing a lot of people and I also passed a guy who chose to wear a wetsuit.

Time: 10:18
Overall: 57 out of 218

Because this was a beach start instead of a water start, I probably added some time because we started earlier in the lake.  I wonder if they accounted for this?

Transition 1

I caught TKB by surprise as I was running out.

Another long run to the transition.  It's longer than Tinman and also uphill most of the way.

Time: 1:54

Bike - 9 Miles (2 loops)
Traffic Jam!
After getting on my bike we were led to the road via cones.  About 50 feet before I could merge I heard Eric yelling at me as he passed (he was doing the Duathlon and starting his second lap).  I hollered back and met up with him after a while and wished him luck (I think, I can't remember!).

Shawnee Mission Park is decidedly hilly.  The first half is nasty while the second half is pretty flat.  I was ready to push it hard on the ups and downs.... until I heard that rhythmic thumping noise on my back tire again.  Crap!  All the bag check hoopla distracted me from checking it out.  I decided to push the ups and be semi-cautious on the down hill.  One of the downs has a turn at the bottom, so I kept it real easy there.

While riding on the dam the first time, I saw Brian running with his wife Jill.  They came out to SMP to do a run and managed to avoid the mass of corporate humanity.  So I yelled down to him and gave them a wave.

The first lap went quickly.  I couldn't believe my time.  My second lap also went pretty fast.  For some reason I told TKB it'd take me 30 - 35 minutes to complete.  It took me 25!

Feet out of the shoes for a jumping dismount.
Time: 25:02 / 21.5 mph
Overall: 18 out of 218

Successful flying dismount!  No flying shoes!

Transition 2

I ran my bike to my transition pretty hard, so I was feeling good on the legs.

Time: 55 seconds

Run - 3.2 Miles

Also new this year was an extended run course.  You still have to run up the dam hill (sucks) but fortunately the additional mileage was a relatively flat section.  There were plenty of people on the course since the duathlon had started 40 minutes before me.  Plenty of people to pass.

No Garmin so no splits to check.

I counted two or three people pass me.  Unfortunately, the two that I remember were in my age group; however, I didn't know the division.  These people were speedy.  One was so speedy, a part of the bottom of his shoe flew off in front of me!

I hit the uphill section from the trails onto the road and then up to the finish.  The last hill wasn't as bad as I though, considering I had pushed hard 7.5 miles the day before and I was pushing hard all day.  But the last hill is exactly that, the last hill.  The finish line was at the top!

Time: 23:52 / 7:28 pace
Overall: 38 out of 218


Time: 1:02:02
Overall: 28 out of 218
Company Division: 13 out of 52
Age Group (30 to 39): 12 out of 74

I was pretty thrilled with my bike leg.  I was .6 mph average faster than at Tinman.  While this was half the distance, it had the same amount of elevation gain in those 9 miles versus 18.  My run was quite a bit faster but I think being a shorter distance helped.  The lack of humidity helped as well!

I was surprised I was still 10+ minutes on the swim but that is what it is.  I will need some actual instruction to seem some decent gains there.


Interesting.  I just realized I didn't wear my sunglasses, not that they were necessary.
While cooling down and taking a team photo (well, only a few of the 15 coworkers there), I caught up with Brian and Jill.  I hadn't met Jill yet, so it was great to see them both.  Brian is the triathlete that just moved here from California and we've been doing some weekend bike rides together.

Eventually we got home and I took full advantage of my post-race(s) meal: Five Guys Burgers and Fries!

Later on Sunday I did some research and it turns out the bike tube was keeping the tire from seating correctly.  Check out this post for more info.

Some of the company Du and Tri participants!  Photo courtesy of Scott Ellis, third from the left.

The course setup for the team triathletes as they were doing 1,000 meters.  Suckers

Sexy breathing photo shot

Flipping the shield into position.

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