Monday, July 20, 2009

BRI Triathlon at Seafair

Yesterday I successfully defended my 2008 victory at the Benaroya Research Institute Triathlon at Seafair.

It was fun to get to race locally for a change – no flight, no rental car, and no packing and shipping my bike.  I got to see a bunch of friends at the race and they got to see me race for a change, too.  My dad also watched the race.  (Mom got a pass b/c she’s out of town visiting the rest of the family.)

seafair-swim-exitI introduced myself to Jim and Greg Wolfe before the swim start.  One or both of them swam for UW and last year they both outswam me, so my goal was to draft a Wolfe for the whole swim.  Jim got away early – apparently I wasn’t the only swimmer who wanted to be on his feet – but I was able to find Greg instead.  We swam side-by-side to the first turn buoy and then he accelerated a bit and I settled in behind him. I was working pretty hard just to maintain contact a lot of the time but I stayed right on his feet until the final 100m and exited the water about 20 seconds faster than last year.  A good start.

I was the fastest through T1 and got on the bike first.  I put my head down and just tried to maintain the fastest pace I could.  I knew that Ben Collins’s course record would be tough to catch but I wanted to give it my best shot and see what happened.

seafair-bike-dismount As I slowed down for the bike turnaround at halfway I heard a disturbing sound and my front wheel started wobbling quite a bit.  My first thought was a broken spoke but the wheel was wobbling quite a bit so I jumped off the bike to check it out.  Sure enough, that’s exactly what it was.  So I jumped back on my bike and started wondering what my currently likelihood of a catastrophic crash now was.  I was still leading the race but rider #2 wasn’t all that far behind and the turnaround.  Could I soft-pedal back to transition and try to win on the run?  Would I lose another spoke the next time that I hit a bump in the road?  I tried to control my speed over the bridge as I weighed my options.  I went very conservatively down the steep, narrow trail which connects the bridge tot eh rest of the course.  I didn’t want to torque the damaged wheel too hard.  But I heard a volunteer say “nice job, guys” and assumed that meant I had company.  So I went back to working pretty hard for the last four miles and jumped off the bike with a very small lead.

seafair-runI was so psyched to have made it back to transition without further mechanical issues that I really took off fast on the run.  I maintained that momentum for most of the 5k and clocked a sub-17-minute split, which is my best yet at Seafair.  I think I was around 17:15 last year.

Swim: 9:26, fifth behind the Wolfes and two guys in later waves.
T1: 0:54
Bike: 30:50, including the stop and the soft-pedaling. 19th. Ouch.
T2: 0:51
Run: 16:56, second behind a relay runner.

Total Time: 58:57 … about a minute and a half behind Ben’s record … maybe next year we’ll have a showdown!

There is a short write-up about the race at:

Full results are at:

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