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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Capital of Texas Triathlon: What the F is Going On!

The Capital of Texas Triathlon was a mess, there is no other way to say it, but I will get there in a minute, I want to talk about the lead up to the race and my home stay.

After getting back from Memphis I had a week to get ready for the Capital of Texas Triathlon. I had Monday off of working out, but by Tuesday I was still feeling tired. The 18 hours of driving over the weekend, plus racing, and only getting 5 hours of sleep before work on Monday was taking its toll. I spent the week trying to get some good workouts in as its still a long season and I thought I was starting to do better as the week was going on, but in every training session, I was just a bit off, I was feeling tired.

I flew out for Austin on Saturday morning (the race was on Memorial Day) and arrived without a problem. My home stay picked up  me. I was staying with Juan Salazar, his wife, son (almost 6), and two daugthers (almost 5 and 2). He told me his kids are usually shy with company, but they seemed to warm up to me right away. They would bring me a book to read, or to chat and hang out. They were a joy to be around and made things nice and relaxing. All of Saturday was relaxing and Juan had some friend over for a cook out that night. Some were doing the Triathlon on Monday, one was another pro who was his swim coach. We all chatted and shared stories. It is always nice to meet the local triathlon community.

Saturday was the usual steps. Get up, get a short workout in, try to relax and hit up the pro meeting. I was feeling tired and felt slow in my workout, so I took a quick nap before the pro meeting. At the pro meeting everything started to feel a bit off. It was just a feeling, but it also may have been because the race organizers were talking about the course, but did not bring in any maps, or the USAT official talking about the rules but giving us the age-group rules (they are a little different) and all the athletes correcting the official, or the fact we had to sit around and wait for our packets as they were not there when we showed up, or that they were asking us how we wanted to start the race, deep water or dive in and there was a debate going on. Andy Potts put a end to that pointing out this is not a debate, the race was established before hand and that is how we would do it. It was a good thing he spoke up. Not sure how long that would have gone on.

Race morning I woke up feeling tired, but I was up at 3:45 am (I am always up at least 3 hours before the race- you body responds better), but I always feel tired that early at every race and have had good races, so I just told myself that and started to get ready. Off to the transition (I was the first one there, no surprise) and then started warming up. Everyone was trying to figure out how to enter and exit transition as it was not clearly marked, we thought we knew it, but it would turn out we did not.

After warming up I started to feel more awake. Then it was off to the race start to get a quick swim in then it was time to start... or so we thought. We just waited and waited. No word on what was going on, we just waited. Then finally, we were lined up to start, about 10-15 minutes late. The gun went off and it was a large pack to the first buoy, we rounded it and headed to the 2nd buoy. I was somewhere in the middle of the pack and I felt huge waves. I was wondering who the idiot was how revved up the engine in the boat. It turned out to be a jet sky who got in front of the lead swimmers and told us we were going the wrong way. The lead swimmer (I found out later all but Andy Potts, who smartly ignored them and actually said later he thought he was going to be disqualified) started to swim further out. I stopped and treaded, looked where everyone was going, was not sure what was going on and started to swim out. Then I looked up again and everyone seemed to be swimming every where. The people on the boats out there were telling us to swim around the buoy, pointing farther down the river, but there was no buoy. I had no idea what was going on. I began to think they would possibly restart us since there was so much confusion. I started to swim toward the paddle boat that was supposed to lead us, but then everyone was circling around in a different direction. At this point I popped my head up and so did the guy next to me and we started to tread water. Both of us, almost at the same time just yelled out to anyone who may tell us something "what the F*** is going on." By the time we got going again in the right direction, after we stopped listening to those in the boats I was at the back of the field and had to start working my way up past some swimmers. Then I noticed the female pro's were with us. They started 4 minutes behind us and here they were. I figured, we were all off and just to race. Some of the faster pro women ended up beating us out on the bike. What a mess!!! A swimmer who I am not sure has ever beat me out of the water was righ tin front of me. I hit the first transition and we entered in a different area then what we thought and I actually started off in the wrong direction, away form my bike, I quickly switched directions and got to my bike.

I hit the bike and had no idea where I was in placing. I just started to ride. The bike was a technical 4 loop course. Some small hills that shocked the legs and 3 x 180 degree turns per lap (12 total). I was not used to the accelerating, hard turns, then quick hills and it just trashed my legs. Put in some winds that almost blew me off my bike a couple times (I was counting my blessing multiple times) and I did not have a good bike. By the time the run came around, my legs were gone. I was running just to survive out there and ended up running 2-3 minutes slower then I have so far this year. Very disappointing race. I ended up 18th. Not sure on the finishers, but I know 29 were scheduled to start.

After the race many of the Pro's were very unhappy of course. There is a lot of money on the line, not just this race, but for the series as well (points gathered for the entire series go towards the final prize purse). The only thing they said was "we are sorry, but the rules state it is up to you to know the course!" Of course everyone's response was, "there was a jet sky blocking our way and telling us to go off in a different direction." Long story short, swimmers and jet sky's don't mix, what would you do?

Andy Potts ended up winning of course. I think after that huge lead of 2 min 30 seconds out of the water he was able to cruise the run. From now on I will just ignore the volunteers, who ever is on the boat and go what I believe (or actually know) is the right course.

After the race it was a quick pack up of the bike and it was BBQ from a local restaurant. I believe the name was Rusty's. Not sure, I was to busy enjoying the wonderful food. Then it was off the the airport. If you visit Austin, either in the city or at the Airport, enjoy Anna's ice cream (think of cold stone, but way better). I had a small bowl while I waited for my plane home.

Not a great race. I am disappointed with the entire weekend, from the race organizers, to the officials, to how I felt. Not much I can do about it. I am going to chalk it up to experience and move on to the next race which will be Tri Monroe in Tacoma Washington on June 25th. This is a ITU draft legal race of an 8 lap bike with 3 x 180 degree turns per lap (24 total) so I guess Austin got me somewhat ready for it.

4 comments:

  1. What a mess! Sorry to hear that's how the race unfolded, even worse that it happened to the pros. Age group I could kind of understand but for you guys it's a little unacceptable to hear what they told you, and considering you tried to hear about the course at the meeting but the organizers were unorganized. Good luck next month and hope that race is more successful!

    --Kate

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  2. I heard about the swim debacle. I have some friends that live in Seattle that might be able to put you up if you are interested.

    Rob

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  3. We'll it is Rudy's BBQ and Amy's ice cream, but close enough.

    Sorry for the race. I have breakfast with one of the race committee tomorrow. Too late, after the fact, but maybe it'll help for next year.

    I was doing coverage for slowtwitch. I wrote up a bit on brandonmarsh.com.

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  4. That sure was a mess on the swim. I was reading about this on Slow Twitch and someone linked to your blog. I'm surprised there was a jet ski out there - kayakers, yes, but a jet ski? It seems like with 2 yellow buoys, the pro swimmers should be left to swim on their own unassisted - no lead paddle boarder, etc. On the bike having a lead car to clear the road makes sense. Well, good luck in your next race.

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