||Redondo Beach Tri
Exactly one year ago at the I competed in my first triathlon, the 2007 Redondo Beach Tri and as I crossed the line I barfed my breakfast of Red Bull and Sugar Pops all over.
As I lay there in the grass a few feet past the finish line (no, brightroom didn't get any pic's of it don't bother checking) I realized two things, 1. Athletic induced barfing isn't really all that bad and 2. This sport is going to take some getting used to.
For the next year I went down the road most first year triathletes travel. Realizing socks are never worth it, the number belt is, yanks are worth it, nutrition is important, time saved in the transition is gold, and that I was going to have to break down and buy a bike more advanced than my friction shifting $100 used Schwinn.
I also felt it was a realistic goal to win a local sprint triathlon, I would just need some luck and most importantly some fast guys to not show up!
At the risk of sounding like the biggest tri geek out there, in the months leading up to the race I went through cataloging who would be the top competition at Redondo. I went through their brightroom photos so that I would be able to recognize them, and I used athlinks.com to search for results of races I had done against them.
Then I built an Excel spreadsheet where I could plug in different paces for each discipline and come up with a resulting time. I went through and plugged in my best case scenario and the result was that I would be beat by last year's winner by 54 seconds. There was absolutely no way I could adjust any of the assumptions for a faster time (the assumptions were a 16:18 swim, 22.7mph bike, and 6:42 running pace and two transitions under a minute).
So where was I going to make up the time? I turned to the club. First I worked with Mike Hunter at one of his track workouts in the South Bay who did a great job improving my running position and giving me some speed drills to pick up the pace. (Thanks Mike!) Then I turned to Fory Horio who worked with me at one of his Saturday swim clinics (swimming is by far my weakest event and I have basically no idea what I'm doing out there as I'm sure Hory can attest to...). He got me to where I can at least tell you what I should be doing in the swim and every once in a while I might actually get a good stroke in. (Thanks Fory!)
The day of the race the first bouy looked way too far out. It's got to be more than a half mile swim (bad for me as my swim is slow). Luckily the buoy broke free and started drifting down the beach, shortening the swim dramatically, things were really looking my way until they corralled the wayward buoy and returned it to its original position.
The race went well, but as usual I had no idea where I was relative to anyone else. My run pace was slow but about a quarter of a mile from the end I recognized a competitor that I was catching who had been second the previous year. I passed him and went hard so as to open a gap before the last hill, I just didn't feel I'd be able to outsprint him at the end. Luckily when I checked at the bottom of the hill my gap was big enough.
Turned out he was second again this year and I had just squeaked out an age group victory.
Of course the real victory was keeping my breakfast down through the finish line...