I really didn't do anything special for this race, other than "previewing" the long course a week ago with a handful of faster athletes... It made me happy that I decided on the shorter Sprint distance again!
I woke up at 4:45am, had some oatmeal and coffee, and loaded up my car. After the last drop of coffee, I headed out to Shawnee Mission Park for the short race. Transition was about a mile away from the parking lot, so I made sure to get there early to get set up and comfortable. The long course racers started first at 7:00am, but my heat didn't start till 8:00am, so I had plenty of time to get loose.
Once I got to transition, I quickly learned that not only did the M25-29 wave get stuck with the last wave of the race, we also got the worst possible transition rack, which was the furthest away from ANY EXIT/ENTRANCE TO TRANSITION!!! Yeah, swim entrance, bike exit and entrance, and run exit. All as far away as possible. Well, there goes my overall podium... haha!
I also got some free advice from another M25-29 athlete, who gave me a pointer on how to rack my bike. I proudly have an ISM Adamo seat, with a ridge specifically on the back side to quickly rack your bike. The other AGer said to rack it by the tip of the saddle. He said once I got to my bike after the swim, it would be on the ground from the quicker swimmers accidentally knocking it. I said thanks and meant it, but thought,"Yeah, that's why I'm going to be the first..."
Once I got my gear ready, I headed out for a 5 minute bike warmup to get my gearing set, and then sat around and watched the swim starts. Eventually, I slipped into the water for a short warm up swim and headed over to the beach for the start. I positioned myself in the very front and center around a bunch of youngsters, and got mentally prepared to go hard!
At 8:05am, the horn went off, and the madness began. This was my first race where I was brave enough to start in the front, and really recommend it! Didn't touch anyone!
|Swim wave starting!|
Within the first 100 meters, there was a group of 6 quickly pulling ahead of me. I decided to push the pace and try to keep up with them for the next 100 meters, and then reassess my energy. They were MOVING! I knew I was working much harder than I wanted, so I backed off a bit. They soon pulled away, but no one was catching up with me. At the turn around, I decided to kick it up again, and began navigating around the massive group of pink caps from the previous wave.
Soon enough, I was being directed by lifeguards to the boat ramp to start the long run back to my bike. As soon as I stepped out of the water, I caught a glance at my watch, which read 8:10. I immediately thought "HOLY $&IT! I went way too hard!". It was good for the fastest time in my age group, 11th overall, but the 6th fastest time in my wave. There are some fast 16-20ers....
Distance: 500 meters
This race probably has the toughest transition run after exiting the water. It's long, uphill, and if you had my transition spot, even longer. Once I found my spot, I quickly put my Beef Kit on, slipped on my helmet and sunglasses, and strapped on my bike shoes. I was then running to the bike exit!
|Lots of bikes... I've learned that's good!|
The bike course is a tough 9 miles, full of hills, fast downhills, and TONS of mountain bikes, beach cruisers, and hybrids (which is awesome!). Race organizers know this is a popular race for first timers, and they do a great job educating people on proper race etiquette, like passing on the left and staying on the right. No issues!
The major challenge on the course is the Dam Hill, which you get to climb twice for the sprint. At it's worst, it registers at a 13% grade, which might be the steepest in KC. I was out of my seat climbing the hill both laps, and was able to stay out of my 'granny' gear, which is unbelievable.
The first lap, I was hauling ass. Flying. My average speed for the first go around was over 20mph, and I was feeling it. I decided to back off a bit after the 2nd time up the dam hill, when I could SEE my pulse on my wrist... No HR needed! The second lap went smoothly, and paced with another racer in my swim wave, who was racing in the under 20 division. Fast kid for 17....
|Starting lap 2!|
My effort was great on the bike, but I question if I started too hard on the first lap. I really wanted to maintain a solid pace throughout, and question whether I would have been able to maintain a faster pace during the second lap if I backed off a bit.
Distance: 9 miles
Age Group: 5/19
T2 was really uneventful. Good flying dismount, long run to my bike rack, quick to change shoes, grabbed my bib and hat, and another long run to the run exit. Man, terrible location for my rack!
Age Group: 2/19
I quickly found a good pace out of transition, and just tried to settle in before climbing the Dam Hill one more time. My plan was to try and average a 7:45/mi pace on the course, other than the Dam Hill, and the final climb out of the trails. My goal was for an 8:00/mi average.
The run was going to plan all the way up the Dam Hill and to the turn around. The course loops back on itself heading into the trails, and I soon saw another guy in my age group looking good. I didn't even think to look for people in my division, but I was soon nervous and picked up my pace. I was feeling good, and knew I had a quicker pace if I needed it, but I wanted to make sure that I was saving something for the final .5 mile of the race, which is all uphill.
|A good look at the finishing hill!|
I finally climbed the tough hill out of the trails and saw my average pace rise above 8:00, which was disappointing. I also saw Ryan up ahead, who was just finishing up the long course race. I caught him, tried to entice him to a final uphill sprint, and then took off. The last .3 mile, my average pace was 5:50/mi, uphill, barefoot in the snow (okay, no snow and I had shoes, but no socks!). I tried not to look like I was in too much pain as I crossed the finish, but I was.....
Distance: 2.4 miles
Age Group: 3/19
If you can't tell from the times above, I killed this race! Here's the breakdown:
Swim: Goal- 9:23 Actual- 8:16
T1: Goal- 2:00 Actual- 2:00 (nailed it...)
Bike: Goal- sub28:00 Actual- 28:14 (sooo close...)
T2: Goal- 0:50 Actual- 1:00
Run: Goal- 19:10 Actual- 18:42
OVERALL- Goal- 1:00:00 Actual 0:58:10
I almost beat my goal by 2 minutes! I couldn't be happier! Last year, my time was 1:03:40, in similar conditions (maybe a bit warmer), and I never would have expected a 5:30 improvement! My performance was good enough for 2 in my AG, and I got to leave with an award in hand!
|2 for 2! (getting 2nd... woah...)|
Age Group: 2/19
I'd like to thank my family for coming on a hot morning, Rach for sherpa-ing, the Kansas Beef Endurance Team for supporting crazy people like me, my followers in Texas for saying Hello, and the weather for backing off the crazy 100+ degree days.
I also think I should say that this is such a great race! I love it, definitely one of my local favorites, and it's not because I've podiumed the last 2 years (believe me, the real talent does the long course). If you are looking to do your first triathlon and live around the area, I can't recommend this race enough! It is newbie friendly, very organized, and tons of fun! I will definitely be back again, looking to go BACK TO BACK TO BACK 2nd place in M25-29!
And now, some terrible pictures I wouldn't even tag on Facebook!
|No, seriously, it's a banana|
|Clearly, I don't podium often...|