Saturday, August 20, 2016

2016 Lake Logan Half Race Report

I've always complained that there is a dearth of half iron races in the south in July and August.  In fact, there used to be none.  In 2014 Setup Events expanded the Lake Logan Multisport Festival to have a half iron race.  I had really been wanting to do it, but it just had never worked out with my schedule until this year.

We had spent the previous week at my wife's parent's cabin in North Carolina.  It was kinda nice to go up there and not worry about trying to get workouts in.  It's not the greatest place to train as I have wrote about before. So I used this vacation week as a taper week.
View from the Waynesville Best Western
We drove over to Waynesville on Friday afternoon.  We couldn't quite check in to the Best Western when we got there so we took a quick tour downtown Waynesville, which is actually quite nice.  By the time we got back, our room was ready.  We unpacked everything and settled into the room.  We all reveled in the air conditioning and wifi.  Things we haven't had for a week.  I set out to the race site to check in and get my packet.

It took about 25 minutes to get to the race site. Packet pickup had just started so there weren't too many people there.  You have to park on the other side of the creek.  Well it's kinda where the lake turns into a creek.  They had everything pretty well organized with people directing traffic.

All the check in stuff was on some tennis courts.  They had some sheets up that you could look up your bib number.  These local races don't put all the information on the website like an Ironman race. So it was here that I found out I was bib 18.  I signed the medical form and then got my race numbers and swim cap.  No line at all which was nice.  We did not pick up timing chips, that was to be done race morning.

Then I walked transition a little bit to get the lay of the land.  I ran into BSR mates Sam and Kristie and hung out with them for a while.  I saw a few of my MSA swim mates as well.  There were 6 or 8 of them doing the race. It was a little toasty at times when the sun was out, so I decided to just to head back to the hotel.

I stopped by Walmart on the way back to get bagels and a few other things.  By the time I got back to the hotel, I was getting hungry.  We decided to head to dinner then, a little before 6pm.  We just went right near by to Pasquale's Italian Restaurant.  It was actually a pretty good local place.  I had the Pasquale's Chicken.

Then it was time to get ready for the race.  I laid everything out and started getting it all organized in S, B, and R sections.  I put my bike number on.  That was a bit of a task to cut it and tape it on.  Congratulations Setup Events: You continue to have the crappiest bike numbers in all of triathlon. And Helmet numbers: I'm not sure how you do your stickers but it was a PITA to get off.  #localraces

I was able to turn in a little after 9pm and enjoy the A/C

Saturday August 6th Race Day
4 am wakeup call.  Wouldn't have usually gotten up this early, but I had to pack the mountain bikes back on the car and also put GL on the rear bike rack.  I actually do like races where you rack your bike the night before.  Definitely less to worry about race morning.  You were not allowed to rack your bike the night before at this race. #localraces

I decided to pump up my tires in the hotel room before we left.  I figured that environment would make it a lot easier.  I'm still trying to figure out the best way to pump the disc up with the crack pipe and only two hands.  My wife drove me down to the race to drop me off.  She dropped my off in the driveway to the Episcopal Center before we got to the transition area and bridge that takes you over to where you are supposed to park.
When I parked the day before I noticed that this grassy area used as a parking lot was basically a one lane in and out.  With only one entrance.  I talked to the race director about it at packet pickup.  I was concerned that my wife would not be able to get out of the lot, when everyone was streaming in for the race. So he directed me to use that driveway as a drop off.  It wasn't any further away (and probably closer) than the designated parking area.

Again I beat the crowd coming into transition.  I racked my bike on my aero bars and went to find a good place to sit.  Most everything was wet either from rain or dew, but I did find a spot near the awards pavilion that was dry.  I just kinda hung out there and ate my bagel.  I went to use the port-o-let and then went and got marked and picked up my chip.

Long run from the road to Transition
Luckily I had brought my chip strap with me, since all that they had were those hospital bands to hold  your chip on.  The hospital bands are quite secure, but the last time I wore one it dug into my achilles like a knife.  So I politely told the volunteer no thank you on that plastic band. #localraces

Eventually I wandered over to transition to set everything up. I had a nice spot right at the end of the rack, right near bike out.  This guy then tells me I racked on the wrong side of the rack, and the bikes need to alternate side to side.  I didn't say anything, and just looked at it.  I'm thinking well actually, since I racked first, then next guy racked incorrectly and you all followed his mistake. But then, I'd sound like a 3 year old: I'm right, you all are wrong, you need to change waah! Again I did not say a single word, but my facial expression must have told the story, because the guy is like 'we can get an official if you want'.  At that point I just smiled and said, no big deal, I'll move it.

It really was kind of a long way
I saw Karen setting up further down the rack and talked to her some.  She had just gotten a new Quintana Roo PRfive with Di2.  It was quite sweet.  A huge upgrade from her Orbea.  I talked with a few other MSA people and of course, my BSR mates.  I eventually got everything settled and started putting my Helix wetsuit on.  Announced water temp was 71 degrees.

I walked over to the swim start.  A nice spectator helped me get my wetsuit on all the way.  I walked out into the water and did a little warmup swim.  Not much.  I should probably do more.  Then they did the national anthem.  Then I walked out onto the dock.  I say Cody there and wished him good luck.  We jumped in the water and floated for the in-water start.  An in water above your head start is not so bad when you have a wetsuit on.  They gave the countdown and there we were off.

35:10 Officially, 7 / 9 Masters Male, 17 / 19 Open Male, 110 / 269 Male Overall
Garmin had 35:07, but on 1,975 yards so 1:47 per hundred.  It would be my fastest non-river swim, but I think it is a little short.

I tried to go out at a pretty good clip, just reveling in the feel of the wetsuit. I saw everyone get away from me pretty quickly.  I just tried to enjoy the swim.  There wasn't really any contact.  The open wave was about 29 people.  On the stretch to the first turn buoy I did bump in to some people a little but, but nothing major.
It is scenic
My breathing seemed under control most of the way.  The water temp was fine.  The lake is just as murky as most any other swim.  You could not see anything in there.  There wasn't any congestion as I went around both turn buoys for the stretch home.

That final stretch seemed long.  Some of the wave behind me began to catch me on the final stretch.  I just tried to relax and take smooth strokes.  I felt smooth, but not like I was killing myself.  Once I went under the bridge, the water got significantly colder.  Like really cold.  It was only another minute and I was at the dock.

2:45 Officially, 7 / 9 Masters Male, 12 / 19 Open Male, 30 / 268 Male Overall
Garmin had 3:17. I had a little trouble pulling myself up onto the dock.  When I did, I looked at my watch and saw the 35 and I felt good about that.  At least it wasn't horrible.  I started the long run to transition and the legs felt good. No problems getting the wetsuit off.
Run up to Transition
Just a little slow overall at the rack. I grabbed GL and made the long run up to the road.  The timing mat was like halfway between transition and the road. Kind of odd, I would think it would be near the road.  I got onto the road and there was no mount line. #localraces  So I just got on once I was clear of anyone else.

2:30:40 Officially, 2 / 9 Masters Male, 3 / 19 Open Male,  4 / 261 Male Overall
Garmin had 2:30:08 for 55.53 miles on --- watts for a 22.2 mph average.  Yeah, my power meter was dead. I had actually thought about changing the battery recently.  Then I just kinda forgot about it over the last few weeks with Muncie, Cane Creek, and the last week in the mountains.  I don't think I had changed it for almost a year.  I know I changed it some weeks before Kona, because I wanted to have a fresh battery for that.
Arguably the best spot in all of Transition
So I headed out with nothing but my effort and average speed. I knew the first part of the course was overall downhill.  I tried to make the most of the downhills.  There were not a ton of people out on the course, obviously, as I started in the first wave.  The course was pretty well marked, but they had people at every turn, so there was no point in the race that I wondered which way to go.

The first 10 miles flew by with a 25.4 average.  I knew my average would drop.  From previous year's averages, I knew a sub 2:30 or 22.4 average would be pretty good.  Even in the first 25 miles that were mostly downhill, there still was a lot of hills.  Garmin had over 900 feet of gain.
Speed and Elevation
I kept reeling in people.  I caught a good group just before the 20 mile mark, including Karen.  After that, it was pretty strung out.  Through 25 miles, I had a 24.0 mph average.  But as this course goes, there was 1,400 feet of elevation gain in the next 20 miles.

I came up on a group of 3 guys who were all going back and forth.  A couple of the guys were drafting pretty blatantly.  Not continuously but those two kinda went back and forth and would draft off of one another here or there.  The 3rd guy kinda broke free of them before I caught them.  I got past them as well as we headed into the main hills, but I could not shake them.
My slowest 5M split had my Highest Max Speed
As we hit the hills, they would catch up to me and sometimes pass me and then I would pass them on the downhills and flats.  You hit "The Hill" at about the 42 mile mark. It is 320 feet of gain in 0.80 miles.  Unfortunately you hit a smaller hill less than a mile before that (120 feet in 0.4 miles).  I thought the smaller hill was "The Hill" and thought that it wasn't so bad.  Then I got to the real hill.

The guys behind me killed me going up that hill.  I think I may need to work on hill climbing next summer to be able to attack the climb on the Chattanooga Worlds course.  Although, in my defense, I did not know what watts I was pushing.  Still, I may need to experiment with a 28 cassette (I run a 53/39 upfront with a 11-25 cassette).  So I had an awesome split from mile 40 to 45 with a whopping 17.0 mph average (553 feet of gain).

Then you had a downhill section and flat section.  Twice on the downhills I had to hit the brakes on curves so I didn't end up in the grass.  The guy ahead of me did go off the road once, but he saved it.  Mostly I took it pretty cautiously on the downhills.

The last 5 mile section is mostly steady uphill.  I just tried to crank some watts.  I finally ended up dropping the 2 guys behind me and caught the third guy.  I didn't pass him at first, as I needed to relieve myself.  Finally I decided to pass him and do my business.  I came to the end just behind the lead woman.  Fortunately, she stopped to dismount, so with my flying dismount, I zoomed passed her and was able to run down the chute to transition with her behind me.

1:39 Officially, 6 / 9 Masters Male, 12 / 19 Open Male, 33 / 249 Male Overall
Garmin had 1:46.  Sat down to put on my socks. Grabbed everything I was off pretty quickly for me.

1:34:03 Officially, 3 / 9 Masters Male, 7 / 19 Open Male,  12 / 243 Male Overall
Garmin had 1:33:59 for 12.94 miles for a 7:16/mile average.  I came out just feeling OK.  I went out at my typical fast, but feels good pace.  On this day, it was not too fast, however. I knew the first 3 miles would be slow as it is a steady climb to the turnaround.

I was passing people, but I was only running about a 7 flat pace.  It was one of those days where 7 flats felt like 6:30's.  It wasn't too hot, I think it was just the hills on the bike and the long slow steady hill.  The tops of the my quads near my knees was were both hurting.  I just tried to push through that and luckily it did not get any worse.

When i finally hit that first turnaround I tried to open up my stride and take off.  Even then, my fastest mile coming back down was only a 6:40. I saw Karen as she was going out and she was in 4th at that point.  Eventually I made it back to transition for the first lap.
Elevation and Cadence
I saw my family and gave them a high five.  I hit the grass loop behind transition and it felt like i was running in mud.  So the prospects of running the next 3 miles up hill did not sit with me too well.  I saw the fam again on the way out and set to work on getting to the next turnaround.

I told myself that If I could just get to that turnaround I'm home  free.  I was kinda in no man's land, as I had dropped the guys behind me and there was no one in sight ahead of me.  I did not do very well climbing back out.  I had a pathetic 7:56/mile average on that last 3 mile climb.  At that point I just wanted to be done.

I saw a lot of people I knew on that last out and back.  Karen had moved up to 3rd. I just tried to stride it out on the way home.  Finally I came down to the bottom and tried to push some to finish.  I was just glad to be done.

4:44:15 Officially, 3 / 9 Masters Male, 8 / 19 Open Male,  11 / 243 Male Overall (357 OA Finishers)
Full Results Here.  Masters Results Here. I cross the line and I am spent. I shotgun a bottle of water and wander over to see my family.  We found a place to sit in the shade and I drank some more water, and then a couple of cans of Coke.  I must have been a little dehydrated.  I drank 3 bottles of water and 3 sodas and it was a long time before I had to go to the bathroom.

They didn't have the results up in the tent right away, but after I sat for a bit they did.  The damage wasn't as bad as I thought.  Still made the masters podium.  I had a good swim and bike, but just fell apart on the run.  I'm not sure what happened there.  I just felt . . . tired. I need some rest.
With 2nd Overall Karen
Food Tent

I congratulated Karen as she came across 2nd overall (first masters).  She hung out and talked with my family and me for a while.  I finally grabbed some food and some more to drink.  They announced that the awards were at 3:30pm, so we decided to head home.  I got my stuff out of transition and talked with Cody for a quick bit.

We loaded up the car and headed out.  We stopped at Sagebrush for some beers, and wings . . . and food for everyone else.  It seems like a long drive home when your tired and sore, but can't sleep.

Overall a tough race.  This course had some serious hills, much more so than Knoxville.  These types of runs are tough for me.  It kinda reminded me of the dreaded Vegas course with 3 miles steady climb on the run.  That doesn't seem to suit me well.

Total Race Elevation (Heck of a climb out of the water to T1)
It is good to do these local races.  Every so often you need a lower key race. I've started doing a lot more Ironman branded races lately and sometimes you start to take things for granted (race info, check in hours, venues, parking, race numbers, chip bands, aid stations, etc.) IM does these things so much better.  So I'm really looking forward to Augusta with the help of my Blue Seventy Helix Wetsuit, Quintana Roo PRsix bike, Cobb Cycling JOF55 saddle, Reynolds Element disc, and Iced Friction Chain.  Gonna try and kill myself training over the next few weeks, so I can drop the hammer there at the end of September.  Let's Get It!