My first Olympic Distance (aka International Distance) triathlon is in the books! On Monday I finished the CapTexTri held completely in downtown Austin. We swam in Lady Bird Lake, biked up to the Capitol and along the water, and ran through the Dallas-y condos that seem to be popping up all over the place. Despite the unsettling warning about possible e. coli in the water from all the rain we had, I’d say everything went quite successfully!
Ev and I woke up early –real early– to get down to the race so I could set up my gear in the transition area. I had checked in my bike the day before, so it was relatively quick to set up my bike and run gear before the swim start. The official water temperature clocked in at a balmy 76.9*, which is getting very close to the “No Wetsuits Allowed” 78*. I opted to leave my wetsuit in the car despite the huge speed boost it provides.
We waited for about an hour for my group’s call-to-action. We watched the paratriathletes start the swim (talk about inspiration) and saw several of the elite athletes (talk about fast) come out of the water and running to their bikes. Before long the time had come for my group to get set near the swim start. Evelyn documented things for posterity.
With about 2 minutes to go, we walked out onto the dock and hopped into the murky water and bobbed there nervously. After a few encouraging words from the announcer, the airhorn sent us on our way. With 1500 meters ahead of me (and no wetsuit to keep me afloat), my objectives were simple: find a rhythm, swim a straight line, and don’t get kicked in the head. For the most part I was successful on all counts. The course is a big rectangle, and by the time we made it to the backstretch I felt ok. However, as we made our way under the last bridge I could tell my stroke was waning. The last 100 meters took an eternity. Talk about relief when I hit the ramp to climb out of the water and made my way up toward transition.
Swim Time: 35:15 (predicted: 30:00)
Swim Place: 54 / 75 <– not great…
Finally out of the water I snaked through the exit area and spotted Ev cheering as I entered transition. My bike, thankfully, was set up very close to the bike start, so most of my time in transition was spent running to and from my bike, instead of running with my bike. T1 was pretty uneventful, including avoiding any sock issues typical in races past, and made my way out to the bike course smoothly.
T1 Time: 3:59
T1 Place: 44 / 75
In retrospect, the bike leg of this race is as much a mental test as it is physical. The Olympic distance is made up of four (count ’em, four) 6.2 mile laps, and each one seems to take longer than the last. This was my first race on my new bike and I have to say, it felt awesome! The course weaves through downtown with a great view of the Capitol before opening up into a long flat road that lets you really push it. I’ll tell you, when a $10,000 bike with a disc wheel comes flying by you, sounding like a helicopter, you can’t help but watch in awe. More than once it felt like I was standing still while one of these supermachines blasted by me. Humbling.
Like I said, the mental aspect of this particular course started to get to me. Just beginning the third lap meant I was only halfway done, and since the laps take you by the finish line each time, I was reminded each time how much farther I really had to go. Fear not! I did in fact get through all four laps. And very consistently — removing the final .6 miles, my four laps clocked in at 18:02, 18:00, 18:08, and 18:25. That last one I tried to ease up a bit before the bike finish to save my legs for the run.
Bike Time: 1:15:02 (predicted: 1:20:00)
Bike Place: 34 / 75 <– not bad!
After that fourth lap I was thrilled to hop off the bike. Again, since my spot in transition was near the bike finish line, it was only a short jog to make the change into my running gear. It didn’t take long before I was weaving my way through the racks of bikes to start running.
T2 Time: 2:05
T2 Place: 23 / 75
Per my usual M.O. the run is where the fun stops and I get down to business. The run course consists of two 5k (3.1 mile) laps. As soon as I was out of transition my legs felt heavy. I took the first quarter mile easy to get my bearings and fall into a rhythm. After that, it was all cruise control. The route is relatively flat, but leads you through a lot of shadeless streets. Around Mile 2, on a straightaway with runners heading south and bikes heading north, for seemingly no reason I watched a cyclist completely wipe out, as if a car had t-boned him. It was a pretty nasty spill, and I’m sure left quite a few cuts and bruises. AND THEN ANOTHER CYCLIST RAN HIM OVER AND WIPED OUT TOO. I shouted to the other cyclists who were approaching the wreck to warn them to steer clear and then told one of the traffic cops.
With the drama behind me, I refocused and dialed in the run. Ev cheered me on near the start of my second lap and at this point I was feeling great. I don’t know how much harder I could have pressed the pace, but I know my body was happy where it was. The Mile 5 mark is where I picked things up, dropping my last mile time down to 6:45. Approaching the finish, there’s a long straightaway that leads into a hard right turn that puts you 100 yards away from the finish line. Just before making the right turn, a hulking behemoth sprinted past me. I took the inside of the right turn and pushed it as hard as possible past him. That lasted about two seconds until his basketball-sized calves propelled him ahead of me. He barely eked it out and broke the tape ahead of me. The crowd got really into it!
Run Time: 44:40 (predicted: 45:00)
Run Place: 10 / 75 <– hell yea!
The race was a huge success! Although my swim was slower than I’d expected, the bike made up for it and I able to beat my predicted goal (2:42) by 57 seconds! I’m not signed up for any other races at this point (other than IMAZ of course), but this just might have been the reminder I needed that racing tris is a lot of fun. Thanks for all of the support, both in person and online! And a big thank you to my superfan, Ev, who was up super early (5:30am on a holiday? yea.) and scurried all over the course to cheer!
2013 Capital of Texas Triathlon – Olympic
|Swim||1500 meters||35:15||2:09 min/100m||725|
|Bike||40 km||1:15:02||19.9 mph||371|
|Run||10 km||44:40||7:12 min/mi||88|
*Rank is for that individual event, not placement at that point. So I had the 92nd fastest run, not that I was in 92nd place at that point.
|Class Position (Men 25-29 Olympic)||26 / 75 (34.6%)|
|Gender Position (Men Olympic)||215 / 766 (28.0%)|
|Overall Position (All)||262 / 1094 (23.9%)|
Oh, and by the way, after the race I decided Hopdoddy was the only place that would put back my 3000 burned calories — and then some! Just the usual: local beer, Buffalo Bill burger, Kennebec fries, and Tres Leches milkshake.