Friday, September 23, 2011

LKN 2011

Recently several people have commented on the large number of races I have competed in this year. The funny thing is as of right now I have just as many races under my belt as totaled last year. I have two more races to compete in this season but with one of 2010’s races being an ironman I do not feel like I have overextended myself. I do regret that several of my races were back to back but sometimes that is just how the timing plays out. This is exactly what happened to the Lake Norman Sprint Triathlon. I sighed up for the race at the beginning of the season when the rumors of a sellout were all around me. In the meantime, the opportunity to make Nationals a cheap trip fell into my lap so I had to take it. Generally speaking I prefer to do only one race a month so these back-to-back weekends have been both a learning experience and a challenge for me.

Coming out of a lack-luster race in Vermont, I expected it would be difficult for me to find the motivation to push hard at the Lake Norman Sprint but I knew I would have to. While the race did not seem to have the depth it had in previous years, the presence of both overall female winners from the two years past validated the battle for top three. So on my drive up I turned to Toots & the Maytals to get me going.

Despite being a little late to the race site I seemed to have plenty of time to set up the transition and even sneak in a short warm up swim. I decided to swim with my new BlueSeventy speedsuit, the PZ3TX. Going into the swim I was not sure if it was worth wearing a speedsuit but I wanted to give it a try as I planned to wear it in Vegas. IT IS AMAZING! After years of seeing swim technology come and go, I honestly did not think the speedsuit offered much in the triathlon swim realm. I was so wrong! I sprinted off the start and found myself alone with one other guy but at the very first turn buoy I pulled out the super-duper-super-special buoy turn Patty Waldron, the head coach of MAC Masters, taught me and then I was alone. Suck it sucker! (don't feel bad nice fella, you passed me in transition)  From the there I felt fast and smooth until I exited the water and removed the suit with ease. I thought the time gained from a speedsuit would be offset by the time it takes to get it off but I was wrong there too! Wrong, wrong, wrong. If you don’t have a speedsuit, get one (preferablely from Inside Out sports – they are a blueseventy dealer).

The bike itself was unremarkable. Happy Frank passed me and passed me fast. I have been able to hang with him in the past but he simply blew me away this time. I guess his Kona training is paying off! After that a few more open men passed me but I was not able to hold pace and pretty soon I was riding solo. The solo theme continued as I transitioned from the bike to the run. I appreciated seeing some familiar faces in the transition but back on the run course I felt so alone. There were stretches of 5 minutes when I did not see another racer, volunteer, arrow, or spectator. At one point I was beginning to think I missed a turn and was now lost is the morass of some suburban neighborhood. The neighbors were all having yard sales and such . . . didn’t they know 500 athletes were about to tromp through their ‘hood dropping GU packets and spreading sweat on their wares? Won’t be an issue if I am off course . . . . and then finally I see another arrow. Pheeeeew, I was really starting to get nervous. Of course then I missed the last turn to the finishers shoot. Ooops. Luckily I did not get far before I was corrected.

I want to thank Cline, Vespa, and SmellyPoo for coming out just to cheer me and the other racers on. It was great to see some friendly faces out on the course to push me on!