Tiger Tri 2008: Race Report

For the second year in a row the plan was to camp out up near beaver lodge. The race start is up in the mountains and there is a campground right across the rode. Friday afternoon, Tim and Andy picked me up from work and along with Greg we headed up to the race site to get registered and get the tent set up. The ride up was pretty uneventful and once camp was completed we sat around the fire, talked triathlons and ate smores (a perfect pre-race food if you asked our group).

I really didn’t sleep that well Friday night so Saturday morning was a blessing. I was up and out of bed by 5:20 am even though the race didn’t start until 8 am. I cooked my oatmeal with my camp stove and since I had forgotten a spoon had to make due with the straw from my aero bottle. I was just hoping I wouldn’t suck in any oatmeal during the race.

Since we were right across the street and I got up at the butt crack of dawn I figured I would get a great transition spot on the end of the rack. So rolling my bike over at 6:00 when the transition area was to open, I was quick to notice that I was the third person on my rack. Leave up to a fellow triathletes to sit and wait while the volunteers finish setting up, to get a great spot.
Once I was all set up I mingled for a bit, took the bike for a quick ride and packed up camp. The pre-race was pretty low key which is perfectly fine with me. I put on my B70 Helix wetsuit and was off to the water to get a quick warm-up in before the start of the race.

The swim start will be one I remember for a while. There have been a few races in the past where I get kicked, bumped and swam over but this one will have to take the cake for the most aggressive swim start I have been through. I was pushing off people, getting pushed, people grabbing my legs and feet. You name it I think it happened. I finally made it into the open water and started to push.

Since I have been swimming so much in the Master’s swim classes I really felt it was time to see if it was paying off. Since the swim was only 6/10 of a mile I knew I would be able to keep up a pretty good pace throughout. As I started for the first buoy I noticed a familiar face and swim stroke right next to me. It was Tim. Since we both found out we were doing this race we have been talking a bit of crap on who will win. It is all fun and games but it sure makes the race that much more exciting. We swam all the way to the first buoy right next to each other. Once we made the corner I lost sight of him.

The rest of the swim went pretty good. I felt strong and just kept pushing til the end. My swim time was 16:09. I am pleased with the time but I know that I can get faster. This year’s swim was much faster than last year and blows 2006 out of the water.

Swim Time:
16:09- 2008
17:58- 2007
22:06- 2006

I take pride in trying to make my transitions as fast as possible. I have yet to actually lose a race because of my transitions, but in ordered for that to happen you have to actually be able to win a race:) I ran into transition feeling pretty good. I got a quick update from Andy that Tim had yet to come out of the water, even if he was only 10 seconds behind me. I had a bit of a struggle getting out of my wetsuit, possibly due to the harder effort swimming and the run up the hill to T1.

As I was standing there getting all geared up, I noticed the bike two down had leaned over onto the wheel of my teammate Tom DeHart’s bike. So I helped him stand it up and got back to getting ready for the bike. Again it fell over and again I helped stand the bike up. As Tom pulled away the bike fell for a third time. Since I was there, I picked it up one last time. This wasn’t even a tri bike; it was a mountain bike with knobby tires. I am sure it cost me some time but in the end what are you suppose to do.

It was in this time that Tim was able to pass me in transition and get out on his bike first. He is a stronger cyclist that I am so I knew I had to try and keep it as close as possible. I also knew how difficult this run was and wanted to make sure that my legs were there at the finish.

The bike went pretty well and I was able to stay in aero for the majority of the race, well except for a few of the longer climbs. As I watched Tim disappear into the distance I knew I was going to have to run well in order to make up the gap. The problem is that Tim and I run at pretty equal paces.

Bike Time:
1:11:46- 2008
1:19:11- 2007
1:22:25- 2006

I was able to cut a ton of time of my bike split.

Coming into Colville, I felt pretty strong. In years past I was not looking forward to the run. In 2006, I was forced to walk because of hydration and fueling, 2007 was a bit better since I didn’t have to walk but my run was pretty slow. So in 2008 I was going to see what I could do.
When I got off the bike there was really nobody around me, like much of the ride down the mountain. I wanted to focus on a good high cadenece and try to get set into a grove. I knew Tim was way ahead of me since I didn’t even see him on the grass field that we have to run around before we head out into the golf course. I just wanted to make sure that I paced myself because this run is damn hot and the last thing I wanted to do was have to walk to the finish.

As I made my way onto the second lap, I could tell that I was gaining on quite a few people. I could now see some of the people who were off the bike before me still in the grass field, even Tim. As I started out towards the golf course, Natalie gave me an update and let me know that Tim was 2:45 ahead. I started to do some math and quickly realized that I would have to run just under a minute faster per mile and since we train so close, I knew this was not going to happen and it was now I started to realize my defeat.
I am pretty sure I negative split the second lap and felt pretty strong all the way to the finish. I was unable to catch Tim who beat me by 41 seconds, but all in all I am very happy with my race. I was able to push myself and set a new PR. I don’t think I could have gone any faster in the swim or bike at this point in my training but I think I could have definitely pushed it a bit harder on the run.

Run Time:
47:50- 2008
56:08- 2007
1:13:53- 2006

This is one of my favorite races I have done. The course is unique, run is difficult but all in all it is just a FUN race.

Finish Time:
2:18:25- 2008
2:35:49- 2007
3:01:56- 2006

I have to give a shout out to Michelle and family for manning the Tri-Fusion aid station. To Natalie for surprising Greg and showing up to cheer us all on. And to all the other volunteers who helped out and made this another successful Tiger Tri.
Afterwards we sat around, enjoyed the sun and watch the awards ceremony. Congrats to all the Tri-Fusionites taking home hardware and to Michael for setting a new course record. Nice work to all.

Until next time.

P.S. Apparentely I did win something this weekend. I guess I had the fastest T2 time in 27 seconds. I give all the credit to the volunteers. I have heard stories in the past and everytime, my helper does awesome.


Michael W. Bergquist said...

As usual, you are really working the improvement angle. Although most athletes want to improve, you have something more that isn't satisfied with the norm. Looking at your times, it's easy to see that you have been able to do what you need to for big gains. If we had an award for most improved, you'd probably get it every year. Next year will be more of the same. Having that rivalry with Tim really helps. FYI, in races that count, and Tiger certainly "counted" for me, I do not like to be outsplit in T2. I was unfamiliar with their set-up, but you certainly earned your split. Congrats on having the fastest T2 of the day. In such a quick transition area, 2 seconds is actually a pretty big margin. Now get yourself some race wheels so you don't have to sacrifice so much time on the bike.

Tiffany said...

Oh my gosh!!! Look at your time comparisons! Unbelievable! I can't believe how much faster you have gotten year after year. I hope you are proud of that. You have worked really hard this year and it definitely paid off.

Wish I could have seen the rivalry between you and Tim unfold. You are lucky to have someone who is so similar to you to push you like that!

Congrats on a great race and a huge PR!

p.s. I'm still cracking up picturing you sucking your oatmeal through your aerobottle straw!!

M-Dot said...

Great job good post. WOW the improvements! What great PR's. You are bound to only get better with time. Next year 09 Ironman Steve will be there and we can't wait to see what he does! ;)
Michelle and Jay

Matt said...

Great race Steve! Very impressive improvements over the years at this race. Dont worry about Tim, you will get another round at CdA oly, which should be in your favor!

Great work!

Trish said...

I am so happy to hear you be happy about a race! Your improvements are unreal, and you keep getting faster! Congrats on such an impressive PR. You seriously are working hard and it shows. You are smokin' fast for sure! Congrats on a great race Steve-O!

Laura said...

Nice work, Steve. Loved your recount of the race. lkd

jessithompson said...

You are BAD ASS! Almost as bad ass as Tim - LOL! ;) Way to go, buddy!