Last Sunday was my second attempt at a 5150 Olympic Distance triathlon. It was the Boulder Peak Triathlon, one of the hardest Olympic distance triathlons in the nation, and I have heard the hardest Olympic bike course. I was stoked going into the race, as I had a great time in Kansas City back in May for the brother race. My swim, bike, and running have been coming along well, and I was eager to test out my fitness against a much more quality field in the 20-24 age group. I have already qualified for my Elite Amateur status, and HyVee as well, but have decided to probably spend the whole year as an age group in order to gain experience. And as the race played out, there is still much running progression to be made.
The race started bright and early, at 7am, so that meant a 4:40am wake up. Thank you coach Grant Holicky for having 5am swim practices. This made the wake up much more tolerable. I was up, already packed, and fueled up the body with my typical oats, almond butter, banana, cinnamon, and a mixture of berries. Add a couple cups of coffee, and it was off to the Boulder Reservoir. Upon arriving, I got the body marked and transition set up in a decent spot. Close to T1 entrance from the swim, and also T2 exit for the run. A quick run warm-up and it was off to the water for the start. My wave didn't go off until 7:30, so it was cool to watch the Elites take off. Soon enough, however, it was go time!
I lined up in the front, and waited for the air-horn. It came, and off we went. It was much more manageable during the 1 mile swim. There was not near the washing machine effect that happened during the sprint, but it is also twice as long. I settled into a group of about 5 guys and we took off. Soon enough, we caught up to 2 or 3 different waves of swimmers. Running over other people in the water isn't very nice, I wouldn't like it, but there isn't much to do. So I am sorry for the people who were pummeled in the head, body by my hands and feet, it wasn't personal. Heading into the finish, I came out of the water with another guy, and heard we were 3rd and 4th out of the water, in a time of 20:41 (1:23 100/yd), and 24th overall swimmer. Not too shabby!
Made it to T1, but had some trouble getting the wetsuit off, which probably cost a good 20seconds. I was off and onto the bike. This course is about 5miles of uphill right off the bat, with the first 3.5miles or so at a 2% gradient, and then a 1.5 mile section of anywhere from 8-12% with most at around 10%. I posted a YouTube video in the last post of the Old Stage Road climb. It is an awesome climb so close to home, but man, it never gets any easier. I made my way up the climb, and didn't get passed by a single rider, and picked off probably a good 20 or so (None from my age group). Heading down the decent, the roads were a bit slick, and the race organization strictly enforces a 35mph speed limit on the upper portions of the decent. A police offer with a radar gun, and pad and paper sat about half-way down. I was close to probably getting popped and kicked out of the race, but gladly got slowed down enough to where I should have been. It is a good safety measure, as an athlete has crashed and died before, but it should just be mentioned in the race waiver about the high speeds. Don't hold back speed on a decent. After the steep part of the decent, it is a ripping 30mph section of slightly downhill for a good 10-15miles. After this, a small gradual 1% slog back to the reservoir greets riders who may have gone a bit too hard. Still feeling good, by the time I had reached T2, I had ridden myself into first place in the age group, but with 3-4 guys within 1 minute, at an average speed of 23.1mph which ended up being 2nd in my age group, and 49th overall. A much faster T2, had me out on the run course in 2nd place.
I am not a fast runner, and over the course of the run, I was passed by 6 more guys in my age group. I still passed more people on the run, then I was passed by, but unfortunately, 90% of the guys who passed me were in my age group. It was rough running my first 10k up at altitude, but kept going the best I could and finished with a time of 43:49 (7:05min/mile) average. Pretty bummed about that time, as I ran 6:50's in Kansas City, but that was a good 4500ft lower in altitude. And for every 1000ft of altitude, you lose 2-3% of your threshold ability. So when you do the math, it's not too bad, and would have been faster had I been in KC again (roughly around 6:40's). That bodes well for HyVee!
It was great seeing a lot of friends and training partners at the end, and one of the actually won the whole event (Cam Dye). I hope to follow in his footsteps someday, as he was a collegiate swimmer and also a great cyclist. But it took him about 6 years of development to run where he is now! Gives me something to shoot for.
So now, it's back to the salt mines of training getting ready for HyVee in September. I am stoked to have my grandparents and aunt/uncle out here this weekend. We are going to catch a Rockies game and hang out and about! Then, I believe the next race will be the HITS Series later this month. I was scheduled to come home in August for the Peregrine Charities race, but due to unfortunate happenings recently, the race was cancelled. Looks like the next time I'll be home is over Labor Day for HyVee and my birthday!
Also, pretty cool lately as I had my first coaching article published by Velonews!!! Check it out.