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Aug13

Race Report: Minneapolis LifeTime Triathlon

Minneapolis LifeTime Triathlon – 7/13/13 – Minneapolis, MN

Overall: 4/769
Division: 4/29

Official Results

Swim: 5:22 (1:14)
T1: 1:36
Bike:  39.26 (25.5)
T2:  1:40
Run:   17:39 (5:41)
Total:   1:05:43

Apology to Everyone:

Before I get into the heart of this race report I want to take a moment to apologize to all the 2013 Minneapolis LifeTime Triathlon Event Staff and Participates.  I had prepared a video with my statement but unfortunately at this time I lack the technical knowledge to post it as part for this race report so my written words will have to do…

In dressing myself to leave for this race I made a tragic error in judgement and put on my race t-shirt from the Kansas City Triathlon.  I’m a firm believer in following the “Rules of Triathlon” with one of the most important being that you can never wear a t-shirt from a race you didn’t finish in public.  Unfortunately, I not only kept but wore the shirt from the “Race that never was” to the 2013 Minneapolis LifeTime Triathlon.

Given my despicable actions, I take full and total blame for the weather events that surrounded this race as punishment for my betrayal of the “Rules”.  The most disappointing part of my transgressions is that you all had to suffer the consequences with me and for that I am forever sorry.  I have learned my lesson and proceeded to sacrifice the shirt by fire the following day as an offering to the Tri Gods.  Again, please accept my sincere apology and may we all have better conditions racing throughout the rest of the season.

Pre-Race:

In the week prior to this race I was really getting excited to take on the high-end competition that was scheduled to show up here in Minneapolis.  I’ve always avoided this race in the past for various reasons but I had a strong desire to give it a try this year as I planned out my schedule.

The day started with my alarm going off at 3:30am.  I had everything packed up and ready to go so I quickly got dressed and out the door to pick-up my friend Marci who was car pooling to the race with me.  During the night I had heard some rumblings of rain and thunder but as we left Buffalo it appeared to have passed so I wasn’t too worried about it.  Turns out I probable should have been because only about 10 minutes down the road it started to pour.  In fact there were numerous times during the drive when the roads were so wet that my car hydro-planed for a short bit.

Prior to the race, the race directors had announced that if any weather situations developed that they would keep us up to date on Facebook, Twitter, and the race web site.  So as we got to the race venue at Lake Nokomis and found a place to park amongst the pouring rain we found a number of messages from the race organizers encouraging us to say in our vehicles until the storm passed and that they would continue to keep us informed as new information was available.  What became so entertaining, though, were the replys that fellow racers were posting concerned about how this situation was going to be handled.  Chill out people it’s only a race and they aren’t going to start without you!

After almost an hour and a half we finally received word that the storm was beginning to pass and they wanted all of us to begin making our way to the transition area.  While the “storm” from a thunder and lightning stand point may have passed, the rain certainly hadn’t and as I got out of my vehicle to prep my bike I got soaked.  As we made our way down to the transition area we also found my race buddy Sean Cooley a block or two away and we all endured the trek through the rain together.

Once in transition there was still a lot of confusion over how and when this race was going to go down.  Transition was planned to close at 6:45 with the race to start at 7:00 and we were just starting to get things set-up at that time.  There were also one or two more cracks of thunder which would mandate at least a 30 minute or so further delay.  But the race staff seemed to be working extremely hard to find a solution and ultimately it was announced that everyone would be running a modified version of the sprint course, due to a number of intersections on the olympic bike course being completely flooded, and we’d be getting things underway at 9:00.

Unfortunately, these changes did not play to my favor but I was extremely impressed with the race directors willingness to find a way to make this race happen.  Unlike the Kansas City Triathlon, which I think could have easily been held with only a minor delay, this race probably should have been cancelled.  Major props go out to all the people that scrambled to make the changes necessary to make something happen.

Swim:

So with the course shortened to a Sprint distance with a 1/4 mile swim versus the .9 mile olympic distance I knew my usual advantage coming out of the water was going to be greatly diminished.  The other change that the race officials ended up making that I was unprepared for was the change from a wave start to a time trial start.  Not only have I never done a Time Trial start in a triathlon, I was unprepared for how little time you have to get ready and how quickly they shuffle you through.  Given that, once in line I literally got my goggles in place, hit the start button on my watch, and was off.

Shortly after getting in the water and getting into the rhythm of the swim I found some quality feet I could follow.  I believed it was Brian Duffy, the reigning USAT National Champion, who is a good swimmer as well so I knew that I had some good drafting help throughout the swim.  I stayed on his feet through the first 2/3rds of the swim but he did gain a slight advantage on me in the final part.

Overall the swim went well and was fairly uneventful despite the fact that I think I’ve had longer swims in my bathtub than in this race.

Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/342048028

T1:

T1 started off ok from the beach to my bike but from there it was a total cluster!  Given the hecticness of the pre-race events I was very sloppy in my transition set-up and mental preparation for my transitions.  So as I got to my bike I stood in front of it and literally forgot for a couple seconds what I needed to do.  After snapping out of my daze I got my helmet on and then proceeded to have troubles getting my speed suit off.  I got a bit frustrated with myself but knew I had to get on with things to avoid causing further damage.  Triathlon 101: The little things matter!

Bike:

My plan heading into this race was to get after the bike a bit more than I have been and with the shortened course that was even more the case.  Even with my troubles in transition I was out on the bike in 2nd and was hoping I could hold on to that position. So after quickly getting my feet in my shoes and settling into my bike I focused on getting after things.

Having drove the bike course a couple days prior to the race I knew that the course was pretty technical with a number of turns and some really poor road conditions so I had my work cut out for me.  Brian seemed to be riding well ahead of me but for the first couple miles I was holding my own to stay with him.  He however, about 5 miles in, was starting to open up a gap on me.  I wanted to push the bike but I also wanted to ride within my abilities so I let him go.

About half way through the bike Sean caught me and made a quick pass.  Sean is a slightly stronger biker than I am, but keeping pace with him is generally not a problem for me.  Having someone I knew I could hold pace with re-energized my efforts.  So for the rest of the bike I positioned myself about 50 yards off his rear wheel.

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Hammering out on the Bike
Photo Credit: Kerry Yndestad at Yndecam.com

As we rolled back into transition I was satisfied with my efforts on the bike but I also began to realize that I had spent a great amount of energy on the bike and was slightly concerned with how that might affect the run.

Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/342048034

T2:

Coming into transition I had a great dismount off of the bike and made it quickly to my rack position.  Unfortunately, my sloppiness in transition set-up was again about to bite me in the butt.  Due to all the rain that we had to contend with I didn’t powder my running shoes like I normally do and as I went to put my right shoe on the insole bunched up in the toe box.  So I took it off and tried for a second time, no luck this time either.  Finally on the third attempt I was able get things situated well enough to start the run.  To add insult to injury though as I was running through transition to the “Run Out” my race belt came undone and I had to turn around and retrieve it.  Again Triathlon 101: The little things matter!

Run:

As I began the run it became very clear that the effort I put in on the bike was above what I was use to and I was going to pay for it on the run.  Not that the run off the bike ever feels great but this time I was really feeling craptastic.  At this point I found myself running third behind Brian Duffy and Sean Cooley but knew with the time trial start that I had to keep pushing myself regardless of the pain I was in.

Shortly after a mile into the run I was passed by eventual race winner, Kipp Kinsley, which pushed me back to running 4th.  I was gaining ground on Sean though so I wasn’t too discouraged.  I was also starting to feel a bit better and my splits were holding steady.  Shortly after the second mile I was able to complete the pass on Sean putting me back in 3rd place in the running order.  As I passed I offered some encouragement to Sean and set out for the final push to the finish line.

Entering the final stretch into the finishing chute I encountered Kevin O’Conner, the owner of Gear West Bike & Triathlon, he was incredibly encouraging and let me know I had an approx. 30 sec. lead on the competitor in 4th and podium spot wrapped up.  Unfortunately, he was unaware of the fact that they had changed the start from a wave to time trial.  I eventually crossed the line running 3rd but was sceptical that it would hold up.

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Driving for the Finish Line
Photo Credit: Nick Morales at TriJuice.com

In the end I was 5th but Kris Spoth received a 2 min. penalty moving me back up to 4th.

Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/342048038

Overall:

I have extremely mixed emotions over my performance in this race.  On the one hand, my performances within each of the disciplines was fairly good given the shortened nature of the course.  On the other hand, I made a number of very significant mental mistakes, especially in transition set-up, that cost me a spot on the podium.

After the race I went back and reviewed the results and compared my splits to Justin Metzler’s, the 3rd place finisher.  In T1 I gave up 18.59 sec. to him and in T2 I gave up another 13.54 sec. and ultimately placed 4th behind him by 16.98 sec.  This situation painfully illustrates how important the little things are when racing at the pointy end of the field.  My sloppy transition preparation robbed me of an opportunity to place amongst the top 3 and I have no one to blame for it but myself.  It’s a hard lesson to learn but one that I need to be reminded of if I want to remain competitive with the top athletes in this sport.

Thank You:

I do have to extent a HUGE Thank You to my support crew that came out to cheer me on during the less than ideal condition of this race.  Both of my brothers, my wife & two daughters, a college roommate & his wife, and a high school classmate with his wife & daughter from Grand Forks, ND all braved the elements to see me race.  It was pretty humbling to have that many people take time out of their day and life to come watch me for a few seconds here and a few seconds there!

 

imagrs

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