Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Race Report: Redhawk Rampage Triathlon

First Place in Age Group!
On July 2nd, 2011 I participated in the 2nd Annual Redhawk Rampage Sprint Triathlon in Charleston, IL on the EIU campus.

I finished 1st in my age group and 12th overall out of about 70 participants.  Since this was a USAT (USA Triathlon) sanctioned event I was able to qualify for the 2011 USAT Age Group Nationals to be held in Burlington, Vermont in late August 2011.  Unfortunately, I will be unable to go to Nationals this year.  Nonetheless, it is a pretty cool feeling and accomplishment. 

I can qualify for Nationals with a sprint triathlon but the National race is an Olympic Distance Triathlon (1500 meter swim, 24.86 mile bike, and 10k run).  Hopefully I can qualify for 2012 Nationals early enough that I can properly train for that event and make travel plans.  Never been to Vermont, but I hear it's nice.  We'll see!

I beat my closest age group competitor by 40 seconds.  He was faster in the swim, barely faster in the transitions, about the same in the run, but I gained 1 minute and 45 seconds on him on the bike.  The bike portion won the race for me.

For this being the second time doing this event the Lincoln Trails Council Boy Scouts of America did a great job with this race. 

The race featured a 300 yard swim in Lantz Arena, a 12.5 mile bike, and 5k run.  The run course was generally flat with a couple of hills.  The bike course was challenging as it had two big hills.  One hill is known by locals as "Stairway To Heaven" as at the top of the hill is a cemetery.  It was fun flying down the hills at 41 mph but really tested my determination going up them at about 12 mph. 

The Swim

The swim went pretty good.  It was in a 25 yard pool with 6 lanes.  This meant we had to do a snake swim where you go down and back in one lane, go under the lane line, and repeat.  When I started I forgot to turn my watch on until about after 50 yards.  The only mishap was my right eye part of the goggles had a leak for some reason that threw me off a little.  Congestion wasn't that bad.  However, me and another guy ran into each other when he drifted over on my side of the lane.  Once out of the pool you have to run probably about 135 yards out of the arena and into transition.  Not that bad, but the timing mat that calculates your swim time is right before the transition area (135 yard away from the pool) which makes it hard to get a feel on how you actually swam the 300 yards. 

My swim time was 6:46.  I would estimate my actual swim time (in the pool) was closer to 6:10 or so.

Transition #1 (Swim to Bike)

Leaving transition after swim
  After running 135 yards to my bike I once again struggled with getting my socks on.  This is due to being wobbly from the swim and wet feet.  I need to maybe think about riding and running without socks.  That would require some conditioning of the feet to prevent blisters on race day.

Got sunglasses, bike shoes, race belt, and helmet on without any issues.  Mounting bike was good too.  Transition 1 time was 1:13.

Once on the bike I started off pretty good as it was pretty flat for the first few miles.  Averaging about 22 mph.  Once we got out onto the country roads my average dropped a bit as the course presented several rolling hills and quite a few curves.  I only got passed once and that was right at the very beginning of the bike leg. 

As we got into the rural area of the course I knew what was ahead of me.....two big hills.  The first hill around the cemetery going out was down hill.  As I started down the hill I gained pretty good speed and kept pedaling.  What a rush this was.  I topped out at 41 mph on the downhill ride.  Once I reached the bottom I knew there was another one just ahead so I tried to maintain momentum.  I arrived at the first big uphill which was about a 1/2 mile.  It started pretty good then the more I went up the hill the slower I got.  I was at a snail's pace around 11mph.  I should have been down a couple of more gears.  I was going to shift but I was putting so much torque on the bike I didn't want to risk downshifting and breaking/slipping the chain. 

Once at the top the course flattened out and got curvy.  Picked speed back up to around 21mph until the turnaround.  After the turnaround, and still maintaining good average speed on the flats, I was looking forward to going down the hill I just went up.  At the downhill I got really good speed again and carried it to the next hill....."Stairway to Heaven".

The "Stairway to Heaven" hill was tough, but I got in the right gear this time, and slowly made it to the top.  I am not sure if that was the "Stairway to Heaven" or the "Highway to ...." because that was exhausting. 

After I got through the hills I concentrated on a fast cadence and trying to maintain a 20-21mph average to the finish.  I gained back a little time that I lost on the hills.

Overall, the bike portion went well given the terrain.  My official average on the bike was 19.13 mph. 

Transition #2 (Bike to Run)

Coming into transition

Flying into transition #2 I got the bike slowed down and got unclipped from my pedals.  Got the bike racked pretty well.  Put on running shoes, threw helmet off, grabbed water bottle, and I was off running.

T2 time was 0:40 which was pretty decent. 


Start of the run

The run started off pretty good.  My pace was a little behind what I wanted to average for the run, but I wasn't prepared on how much the hills on the bike would tire my legs. 

It was an out and back run course.  The first half was generally flat with a slight decline the first half and a slight incline on the way back.  The only hill of significance was the hill going into a park area about a half mile or so from the turnaround.

Overall I was satisfied with my run performance.  Anticipated doing it faster as I have done in my brick practices, but pleased overall.  I averaged about 7:19/mi.

Final Official Results

The Hardware
 The official results:

1st in Age Group
12th Overall

Swim     0:06:46
T1:         0:01:14
Bike:      0:39:12
T2:         0:00:40
Run:       0:22:38
Total     1:10:30

Well onto the next race and thanks for looking!

Miscellaneous Photos

The Finish

Getting all setup


Waiting to start swim

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Another Pair Retired

As I got my new pair of running shoes I looked at my old ones and thought about all the miles they took me on.  Being a numbers guy I track all kinds out data when I am working out and one of them is obviously mileage.

I generally get about 200 miles or so on a pair of running shoes.  I don't really go by mileage when determining when to get a new pair.  It is mostly determined by how my legs are feeling.  If my feet and shins starting hurting when I am running then it is usually time for a new pair.

I have become a big fan of Brooks running shoes and this pair was my second and recently got my third pair. 

This pair of shoes took me for quite a ride over the past several months.  Within the first month I put nearly 100 miles on them training for the Illinois 5k and Illinois 1/2 Marathon.  They propelled to a PR in the Illinois 5k and got me through my first 1/2 marathon.

I gave them a short break before the next 5k two weeks later.  Then helped me stride to a good finish in my first duathlon.  They weathered the monsoon in my first triathlon of the season.  Finally, bowed out gracefully at my second triathlon of year which got me to a 1st place in my age group.

In the end they endured over 200 miles that included countless training runs, a 1/2 marathon, two 5k's, a duathlon, and two triathlons.
As they bow out and become an everyday shoe I hope my new pair takes me for an even better a ride.