Friday, September 19, 2008

Race Report: Pacific Grove

Last weekend I raced in the Triathlon at Pacific Grove.  I was feeling really good about my swim & run fitness coming in and I expected/hoped to make the main swim group, then break out a new run PR.  As it played out, I didn't swim quite as well as I hoped but my run was pretty solid.

I settled in to fifth place in the swim pack until about 600m when I got tangled up in the kelp.  A kelp rope went up around my neck and I had to stop for two strokes to pull the kelp off.  I lost two spots and then went into a bit of a sprint to try to re-establish my position.  I hit the run-out in seventh and re-entered the water right next to Steve Sexton.  My second lap was a bit of a disaster...  I suddenly felt a bit overcooked and started losing ground.  I kept swimming over kelp while the other guys were in clean water and I lost four more spots.  By the backstretch I was dangling off the back.  I hit a bit more kelp and was on my own.  The lesson in all of this: when you are swimming in a kelp forest, stay behind somebody!!

I had a solid T1 and saw a few other guys grabbing their bikes, so I knew that with a strong first mile I should be able to get into a good bike group.  Of course everybody up ahead of me was sprinting to catch the fastest possible group, too, and I didn't make much headway.  Reto Waeffler caught me from behind and the two of us caught Ethan Brown and Dave Kuendig.  We couldn't bridge to the next man up the road, Kevin Everett, before he caught on to the "B" pack.  So we were a "C" pack of 4 behind "A" and "B" packs of 6.  We worked well together at times but I had to skip a few pulls and that hurt us.  Dave dropped and that hurt us, too.  We ended up losing 4 minutes to the "B" pack and 5 to the "A" pack.

Reto and Ethan picked up a few seconds on me in T2 and went out on the run together.  I tried to pass Reto "authoritatively" around mile one but he knew the trick and picked up his pace, too.  He stayed right there until mile two and then passed me back.  Of course by then I knew that he'd try to surge past me so I was prepared to keep it close.  I re-passed him at mile 2.5 and was finally able to get a bit of a gap.  I kept pushing it the rest of the way, mostly out of pride and the desire to get a new PR run split... I was also motivated a bit by seeing Haven Barnes and Scott Young trying to chase us down from the "D" cycling pack. 

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All in all... I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't hang with the pack more effectively in the swim, but I was happy with my effort and time on the run.  Victor pulled away from me in the Tri-Cal series by winning the race and Jeff Piland pulled ahead of me with his 8th-place finish.  Brians Fleischmann and Lavelle also picked up some healthy piles of Tri-Cal points with their swim & bike primes and respectable finishes.

Overall: 13th place, 1:59:36
Swim: 12th, 19:13
T1: 4th, 1:02
Bike: 15th, 1:04:41
T2: 14th, 0:32
Run: 13th, 34:05

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