Sunday, August 14, 2005

CFTS Triathlon

I looked forward to this morning's sprint triathlon, since I was ready to get back into it after a nice long break. This sprint was the third one in the Central Florida Triathlon Series, put on by Sommer Sports, a local event management company.

Sommer Sports has some interesting innovations, such as selling a membership that gives various benefits: a reserved parking lot that is very close to the transition zone, a reserved food area, and probably other stuff. I didn't have the special membership and wound up parking a long way away, so I didn't have much time to setup beforehand.

I rushed through registration and picked up my packet. In the transition zone, I dug out the stuff and discovered a race number without any holes punched in it. This matters to me because I use a race belt, and didn't happen to pack a hole puncher in my transition bag. The paper stock was thicker and more plastic than other race numbers I'm used to, and I couldn't force it onto the race belt. So I improvised and punched a hole with my keychain, and ripped the number. I mention all this because sadly, I lost my race number somewhere on the course - it probably worked free because of the tear. I had a streak of collecting all my race numbers for every event I've done since my inaugural Fremont 5K in 1998. I guess I'll have to cut out the sticker on the manila registration folder.

Anyway, I hadn't been training the swim or run very much, so my whole plan was to just bike as hard as I could and see how I stacked up overall and in my division. I wouldn't mind blowing up on the run, since after all, I'm not really acclimated to the heat.

The swim was in Lake Minneola, and it was too warm for a wetsuit. This sprint was only a 1/4 mile swim so I wouldn't have worn one anyway. They held each wave on the shore (ankle deep in the water at most) until it was our turn to start, when we waded out and started swimming. I had a typical swim, with the usual minor collisions, and some difficulty sighting due to the very bright sun. The water was black but at least it didn't taste bad. Swim time was 9:44, 49/60 in my division.

I hopped on my bike and started out at high cadence and eventually geared up and went as fast as I could. The bike course was reasonably scenic, circling the lake. It wound through the Clermont area, which has several rolling hills. I gave myself a side stitch climbing one so I had to back off a bit, and picked it up again when I felt better. My time was 38:17, good enough for 32/60 in my division, which is by far the best bike result I've ever had at a triathlon.

I didn't feel hot while riding the bike, but I certainly did in transition. Still, I felt good starting the run and shuffled along for a bit until I hit a small hill and started to pass a few people. This energized me ;) I was able to pick it up a little... comparatively, because I was feeling pretty warm and not all that great. My legs felt fine but my aerobic/digestive system just wasn't in the same neighborhood. I drank a little gatorade and water, as much as I could tolerate, and cruised in. Run time was 26:06 and 29/60 in my division. I think this could be my first split in the top half of my division!

Overall I finished 1:19:01, 38/60 in my division, and 184/344 among men. In the overall (among men) picture, I did 256/344 on the swim (yeah yeah, I'm slow), 161/344 on the bike, which moved me up to 185/344, and then 150/344 on the run, for an overall 184/344. Yes, I'm a stats junkie, I love it.

I am very pleased with the result. I think my work on the bike is starting to pay off, and I didn't gimp myself too much on the swim and run by blowing these off. Or course, this was a sprint distance tri - I'm not sure how my bike or run pace would have suffered on a longer course. The event was well run and extra kudos to Sommer Sports for having the results up so quickly!

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