Sunday, July 20, 2014

Kansas 5150 Olympic Race Report

I put this on my calendar a few weeks ago.  I wanted a July triathlon after KC Corporate Challenge Triathlon got cancelled. I considered doing Shawnee Mission Park Tri but we were going to be out of town.

Going into the race I didn't have any specific goals.  Going into this week I didn't feel my bike fitness was in top shape.  This was mostly because I did a bike fit a few weeks ago and I'm still getting used to the new setup.  I feel it will ultimately be a good decision, but I'm working a slightly different set of muscles.  Swim fitness was good and was hoping to see some gains there.  Wasn't sure on the run.  The big impact on the run was the conditions and course.

Kansas 5150 is a qualifier for the 5150 US Championships.  To qualify you have to finish in the top 15 of your age group.  Supposedly you could get a free race entry by finishing in the top 5 in your age group (AG).  I knew top 15 was easily done but wasn't sure on the top 5.  Saturday I was perusing the Kansas 5150 Facebook page and someone asked if the top 5 got free entries to the Championships and they said no.  I didn't investigate that further.

The race is in Lawrence at Clinton Lake, which is about an hour drive from our house.  Unfortunately, there was no local packet pickup so we drove out there Saturday to take care of that (they did offer packet pick Sunday morning).  I'm glad we did that because I wasn't real sure where the race was AND I wanted to drive the bike course.  It was fairly hilly but nothing I didn't see around my area.

Race Morning
We got up around 3:45am to get on the road by 4:30am.  I was pretty tired even after going to bed around 9:30 or so.  There was already a ton of people there by the time we arrived.  There was about a 3/4 mile hike from the parking area to the transition area.  So it was probably 6am by the time we got down there and started setting up.

Photo from a distance.  Note: I'm racking in the wrong spot because I can't read.
The racks were pre-numbered so there was no benefit in getting there early for placement, but that's not why I get there early.  I have a pretty efficient transition setup since everything I need for the bike is on my bike (helmet, shoes, race number, sunglasses).  I have my orange towel that only holds my shoes and visor.  So much different than my first triathlon.

Not sure why I took this from the back.  You can see my shoes on the bike.  #ProTip

A USAT official walked by and I finally got the chance to find out if the race was wetsuit legal.  He said it was 77.9 degrees.  If water temps are 78 degrees or more you can't wear your wetsuit (and be eligible for awards).

Chatting with Ken (Dane's Dad) and Dane.  Discussing water temps.
After walking around with TKB, chatting with friends & teammates (Mark, Mark, Travis, Kevin, Dane, Brian, and others I failed to remember!), and hitting the port-a-pot, I went back to my transition to get my wetsuit and send my Glympse (GPS tracking) to TKB.  Unfortunately, signal was crap and it wasn't working. I also found out one of the temple bars of my sunglasses was broken.  Fortunately, it was encased in rubber, so it still fit but wasn't tight.   They announced transition was closed and trying to get everyone to leave.  I still had stuff to do.  So much for getting there early.  I slapped on some BodyGlide and took off with my wetsuit, goggles, and swim cap.

Swim - 1.5k
The swim wasn't overly crowded but they did have 3 age groups in my wave.  I bumped into a few people near the start and around the turns but that's to be expected.  I was hoping to be a bit smoother in the swim but I was back into my race mode of two strokes and breath.  Going to have to do more open water swims to get that more comfortable.  I had a little trouble sighting at first and near the end.  I took the inside of the last buoy but I was close enough!

Stripping in public is hard to do.

Time: 25:57 / 1:44 per 100 meters / 1:35 per 100 yards
Age Group (AG): 5/27

I was really hoping for some improvements over KC Tri.  My swim time was 2 seconds slower here than KC Tri. (that two seconds may be more about where the timing mats are located than swimming ability)

Transition 1
I almost ran past my bike.  I was ready for a fast transition but I had trouble getting my suit off (shocker).  The first thing I do is put on my race belt and I was having trouble with it fastening shut.  After about 5 attempts I gave up.  I don't need it for the bike (normally I have my cell phone in there with the GPS tracker running, that's why I normally put it on at this point in the race).  I threw it on my shoes, put on my sunglasses, helmet and took off with my bike.

Time: 1:57

Actually not bad compared to KC Tri (3:36).  The transition area was shorter here and I was still putting on my bike shoes in transition in KC Tri.

Bike - 40k
I did my very first flying mount on my bike in a race.  This is where I put my bike shoes on my bike before the race.  So when I go to mount and put my left foot on the top of my left shoe and try to balance while moving.  Then I fling my right leg over the bike seat and start pedaling.  Success!!!  This means I have to strap into my shoes while on the bike but that beats doing it in transition.

The bike had 1,000+ feet of elevation gain and you get a nice chunk of it right out of the gate.  Getting out of the park has a few big rollers.  Once out of the park you turn onto the dam.  It's a very long dam and, with all dams, there is very little protection from the wind.  There was a nice headwind and I was only able to muster about 20 mph.  I was trying to calm the heart rate too before the first big climb just after the dam.

The only solace about the headwind, which I was fighting for most of the way to the turn around, was that you would have a nice tailwind coming back into transition.  I just kept that in my head and pushed as much as I could.  I would have loved to beat my KC Tri time.

Around mile 7 I started seeing the returning Pros who had started 13 minutes before me.  They were CRUISING!  It was pretty amazing.  They were around mile 18.

After the turn around, I was right about the tailwind.  I had a 27mph average 5 mile split but lost that when I hit a hill before the dam. I flew over the dam with the tailwind.

Time: 1:09:30 / 22.3 mph (NOTE: Bike course was long so this average is based on the actual distance)
AG: 3 / 27

They had moved the turnaround out a bit further due to terrain.  (I think they were avoiding having it on a downhill).  My time compared to KC Tri was 3.5 minutes slower but that's partially due to the full extra mile.  I think this time will greatly improve at Chicago (flat course and I'll have more time with my new bike fit).  When you get down to it, my bike times are pretty good compared to others.  I had the 26th best split overall  out of 262 (men and women, all non-pro divisions).  There's always room for improvement though!

Transition 2
I jumped off my bike and ran it to my transition area.  During the bike I was contemplating what to do with my race number.  If the clasp on my belt was broken, I would just carry the whole thing in my hand.  Returned my bike, put on my visor and shoes, took off with the belt in hand... the wrong way.  I lost a few seconds here turning around.  I managed to get my belt clipped by the time I got out of the transition.

Time: 1:02

Run - 10k
Trying to navigate other runners.  I accidentally smacked the ass of the guy standing behind me.
So the nice hill that I mentioned hitting right out of the gate on the bike.  Well, you've got to do this hill on the run as well... twice (2 loops).  I had a few people pass me on the hill but I was able to catch them on the flats and downhills of the campground.  The first mile was 7:16.  So much slower than I wanted but it was due to the hill.  I was able to go under 7 for miles 2 and 3.  The course was somewhat shady and smelled of campers breakfasts.

I was definitely struggling on the second lap but I had a few fish to reel in (or, rather, not be caught).  I was keeping on eye on Mark.  We've been finishing within one place of each other in the last few events, so was trying to take a definitely lead.  I was also trying to stay in front of Dane.  He is an amazing runner and I had caught him on the bike.  Both Mark and Dane started 3 minutes before me, so as long as they didn't finish too far in front of me, I might have a chance!

With the out and back nature of the course, I was able to see where Dane and Mark were.

With about 3/4 of a mile left, I was able to catch Mark.  He had been having some abdominal cramps, so that made it a little easier.  I guess he didn't notice me putting stuff in his water bottles.   Dane, on the other hand, was catching me quickly.  Within the last quarter mile he gave me a little love tap on the butt and off he went!  So close!

As I was entering the finish chute, I heard a spectator cheer on a guy behind me.  I turned, saw him, and kicked hard.  I normally don't have a good kick because I don't have the energy and plus, I just don't have a kick.  Apparently I left too much in the tank but I still got him by one second.

Time: 42:41 / 6:53
AG: 6 / 27

Not bad but not great.  The weather was in good condition, so I should have had a better time.  I think I let the hill mentally get to me.  My run time was exactly 1 minute slower than KC Tri.


Time: 2:21:05
AG: 6 / 27
Overall: 19 / 164

I'm pleased with my finish placement but should have done better.  I qualified for the US 5150 Championships but missed the supposed free registration by 20 seconds.  I'm not sure I am going to do it anyway as it is the week after Chicago Tri but I enjoyed keeping an eye on that.  For the record, anyone can participate in the 5150 Triathlon in Des Moines but having qualified does make it a bit more special!  The cost for 6th - 15th is still greatly discounted over the normal registration.

Race Evaluation
I believe this is the first time Silverback has put on this event.  They also run the Kansas 70.3 Ironman event and they did the Lawrence Triathlon that I participated in last year.  It was kind of annoying they didn't offer a KC packet pickup considering Ultramax was the timing company.  They even cancelled the Friday packet pickup at last minute but at least they offered race day pickup.

Pre-event communication was pretty much non-existent, although I only registered a few weeks before the race.  They may have had more before then.  They did have a Facebook page and they did offer some updates their that media.

Post-race food was typical fare, which is fine.  We still went to Burger Stand and enjoyed some nice beef and specialty dipping sauces for the fries!

I'd still do this race again, especially if trying to qualify for the 5150 US Championships on purpose!  It's the only Olympic distance race in July around these parts, so options are limited.

The Proof
Race Peeps (missing a few):
Tubby McTubberson, Dane, Kevin, Brian

My friend Jill asked how many wetsuits I was wearing.  Seriously, I look huge.

Brian out of the water!

Wolverine (aka, Dane) starting his run.

Marking coming in to start the second lap!

Dane about to start his second lap!  
Rehydrating with some V8 juice.... and vodka..

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for not zooming in on my action shot. I was likely crying...