Friday, July 19, 2013

Race Preview: Chaska River City Days Sprint Triathlon

I signed up for this race for a couple of reasons. First, it's close to home, and so that's attractive. Second, I wanted to get in another race, I missed a few planned races at the start of the season. And finally, because it fit into my schedule. As an added bonus, the Jeff's will also be there, and I like racing with friends.

Race Info

The race is in Chaska, near the little downtown area there. I believe the race is capped at 300 people, so it's not terribly large. It's billed as a sprint, though it's on the longer side of a sprint, and because this section of Chaska is in a section of land carved out by one of the local rivers the transition area is actually right at the bottom of a hill.

The swim is billed as a 1/3 mile out and back on a very small lake. My guess is the water is quite warm. They say there are no wet-suit restrictions, if the water is quite warm though I probably will not wear mine just to avoid overheating. The start is a time-trial start, unless you identified yourself as elite (which just means you thought you could finish in under 1:25. I did not do that, I did not stop and try to figure out my hopeful finish time till I wrote this.

The bike is a roughly 16 mile course. Much to my surprise I've biked some segments of this course already. So for instance, the first three miles are up hill. That's not even an exaggeration, it's a three mile climb. Since I've done this before I know it's not a super taxing climb, so I know I can not worry about that. After those three miles it's basically rolling hills, and then the last three miles are essentially downhill.

The run is a lollipop that loops at the top of a hill. So it's 1 mile up, l mile loop, 1 mile downhill. I have heard the hill isn't killer, it's just long. Though if my math is right it's a 3.5% grade. So who knows. Besides getting up the hill, I'm actually wondering how coming down will feel. I, for whatever reason, don't like running down hills. It feels quite jarring on my knees.


My overall goal is to have fun. If you go back and look at the my last four weeks of activities this will be my fifth race-pace effort. It's a lot of fun, so I'm going to keep the good times rolling!

Swim7:301:25 per 100 yards
Bike48:0020.5 miles/hour
Run26:008:30 mins/mile

First, that's the criteria for registering Elite. The difference would be that I would start in wave format instead of time-trial and I get to pick an end-of-rack space for my transition area. After that, based on last year's results that would land me in the top 20% overall and top 15 in my age group.

Side note - I'm always a little surprised how much faster small races seem than large races. If I had to guess I'd say that larger races usually have longer distances and the faster racers move to longer distances to give them more time to focus on their specialty. For example, since I'm a strong swimmer, if I can pick up 15 seconds over a .25 mile swim, I'd probably be able to pick up several minutes over a half iron swim. For swimmers that's bad logic to follow though because then the strong runner who can make up 45 seconds per mile on me then gets 10 more chances to build gap on the same race. So I get maybe two minutes, he gets 8.

1:25 should be ok, though honestly the last two times I tried to swim I topped out at 2k yards, I think I'm battling an inner ear thing that makes all the motion of swimming start to wear on me.

20.5 should be doable, the three miles up-hill I think will be a little slow, but I've done this before and it's not terribly taxing, and then when coming back down that will be fast. Headwind down hill might dig into it a little.

8:30 - The plan here is to try not to worry about the hill; trust people who say it "isn't that that bad." Also, I'm going to try to use my watch to push myself. I looked at my splits from lifetime, and what I saw was that during the middle mile I slowed down a lot and then sped up again for the last mile. I wondered if I was just day-dreaming. Which seems silly, but it's possible.

I put down four minutes for transition. Hard to say.

Closing Comments

We got through our four day heat wave, I was out today and it's pretty comfortable. Tomorrow should be a great day for a race. I'm looking forward to a fun time!

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