Monday, May 25, 2009

Walla Walla Onionman Race Report


Synposis: 7th place overall, 2nd place division.

Legs are bit sore today. I soaked in magnesium oil and epsom salts, took 4 Recoverease capsules, and went for a good walk. One day off, then back to prep for Half Ironman Boise on June 14...

The sun was shining, which, for the Onionman, is almost like a solar eclipse or a virgin birth. But it happened. Absent a dark, dreary sky, sleeting rain, or a fierce wind, it was actually a pleasant race environment.



Pre-race nutrition: 2 Delta-E and 6 Enerprime, 2 Hammer Gel Race Caps, 3 Cordygen VO2, 1 Bumblebar, 1 banana.

During the race: 1 GU Roctane pre-race, 300 calories GU20 sport drink on bike. Nothing on run.

Prior to the swim, I lined up behind Roger Thompson and beside Michael Gordon, two previous race winners. A few other really recognizable speed demons were scattered into the crowd - David Gettle, Jeff Smith, Jason Jablonski - kinda a Who's Who of the Northwest triathlon scene. I figured as long as I could hang with this crowd on the swim, I'd have a decent chance at staying in the game on the bike and run.

Initially, I ended in a pack *behind* the lead pack after losing the leaders at the first buoy. Then, on the second lap of the two-lap swim, I actually strayed inside and swam the remainder of the race solo, coming out of the water in 21 minutes and change, and about 60 seconds behind 4 or 5 leaders.

The bike was fairly windy, but didn't seem quite as bad as previous years on the way out. My Specialized Transition really performs well on flat or slightly rolling courses, so I felt comfortable for the first 1/4 or so of the bike.

But something just didn't feel *right* at about that point, when I'd really been pushing the wattage for about 15 minutes. Post-race inspection revealed my seat to be about 1-2mm low - a simple assembly mistake but enough to give me "Princess and the Pea" syndrome for most of the 40K bike. Ultimately, the quads just felt a bit over-utilized. I'm glad this wasn't anything longer than an Olympic or this could have really hurt me.

As it was, I don't believe it slowed me down at all. It just felt different.

On the bike, I passed two team racers and one of the individual leaders on the bike and settled onto the run in 6th place, after biking around 1:03. I had committed not to "lay it on the line" like I usually do in an Olympic distance bike split. This means that I tried not to exceed my lactate threshold heart rate by more than 10 beats. Post-race, I wish I would've pushed a bit harder going out on the bike, as it was relatively fast coming back (though still a bit more of a headwind than previous years).



The run was just tough. I was hot, my legs were heavy, and I wish I could say this was a race that "clicked" for me, but sometimes the body just feels a bit off. Despite having a "half-week" taper leading up, which is usually enough to have a little blast in the legs, I was simply a bit sluggish during the entire run. I'm going to go ahead and Blame it on Boise, and the fact that I don't really start my official race taper for another week and a half.

I passed one fella, but got passed twice, once just a hundred yards before the finish line. My 10K time was 39:35, a good minute slower than when I raced this same course in 2007. As a matter of fact, my overall time was 4 minutes slower (part of this could have been a bit different wind on the bike, and an assuredly longer swim).

As a "low-priority" race, I'm happy with what I feel was a solid performance against a stellar field. Hats off to Michael Gordon for taking the overall win with a speedy run.

Post-race wine tasting in beautiful downtown Walla Walla involved meandering through seven different tasting rooms and one fine cheese and salami purveyor. After filling our tummies with the reds and whites of one of the best wine regions in the United States, Jessa and I sat in the town centre and feasted on a New York pepper salami, peppercorn and herb encrusted goat cheese, a crunchy demi-baguette, and a dark chocolate, Kahlua truffle.

I'm spending Memorial Day in Moscow, ID, hanging out at my favorite coffeeshop and playing on Facebook (look me up!). Over and out!
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