Date: July 10, 2011
Location: Portland (actually Blue Lake Park and local communities)
Did my preflight bike check and prepared nutritional needs a couple of days ago.
Now it get ready time…. pack, travel, race and recover
Grabbed the SuperShuttle to the airport nice and early Friday am and arrive in Portland by 11am. Pick up the rental car and head to Vancouver for lunch at Subway and hit Walmart for some food supplies. New trick on not purchasing a foam cooler… Bring or purchase quality outdoor trash bags and a bag of ice. The quality bags are water proof and big enough to hold your supply of perishables such as yogurt, water, orange juice. It’s my newest travel cost saver. Also the Walmart parking lot is a great place to but the bike back together.
Portland airport (PDX) to Vancouver via the 205 is a quick 15 minute drive then over to the race venue at Blue Lake Park another 15 minutes. Total drive millage for this trip was only 35 miles or so. One of the shortest and easiest race logistics ever.
Since I was planning (and did) volunteer at race registration on Saturday, I had a volunteer/staff parking pass so I was able to park very close to the expo site. The remainder of the day was utilized to check out sections of the bike and run course (garmin data lined). During my pre-ride, I ended up making a few adjustment to my bike set up to this course specifics; extending the aero pad and extension reach and raising the saddle height.
With the venue’s last minute change in location and course, my goals for this race was to set a PR on the bike section and then see how the run goes after. My training leading up to the event over the last couple of month have been heavy on the bike miles and effort with minimal running and swimming. Initially the course was to be hill and challenging but changed to fast and flat, so this is a not too often chance to set a new record.
Whenever possible to volunteer for an out of town (or local) event take advantage of it. You get to meet new and nice people (the competition if working the check in station), get a volunteers t-shirt, free lunch, may get a special parking pass which can be used race day. Plus it kills half the day and allows for a generally peaceful and calm day of activity before the race.
After my am shift with athlete registration, installing fluorescent orange Yankz! laces in my Avia Stoltz, purchasing some co2 cartridges at the All 3 Sports tent, a few walks to the swim start in Blue Lake Park and loading the bike into my assigned transition spot it was time for a deserved nap.
Individualized transition block – NO Racks! A big plus for choosing Rev3 races.
I was pondering on skipping dinner and just finish off some of my food supplies I purchased at Walmat, but decided to go for a little drive and I ended up in Troutdale and found an Italian restaurant. Ordered a basic dish of spaghetti and house salad which came with a lot of bread which was really need and did the job to fill the engine and storage tanks for the following days half iron triathlon.
Headed back to home base, expo/staff parking lot for the night. Yep, the rental car is my hotel. Gotta keep travel expenses low as possible so I can do more events. No need to rise early since transiton closes at 7:30 and my wave goes off at 8:40. Plenty of time to get ready and make the half mile journey from transition to the swim start. With the long trek the decision for all athletes was to pout on shoes at swim exit or make the journey bar foot. The exact path was not marked so no one knew if would be on the rough path or the smooth path with grass bordering. The day before I decided it had to be with shoes and would strip the wetsuit at the same time. Just in case I did rack a bag with extra shoes no matter what I decided. By then the route to T1 was clearly marked and I was able to make a few test runs and still haven’t decided.
Well, watching the pro wave, some headed straight for T1 without shoes and some did put on. I noticed grabbing the transition bag loaded with the shoes and putting on the shoes seemed to add extra tim and an extra struggle.
No one had more than a couple minutes to warm un for the swim, no Saturday swim either. It was a beach start and I started in the front row with all the other over 40 males, clydesdales and aquabikers. The swim was pretty easy, was able to sight the buoys quite well thus eliminated a lot of extra swimming. During the swim I was concentrating on faster turn over and solid pulling of the water. There is so stroke analysis to think about while swimming, rotate, stretch, pull, head down, kick..etc. NOt sure where the timing mat was for the end of the swim/beginning of transition but my swim time was right on par with some of my descent time. Ended up exiting first out of the 28 of my age group competition, time of 31:17. I ended up not doing the extra shoe song and dance and headed straight and fast to transition. Had to be light and swift on the feet and was able to take advantage of the grass the sidelined most of the path. Also has the fastest T1 so, I made the right decision.
I know biking in not my strongest segment of triathlon but I have worked hard over the last couple of years to improve my effort and efficiency. It has been paying off but still some guys just have the genetics to kick my ass. Coming into this race I knew the bike course was to be quite flat an was hoping to get a PR for this distance. The unknown factor is alway the weather (especially the wind) and the road conditions. My pre-ride scouting revealed the rode surface was excellent in spots (ultra smooth) and others some pretty bad chip and seal. Weather ended up being excellent, neutral/no wind. That adds up to a fast time, my fastest ever at 2:30:51, beating my previous by about 6+ minutes, and averaging over 22 mph. The fastest guy in my group averaged over 28 mph, giving him 16 minute lead off the bike. I dropped back to 7th in the age group by the end of the bike. (Garmin Data). The Di2 was flawless never missed a shift and did not have to hesitate between shifts, this stuff is awesome!