Monday, October 8, 2012

Race Report: Last Chance Tri

On October 7th, 2012 I participated in the Mattoon YMCA Last Chance Tri.  I initially signed up for this event to be another USAT Nationals qualifier, but having already qualified a few weeks ago, this race was going to be a fun race with the intention of finishing towards the top.

Here is a summary of my times:

Swim 275 yards - 0:05:11
T1                           - 0:00:38
Bike 12 mi            - 0:33:24 (21.6 mpg avg)
T2                           - 0:00:31
Run 3 mi               - 0:19:39 (6:26/mi)
Total                        0:59:23
Overall 1st/69
This is the first race that I have been the overall winner.  It was a really neat feeling being the lead racer on most of the bike and all of the run.  I have always wondered what those guys out front feel like when leading a race.  Now I know and what a feeling it was. 
Coming into this race I knew it was going to be a smaller event and really wanted to win it all.  I played this race through my head many times in the days leading up to it.  It’s funny because the way I envisioned it my head is almost exactly how it played out.  The only thing that didn’t happen was getting the fastest bike and fastest run time.  I have always heard that a key part of racing is mentally preparing yourself by visualizing in your head how you will run the race.  This mental preparation was the difference (along with my transitions).  It was a very close race as the second place gentleman finished 13 seconds behind me.

The 275 yard swim took place in the YMCA’s 25 yard pool.
This was a time trial start race with competitors jumping in the pool about every 10-15 seconds.  I was the third racer to get in.  My swim went pretty well.  Being the third in the pool I didn’t have any traffic to weave around.  I did get passed by the guy behind me who dolphin dove the entire swim. 

Once out of the pool you head directly out of a couple of doors, run around the transition area, then across the timing mat into transition.


Once in transition I was able to find my bike with ease and had a really fast transition.  They always say expect the unexpected on race day.  That was the case in T1.  When I arrived at my bike I noticed that between the time I went into the swim area and the start of the race another competitor decided to squeeze their bike and equipment next to mine.  Basically had their stuff on top of mine.  It was very frustrating and little rude.  The good thing is that it didn’t slow me down that much.  At this point in the race I was in 3rd position.


 The bike route takes you through town then out in the country.  It is an out and back  route.   There was a pretty good north/northwest breeze that day but the way the route went you weren’t going with or against the wind for extended periods. 

I past the 2nd place racer about 2 miles into the bike portion.  Then my sights were set on the leader.  I was noticing that he was taking turns kind of slow and that I was making progress on him with every incline we came to.  My strategy at this point was to power through the turns and be in position to pass him on the steep overpass.  I ended up passing him on the overpass and became the leader of the race.  This is the guy that passed me in the swim so I knew I had to distance myself in order to beat him.  Once I passed him I never looked back to see where he was. 
Since it was an out and back course I was able to gauge my distance from him when I made the turnaround.  I built a pretty lead but I also noticed another competitor was biking pretty fast.  At that point I tried to concentrate on maintaining a steady speed.

Once I got back into town I start thinking about my transition and the run.  I knew with couple of competitors pretty close to me that my transition from bike to run had to be fast and that my run had to be fast.

Really fast!  I flew off my bike at the dismount line, charged to my rack, and quickly put my running shoes on and headed out.  The difference between first and second in this race was the transitions.  Thank goodness for LOCK LACES.  Looking back, if I had bad transitions then I would have lost this race.   


The 3 mile route was basically through town on city streets and a paved bike/walking path.  It was a very flat out and back course. 

With the outdoor temperature being cool my feet were frozen after the bike.  The first half mile I could not feel my feet at all.  After the first half mile I started to feel better.

I did not want to look back to see where the competition was as I wanted to stay focused on my run.  I would gage my distance to the closest competitor at the turnaround.  About a mile into the run they had a water station and the volunteers said I have a sizable lead.  I am not sure how long sizable is but it made me feel pretty good. 

I got to the turnaround and realized that my nearest competitor was about a quarter mile behind me.  He was ever so slightly gaining on me.  I decided to keep my pace and save energy for the last half mile.  With a half mile left I quickly looked behind to see where he was then speed up to the finish.
I had a great run and was very pleased with my time.
It was really awesome to be the first person to cross the finish line.

I thought this was a great event and was well organized and directed.  There were volunteers and police at every intersection and turn.  The volunteers were energetic and supportive.

Results were posted very quickly. 

Post race food consisted of pizza and fruit.  The awards ceremony got started pretty quickly after the last person finished.  They gave awards to the overall male and female top finishers and had age group awards.  They also had awards for the fastest swim, fastest bike, and fasted run.

I would recommend this race to anyone.  It is great for the competitive triathletes or those wanting to do their first triathlon.  Great race! 
I will be doing this race again.  Since I was the top finisher I got free entry to the 2013 race so I will be there to defend my title.

It was a great way to end my 2012 triathlon season.  No more triathlons this year but I do have one more 5k left to run.