Wildflower Triathlon (Long Course) - May, 2004

Finish: 1816 out of 1833 

Pre-race Strategy

After having a few more races under my belt I am learning more and more about tris. Nutrition is a big deal when it comes to racing for 4-6 hours, so I am making sure I know what my body needs and what will give me the best performance. I looked over the course and where the aid stations where so I could use those as markers for eating. I am going to eat a good breakfast a few hours before my wave start and have a gel before the start. Then on the bike I will have a gel just after the Beach Hill climb and a powerbar at the first aid station. After that I will have a gel at mile 26 and in between aid stations around mile 45. On the run I will mainly use gatorade and water, maybe a gel at mile 6.8 if I my stomach feels good. Hoping to swim under 40:00 (I do not feel I have swam much this year). I want to bike a 2:55, but I will be taking it easy and keeping my HR down. I see myself being able to run a 1:55, but I could live with a 2:00. My trasitions I have been practicing and I believe I can keep those under 2:00 easily, but would like to be under 1:40.

See you at the race.

Race Report

The race was tons of fun (looking back on it), although my finish was really bad. I took a half day at work and was planning on leaving at noon. A Sac Tri Club member was going down earlier and saving a spot for me, but he ended up calling me just before noon and said he had not left yet. So we chatted and decided to carpool down. Since it is around a 5 hour drive it is nice to have some company, plus share the fuel expense. We got down there around 7 or so and setup our tents. I got kind of organized for raceday and then we headed down to the expo area to pick up our race packets. We did not realize that the registration tent closed at 8pm, so we did not get anything but something to eat. On the shuttle ride down the 1 mile descent the bus driver warned us that he was probably the last shuttle going down and we would have to walk up. I would rather have my registration stuff and walk up, then have to worry about it on race morning. No luck obviously. When we were eating and one of the females that served us was standing outside on her cellphone and looking around. Since we were going to have to walk, I figured I would ask her if she was waiting for a ride. She said she was and I asked if my buddy and I could get a ride to the top of the hill. She said she would have to ask, so I agreed and went back to my table. We finished eating and she was still there, so we saw some other folks that looked like they were driving up and asked for a ride. They said we could, but there was only room in the bed of the truck. The bed was filled with a bunch of junk and it looked like we would have to lay on each other. My thought was, this is better than walking a mile up that climb, so we decided to take it. Just then the females ride shows up and we ask if we can get a ride up to the top. She obligued, and we had a comfy relaxing ride up near our campsite. Once back at the campsite I chatted with a few people from the club and pretty much went right to bed. I needed to be up by 6:20, so going to bed at 10pm was a good idea. In the morning I woke up and got changed. Started putting my bike together and making sure I had everything I needed in my transition bag. I filled up my front tire and then realized I had not brought my adaptor to be able to fill up my rear. I asked around and finally found someone else with a disc and pumped my tire up. All I did was ask for him to have good thoughts for me during the race and not get a rear flat.


Standing on the launch ramp waiting for my wave I went through my race in my head. Just tried to remember that I need to stay calm in the swim and reach long strokes to stay efficient. The wave ahead of me goes off and I hop in the water to warm up. The water was not very cold at all, or maybe I am getting used to the cold stuff since I wakeboarded all winter, so I was pretty happy. After the warmup I went back on the ramp to get ready for the start. I start around 75% back in the pack since I am not a strong swimmer, but I hate being at the back and having to swim around a lot of folks. The gun goes off and I walk into the water and start swimming. Just taking it easy here and watching others and seeing how the pack is going. First thing I noticed was I could not see past my elbows in this mucky water. So much for trying to just follow the feet in front of me. We swim out at a good pace to the first bouy and then the pace settles down. I change a few feet before I find a good pair. It took some work to keep them though, which I do not understand, I am swimming mid/back of the pack and people are really try to push me out of the way. I just kind of let them be mean and keep my race going in my mind. I obviously lost the feet I wanted, but found another pair. It was a good pace, but turns out the guy swims as straight as I do, we were pretty far off course and I saw the pack just to my left (50'). So I slowly turn to the left and swim by the guy hoping he sees me and decides to latch on (yes, I am nice even when I race). He continues his course and I am off, heading back to the pack. I catch them before the next bouy and by that time the top AGers behind us had caught our pack. I swim with the pack, moving from feet to feet and having serious trouble swimming straight. I end up off course on my own and brought a couple folks with me. I turn to correct and try to get back with the main pack, but I was slowing up a bit. I could not catch on and just tried to stay on course. So other folks were falling off the back to and I would sit on there feet for awhile and then move on. More of the other AGers were starting to catch me now and they were far from friendly. Some guy punched me in the head, other one caught me in the right eye on his back stroke. Some tried to go over me, but I decided I need to kick a bit more to keep them off me. I come up near the last bouy and notice some good size (18"-24") waves coming at me. It turns out there was a Sheriff boat in the water with a PA trying to keep people on course, but they would gas it up going back and forth sending good sized waves across the swim course. Not fun. I turn the last bouy and see the balloons. I just consentrate on trying to relax and peeing. I started to get a tingle in my left calf so I took it real easy on the way in. Coming out of the water I got my goggles and swim cap off and the top of my wetsuit as I run up the boat ramp. I glance over at my watch and see my time is at 40:3x already. I was a little upset about that, but there is nothing I can do, but continue on and maybe make up some time in T1


In the transition I did really well. I came up to my bike and got my wetsuit off as I put my stuff from my helmet (CO2, gels, powerbar) in my pocket. Then I grab my sunglasses and helmet and put them on and go. I could have been a bit faster, but I was very happy with how quick I got out.


Coming out of T1 there is a little hill, so I planned to run my bike up this section until I hit flat ground to hop and and put my shoes on. I did not make it to far before the tingle in my calf turned into a major cramp. I stayed on the side of the road just rubbing my leg trying to get everything to losen back up. After a few minutes I was good to go I hopped on my bike and got my shoes on. It was a little windy and the beginning, as they had us go through the finishing chute, so that made putting the shoes on take a little longer, although I still held contact with the folks right ahead of me. I got my shoes on and settled into the aerobars as best I could. It was windy coming into the first climb at Beach Hill. I just tried to spin to get some blood flowing and keep my cramp away. I came to the base of the climb and dropped down the gears until I was in my 23T. I just sat and spun easily up it, even though I know I had a ton more, I had to save it for later on. I still passed quite a few people up the climb, but kepted looking at my HRM to make sure I was not going to hard. I stayed seated the entire way, which I do not think I would do next time I race. I should have stood up a bit to use some different muscles and stretch out. It did not hurt me directly, but I could have been more comfy over the first 20k or so if I did. After the climb it flattens out and we ride out the campgrounds. We hit some rollers, but nothing major and over one of them I stand up to stretch. As I do so it sounds like my tire is rubbing, so I look down to see what it is. I could not see anything and just try to keep looking to find something. If my tire continues to rub it will not make it the whole distance. Over the next roller I stand up again and it does it more. I decided it needs to be fixed or I might have a problem. I hop off my bike and look down. I thought it was the tire hitting the front derailluer cable housing, but that is not possible. I look everything over and spin my tire and see nothing. I continue on hoping there is nothing wrong and try not to stand up and rock my bike back and forth to much. Since it is a tri, I do not have to worry to much. I continue on and pass people as planned, but still keeping my HR where I want it. As I come up to the larger rollers poeple kind of bunch up a bit, but nothing illegal. I eventually make may way up to a group on one of the rollers, I move on past them and get up the the guy at the front. He is on a P3 and climbing well, but I go on past him. During the descent he passes me back and I look back to see if the rest of the folks are following, but they are not. I let him sit in front of me (legal distance) and just cruise behind him. I pay attention to the distance I am following him and stay legal, but still notice how my HR has dropped around 7-8bpm. After a few miles of this I tell myself to just hold a good pace and stay behind him. One guy from the group that I passed on the climb comes on by us and then I noticed I was in a lower gear that what I was planning on riding (no speedo, so my what gear I was in, was what I based my pace on). I ride on by Mr. P3 and follow the other guy. That lasted for about 3 miles and the guy starts to fade as we come to some more rollers. Mr P3 was still behind us (legally) and I just moved on past and he followed. I rode the front for the next 10 or so miles knowing that I wanted to be a bit fresher for Nasty Grade, so I let him go on by and followed for the 3 or 4 miles prior to Nasty Grade. As we got to the base of it I just concentrated on my own pace and watched my HR. I pasted quite a few people on the climb, but did not plan on it. I was taking it easy and keeping my HR down, but I guess those weeks of hard hills helped out. I went past a kid that was 14, he was standing up and climbing in his big ring. I slowed up a bit and let him catch up to me and mentioned it was a long hill with 13 miles to run afterwards and he might want to try the small ring. I followed it up with, "just my suggestion, you know your body better than me." He dropped into the small ring and sat down. Looking at the results it still looked like he had trouble on the run. I get near the top and see a big bunny with a drum, I just smiled and continued on. I love the people that come out to cheer us on, they are great. After the top, you make a right turn and then climb for another 1/8 mile or so. I moved on up that and then started the descent. It is a fun descent with a couple of turns in it, but nothing major. I do notice running a disc and deep front wheel make it a bit of a chore turning the bike at higher speeds, but nothing I cannot handle or worry about. There are a few more rollers coming back into the campgrounds and I just take it easy watching my HR going over them. I am not really riding near anyone, just by myself for the most part. As I come into camp I drop a couple gears and start spinning real easy to relax my legs a bit and prepare for the run. Suck down a bit of water and go through what I am going to do to get my shoes off. I get near the top of the last descent (the last mile of the bike is a 7-10% downhilll grade) and start taking off my shoes. I get them off and we start to really get moving and feel comfortable on my bike and start preparing myself for T2. I come up to the line for dismount and barely make it off my bike in time. From now on I am going to slow down a bit more going into T2, I am only going to lose 2 or so seconds, and that is nothing (unless it is a sprint race).


I come into T2 feeling pretty good. My stomach was not great, but nothing I worried to much about. I pulled off my helmet while going to rack my bike. I sprinkled a little extra baby powder on the feet and dawned on my running shoes. I decided to stand for a second and relax for a second, I had 13 miles to run, so a few seconds now would not hurt. I started to run out of the transistion and noticed I forgot my number belt, so I headed back over and grabbed it. The second time out, I grabbed some gatorade and had a sip or two of it.


OFinally out of T2 I started into my pace. I ran what i felt was a good pace and then backed it down a little. I kept my HR in the range I wanted and actually a tad below. The run was sure rocky and there was a good crowd on the side of the first few miles to keep my motivation high. Around the third mile I noticed my HR was lower than it should be so I figured I was slowing down a bit.I picked up the pace a bit to get my HR back were I wanted it. I looked back at my watch after another minute and my HR has dropped even more. So I picked up the pace even faster now. I did this for a few minutes until I realized I just need to walk for a few minutes. I start walking around mile 4 and my stomach was feeling a bit queezy again. Of course I come to the mile 4 aid station and suck it up and try to look pretty for all the Cal Poly girls. Although as soon as I grabbed my water I had to walk. I sipped some water and walked some more. About that point I heard someone say my name. All the folks I know that are racing are over 30 and I was very curious who had caught me. I turn around and see it is Chris from Total Tri. He fitted me on my Cervelo and was out cheering folks on. He saw me and talked to me for a few minutes as I walked along. I mention how I was not feeling well and just hoped to finish the race without throwing up. We came to the steep hill around mile 4.5 and he walked off and I slowly, and I mean slowly, walked up the hill. At the top of the hill I had to stop. I was very dizzy and really felt like I wanted to throw up. I sat down and relaxed for a few minutes. Then I started dry heaving. That happened for awhile and many people would ask if I was okay. I just nodded my head and tried to say yes (not sure what I really said though). After a few minutes of dry heaving someone asked if I was okay. I told him, "I don't know." I was really feeling bad, my stomach/chest really hurt from trying to throw up, and what did come out ended up all over my shoulder/arm. The guy ran over to the photographer that was standing near the top of the hill and mentioned I was up here. The photographer came running up and grabbed his water bottle and asked if I was okay. I think I just smiled and nodded my head. He told me I could have as much water as I wanted and just put the bottle back with his stuff. So I sat and drank a little bit of water. In the mean time a few folks had mentioned I was not feeling well at the next aid station. One of the Cal Poly guys came running up to me with a half gallon of water in a gatorade jug. This was the time I started my dry heaving again. The guy asked if there was anything he could do, and when I got the chance I just asked if he could get someone to get me off the course. My stomach was killing me and not having anything to throw up was painful. After awhile a guy on a mountain bike came by, his name was Chris. He asked me what I wanted to do and I mentioned I want to get off the course and visit the nice folks in the med tent. He told me that would mean I would get a DNF and I told him I know that, and I just wanted to feel better. We went down to the bottom of the hill were they could get a vehicle near the course. After we got down there he headed off to get some help (after calling on the radio a few times). Down were he had me sit was a group of four Cal Poly guys cheering people on. They had the music playing and the beer was flowing. I just sat on the ground and tried to relax a bit. After awhile I see Mike from the Sac Tri Club run on by and I did my best to cheer him on. Then Chris came back and had brought a gel and a powerbar for me. The last thing I wanted to do right now was eat, but I thanked him and took the food and put it in my pocket. He mentioned he had forgotten that the previous aid station was the naked aid station. He obviously enjoyed that. He stayed around for awhile calling on his radio to find out what was going on. Some folks had crashed I guess and the vehicles they had were helping out those folks on the bike course. I asked one of the Cal Poly guys if I could borrow the chair they were not using. They brought the chair on over to me and asked if I wanted a beer. I graciously declined and just sat in the chair. Definitely more comfortable than the ground. Of course I stared to feel worse again and started my third round of dry heaving. During that time another gentlemen had joined me and was laying on the ground. I finally finished up my business and began to feel better. I just sat there for a few minutes waiting for the awful feeling to come back. I offered the other guy some water and mentioned people were coming to take me off the course. During that time another guy laid down and joined us. I gave him some water too and just sat back down. I was really feeling better and saw the truck pull up to take me away. The other two guys were in much worse shape than me, so I told Chris that these guys should go first and I would wait until the truck came back. There was only room for two guy and the driver in the truck. As they start to leave I realize I feel pretty good and tell Chris that I think I can finish and do not need help. He askes to see my number to make sure they did not DNF me already and wished me luck. I put on my hat and start walking. I figured I would take it slow and see how I feel and then start to run. I walk along and hit the next aid station. I drink a bit of gatorade and a sip of water. I feel pretty good so I start to slowly jog. I bring myself up to a good pace and just run. I am feeling good, passing people, stomach is good, I am back. I cruising along and go past an aid station aroun mile 8. They have a hose and wear asking people if they wanted to be hosed down. I shook my head and they did it. Not only did they hose me down, they drenched me. I am suprised my fingers weren't prunes. My shoes were all wet and I had to zip up my skinsuit because the breeze (the little ones that happened) was making me cold. I continued on and came to a small descent. I ran down it, but my foot was really staring to hurt. It was that feeling you get on the top of your foot when you need to "pop" it. I ran for another 300 or so feet and had to walk from the pain. It was not to bad, but the more I walked the worse it hurt. My walk turned into a limp. Along with that my shoes were starting to rub since the baby powder had been washed away when I got hosed down. I continued to walk and saw Chris helping out some others on the course around mile 11. He cheered me on and I smiled and kept going. A nice guy from Rendando Beach walked up nexted to me and we started talking. His wife and kids were at the finish and he was not sure if they would still be there since he was out on the course so long. We walked together until we came to the last mile were we would descent down Lynch Hill (same as on the bike). I could not walk very fast and my stomach was starting to hurt again, so I told him to go ahead and I would see him at the finish. About half way down I had to stop and sit down. Between my stomach and my foot I was not in a good way. I sat for a few seconds and decided it would be best to just keep walking and finish, rather than being miserable by myself on the side of the road. I stood up and kept walking, I past some EMT guys and they asked if I was okay. I responded with a question, "is the finish this way," pointing the direction of the finish. They told me it was, and I told them I was okay then. I continued on down the hill just hoping it would end soon. When it finally did flatten out I sat down again and trying to get some energy to run down the finishing chute. No luck though, I just wanted to get to the med tent. At that point the only reason I finish was because the med tent was behind the finish line. My foot was really hurting and my stomach was very miserable during my 7 minute walk down the finishing chute. People were cheering away and many folks in the race ran on past me. I saw the clock and it was at 8:43 as I came down the chute, I did not cross the line until 8:50. Those were some unfun 7 minutes in my life.

Overall Finishing Position: 1822 (203rd in my age group)

After the race I spent an hour or so in the med tent. My feet were pretty cut up and I was feeling sick. I really felt like I was going to throw up and just wanted to sit down and be near someone that could help me. I walked into the med tent and saw all the people in there. I came in at the right time and got a seat and sat down. No one really helped me right away, but they said they would be over when they get a chance. I decided I needed to take off my shoes to see how bad my feet really were. It was nice to get my shoes off and I noticed my feet were not all that bad, they were pretty bloody though, so I used my wet towel from the finish line to wipe them off. A girl across from me looked like she was going to puke when she saw my feet. She called a nurse and mentioned they should do something for them. A nice lady came over and cleaned out my wounds and then put bandaids on my feet. She took my pulse and told me to sit tight. In the mean time I was finally ready to throw up, but needed a big. I caught a guys attention that was walking by and he gave me a bag (ones they were filling with ice) and I held onto it. The nurse lady came back over and asked me a few questions and said she would get me an IV. I told her I would rather not unless that was the only solution since I hate needles. She told me I need to get something in me, and if I wanted I could just drink gatorade. So she brought me over a cup and I drank it and she got me another one. My stomach then decided it was not a good idea and I put the bag to use. It always tastes better the second time, right. The nurse lady came back and told me I need to hold this one down, so I drank it and then got another cup. I was feeling okay stomach wise, so I just chatted with the coherent people around me and tried not to think about my stomach. I drank up 5 or 6 cups before I decided to leave. When I stood up my calves decided it was not a good idea and started to get real tight. I sat back down and got some ice around both calves. After awhile things seemed to be better, so I took them off and put on my shoes. I walked out and hobbled down to my bike and stuff in the transition area. I packed up my stuff and headed for the bus to take me up the hill. If my feet were not so bad I would have just rode up the hill, but my feet were not happy with me. I got on the bus and my bike was put on a trailer and brought up to the top of the hill for me. I got off the bus, grabbed my bike and headed over to my campsite. I walked past the tri club and got a round of applause. I guess some folks were looking for me and wondering if I was okay. I got changed and rearragned my tri stuff to be ready to go home in the morning. The tri club was getting ready to eat dinner so I headed over there to sit with them. Saw some new faces and some from last year. I ate a bite or two of chicken and a bite of a brownie with a cup of milk. I was still unsure of my stomach, so I took it easy and let each bite digest before taking another (yes, I ate all that over a few hours). Do not think since I did not finish within my goal time that I did not have a good race. Aside from some bad things happening, I did have a good time. It is not just about the race, but about the whole weekend. If the Worlds Toughest Half does not conflict with WF next year, I will be racing for sure.

Swim Time - 00:41:18
Swim Trans - 00:01:28
Bike Time - 03:02:32
Bike Trans - 00:03:52
Run Time - 04:46:32
Swim Rank - 1302
Swim Min/Km - 00:22:56
Bike Rank - 416
Bike MPH - 18.0
Run Rank - 1825 (There is no 1826 rank!)

Run Min/Mile - 00:22:23

Final Time - 08:35:42

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