Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Galena Race Report- Next Time Remember to Bring Your Big Boy Pants

This past weekend, I was able to participate in the Galena Triathlon/Duathon.  This is a very nice event early in the season, and it brings some of the better talent from around the Chicagoland area and the rest of the Midwest.  There are some very fast elite AGer's that have done this race in the past few years and even a few former professionals.  This is also a great early season test for individuals who did not train/travel for an early season triathlon.

However, for those of us Midwesterner's, this has been quite a winter.  We actually had snow the Friday before the race.  Water Temperature was projected to be about 58 degrees and the air temperature was supposed to be around 40-45 at race start.  Needless to say, most were expecting a swim cancellation going into the race on Saturday.

When I arrived in Dubuque to stay with my sister on Friday, it was still chilly.  I was able to get a little bit of each sport in and get a good dinner with my mom, dad, sister, friend Ryan, and her husband Chris.   We were able to get back to bed early, so we could wake up and get to registration by 6:15am.

Race Morning:

Woke up actually pretty easily to my alarm at 4:45 and ate a PowerBar that was next to my bed.  I laid there for another 5 minutes eating and finally got up.  I had packed all my stuff the night before, so I was able to relax while my sister, mom and dad gathered their stuff.  As a family, we are never on time for these events.  Whether it is Allie oversleeping, Chris tying his shoes, or some other common occurrence we never leave on time.

We got on the road a bit later than expected, but weaved our way down Route 20 to the start.  When we finally saw the swim area, it was 38 degrees outside and steam was rising from the water.  Having already mentally prepared myself for the change to a duathlon, I walked up to the registration and asked if the swim was cancelled.  She told me that it wasn't.  I told her to look at the water and laughed.  She said that people swam yesterday and seemed fine, but that I could switch to the Duathlon with no issues.

I looked at my dad who was also doing the Triathlon and he said to me, "No fricken way I'm getting in that water."  I assumed that a majority of people would be in the same boat as him and decided to switch so I wasn't the only weird one jumping into water when it was less that 40 degrees out.  Also, I had gotten hypothermia from a similar swim in Knoxville for a Rev3 race, so this was a no brainer for me.  My buddy, Ryan, said he was going to still swim.  I told him he was nuts.


We dropped of our stuff at the other transition which also gave us a chance to see the bike course.  Holy Hills!  We made our way back to the start, and I was expecting to see a majority of people in tennis shoes getting ready for the first 2 mile run of the Duathlon.

I was so wrong.

When we arrived back, there were hundreds of people in the start area fully wet-suited up.  I saw people from the age of 19-65 getting ready to jump into the water that I had judged was too cold for me.  I immediately regretted the decision, but it was too late.  My wetsuit was in my car about 18 miles away and there was no time to go get it.  I was stuck.


Now, I had to sit around and watch all the people who were less wussy than me get to start, while I waited around for the Duathlon to start 40 minutes later

*Disclaimer*  This is not a knock on anyone who chose to do the Duathlon.  It was cold and this is a brutal course.  There were still some very fast people who did the Duathlon and many had awesome races.

Race Recap:

Now, onto the race.

After a 15 minute warm-up with some pickup's.  I was ready to go.  I had spoken with my coach before the race on how to pace in case it was altered to a Duathlon.  I knew how I was going to take the first 2 miles, but never having done this before, I wasn't sure how my legs would respond the rest of the race.  I saw that the first mile was incredibly downhill which meant that the 2nd mile was brutally up hill.  I tried to figure out in my head how to make this work pacing-wise and not burn any matches in this first run.

We toed the start-line as the race was about to begin.

Since this is a shorter race and I can remember each mile pretty distinctly, I walk you through what was going through my head mile by mile.  I thought this would be good for me to write out, so I can  learn if my thoughts are helping/hurting me in my racing.


1-  "There will be a countdown from 3 and the horn will sound.  In the name of the Father and the Son....Horn!"  Did that really just happen?  Our countdown was honestly the first two parts of the Trinity spoken by some guy a few rows back...  Wow, some of these guys are going really fast.  I hope they blow up soon.  Running a 4:30 mile is unreasonable for the first mile of a 23 mile race.  Okay, they are starting to slow down a bit.  Man, those two guys are still really far ahead.  I want to chase, but know I shouldn't.  Hopefully, they suck at biking.

2-  This is going to be brutal.  If that first mile went that fast, does that mean that this one will go that slow?  At least most of these guys aren't still holding 5:00 pace.  Thank God.  O crap, here comes the hill.  I wish I was swimming right now.  Will this kill my bike time?  I wonder how Ryan is doing.  The hill is almost done.  Thank you for being done hill.  Wow, this is a big downhill into T1.  Biking up this is going to be awful.  Did I leave my bike in the small ring?  I hope I did.


1-  OMG, this is a long hill.  Actually, my legs don't feel that bad spinning up this.  I need to learn how to transition faster.  Finally, that hill is done.  Time to get out of here.  Did I mash up that hill to hard?  It feels nice to be on flat road.

2-  Another hill already?  Okay, I am definitely in too low a gear.  Ah, this is what the small chain ring is.  I remember you, kinda.  I need to stop coasting down these hills.  Time to push.  Wow, that guy who just passed me is way, way, way better at descending.

3-  Shocking, another new mile and another new hill.  This is getting dull already.  At least that guy that is good at descending seems to not be as good at climbing.  Would I rather be a few pounds heavier so I can descend faster or a few pounds lighter so I can climb faster?  This is probably why I am a bad skiier/snowboarder.  I have to be pushing like 5 watts/kg right now.  This is not good.

4-  Was that really just the 3 mile sign?  Finally, a mile that starts downhill.  Did that guy just pass me again?  Either I need to PUT ON BIG BOY PANTS going downhill, or he needs to learn to climb better.  We should talk after.  I bet he knows a lot more about bikes than I do

5-  O crap, another hill.  I am jealous of those people walking their bike up this one.  That seems like more fun and they seem to be having a nice conversations.  At least, there is a descent coming soon.  Do I even like descending?  Everyone is better at it than me.  My legs hurt.

6-  Okay, this descent is a bit scary.  Was a disk wheel a good choice?  I am going to fall over!  Is that a headwind?  I really hope that isn't a headwind.  My quads are starting to hurt on these hills.  I wonder if my VI would be under 1.5 right now.  This is kinda scary.

7-  So, the climbing begins.  I think I remember the next 3 miles being all up hill.  That was definitely a headwind.  I think I am getting better at changing gears now.  That came about 6 miles late.  Who wrote this course map?  They are mean, oblivious to the difficulty of biking, or both.

8-  I am really still climbing.  Allie and mom are going to hate this part.  Is that really my average speed?  I need to learn to turn off all technology if I do this race again, because that is depressing.  Why do I do these races?  I want to quit.

9-  Just a bit further.  Yay, that big climb is done.  Is this flat?  Turning out of that headwind feels great.  I guess I didn't just lose all of my biking fitness in a month.  I really hope everyone else had as much trouble as I did those first 9 miles.

10-  Was that really just 9 miles?  This seems harder than a half Ironman.  This is still flat.  I wish all races were flat.  Who can I call to make this happen?  My legs actually feel pretty good.  Racing is fun again.

11-  Holy cow, that is a big downhill!!!  I am a bit scared.  Did I put my bike back together right?  I need to take a class on doing that.  Do they offer those classes?  Is it really smart hoping that some dude I never met, who put this 20 pound bike together, did a good enough job to make it stay together while I am flying down this hill at 40+ mph?  This is really, really fast!  Definitely scared now.  I am glad the roads are dry.

12-  At least, this is starting to level out.  I really hope there are no potholes anywhere.  I need to push harder.  Well that is the biggest gear I have.  Great, another hill coming up.  I am going to stay aero for this entire hill!

13-  I didn't stay aero for that hill.  If I email Chris Froome, can he tell me how to stay aero?  I need to watch the Tour of California when I get back to Dubuque to find their secrets.  Am I pushing hard enough?  I should race with power next time.

14-  This hill is even steeper than the last.  I need to stop being a wuss.  I wonder how fast I am going.  I am not going to look at my watch although I want to.  At least that guy didn't pass me again.  I wonder where he is at.

15-  What place am I even in?  They really need to write ages and the race we are doing on calves next year.  Less than two miles to go.  How fast can I run this 4 miles after these hills?  I wonder who won the triathlon.

16 to 16.8-  Thank God this bike is almost over.  I need to train more hills.  What would my bike time have been at San Juan 70.3 if it had this course profile.  Stop thinking about that.  My mom is probably regretting the decision to do this race more than me.  Ah, finally, the second transition area!

Run 2:

1-  That was a decent transition.  You are at least getting better at that.  Hey, I just heard Ryan's name crossing the line.  I wonder how his race went.  This is a big uphill.  I really wish I would have driven this part of the course.  If this is anything like the bike, I am screwed.  Ah, flat road.  Time to pick up the pace.  At least, I get to run down that hill later.

2-  Was that really my first mile split?  I am going to need to get some of that back.  Hopefully, the rest of the course is flat.  Nice, an aid station.  I know the guy giving out cups.  Despite what you just said, I know I don't look good right now.  Turnover, turnover, turnover.  The turn-around is almost here!  I am halfway done.

3-  That mile was a bit better.  But whatever I just drank from that aid station was not Gatorade.  That was sugar and water with some additional sugar.  Now, it's time to hurt.  Can I hurt and still run smooth at the same time?  I feel faster now.  Is that a tailwind?  If it is, we all earned it.  Legs feel good.

4-  Why do my legs feel good?  Did I not push hard enough?  Too late now.  I need to run faster.  What place am I in?  Nice, the downhill is here.  Wow, this hurts going downhill.  My QUADS!!!  Who made this course?  Finally, the finish...

Overall, this was a fun race.  I still wish that I would have done the triathlon, but it was really cool to finish the race with my whole family.  My dad, mom and sister did really well.  Especially, considering my sister just started biking a week ago and did it on a mountain bike.  My mom started about a month ago and did it on a hybrid.  My dad is getting faster with each race and is running better than ever.  Ryan had a great race too and rocked the swim!!!

Also, my awesome friend Mary did a great job to be there for all of us and embarrass us at the awards ceremony.

I did not quite have the race that I wanted, but I learned a lot about my current form.  I need to work on climbing, descending, and hills in general.  I think I have started to build up the power necessary to compete, but I still have much to learn in terms of handling and other bike skills.  I still ran pretty well and overall am happy with my fitness, but I am still far from where I want to be.

I will definitely do this one again next year and hope everyone else was able to enjoy this well run race.

Next year, I will Bring My Big Boys Pants too...

(2 mile run, 16.8 mile bike, 4.2 mile run)

Run 1:     12:04
T1:           0:52
Bike:       51:17
T2:           1:18
Run 2:      24:54
Overall:                     1:30:23-  1st AG, 2nd overall