Saturday, July 18, 2009

San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island

It took me a week to write this up, so it must have been a fantastic race for me, right?

I had high hopes leading into TI. If I could swim aggressively then my recent criterium practice in Seattle would set me up nicely for the flat, twisty bike ride.  Then I would just need to run well, which I’ve done more often than not this year.  I figured if I raced hard and got a lucky break or two then I might just make the top ten.

Well, that didn’t happen.

I had a solid start to the swim, successfully minimizing the inefficient rubbing of elbows with the other guys … even crossing over a guy to my left to get into better water at one point.  I felt like I had that needle just below the red line. Perfect.  I felt like I was in about tenth position 200m in.  The turn was chaos, of course, but I slipped through and tried to stay on feet for the backstretch.  I wasn’t always successful and I felt like I lost a bit of ground.  On the homestretch my cap started falling off.  Does this happen to anybody else?  This is like the third time this year that has happened to me.  I wear my goggle under my cap ever since a goggle-loss incident at Alcatraz three years ago.  Could that me the problem?  Or do I just need a haircut?

The second lap of the swim is where I screwed up.  I spent way to much time bashing into a guy on my right instead of just crossing over to his right.  I am pretty sure that’s where we lost contact with the main group.  At the swim exit there were three guys off the front, about 15 tightly bunched from 19:15-19:25, then my group of 7 at 19:45-20:00.  There were at least six guys behind us, plus a few more who DNF’ed, I reckon.  40 allegedly started.

T1 was fast.  Lap one of the bike was madness!  We were all riding in “groups” of one or two as we tried to chase down the riders ahead of us before they could mass up and start working together.  I saw Matt Balzer and knew that I needed to go with him.  He’s usually strong on the bike.  But when we built a group of four, the rider between Balzer and me let a gap open up and I couldn’t close it.  Lame.  It was very windy that day, which added to the difficulties of riding alone or with one wheel-sucker.  Another guy and I *almost* caught the Balzer group while turning left in that tight parking lot near the end of the first lap … but not quite.

I TT’ed most of the second lap solo, hoping to catch a break.  Eventually I was caught from behind and was able to work with Scott Young for awhile.  I thought we had a chance to catch somebody up ahead but it didn’t happen.  Another group caught us from behind on maybe the fourth lap.  I should have been able to hang but I must have spent too much energy in the first two laps … and my trusty back was getting hella sore again.  Lame.  So they got away.  Then Stehula’s group caught us.  We rode with them for awhile but then I got dropped.  Not sure how.  So basically I moved backward throughout the bike and started the run alone after Jimmy Archer stepped on some glass in T2 and had to pull out.

The run just wasn’t there for me.  I salvaged some pride with a good effort on the final lap … and Simon Whitfield didn’t lap me.  It’s sad when that’s the most positive thing that you can say about your day.

Full results are on the Eternal Timing website.

Argh … glad that’s done.  Next up I have the local BRI Triathlon at Seafair tomorrow (a sprint!) and I depart for the big bike ride to San Francisco this Thursday.  I’ve been working on putting together a new bike just for this trip.  I’ll also race this bike in cyclocross this fall.  I’ll post some pictures and descriptions once it is ready.  It’s been a fun, educational, time-consuming project.

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