Sunday, July 21, 2013

Race Review: Chaska River City Days Sprint Triathlon

This was my first time at this race, and actually I think I hadn't even heard about it till last year. It's a sprint with a cap at 300 people. I had heard it filled up, though I think the results show that not everyone who signed up showed up, or maybe it didn't fill.

Packet Pickup

Packet pickup was available the day before at the Chaska community center. It was pretty low stress, walk in and they hand you (not in a bag or envelop, just loose) your three numbers. They also had some stuff you could elect to take (or not) so I picked up a mug and some lock laces, and signed up for the prize drawing to take place at the end race. Same day pickup was available too, but that's just too much for me to think about on race day.

Race Morning

The race started at 7:30, Chaska is about a 20 minute drive from my house, so I was thinking I'd get there around 6:30, leave at 6, get up at 5:30. That's practically sleeping in for a race :) It was sort of tough getting up, there was a Bret Michaels concert down the street from us that went till midnight, so that cut in on some of my sleep.

I woke up for whatever reason around 5, went back to sleep for about 3 minutes and then just got out of couch and started the morning ritual. I was out of the house by 5:30. I tried to drive slow, as I think transition didn't open till 6, got to the race site at 6:03 (or there abouts.) I was one of the first people there.

I found a place to put my bike, went and picked up my chip, got body marked and just sort of hung out. I wasn't feeling super awesome, I think whatever had been bothering me the weeks before was still hanging on. I saw one of the two Jeff's from work, he said the other didn't get in and wouldn't be coming. Then my wife and kids showed up. It's super fun to see them, the kids are always so much fun.
Wow - I've seen better pictures of me. Not the kids though, this one is a great one of them
Testing out the water. The announced temperature was 88!! It was like bath water

The Swim

Time trial start - lining up to go. I see FOUR wetsuits in this shot. It was like BATH WATER. I have no cap on, not required or provided.
First off, here's a tip. If someone tells you the water is 88 degrees, but you can wear your wetsuit if you want, immediately take off your wetsuit. I don't care if it makes you feel better to have it on, that's HOT and likely not terribly safe to swim in. I know this goes against stuff I have said before where I said I would wear my wetsuit whenever allowed, that's downright HOT. Say it with me "My wetsuit is not a life jacket, it will not keep me from drowning, I know how to swim and I will be fine."

The swim was a counter clockwise swim around a lake. The advertised distance is 1/3 of a mile, which is a little less than 600 yards. The lake is so small that the swim basically takes up the entire lake. Swim from one end to the other and back.

Action shot of me in the water. Here you see man in wetsuit from previous shot. I'm betting he's already overheating.

Overall the swim felt fine, not too much traffic. At this race they seemed to take little breaks every once and a while between swimmer starts, and we were definitely more than three seconds apart. So there wasn't much congestion. Though I did at least one time have to change course to get around two breast strokers and a side stroker. That's the second race in a row I've seen a side stroker, having had to learn side stroke for some reason in high school, I don't quite know why people choose it, as I think it's a pretty hard stroke to do.

Out of the water on my way to the bike
For the ladies!
I just realized that that picture is of me standing up in transition. It wasn't long ago I used to sit down in transition. Also this is a great shot of my tri suit, Made by blue seventy, if you're in the market, I do recommend them. Quite comfortable, you don't feel naked, but you also don't notice the suit.

During transition I was feeling a little light headed, so I took it kind of easy.

The Bike

Heading out, my head had cleared by now and I was ready for the bike

This bike course starts with 3 miles that are basically all up hill. It's not some super impossible climb or anything, but it is all up hill. I'll admit it, this part just seemed to drag out. It was, obviously, harder than the last time I rode it since I'm racing. The other thing I noticed was there seemed to be a little bit of head wind. So I keep head down and look for the turn toward home. This loop is sort of like a large rectangle. Up to Victoria, and then back to Chaska.

Great day for a race - car or pedestrian

How can you pass up adorable pictures of my kids! You can't I put them right in the meat of the good stuff!

Kids are great, spend two hours at the park and between cheering for dad and begging drink his water and eat his food they make friends.

During the bike my legs felt like lead, and I was feeling quite tired. My stomach was feeling a little odd, as a result I couldn't really take much water without feeling ookie. On the other hand the race seemed to be going along just fine, so I just tried to just put that out of my head.

Besides normal rough road (which was driving me nuts, and possibly limiting my ability to have more children) the race went fine. There was some very light rain, but nothing significant. I had a great time on the way back down the hill and was feeling pretty good coming into transition.

Staying areo as long as possible

The lady there passed me around 7 miles into the bike and I passed here a mile or so later. She went on to place in her age group. In this shot I am still winning our little race. And while it may look like I'm walking, I'm not, I am running, very fast, cheetah cheetah, on a full tummy of milk

The Run

First things first, Jeff had told me the hill wasn't bad. That's not true, it sucked, and seemed to go on forever. I did NOT let it get me down. I just went through it. I tried to keep my brain on keeping a good pace. Occasionally I would need to just pick up the pace. There were some light rain showers, and that felt great.

The middle mile is nothing special. And the last mile is downhill which is much more pleasant than up hill.

The one thing I will say about the run is that it's pretty well protected. The first and last mile cover almost the same route, and to make space they close a lane of traffic. So uphill you run on the road and downhill you run on trail next to the road. It was nice to not worry about traffic - either car or human.

The Finish

"Where is that guy, I got sand to dump in my hair"

Look at that emotion, that's how people want me to look. My wife really got a good shot of this guy, he really looks like he's gutting it out. Another open chested shot of me. I watched a video of an Ironman race and I noticed that racers are zipping up there suits heading into the finish. Point taken.

Like the first mile is up hill, the last mile is down hill, so that's a good feeling. I had tried to keep my feet in the fire, and I came across the line pretty much ready to lay down. After that, got my results which were ready immediately (nice touch) and got some food. The kids played at the play ground, then we packed up my stuff in my wife's car. The kids crawled in and it started to rain and they left.

I hung around to watch the awards ceremony. One thing that struck me is that there are people 20 years older than me putting up faster times, so that made me feel good about my age.

Also, I won some sort of id bracelet from the prize drawing, that was kind of neat.

The Results


Overall I'm happy with this, I felt a little off during the race, so much so that during the bike I was down right grumpy. But the run cheered me up, and in the end I had a good race. We see +50 from the swim, +5 from the bike and -30 for the run. The rest of the time came from transition times.

The Swim
If my goal was accurate on estimated pace (which may not be true) then I missed by a bunch. I glanced through the times, I put up a top 10 overall time, so I'm wondering if the swim wasn't a little long. That's the way it rolls.

The Bike
Actually I am quite surprised I hit this. With about 5 miles to go I was pretty sure I would miss the goal time. Unlike during the last race - where there was one time I found myself just pedaling - I didn't find myself doing that this time. The effort felt decent, and is inline with expectations.

The Run
First - I'm proud of myself. I did not give up on the hill, near the end I really wanted to. But when we crested the hill I took a moment to gather my thoughts (but not walk) and then just tried to remember to keep pushing. I'm happy with the results. This run I believe is the season best for me, so I'm going to take it.

7th in my age group, 10 minutes out of first, and 5 minutes off the podium. Though only seven seconds from 6th. While I was listening to the awards I did take note of something. 1:24 is a pretty good time. Here's what that gets you in other age groups

  • 2nd 16-19
  • 3rd 20-24
  • 2nd 25-29
  • 3rd 30-34
Here's what threw me off
  • 7th 35-39
  • 6th 40-44
  • 7th 45-49
And then back to being podium worthy
  • 3rd 50-54
  • 1st 55+
I noticed this last year at Maple Grove too, I'm right in the thick of the fast group, and honestly I'm doing ok, and I feel like I've got room to grow.

Closing Thoughts

The race is pretty low key, and people seem to like it. The transition area is not blocked off, they don't have rules about non-racers in transition when the race is not in progress, and stuff like that. Still though, the course is well marked with people at every corner. It has a good group of volunteers and the course isn't a walk in the park. Though, you will have the unusual feeling of being able to negative split both the run and the bike, which will make you feel great, next week when you're looking at your splits :)

It was a fun race, and I'd definitely recommend it.

Next week my daughter is doing her second triathlon, my son is doing his first and I'm just there to cheer. Then two more races and I'm done at the end of August. Summer has FLOWN by, but it's been a ton of fun.

1 comment:

Amy said...

That looks like the most relaxed - casual tri I've ever seen but seems well organized. I like it!

88 with a wet suit. Just thinking about it makes me light headed. I get dizzy when I swim in too warm water.

Great job on the race. I'm trying to convince my kids to race coming up. They are sadly not that into it.