Friday, July 29, 2016

2016 Cane Creek Sprint Race Report

After Muncie 70.3 I felt myself in a little bit of a lull.  I had 2 half iron races that I was signed up for, and was really looking forward to.  Truthfully however, after qualifying, I felt a slight dropoff in motivation.  So this one Monday at swim, Paul asked me if I'm doing the Jimmie Johnson.  I say, don't really know what your talking about.  He's like, it's this Tuesday night race, a bunch of the EPT people are doing it, you should check it out.

Check In Pavilon
So I did.  It piqued my interest.  I got the OK from the wife and signed up the week before the race.  I hadn't done a sprint triathlon since June of 2013, over 3 years.  I don't know why I don't seek out these local races more.  I remembered thinking that I enjoy racing with a bunch of my friends at Stumpy Creek last year.

Interesting "Slap On" Chip Bands
So on that random Tuesday in July, I went to work with all my gear packed in my car.  I put my bike, main bag of gear, and drinks in my office.  Why do coworkers feel the need to touch my bike? I'm glad they like it, and think it's cool and all, but look with your eyes. But I digress.  I left at 3pm to try and beat the traffic, and because it would take a good hour to get there from the north side of Charlotte.

Checking In
So around 4pm I pull into the grassy parking area. I noticed that people were getting their bikes ready there and bringing them and their gear as they walked to transition and packet pick up.  I didn't know how far it was, so I decided to do the same.  I went to work organizing some stuff and getting my tires pumped up.  I put on some sunscreen because it was hot: 97 degrees.  I worked up a good sweat before I headed over to transition.
Who gets to rack right next to Jimmie Johnson, Hmmm.
I'm glad I brought everything with.  It was a good haul to the transition area.  Down and up a little dip in the gravel trail as well.  When I finally got to the transition area, I parked my bike up against a tree, put my bag down, and went over to packet pickup.  They had a swag bag, race cap, run bib, and a hard plastic bike number.  Kinda like at Kona or the 70.3 WC, except they gave tie wraps to attach it to your bike.
So I played around with that a bit until I was content with the mount.  I went over and hung my bike on the rack.  The entire transition was first come first served spots.  Except that they did have an "Elite Only" rack. There was plenty of room there.  The Fillnows were already in, and I racked next to Cody Stadler. I put my bag down and decided to get out the transition area and hydrate a little.  Transition was a parking lot in full sun.

I walked down to the water to check everything out.  Sandy beach start and finish. I checked out the restrooms and then went back into transition to get everything setup.  I went with the minimal setup: no swimskin, no socks and no visor for the run.  Once I had everything in place, I set my bag over by the fence on the edge of transition.  I still had about 45 minutes, but I gathered my swim goggles and cap, and wandered back down to the water to sit and rest for a bit.

I found EPT racers Kelly and Sarah and sat with them at a picnic table.  I drank some of my pickle juice and we talked for a bit.  I noticed some people warming up in the water, so I thought I might do that.  So I walked over to the beach area.  Then I found a bunch more of the EPT team and hung out with them for a bit.  They made a quick announcement about the start, then Jimmie Johnson talked.  He thanked everyone for coming and thanked the sponsors.  They did the national anthem, and then I did get in a short warmup, maybe a 100 yards.

The Elite wave went off first at 6pm.  Men were at 6:05, then women and relays were 6:15pm. There were only 10 of us in the Elite wave, which was nice.  Definitely not too crowded.  They called us to come down the chute with about 5 minutes to go before the start.  We lined up at the edge of the water and waited for the countdown.

5 Males in Elite Division, 10 Elites Total
Swim 500 Yards
Officially 9:50.7,  5th Male Elite, 10/10 Elite, 57th Overall / 245 Finishers
Hit lap on the Garmin when I popped out of the water.  It had 9:00.5 and 504 yards, so a 1:47 per hundred yard pace.  I tried to go as hard as I could.  I pushed pretty well to the first buoy, averaging 1:36 per hundred for the first 200 yards.  I really wasn't that far behind then.
That's me in the middle in the back
 I started having issues breathing and started breathing every stroke.  That pretty much went for the whole second half of the race.  It's harder to swim straight when you constantly are breathing on one side of your body.  Plus your neck tends to hurt the next day.

The water was warm. Really warm.  Seemed warmer than the year I did Stumpy Creek and the water was 88 degrees.  I don't think it really affected me.  I typically like warm water.  But maybe the combo of the water temp and the air temp made it harder for me to breathe.  But this was about the fastest I've ever swam for open water.  Too bad it was only 500 yards.
Not being in this throng made my DFL worthwhile
Officially 0:42.0, 3rd Male Elite, 6/10 Elite,
I popped up out of the water and got onto the beach. I was DFL.  I tried not to think about that and just tried to sprint up the beach and up the hill.  I made it past all the women waiting to start and half way up the hill before I could hardly breathe and had to slow down.  I trotted the rest of the way and tried to calm down a little. The timing mat was right at the entrance to T1.
Hill Up to Transition
I slipped my shoes on and then put my helmet on and then grabbed my bike and I was off.  Still breathing hard I got across the mount line and got on.

Officially 32:54.4, 2nd Male Elite, 2/10 Elite, 2nd Overall
Garmin 510 had 12.94 miles in 32:59 for a 23.5 mph average on 210 watts. I climbed up the initial hill onto Harkey Road out of the saddle.  Then I got comfortable and tried to push to get going.  I really couldn't though.  Then I realized I was still in the small ring.  So I shifted up and tried to crank it out. My chain came half off the ring and kinda got stuck. I rotated the ring back a little and then forward.  No luck.  I decided to give it one more shot before I had to stop and fix it.  That did the trick and I got it going with out stopping.
 For some reason, I just couldn't generate watts.  For the first 3 miles, I couldn't get anything over 250 watts.  I thought I could crank this thing like a 2x20 workout and be up in the 270-280 range for the whole ride. Then I must have drank a little too much before the race, as a little came up and I spit it out.
Climb out of Transition
Here I am looking at the average on my Garmin, like my Garmin is broke or something.  Seriously, I'm like I wonder if it was recording 0 watts while it was sitting in transition.  I think it was just an accumulation of my training day Saturday (tempo ride and run in the heat), the air temp (97) and the hot swim.

My first 5 mile split was at 199 watts. I'm like Watt the F*&%$!  I had caught the first guy ahead of me pretty quickly.  Then I caught a couple of the women.  Then I was pretty much by myself for a while.  My watts finally started to creep up and started to make up some time.

The roads weren't that smooth, but I knew that going in since I've started riding out this way more this year.  A few turns, but you could take them pretty quickly.  Eventually I started seeing another rider. I pushed and eventually passed Meghan Fillnow.  Then I reeled in Jen Keith.  I gave them both words of encouragement as I passed.
Coming into T2
But his meant I was still in 4th place.  My second 5 mile split was still only 231 watts and 24.0 mph, but I did gain some ground.  It didn't feel too hot, but I was breathing pretty hard.  Soon after 10 miles, I saw the next rider.  I came up on him and it was Zach Capets.  I was glad it was him.  I wasn't sure how fast Zack could run.  I knew how fast Cody could run (not very).  So I was glad to be able to put some time into Zack.

Then I came up on Cody and passed him.  It was only like 2 miles before the end. We passed each other back a forth a few times.  This has happened to me before.  I don't know if I am just slowing down near the end, or the other guy and just stepping it up.  I kinda think the other guys are trying to speed up because they know they can't run.

Anyways I followed Cody into T2 and finished about 2 seconds behind him.  We both had flawless dismounts and started running into transition.

Officially 0:40.6, 4th Male Elite, 9/10 Elite
As I come into the rack Kelly is trying to get out and we get in each other's way a little bit.  I rack and get on the ground to slip my shoes on.  And my calf just locks up.  Massive cramp.  I get my shoes on (no socks) and put my sunglasses on, grab my bib belt and try and run out the cramp.

Officially 20:32.8, 3rd Male Elite, 6/10 Elite, 4th male OA
Garmin had 2.92 miles in 20:35, 7:03 avg pace.
So Zach must have pushed it at the end of the bike, plus he had a lightning fast transition.  Because about 100 yards in, he was running right there with Cody and I.  At the time I thought that this was kinda cool.  A pack of 3 of us, where someone will be runnerup and someone will be off the podium. I think we were like 5 or 6 minutes behind Derek at that point.

Soon out of transition you run through that big dip in the trail from the parking lot. It's only like a 30 foot elevation climb, but I decided to take it easy since I was leading the pack of us.  Neither guy passed me.  So at the top when we got into the field I just started striding out and just started pulling away from them. It was pretty hot, but the trail was pretty clean out to the first turnaround.
Pace, Cadence
At that turnaround we were about 0.9 miles and I could then see I had a significant lead already.  I came through the first mile in 6:52.  It was hot.  I felt ok, but just could not get the legs to turn over.  I could see Kelly ahead of me, but I wasn't getting any closer.  So I just concentrated on a smooth pace.  Not really gaining on anyone and not really dropping back to anyone.

I kept telling myself this was a 5K and I had to go faster, but I really didn't. Over the second mile you really hit some trails with roots and rocks.  Once section down by the water was really rocky and was really winding. It has been a while since I ran trails.

So I finally made it through through that and back near transition.  You hit the only aid station at 1.75 miles in. I took 2 cups of water, and drank one and threw the other on my head.  Then you pass by transition and head out for some out and backs on the road.  I could hear swim coach Patty yelling across the parking lot at me.  I gave her the hang loose sign.  I came through mile 2 in a rather pedestrian 7:20.

As I came out on the road I saw the lead bike and Derek coming through.  I moved over and gave him a high 5.  Up ahead I could see Kelly.  As I came out of the 1st out and back I could see someone coming, but I was a good 1/4 mile up on them.  On the last out and back I saw it was Meghan, so I really didn't feel the need to push too much.
Happy to be Done
So I just strode to bring it home, with not much urgency.  As I came through I kinda missed the final turn at the cones.  I only took like 2-3 extra steps and then headed toward the finish.  The last 0.92 miles on my Garmin were at a 6:54 pace.

Finish (Results Here)
Officially 1:04:39.7, 2nd Male Elite, 3/10 Elite, 4th OA of 195 Finishers, 3rd male of 121 Finishers
Came through the finish pretty tired.  I got my medal and they had some cold water right there.  I drank quite a few cups. I went over and congratulated Derek and started seeing some of the other people finish.
Me and Paul
I went back into transition and got my phone.  I wandered around a bit, still drinking, but not really hungry.  I saw the results on the Start2Finish results tent.  One of the guys that raced in the age group beat me by 0.7 seconds.  Those couple of wrong turn steps cost me.  It didn't really matter.  The awards went Top 3 Elite, Top 3 Overall Age Group, and then Top 3 in each age group.  So I actually finished 4th overall to Derek, Kelly, and that other guy.  But I'll basically call that a 2nd overall.
I walked back out on the course and talked with Jen, as she was watching people go out past transition.  I saw Karen go by and she was looking strong.  She ended up overall age group.  Eventually I walked back to the finish, got some more water and talked with Cody a bit.  He was doing Lake Logan as well, so I'll see him next week.

They weren't going to do the awards until after the last finisher, so around 8:30pm.  I decided to pack up transition and take everything back to the car.  I had a change of clothes there, and I wanted to get out of the trisuit.  I made the long trek and packed everything up.  I went back to the finish, and got some of the Mac's BBQ they had there. I was finally hungry.  Soon after they started the awards.  They had a nice podium and we got to shake Jimmie Johnson's hand.  They had the 4 overall winners do the NASCAR champagne bottle shake and spray everyone.  That was pretty funny.
Award Pack and Certificate

Medal and Award Towel
I stayed through awards for all the EPT racers.  We all kinda hung out and then afterwards trekked back to the parking lot.  Jen was giving everyone crap if they weren't coming to swim in the morning. It only took me about 30 minutes to get home, which was pretty nice.
Really nice jacket for 2nd place

Somebody is full of themselves.
All in all a fun race.  I'll do it again next year if it works out.  Although I may rest a little more and not kill myself 3 days before the race.  Not that it matters.  I was 2nd Elite and there is no way I'll ever beat Derek.  But I would like to make a run at beating his bike split.  We'll see.  For now Lake Logan is just around the corner and I need to rest!