Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Over the Mountain Race Report

The Over the Mountain Olympic Triathlon is in it's 14th year in the City of Kings Mountain, NC.  I heard a volunteer say that it had never rained in the previous 13 years.  There's always a first time for everything.  I would guess the name comes from the fact that the bike course goes through Kings Mountain National Military Park and Crowders Mountain State Park.  Obviously there are some significant climbs on the course.  This race is actually a point to point to point race, as I call it.  Not only is it 2 transitions, but the swim start is not at T1.  You swim across the lake to T1.  It's no big deal getting everything setup in the different spots.  As I tell people who try to freak out at a 2 transition race, its no big deal once you've done one.  I've done a few (Try Charleston, Rev3 SC) and Las Vegas is one as well.

I did this race 2 years ago as my first every Olympic distance triathlon.  The swim was a nightmare.  I did not have a wetsuit at the time, which certainly didn't help.  Every single woman was faster than me out of the water.  All but one guy was faster as me as well, but he dropped out later in the race.  So officially I was the slowest swimmer on that day in the entire race.

Over the Mountain does give out a nice bag.  It's really the only bag I've gotten from a race that I actually use.  It is wide so you can fit a pair of shoes in it, and it has padded arm straps and an internal zippered pocket.

Towel from the Finish

Not a bad T-shirt.  Better than the 2011 Version
I did a little scoping on who had entered this race, and didn't really see a whole lot in my age group except for Drew Brashear of Charlotte.  He is typically at the top of the age group in every race and this year he aged up into my old man age group.

29:26 Officially, 9 / 22 Age Group, 61 / 143 Overall Men
My Garmin had 28:53 as I stopped it right when I got out of the water.  The timing mat was a bit up the hill.  I only had few hiccups, as I got knocked around some about a 1/4 mile in, then I swallowed a big gulp of the lake trying to site on the front stretch as well.  About a 1/4 mile from the finish I bumped into some people as well.  That was a bit odd for me as usually by that time I'm all alone between my wave and the next one coming up.  My time was a PR for sure.  My Garmin had 1.00 miles, so I don't think the course was short.  Typically my Garmin records open water swims about a tenth of a mile long (due to me not swimming straight).  I felt really good when I saw that 28 on my watch.  So it looks like all the swim lessons are starting to pay off as my ranking was in the 40th percentile.  Holding a 1:45 ish pace for me is good (even if I do have a wetsuit).  I didn't feel tired or over extended at all (so I guess I should be pushing harder).

2:10 Officially, 1 / 22 AG, 31 / 143 OA
As we got out of the water to run up the pretty steep hill, it was raining pretty good.  I had a little bit of an issue getting the last of my wetsuit off the bottom of my legs.  I think my relatively high ranking T1 time was just due to me running up the hill faster and through transition.  I had my bike shoes rubber banded on and I had put plastic bags on each shoe to keep them dry.  I also put a plastic bag over my helmet and sunglasses.  I decided to forgo the sunglasses and stuffed them into my bag to retrieve at the finish.  I grabbed my bike and I was off.

1:11:28 Officially, 1 / 22 AG, 7 / 141 OA
My Garmin had a 23.2 avg, which I was happy with as I wanted to average over 23 on this tough course.  I was hoping to go under 1:11:00 but the rain slowed me a little as I was cautious on some of the downhills that had a turn at the bottom of them.  Overall the rain really didn't slow me down much.  As is typical in my races, I pass a lot of people on the bike, but this time I had less people to pass as my swim wasn't horrible.  The rain pelted my face hard only a few times, but the roads were entirely wet.  I just kept pushing and pushing.  Going up that final steep climb to Sherrars Gap, I passed the eventual woman's winner, Tara Martine.  Then as I neared the crest I came up on Drew.  As we went over the top I told him it was Hammer Time, and he should come with me.  I only beat him back to T2 by 29 seconds.  (You see, Drew can actually swim.)

0:54 Officially, 6 / 22 AG, 44 / 141 OA
Dismount was flawless, and I had a good spot not too far down.  I had put my shoes and socks in a plastic bag so they were completely dry.  I didn't have my sunglasses, and didn't bring a hat, so just put on socks and grabbed my number and off I went.

38:22 Officially, 1 / 22 AG, Tied for 9 / 141 OA
Drew had a quicker transition so I only had 13 seconds (or roughly 50 yards) on him coming out of T2 (stupid socks!).  I felt pretty good at the start, and was averaging 6:06's for the first 3 miles.  I hit the turnaround at the end of the parking lot and took some water.  As I exited the parking lot, I saw Drew just coming into it.  So I had put roughly another 300 yards on him.  He didn't look great, which was good, because I definitely started to slow after that.  I slowed up a good bit, but didn't fall apart.  The last mile was tough and hit that in 6:25, So I ended up averaging 6:12's for the run.

2:22:19 Officially, 1 / 22 AG, 11 / 142 OA
Drew ended up getting a cramp, so I easily won the age group by 5:44.  Full Results Here. I pretty much dominated the age group as my bike was the fastest by over 6 minutes and my run was the fastest by over 3 minutes.  I was hoping to place a little higher overall (Top Ten would have been nice), but as the race drew near and I saw all the Open guys that were signed up, I was pretty pleased being 11th overall.  (Come on Haycraft, shouldn't you have raced Columbia, or Florida 70.3?!)

Overall a good start to the tri season.  My bike wasn't as bad as I thought it could be due to lack of biking during marathon training.  My run base was sure there, tho.  That part felt pretty good.  It was great to come out of the water still in the thick of things.  There's a lot of swim work to do before Vegas and it's non-wetsuit lake swim, but progress is finally being made!  Next up is the only sprint race I've done since 2011, the local yocal Fort Mill Y's "Slide into Baxter" sprint in June.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Back to Tri Training

All year I had been in Marathon Mode, getting ready for Boston.  I had been swimming and biking, but really didn't have a good routine down.  This week I finally got in a good solid week of SBR workouts.

7,100 yards, 3 swims, 2:34
Still not a lot of yardage, but did get some good quality in (for me).  Had a good 5x200 workout, and my right arm is feeling good (it had been hurting a little in the harder workouts).

162.1 miles, 4 rides, 7:10 (overall 22.6 average)
I got a rare Monday night ride in this week so I ended up with 4 rides.  I didn't ride the day before so I decided to push it for a tempo workout.  It felt good as I did 25M at 23.6 avg.  Thursday I did an interval ride, 7 x 4 min with 3 min rest.  I rode my FLO's with my new disc cover.  I hadn't ridden the FLO's since Rev3 Florida back in October.  I felt strong on that ride and did another 25 miles at a 23.9 average.

Then Saturday morning I got out early and rode.  The weather is unseasonably cool to say the least.  It was about 50 and cloudy.  I got in 51 miles doing the Lake Wylie Shiloh loop and ended up with a 22.2 average.  I did a brick off that ride, so I knew Sunday would be tougher.  I was lucky to get a ride in at all as it was supposed to rain all day.  The rain held off for the most part.  It was still only 52 deg, but I only got rained on a couple of times.  I got 60 miles in going out the Airport and around Fort Mill for a 22.1 average.  My legs felt it pretty good after that.

It turned out to be an awesome week of riding.  My overall average for the week of 22.6 for 162 miles is much better than I thought I could do the first week of May with the (somewhat) deficient bike training.  I'm still 213 miles behind where I was at this time last year.

28 miles, 4 runs, 3:13 (overall 6:54 average)
Got in 10 on Tuesday and 8 on Thursday, both at a 7:11 average Pace.  Both runs felt pretty good.  I did a brick run on Saturday after my 51 mile ride.  I hammered 4 miles for a 6:10 average.  But the last 3 miles I did in 6:14, 5:50, and 5:56 for a 6:00.3 average.  My last run Sunday night in the pouring rain was a interval run.  6 x 2 min with 1 min rest.  It felt pretty tough, and I had a hard time getting my legs going on some of the intervals.  Nevertheless, I came home in a 6:32 average

3 Lifts.  Mon, Wed, Sat

194.1 miles, 11 SBR workouts, 13:42

A good week.  Definitely gives me some confidence going into the Over the Mountain Race in 2 weeks.  I'll be ready if the swim doesn't get me!