(Guest Post) Wildflower Triathlon Race Recap

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While I was unable to compete in the Wildflower this year (You can see why at this post Triathlons and Babies), my race partner, Joe Wilensky, was able to finish and has written a race recap for you all to read:0527_for_web_f1665bca74

Race report for Wildflower:

I was planning on doing this race with a co-worker (Steven Lerer), but his wife delivered their first child 2 days before the race, and one month sooner than expected.  Heather traveled down with me instead to be my race day support and cheerleader!

I couldn’t really get to sleep all that well and ended up awake at 4:00 am, 4:30, 5:00, 5:30, and finally 5:45 when I gave up and got out of bed.  Changed, packed my bags and loaded the bike in the car before waking Heather up earlier than she would have liked.  Unfortunately the weather changed quite a bit from the day previous and the temperature dropped a good 30 degrees from the day previous.  Bad news as I had only packed a t-shirt and shorts type clothes to wear on the day, so lesson learned about warm clothes for transition set-ups.

We grabbed a quick breakfast of Velveeta cheese filled omelets and biscuits at the continental breakfast at the Holiday Inn, topped it off with a banana, and were on the road by 6:30.  It was only a 30 minute drive from Paso Robles to the race course and given our arrival 2 hours in advance of the race start.  Quick note about staying in Paso Robles as opposed to camping at the Lake.  The short drive was well worth it to be able to sleep comfortably (no loud partying from the finished racers) and sleeping in a bed made my restless sleep much more productive than sleeping on the cold ground camping.

At 6:30 in the morning, the only people on the road were either driving to or from the Lake, so it was very reassuring that Heather and I were heading in the right direction.

We parked and walked down to transition, where I saw someone who had already crashed their bike on a downhill being attended to by EMTs, so rough start to the day for him.  Transition was mostly empty at that point and set up was quick and easy, so we had a hour to sit around, shiver, and play with a ridiculously excited dog while waiting for the race to begin.

The water for the swim was actually warmer than the air, so I was quite happy to jump into the lake and take a quick warm up swim right before the gun went off.  I lined up in the 3rd line of my wave, the gun went off, and we charged into the water.  The beginning of the swim was a bit chaotic, but not more so than any other open water swim start I’ve been in before.  A bit of swimming over-top of people who really didn’t belong at the front of the wave, having my legs grabbed a few times (a few good kicks stopped that from happening), and just really steady strong swimming to keep your position and find some clear water.  It all settled down within 300 yards or so and down the course we went.  I was surprised that I started to pass people in the 3 waves before me within the first 500 yards, but there are some awesome bikers and runners who just hang on and survive the swim, so as long as they float they’re ok.  Coming home in the swim I did get one strong kick to the chest, but the guy’s foot brushed my chin, so I consider the hit to be a lucky one (the water was murky and he did a whip kick so it came out of nowhere).  Coming into the shore we bit the boat ramp and started the long run to transition.  I need to work on my sighting a bit as it’s been some time since I’ve done an open water swim and went a bit off course.  The swim was a bit slower than I was expecting, but it was a bit choppy, and I’ve never done a swim of this length while holding back effort for the rest of the race.  Swim Distance: 1.5k  Swim Time: 27:54  Placing: 289/1881.

Off to the bike!  I had some trouble getting my socks on with my wet feet, but I haven’t really done any barefoot running or cycling so I didn’t want to get blisters from trying it that day.  The course began with an immediate hill, one that was really steep.  Even after being warned of the hill, 400 feet in about 1.5 miles is rough when your legs aren’t quite used to working right yet.  The bike overall really hilly, and I was consistently passed, which was expected given my size (it looked like I had about 30 lbs on most of the other people competing), but I did have fun rocketing downhill.  Due to the steepness of these climbs and while trying to not completely kill my legs, my speeds ranged anywhere from 5 mph to 40 mph in one steep section.  I hopped off the bike feeling pretty good, and threw my shoes on.  I almost forgot my running watch, but remembered at the last minute. Bike Distance: 25 miles  Bike Time: 1:43:13  Placing 1216/1881

And now the run.  My right Achilles started hurting pretty much from the beginning of the run, and kept on nagging at me the whole time.  It was a trail run with more gradual uphill than anything approaching down and I was begin passed left and right by 45 year old guys who are more fit now than I was 5 years ago.  Something to strive for I guess.  The run went pretty well, with only 3 planned walking stops to drink water at the aid stations, and one brutal mile of downhill (we ran down most of the hill that we started to bike up).  Running downhill when your legs are tired is really not fun.  I finally turned into the finishing shoot and finished my first Olympic distance triathlon pretty much exactly how I had predicted I would go.  Run Distance: 6.2 miles  Run Time: 55:55  Placing 1030/1881.

In the end, Heather was there cheering me on every time I went through transition, which was quite the feat considering I had no idea when I might be back to the spectator’s area.  She kept a sharp eye for me and kept on cheering, wrapped in a blanket to keep warm!

Overall time was 3:12:16.  I thought I would get in around 3 Hours, so I was a bit slower than I thought, but the swim was slower than normal that day.  I need to work on my bike and run some more J

I’m doing a replacement race with Steven in September, and this will be a flat course so I expect to go much quicker.

The Course:  http://www.tricalifornia.com/index.cfm/WildFlower2013-course_descriptions_olympic_international.htm

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