Yesterday morning, with the steam of a fresh cup of coffee dancing around my nose, I stared from my window and took in mother nature’s musings in progress. Gray. Cold. Drizzling. Ominous fortunes in the sky. I took a sip of caffeine and gave my assessment.
This weekend was my first ever Peak Triathlon, a race I have been unfortunately overlooking the past few years. After the tough time I had at the Grizzly, I was eager to get out on to the road again. So despite the concerning weather forecast, I packed up my gear and made the drive down to Missoula. Lets get this adventure in water started.
I only have a small amount of time today, so I have to keep this report efficient and short. Okay, see my last post. I am trying to relax about these things (again). So, my morning was same as always, just with a little more sugar. Black coffee with 2 added shots, egg bagel sandwich with Sriracha, and a slice of that new Starbucks coffee cake. In my opinion, skip that coffee cake: It’s like Steven Baldwin; you think he will suffice, but at the end, you are still craving a stiff shot of Beetlejuice.
The two hour drive to Missoula was something akin to driving through the set of The Perfect Storm, but amazingly when I arrived at the Peak, it was overcast, calm wind, and about mid 50’s.
The Peak peeps were on the ball: packet pick up went and body marking was efficient, and I was in and out with my papers and sharpie tattoos in less than five minutes. After changing, I ran for ten minutes, doing plenty of strides, run ups, and stretches. I racked my bike 30 minutes prior to my wave start and headed into the pool.
SWIM: 500y, 7:56 (8:04 by human timer), 3/13 AG, 32/218 OA
Things were slightly delayed, so I ended up waiting to start longer than I had anticipated. Much to my pleasure, there was a hot tub in the pool area, so I went all Olympic diver style and just hung out in there shooting the breeze.
Unlike other pool swims I’ve done, I actually had some time to get a quick 100 in before starting. It was great for getting the butterflies out. In the few moments before the start, I just told myself to relax, swim smooth and calm, and have some freaking FUN.
And off we go, and all I am thinking is slow and steady. As I made the first 100, my pacing was right on. I counted my strokes in order to concentrate on my form and not on everyone watching. A great part about this triathlon is that there is no circle swimming. As a flip turner, it was a real pleasure not to have to worry about pulling a Lusitania on the woman swimming next to me. As I rounded 300, I was still right on pace at 4:39.
At this point, things started to slip form wise as I was feeling more tired than expected. My goal was to finish at around 8:00, so the clock time of 7:56 was a little better than I hoped. The 8:04 time in the results takes into account me exiting the pool and darting out the side door like Bieber…minus the fainting.
Much better transition time, maybe because I was smiling. Everything on without a problem. I got a little held up in my cleats again. I really need to learn the “flying mount” from cyclocross. I may have to go look like an idiot in a grassy field soon…
BIKE: 12.38, 35:05, 2/13 AG, 12/218 OA
Off I go and immediately I notice that I feel stiff. I usually ride an easy spin the day before a race, but I didn’t get a chance to this time. So my last ride was a hard one two days prior.
Going on, there was a little headwind, but nothing that caused flashbacks to the Grizzly Tri. More concerning this time were the wet roads from a fresh rain. Unfortunately, this is where spending most of my training on a trainer hurt me. I had to rein things in slightly on the corners and downhills, especially as I had never ridden or previewed the course before.
The profile showed two climbs on the way out. These turned out to be more like short annoying hills than real climbs, and I was easily able to make up some time on them. As I came into the turn around, I was happy to have less race time and more skin than I expected at that point.
On the way back, my legs started to finally open up and I let it rip more. I still was skiddish (no pun intended) in the corners, but it felt faster than going out. During the final few miles into transition, the roads started to dry a bit and it was smooth going home.
Here is the data:
T2: FAST THANKS TO VOLUNTEERS!
Getting into transition was a little tight thanks to unforeseeable traffic problems. I have to say that the volunteers at this race were some of the best I have seen. They were both excited and helpful; it was a nice touch, especially during a time when I am trying to concentrate on bringing enjoyment back into racing. I can’t say enough good things about them. They even caught my bike, held it for me, and put away my dirty stuff and bike after I transitioned. I wonder if I can hire them for the week!
RUN: 3.1 mi, 23:01, 6/13 AG, 26/218 OA
Aw, the weakest link appears. Lot’s of work to do, as you all know, but I am on it. Starting up, it was an immediate up hill, so the burn started quickly. One minor cramp at the start, but then my form settled in rather quickly. I just didn’t have the energy to go faster, but I gave it all I had. By the time the big rise in the middle came up, I was huffing good but still moving. Fortunately, I didn’t have to stop running on any of the inclines.
After cresting the last hill, I turned on the gas and sacrificed my knees to the downhill gods. Down and down I went back to home base, getting faster and faster as I tumbled down to transition while trying not to break my crown.
As I crossed the line, I breathed a deep sigh of relief, and welcomed the requisite butchering of my name by the announcer.
SYNOPSIS: 1:07:29, 2/13 AG, 12/218 OA
Overall, it was a solid day at a great race. I wouldn’t say it was perfect by any means, and that is a good thing because I feel like I can do better next time. Personally, it was wonderful as it has given me more mojo to train. Also, 2nd in AG is icing on the cake (although it would had been different I think if more people had shown).
The Peak Triathlon definitely was a great experience. The pool is peaceful, the bike is beautiful, the run is rigorous, and the volunteers are vibrant. I will definitely be back next year and hopefully stand higher at the Peak.
And of course, if you follow me on Instagram, you know my other passion is beer and home brewing. So I could think of no better way celebrate the day than with a party pig of locally brewed IPA (yes, it will last a LONG time). If you are ever in Missoula and want to try some great and unique beers on tap, try the Kettlehouse!
It has been a good May thus far out by Flathead Lake. The weather is finally starting to warm up. The flowers are getting planted. I’ve started getting my ridiculously tight short sleeve shirts out of the closet (don’t look at me that way, this is a triathlon blog and you know you have them too). Tis the season of change out here in Montana.
I am happy to say that my new mentality about training has paid off. If you remember, I have been having a problem with hitting the bottom of the mojo barrel. Things came to a head at the Grizzly Triathlon. What should have been a fun event turned into something like being at the dentist (cue Kenny G background music).It was after the race that I had an epiphany.
My wife, as always the beacon of clarity in my chaotic life, was the source of my mental change. After listening to me lament on my performance at the Grizz, she just smiled and asked if I enjoyed the race. I said no. Her response: “Then why do it?”
What she was getting at is the fact that I am not a pro triathlete. I never will be. My livelihood does not depend on my race outcomes. This is something I do for FUN. Sure, I want to do the best I can, but when training becomes more anxiety provoking than filing taxes when you’re the Cleveland Tea Party Association, an alteration of the mental landscape is in order. So, with that mindset, I basically just told myself I will train if I want to. If I can’t make all the paces or watts of the workout, fine. But I will try my best nevertheless.
So far, this has been working GREAT. Specifically, what this has resulted is in me not just constantly hammering myself or worrying myself into a knot about a pending workout. I am keeping most of my bike and run workouts on separate days. Swimming is now mostly working on form or endurance. Last week, I took two days off completely and just spent time with the family for once. Without the huge burden of grad school looming over me, this was incredibly rewarding.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am still busting my balls. This Saturday, it was 6 miles with 600m and 1200m repeats at 6:40. Sunday was off: it was Mother’s Day and I have limits. Monday, I hit the bike for a painful TR session of “Gabb.”
For whatever reason, the first few minutes got cut off when my computer died. Oh well. Tuesday was another run fest with 8X800 between 6:11-6:50.
Today was another lesson in mind of matter with TR Goethe: 4 X 10′ at FTP. Tomorrow, I will probably take off. Maybe doing some putzing around spinning on the bike for recovery. Or just hit some tee-ball with the kid. Who knows? Tomorrow is another day and another adventure. One day at a time.
This weekend, I will doing my first Peak Triathlon in Missoula. This is another sprint. So far, the weather looks better than it was at the Griz. Stay posted for more Contour +2 fun!