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Race Result

Racer: Steve Smith
Race: Colonial Beach Triathlon
Date: Sunday, July 14, 2002
Location: Colonial Beach, VA
Race Type: Triathlon - International Distance
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 1:50:28
Overall Place: 5
Comment: Good first race of the season, smokin bike!

Race Report:

I was hoping that Washington Running Report would get the results corrected before I wrote a race report, but it looks like I'm a silent competitor this time around. Too bad, I had a decent race, and I'm really curious about my splits.

I did meet Lee (aka romax2) in the transition area ... Those RATS t-shirts are useful AND stylish. Too bad the weather sucked, I had the RATS banner, but no one was spending much time outside after the race.

I really liked this course. Why it's not a traditional Oly distance race is beyond me (it's a 1000m swim, 40k bike, "10"k run). Maybe there's a sandbar or current farther out. Anyway, the short swim is followed by a fantastic bike with a flat 5-mile+ section before some rolling hills and the turn-around. The run is pancake flat and, IMHO, short. I've never seen so many sub-40 10ks at a triathlon, particularly at a small one. Granted, a small prize-purse brings out a few heavy hitters like Otho Keller, Tim Morris and (not this year) Eric Sorenson. Anyway, no biggee as everyone runs the same course. Just don't get too excited when you PR the run :-)

After an almost-standard Saturday workout (Masters, 50-mile ride w/ 2 pushes (3' & 5') harder than usual, and a return trip *much* easier than usual, followed by a 2.5-mile run) I decided my femur wasn't so bad that I couldn't race.

I packed up the car and headed off for my nephew's first birthday party. Many kids, many games of bomber pilot nephew boy, and some good food & fun with family before I headed off to Fredericksburg for the night. I got in later than I wanted and hit the hay by 11:30 p.m. Colonial Beach is about a 35-minute drive from Fredericksburg, so I was up at 5 and out the door by 5:30, later than I'd hoped.

Sunday proved to be a rainy, wet day, but that was okay. I was running late in the morning, and I didn't have much time to setup for the race, and did not warm-up. Not too big a deal, except that I didn't have a chance to pee, something that would come back to haunt me. Rookie mistake #1 ... arrive late.

With a steady drizzle in the air, there was a slight chop in the water. The swim was pretty choppy ... After Utah you'd think I'd be good at this, but I just couldn't get rhythm in my stroke. I wore my new DeSoto DOS vest. I loved it, perfect of the 70+ water temperatures. (Since I didn't take my splits and since I had some chip problems, the following splits are guesstimations based on my knowledge of my place during the race). I think I finished around 13:30, with about a dozen or more people around me as I got out of the water.

This was my first race-race of the year, my first Oly, on the Cervelo, complete with race wheels. I'd been playing with my position on the saddle recently, and I settled into an moderate-hard effort in the steady drizzle, sitting slightly forward in the saddle. I passed someone in the first 30" before eyeing a group of three up ahead. At this time I had no idea how many people were ahead of me, but I was guessing somewhere between 15 and 20.

Someone came up behind me, giving me reason to up the pace a bit. When we hit the first hill, I gained some distance, but this guy kept coming back on me. This would happen until the turn-around: I would approach the group of three on the hills, dropping the guy behind me; I would lose ground on the bunch, and he would get closer (400m). As we approached the turnaround, I finally got sight of the leaders, two guys WAAAAY out ahead, and a minute or two later, I started the count in quick succession: 3,4,5 ... holy shit, there's the turn around. 6-7-8. I was in 9th. By now my trailing friend was much closer, but he played the good sportsman and gave me room for the turn around on the wet roads. (Man, I must have had a good transition?!)

That was as close as he would ever get.

Something happened at the turn around. I'd never been on the sharp end of the race stick before. Work and some personal things were aggravating me all week. I wouldn't be able to hammer the run given my sore leg ... and ... and ...

... and all hell broke loose with my legs.

Something possessed me I took off like a banshee (not that I was moving slowly to begin with). Within 3 minutes, I'd picked off the (legal) group of three. And then I really put on the speed. Over the next 5 miles I took 5th, passing each person like they were trailers from previous wave. I got glimpses of two guys ahead, but it wouldn't be until the last 3 miles that I passed them, and passed them hard. When I finally took third, we were making the last turn back to transition. I probably negative split the course by 2 minutes and finished in about 58 minutes, or an average of more than 25.5 mph, a PR rate by far. I used only one water bottle and half a bottle of Accelerade on the bike.

Boy, it's neat riding into T2 with only two bikes racked! I rookied the transition, however, overshooting my rack. I was 4th out of transition, and the guy ahead me, Tim Morris, just motored right along. He would eventually smoke the run course in 32' and change to take second. My calves briefly cramped, but nothing like my problems of last year. After 1/2-mile, I never thought of cramps again.

My run was pretty lonely. The course is twisty, starting along the bay before ducking into the neighborhood of Colonial Beach. My femur was there, sore, but not too bad. I was running hard, with some effort, but staying away from true race pace for fear of hurting my leg. About three miles in I was passed. Hmmm, not my age group, there wasn't much I could do about it if he were.

And I still had to pee. I couldn't pee in the water before or during the swim, on the bike ... I tried! But I just couldn't relax. Something to practice?! Yuck. Now I was *really* in no-man's land, all alone. After 1-mile of this, I saw a stand of trees that looked too nice to pass. Oh boy, that felt good ... Just as I jumped out of the trees, I saw the 6th place guy turn the corner. After the race he came up and laughed: "Just couldn't wait, could you" :-)

Feeling MUCH better, I took the last two miles harder. When I saw the 5-mile marker, I turned on the speed, and hammered home. I actually felt great as I pushed the last mile to take fifth overall in my wave (20-39 male) in about 1:50.

After finishing I spotted Mike Orton. Upon seeing him I figured I may drop to 6th (he started in the wave behind me), but he said he had a bad run. He did, however, smoke the swim course for a first-place swim in 10' and small change.

I milled about after the race as it rained and ran into fellow RATS Lark Dunham and Steve Giorgis. We idled about and enjoyed the plentiful free pizza and other race goodies When the timers finally posted results I was not in the results, and I immediately knew why. I'd signed up with my own chip, but raced on theirs. The volunteers mistakenly told chip owners to race with the provided chips. Oh well. Now I know (the chip lady gave me this advice: don't listen to what anyone says. Look at your bib, and race whatever chip number is listed there.)

Bummer, because I'd love to know my splits. As best as I can tell (from being 10th out of T1 and 3rd into T2) I did 13:30, 58:00 and 37:00 with 1:30 in TA. I'm positive that I had the 2nd fastest bike split of the day and, while it would surprise me some, it wouldn't surprise me a lot if I had the fastest bike split of the day (< 56:45). It depends on how good/bad my swim was. All I know is there was a lot of room between me & that first group of three.

Anyway, it was a great race, and I'm really looking forward to returning next year.