Friday, August 30, 2013

New Racing Digs

I've been racing in my LG Comp Tri Suit for the last 2 years.  I actually really like it, and I say it that way because I got it for $50 on sale.  So for that amount of cash it has been awesomely worth it.  I've never really seen a need to go to a 2 piece race setup, even though a lot of people racing in the half distance go that route.

The only thing is that the suit is 100% black, and unabashadly so.  Racing in Las Vegas in September got me thinking.  I felt I really needed a setup that was cooler on race day, so I kinda started looking around.  I still didn't want to spend a ton of coin, so when I saw the TYR competitor series and the summer 25% discount I thought I would give it a shot.

I ordered online and it shipped quickly enough, but unfortunately it came from California, so it took a while.  I also got a swimsuit that was marked way down.  Its kinda a cross between a square and a brief.  Whatever, it was dang cheap.

So obviously I went with the lime green color to match Green Lightning.  It looks sharp and fits nice and tightly.  It has a front zipper, which I'm used to .  I really like the look of it. Did I say that already?

But the biggest thing is the back of the top, which will be exposed to the Vegas sun for 2+ hours straight.
The mostly white top should help sufficiently on Race Day.  The only thing I don't like is the big bike jersey type pocket in the back.  It really doesn't pass the 'aero' eyeball test.  I'm planning on cutting it out before Vegas.

One of the reasons I had been hesitant to get a 2 piece tri race setup is that for non-wetsuit swims I just felt there would be a lot more drag in the water.  So when my wife asked me what I wanted to buy for my summer bonus, and that she was sick of me getting bike stuff, a swimskin was the perfect solution for everything.

So I debated between the BlueSeventy PZ3TX and the TYR Torque.  I knew James at IOS was big on the B70, so I talked to him about it and he let me try on the one he had to check the fit.  His 'small' was perfect so I placed the order through IOS and they told me it was backordered for like 6 weeks.  Luckily 2 weeks later it shipped.
It came in this nice little bag.

Pretty sweet looking.  It fits pretty tight, but you get used to it.  Its not much tighter than my trisuit when I'm wearing a wetsuit.  It unzips in the back.  It has a nice little feature with the zipper in that when the zipper pull is down it unzips like normal.  But when the zipper pull is up you can just pull it apart.  So you don't need a string or anything like in a wetsuit.

So I wore everything for the Stumpy Creek Race.  I wore my Zoot tri shorts that I train in all the time to go with the TYR top.  Overall it went pretty well.  I had a little trouble getting the swimskin zipper pulled back as I was tugging on the tri top instead of the swimskin initially.  And I was still slow as dog crap in the water so no miracles there.

The tri top was a little tight around my mid section.  Something I'll have to get used to and maybe it will loosen some.  But next race I won't put it on until as late as possible.  It was uncomfortable all morning as I drove 45 minutes to the race site.

This is the setup I will race in Vegas as there will be no wetsuits there.  Highs of 100, and lows in the upper 80's.  I will surely look like a pro, so we'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dark Speed Works Storage Pack

I'm always working on trying to "clean up" my bike, in an aero sense.  I put my main hydration bottle between arms on my aero bar.  I've never raced with a second water bottle, even at Augusta 70.3 last year.  But this year, with Las Vegas looming, I knew I needed a second bottle.  I also wanted to keep it off the seat tube.

So the logical place for a second bottle is behind the seat.  I have my flat kit bag located back there, but I knew there were better options for that.  Enter the Dark Speed Works Speedpack 483.  This particular model is designed to attach to the top tube alone.  Because of the cable routing on my B16, it isn't really viable to use the stem to hold any sort of pack on.  This pack specifically designed to mount without using the stem or steerer tube.

So for Father's Day I was able to finagle an order from Dark Speed Works.  It took about 10 days to ship so I got it just after Fathers Day

The package came with the pack, velcro stickers, some shrink tube for the zippers, and somewhat lengthy instructions.

The pack has 3 straps and the general idea is that you wrap the straps around the top tube to hold the pack on.  However, in order to make sure it doesn't go anywhere you also put 3 stickers with velcro on the bottom on the tube so It can't slide anywhere.  These stickers attach somewhat permanently so quite a bit of the instructions help you place them in the right spot.

I got 3 extra velcro stickers.  You would need them if you wanted to put the pack on another bike.  I just got them just in case.  

I first put the pack on without the stickers and rode it without anything in it just to get the feel of it.  The wrap around straps rubbed my legs quite a bit at first.  Then I trimmed back the straps so there wasn't any excess and that helped a lot.

The pack also comes with a plastic insert.  This helps with the rigidity of the pack.  I think It's a good idea, especially since I will be stuffing CO2 cartridges and tools in there for my flat kit.

So here is the initial look on Green Lightning.  My legs don't hit it except for every once in a while.  It is definitely something I have had to get used to when stopping and unclipping as there isn't much room between the pack and my seat.  I was just barely able to fit everything in there that I had in my old pack.  For some reason I thought it would have more storage space.  I was hoping to get everything in there and more.  But it serves it's purpose as a flat kit and frees up my seat for a bottle mount.

This is after my first race with the pack. I don't even notice it any more which is good.  Overall I'm very pleased.  It took a little longer to get it all mounted on there, but once it is done, it is pretty seamless.  I was hoping for more storage space, but looking at it now, I wouldn't want the pack and longer and wider (maybe higher?).  Now I just need to rig up a water bottle holder behind my seat and I will be ready for Vegas!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Stumpy Creek International Race Report

This is the third year in a row that I have done this race.  It will be my last. I've come to the conclusion that I don't particularly care for the course.  I really don't like the swim course, the bike course or the run course.  Why have I done it 3 straight years?  Timing really.  It just seems to always work out well to have an oly distance race in early August when my "A" race is in September.  So even next year if my "A" race is in September I will look to another venue.

I got up at 4am, made a bagel with peanut butter and hit the road around 4:20.  It took me not quite an hour to get up there and get parked.  Probably less if I hadn't missed Stumpy Creek road the first time.  I had not picked up my packet early, but there wasn't any waiting to get my packet, my chip, or get marked.  That all went pretty quickly.   So I spent the next half hour setting up transition and putting on all my numbers.  I cut my bike number so I could kinda fit it around my down tube.  Please Setup Events: get some bike numbers that aren't a PITA to find a good place to put on.  Get some stickers that easily wrap around the seat tube up near the seat.  Its not that hard.  Every other production company has better bike stickers than this. [/RANT OFF]

Race Day Setup
I visited the port-o-let, and got my swimskin on and headed down for a warmup.  The water was noticeable cooler this year (82 deg) compared to last year's 90 degrees.  I did a warmup, felt good, and waited for the start.

34:51, 1500M (long) 22 / 40 Age Group, 114 / 210 Overall

I had high hopes for the swim this year.  I had gotten a swim coach and had some good workouts in the last month.  I even got a speedsuit for these non wetsuit races.  I mostly got the speedsuit for Vegas as there will be no wetsuits there.  I started in the second wave which was male 35-44.  There wasn't too much jostling.  I did swallow a bunch of water in the first 400, but recovered pretty well.  I didn't get punched in the face at all.  I really don't have too many excuses, but I was slow.  I did swim a minute faster than last year, but I was hoping for 2 or 3 minutes faster.  My swim workouts all week were slow and it felt hard, so I know I might be in trouble in this race.
200 Yard Splits

0:59, 8 / 40 Age Group, 48 / 208 Overall

Not too bad, took a little longer to get the swim skin off, but relatively quick.

1:08:14, 27 miles (23.8 avg) 1 / 39 Age Group 5 / 208 Overall

I was hoping to be able to average 25 mph and come in under 1:05.  I just didn't feel it in the beginning.  I ended up 55 seconds slower than last year, which really surprised me.  Most of that was lost in the first 10 miles.  Just couldn't get it going.  I made up some time in the last 12 miles but not enough.  The road quality was really bad.  My lower back was sore and both my buddies said the same thing.  I think it was from being bounced around so much.  My rankings were pretty good, though.

1:10, 15 / 38 Age Group, 76 / 208 Overall

Not too good.  Put my bike in the wrong spot, and had to move it.  I couldn't get my socks on quickly.  Overall I felt slow in T2 and it showed.

38:40, 6.13 miles (6:18 avg) 1 / 38 Age Group, 6 / 208 Overall

Despite my bike I actually felt pretty good coming out of transition.  I hit the first mile in 6:09 and felt ok.  The hills are pretty much relentless on this course.  Not mention the big climb in miles 3 and 6.  The second mile was good at 6:13, then I started to fade.  Though I did hold on to 6:26's in miles 5 and 6.  I had a good finish as I passed the #2 guy in my age group with about a half mile to go.  Drew Brashear was way ahead, so I didn't really have to worry about him.
Constant hills affecting pace

2:23:51, 2 / 38 Age Group, 15 / 208  Full Results HERE.
Swag Shot
About 1:15 faster than last year.  Roughly 1 min faster swim, 1 min slower bike, 1 min faster run.  Hopefully all I really need is rest.  Despite taking this past week easy, I felt pretty tired going into this weekend.  I've basically had a 6 week training block without a full rest week.  The swag was nice, I will say. I got a  folding chair for placing in the age group. I do like the socks as well.  Now I have a red pair, blue pair, and green pair.  I even like the lime green shirt as well.

Fort Mill Felt Mafia

But just 5 weeks to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas!  I'll get in a few good weeks and be sure I take my full 10 day taper to be ready for that one.  I hear the pavement is silky smooth.  I can't wait.