Sunday, August 10, 2008

Couer D' Alene Triathlon



With a super-stacked field of pros and top age-groupers, I knew this year's highly popular Coeur D' Alene Olympic distance triathlon would be tough. It has turned into a bit of a Who's Who event for Inland Northwest triathlons, and guarantees a tough day for any type of podium finish. So I grabbed my Blue Seventy Helix wetsuit and a slick set of Element goggles (thanks for the new specs, John!), my Specialized Transition Pro, my Avia race kit, and even threw in my wax ear-plugs to keep the lactic acid from blowing out my orifices.

By the way, the new Avia race kit is going to be pretty sweet. Check it out.




I had my usual sweet potatoes for breakfast while driving to Coeur D' Alene. Popped two Impax Delta-E mega doses of vitamin B and caffeine 30 minutes prior, took 3 Cordygen VO2 Max capsules, zipped up the wetsuit and headed down to the water. Because of the large crowd, it took awhile to find "the fast guys", meaning the dudes whose feet I wanted to be on. One ITU Pro, Kalen Darling, was rumored to have a 17 minute swim, and I knew I couldn't hang with him, but wanted to be on the feet of the likes of Matt Seeley, Roger Thompson, and Jeff Smith.

And I was, for about 300 yards. But I strayed just a bit to the left and THUMP. Ran right into a surfer/lifeguard (you'd think they'd try to stay out of our way!) and had to literally body crawl over his surfboard.

The rest of the swim, I was alone. It felt halfway decent, but it turns out I was more than a minute off the lead pack, and nearly 5 minutes back from Darling coming out of the water. That's a big deficit for a short distance race! My 100m pace was about a 1:14. I don't even want to know what his was.

My T1 was smooth, but I dropped my TN sunglasses while heading out. Funny how you feel naked when missing something as simple as optics. By the way, if anybody found these out at the race, holler at me. I miss them! You're probably off trying to find out if you can really tie them in a knot without breaking them. You can, but please first remove the lenses.

The bike split was solid, and I posted a 1:01:50, which I was happy with on a technical, hilly course. The first bit of the bike I really had to push myself mentally, knowing I had that large of a deficit. I fueled with 350 calories of GU20 Sport Drink mixed in 20oz of water in my aero tube bottle. That's all I took in for the whole race, because I was too focused on the run to eat or drink.

Knowing that I had a 4 minute deficit on the leader (Kalin Darling) at the top of the bike course, prior to the descent into Couer D' Alene, I knew he'd have to have bricks strapped to his feet for me to take the win. Seeley had flatted, but I knew he could run fast and was still a good 45 seconds up on me. I wasn't really sure about Roger and Jeff, but estimated them at 3 minutes up. Joe Byers and Bryan Hadley were pretty close behind, as well as a guy named Michael who can run a 33 minute 10K. Yipes!

To my surprise, I passed Jeff Smith just before T2, but found out later that he crashed. And here I thought I was just that fast. The roads were slick from a light rain early in the race.

Thanks to the sunscreen lotion I squirted into the bottom of my run shoes, my T2 was fairly quick at 48 seconds, and although I felt like my 10K was at a good pace, I was only able to reel in Roger Thompson, and just barely, with about 1/2 mile left. I was, however, passed once by the hella fast fella Michael (Messina?). You can check out all the results at cdatriathlon.com, but here are mine:

Total: 2:03:55 S: 21:32 B: 1:01:50 R: 38:30

So I ended up 2nd division, and 5th overall. Going in, I knew I'd need a perfect race for top 3, and a really good race for top 5, so I was happy with this showing, especially with Ironman Canada just around the corner. The post-race watermelon was ripe and I even invented a new post-race fueling tactic - a banana sandwiched between two peanut butter granola bars.

Eat up. Thanks to my sponsors.
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