Grand Columbian 2010- Race Report

Some may call it under-trained, some may call it lazy but I call it WELL rested. Training the last few weeks has been non-existent. I hadn't swam in almost 3 weeks, running occured maybe 2 twice a week and my butt doesn't even know what a saddle is anymore...and to add a cherry on top of my trainingless sundae, I have been fighting LONGEST congestion cold I have EVER had!

All 4 bikes loaded up! Thank You Thompsons for letting us use the bike rack!
 I had absolutely no expectations going into the race. Last year, my tri club Tri-Fusion, narrowly won the North American Club Endurance Challenge by 1 point. Though this year we had a large turnover in athletes from our club, we still had plenty of people representing and we wanted to bring back another victory...which by the way we did with Josh Hadway winning 1st place overall in the Olympic and Ben Greenfield winning 1st place in the Half-Ironman. We also had plenty more athletes taking age-group awards! All in all we DOMINATED once again! Great job Tri-Fusion.

So onto my race. Have you ever had those thoughts that this just might be 'YOUR' day. Everything is going to go right and you might just surprise yourself with an extraordinary effort and an amazing PR? OK...maybe I am the only one living in that fantasy land ;) Since my training was anything but, physically I felt good. No aches or pains but I knew that this was a tough race and it was going to hurt no matter how easy or hard I went. I just wanted to make sure I finished it and kind of see where I compared to my results from last year.

Adam, Jenn, Cam and I loaded up and headed down to the Grand Coulee dam and Banks Lake where the race was held. With the 10 AM start for the Olympic, we were able to leave the morning of and still make it down in plenty of time to get everything set up and stand around for an hour or so and cheer the half ironman competitors out of the water.

I wanted to make sure that I got a good, yet short, warm up in since I haven't had the wetsuit on much this year but at the same time needed to save EVERY.LAST.BIT of strength for the race. After a quick dip and a few yards of swimming, we were lined up and ready to go.

Getting ready for my first open water swim since CDA Triathlon!

Even though I knew it wasn't going to last, I went out strong for the first couple hundred yards. I wanted to avoid any congestion and see if there was any way I could find some feet and hang on for dear life. Since the race had a buoy line to follow from start to finish, I was able to keep my head down and just focus on trying not to die.

The swim was pretty uneventful. About halfway through I was ready to be done and was just pure survival mode. I was unable to keep up with the main pack of swimmers as they pulled away shortly after my strong start and much of the rest of the race was spent swimming alone, leading the second pack out of the water.

I think the swim was short this year since my time was 1:08 faster and I felt at least 108% worse.

Swim Time:
2010- 23:21.5
2009- 24:39

Heading out of T1...notice the bike in the left hand. WTF?
 As I have mentioned in previous race reports, transition are one VERY important key to a good race. I really try my best to have great transitions as it is basically free time. T1 was no exception. I could have definitely gone faster but due to the fact I was exhausted from the swim, I just tried to keep my feet under me and do my best to think through the entire transition process. I was almost 18 seconds faster than last year and 13 seconds ahead of 2nd place.

So 1st place...for T1!!! It's the small things in life...right?

Transition 1:
2010- 1:24.5
2009- 1:42

Here is one of the videos Dave put together for the Swim and Transition 1

Now transitions are one thing...getting on your bike out of transition is something complete different. I usually do a running or flying mount from the right side of my bike. For the first time ever, I ran out of transition with my bike in my left hand. I really have no idea why I did this, but it resulted in me feeling in complete no mans land. It was like trying to throw a baseball with your left hand or kicking a ball with your left foot. It wasn't pretty and the best part was Dave Erickson got it all on camera...thanks Dave! Dave and Melissa made a special trip down to video the race and take pics...which you will see throughout the report.

Now this bike course is a B.I.&.%.H!!! And yes all caps are required. The bike starts out with a brutal climb shortly out of transition and then a series of tough rollers that seem to go on FO.EV.ER! There is really no chance to get into any sort of rhythm...and just when you seem to get in control you hit a LONG downhill. By long I mean averaging 40+ mph for over 10 minutes and at one point hitting 48MPH for a few minutes and you don't even have to peddle.

With no real judge of my fitness, I could have road hard and completely blowup on the bike and would have probably suffered even more on the run. I just tried to keep a constant pace the entire bike and do my best to chase each athlete down one by one. Overall I think I passed 5 or 6 racers and rolled into T2 feeling pretty good.

Bike Split:

2010- 1:15:52
2009- 1:11:20

It was at this point Dave informed me that I was in 4th overall...and it was at that exact same moment I almost crapped myself. There was no way I was in 4th. He must have missed some people come in. I knew if he was correct and the fact that my running has been getting slower and slower throughout the year that it was going to be difficult to hold on for the next 10K.

Transition 2- Much better dismount and off on the run. Thanks Dave!!!

Trying to save every last second before I was run over by the freight train of athletes behind me, I did my best to get through Transition as fast as I could. I wish I could report I had the 2 fastest transitions of the day but my buddy Cam beat me by .6 seconds...

Transition #2:
2010- 1:03.6
2009- 1:04.3

Every time I get off the bike in a triathlon, I know this is where I lose any time of athletic advantage I might have gained in the swim and bike. As I left transition, there was no one in front of me. I couldn't see 3rd place, even of the half mile long bridge. I really tried to focus on being consistent and in all reality, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I was passed by one guy before the turn-around and knew holding onto 5th place was going to be tough...but I had no idea.

The great thing about out and back run courses is you get an idea of who is behind you and how big you lead is. About 30 seconds after I made the turn, I saw 6th, then 7th, then 8th...they were stacked up and barreling down on me like a train. I made a conscious effort to pick up the pace and did my best to hold on.

The Run and Finish...and my first interview EVER!!!

I have said this in the past, but I have a real problem going to the really dark place in a race when you are pushing yourself to the limits. I know it's not because I can't physically do it because I have done it many times in training but in a race I just lack that extra kick. I think it is fear of blowing up with the result of walking but there might be something else. This is one thing I really want to work on. Not sure how to do it but I will figure it out.
This Is I!!!

Overall the run was solid. Nothing crazy but all in all it was a good effort. I was passed by one more guy about a mile from the finish and held off the top female finisher by 12 seconds...didn't want to get chicked ;)

Run Split:
2010- 46:04
2009- 45:23
Still Smiling!

This race is always going to be tough. It is late in the season when everything is winding down. The course is tough but once you are finished it was a great end to another success season of triathlon. I am already looking forward to next year and can't wait to see what is in store.

2010- 2:27:45.9 6th OA, 1st AG
2009- 2:24:09.8 5th OA, 1st AG
Tri-Fusion Age-Group Hardware!!! Nice Work!

I want to send a special thanks to Dave, Melissa, Jay and Michelle for coming down and cheering at the race. I also want to say thank you for all the good lucks and well wishes for this race and all my races of the year. There is nothing I like more in the sport of triathlon then the athletes I get to share this great sport with.

Thanks again for reading...Until next time!


Tiffany said...

Nice work, Keven! This is I or not, your rocked the hell out of this race with minimal training!

Josh said...

It was awesome to hang out with you before, during and after the race! Nice work on toughing out the race. You got another solid age group win.

Spokane Al said...

Congratulations on a great race. That bike course will definitely take a bit of the snap out of the legs and you rocked.

Matt said...

solid effort, not an easy race but you still killed it with less training than probably most of the people behind you, that is very impressive! Enjoy your time in Kona, looking foward to seeing you rip it up in 2011