Blue Lake 2009- Race Report

With Ironman the week after the Blue Lake Olympic Triathlon down near Portland, OR, I decided it would be to my best interest to do the sprint distance on Saturday. I really would have like to race the olympic to compare it to last year but I had to look big picture and running a 10k would have been a bit too much.

After talking with the group, they agreed to head out a day early and come cheer me on during the race. I can’t say thank you enough to Roger, Jessi, Tiffany, Eric and most of all Emma for taking the additional day and extra cost of the hotel to allow me to race on Saturday. It was pretty awesome but from them, I am not surprised at all.

So back tracking to Wednesday night before the race, I came across a great deal to upgrade my ride, something I have wanted to do for quite some time but the stars haven’t really aligned. After meeting with Roger and showing him the bike, I decided to get my new bike, a 2008 Scott Plasma. I did a really quick fit and tried to ride it on Thursday just to get comfortable. It felt pretty good but without my seat it just wasn’t quite right.

Friday I was able to put on my seat and transfer over the measurements just in time to load it up and head off to Portland. The first time I would actually ride it was going to be Saturday morning before the sprint. The whole “trying something new on race day” was getting pushed to the extreme.

We arrived pretty late and had just enough time to clean up the bike and get ready for bed.

Race Day
Saturday morning came a bit too early but since I can’t sleep in anyways I was up and ready to go by 5:30am with a race start at 8am. I really need to figure this whole sleeping the night before a race thing. With my luck next Saturday, it will take a tractor to drag me out of bed. OK probably not but wishful thinking.

Roger dropped me off at the race site and for the first time in well ever, I was the only person I knew in transition. One of the many benefits of being a member of such as great tri club is that at every single race you know someone. But since everyone was racing on Sunday, I was there to mingle with my fellow sprint triathletes.

"Elite" Wave Start :)

One unique thing about Blue Lake is that they have an elite wave for the first 20 people who think they will finish in the Top 20. After looking at last years results, I figured I qualified for this and thought it might be nice to race out front instead of fighting through all the other waves on the swim and bike. Turned out only 3 of us thought we might finish in the Top 20 so it made for an interesting start. The other two definitely belonged as the finished 1-2 in the overall race.

Starting the swim and my stroke actually looks pretty good.

The swim went pretty good. After talking with my swim coach Kevin before I left, he informed me that I needed to swim under 12 minutes in order to come back to masters the following week. Well not really but he said that it was an honest goal that I should be able to achieve it.

Exiting the water.

Not having hundreds or even 20 people in front of you during a swim was actually kind of nice. Usually I am sighting of the arms and splashes in front of me, so this time I was able to sight off the buoys and keep a pretty straight line. I felt strong throughout and finished the .5 mile swim just under my 12 minute goal.

Swim Time: 11:57

So now I am on to the true test. How was my body going to react to a hard effort on a brand new bike? In the recent olympic distance races it usually takes me until the turn-around until I start feeling good and my legs really come around. Well by that time in a sprint you are jumping off your bike and hitting the run.

Jumping on my bike for the first time during a race. Trying the flying mount.

I was approximately the 5 person out of the water as a few swimmers from the group behind had caught up and was the second person on the bike. I had a great T1 and was the fastest of the day by 14 seconds. I had my shoes on the bike for the second time and it actually worked pretty well.

Getting off my bike! Glad to have a successful ride.

For my first serious ride on my bike, I felt OK. It didn’t feel great and it didn’t feel bad. I felt a bit sluggish but overall it was a positive first ride.

Bike Time: 32:19

So now I am off to the run. Since I had just jumped off my new bike, I was interested to see how my legs would react. As soon as I dismounted I felt great. I was able to speed through transition and shared the fastest T2 with one other athlete, the next closest was 8 seconds back.

I slipped on my K’Ona’s and from the start I felt good. I tried to focus on good form and quick feet. I had a few carrots in front of me but knew I wouldn’t be able to chase them down. And since I had started in the elite wave, I was racing against my mysterious age-groupers behind me that started 10 minutes after I did.

Heading out on the run.

One my way back.

The run was tough but hearing your name all over the place really helps to push you along. The highlight might have been Emma running across the park cheering. I think she might have been running as fast as me there for a bit.

Heading towards the finish.

Overall the run was good. I felt like I was running faster than the clock showed but then again this is the clock and numbers don’t lie. The course might have been a tad long but after a rough mapmyrun, maybe by only a tenth of a mile. I don’t think it was my fastest 5K off the bike and if I want to break my sub 40 10k goal, I need to run faster.

Run Time: 20:17

I finished 6th overall and 2nd in my age-group. For my first experience on my new bike, I would have to give it 2 thumbs up. It is definitely an upgrade from ole P-Dub and I can’t wait to see what is in store for Ironman.

Overall Time: 1:07:11

The rest of the trip was great, taking a relaxing 1 hour ride to Saturday evening with Trish and Nat, which in hindsight was good just to get more time on the bike.

Dinner after my race and the night before theirs.

Much of Sunday was spent running around the course cheering and snapping pictures of Roger, Jessi, Tiffany, Eric (1st Olympic), Tim, Matt, Jessie (1st Olympic) and Natalie (1st Olympic, I think). They all rocked there races and tons of PR’s were set. It was a completely different experience watching the race from the sidelines, it was fun to cheer and support friends who have provided more support than I could ever dream of on my journey towards Ironman. Thanks a ton for all the encouragement and see you out there on Sunday.

PS: I was suppose to get a 2 hour ride in on Sunday but because of the race and trying to leave at a halfway decent time I was unable to ride before we left. Jessi had this brilliant idea that they could drop me off somewhere along the way and I could ride back to their house to pick up my truck. Perfect, I would still get my ride in since much of it would have been spent in the car anyways.

So as we are heading towards Spokane, I start to calculate the distance of the ride vs. time of day vs. amount of sunlight that is going to be left. Well, we came rolling up to the Tyler/Cheney exit around 8 pm and with your coach not only in the car but also as the driver, he decided I still needed to get my ride in and took the exit. At this point I can honestly say I thought he was joking. It was dusk and we had been driving for the better part of 4 hours. Before you know it, I am changing into my gear and my bike is sitting next to the car. Looks like I am riding home because I don’t think Roger was letting me back in the car anyways.

An hour and a half later, a few streetlights leading the way, I made it back to the Thompson’s in one piece and had my longest ride on my bike. It is amazing how your friends will jump in the car entire day to come cheer you on and one day later, kick your ass out and make you ride home. It was actually pretty cool and they all know how important Ironman is and that I wouldn’t regret it once it was done.

I would like to send out a special thanks to Eric for the encouraging words as they drove off into the sunset, literally, and to yet another great mark in my lead up to Ironman. 76!!!


jessithompson said...

This was such a fun trip... one for the memory books. Although I wished you were out there racing with us, it was awesome to be able to focus on supporting you and then get the same support back the next day. Awesome!

I can't wait for next weekend to shower you with iron fan pzazz like you've never seen before! You have earned a great race with all of your commitment, dedication, and hard work. The finish line is overwhelmingly sweet because of rides in the dark, runs in the rain, swims at the butt crack of dawn... if it was easy, everyone would do it. But it's hard as hell and that's why it will feel different than any other race you've ever done.

I'm just so glad I'll be there cheering you on every step of the way, welcoming you into the ranks of an official IRONMAN.

Tiffany said...

Holy hell, Keve, you are wicked fast! It was so fun to watch you race and to see you fly by! Way to go. I am so excited for next weekend. You have worked so incredibly hard and I cannot wait to Ironfan it out there!

I'm pumped for you that you got a new bike and that you felt good on it. You definitely deserve it.

Way to ride home! I can't believe you actually did it, but that is the kind of drive that is going to get you through your big day! 76 all the way, A+!

Laura and company said...

Nice job, Steve. See you Sunday!

Josh said...

You have been working you butt off this year, and I think you will see some huge results at Ironman!

I thought that was pretty funny that Roger Kicked you out of the car,I guess if you have no choice you will get your ride in:). All the hard work is in the bank and I am excited to see how Sunday goes for you :).

Anonymous said...

what size is your old cervelo, and do ya wanna sell it