Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Race Reports!

Hello Everyone! I’ve got a little catching up to do since my last blog so bear with me J The last month has been great with several races that I’ve gotten the chance to play at! I’ll break down the races and give you a quick recap.

Marble Falls Triathlon- July 17th- This triathlon took place on a scenic and challenging course through the Texas hill country area surrounding the city of Marble Falls. One of my Tristion Area Race Team members, Orlando Gonzales, raved about this tri last year. Orlando’s brother, Mario, is the race director and does a heck of a job putting on a race. The race had a nice small town feel to it, but was professionally run. The race draws some pretty talented triathletes from both Austin and San Antonio due to its location. I got a good warm-up in and headed down for the swim start. It was a triangle swim, with the long side of the swim headed into the sun, which always makes sighting a challenge! I worked my way through the start of the swim pack and came out at the lead with about 2 other guys. I moved to the front in Transition and hopped on the bike to head out for a nice hilly ride. I managed to get back to T2 in 1st. On the run leg I struggled a little but held pace and crossed the finish line first. The race format had men age 39 and under starting first and men 40 and older starting a few minutes behind. This is a mental challenge as even when leading the race you are not sure if you’re winning. I waited at the finish for the 3 minute time difference and officially won; up and coming triathlete Mark Saroni took 2nd place with one of Austin’s local studs, Paul Terranova, rounding out the podium. Erin had a great race taking 4th overall and Trisition Area Team mates Amy McGrath (2nd overall), Chris Rulon (8th Overall), Orlando Gonzales (1st in his AG), and Phil Johnson (3rd in his AG). Here’s the link to an article in the local newspaper http://www.highlandernews.com/news_article.php?article_id=657 . The race website is http://www.marblefallstri.com/ definitely check it out next year!

The Steubing Ranch crit- July 23rd- I’ve been wanting to do some road races for quite some time now and finally pulled the trigger a few weeks ago. Road racing is a completely different animal than racing the bike leg of non-drafting triathlon. Bike World hosts a crit every other Tuesday. I decided to give it a go. Those that don’t know a criterium is a circuit race where you complete a small loop several times until the bell lap which you race out for the win. I raced the Category 4/5 race which is 30 minutes long. My plan going in was to sit back a little at the beginning and get a feel for how guys are racing and practice some handling and then open up at the end. I ended up pulling quite a bit of the race and then with about 6 laps left I got into a small breakaway with 4 other guys. We kept the pressure on and with 2 laps to go it was just me and another guy left. On the back stretch of the loop there is an S-curve that shoots you into the 200 meters to the finish. Coming out of the S-curve I took the inside line and hammered winning the race. I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed this format of racing. I’m thinking I’ll be doing a few more crits before the year is over.

Texas State Time Trial Championships- July 30th-31st- I’ve been wanting a good test to see where my cycling fitness is at this year, the Texas State Time trial Championships were only 40 miles south of San Antonio this year and offered a great opportunity for a time trial test. It’s a two-day event and I decided to race the 40K individual time trial on Saturday and then the 40K team time trial on Sunday. I was excited about the team race, as I had a good crew of guys to be racing with. On Saturday morning I made the drive to Lytle and saw something I haven’t seen in about 3 months, rain! It was a light rain, just enough to make turns while racing interesting. Luckily there were only two turns and a turn around on the course. I started 4th in the CAT 5 division. The plan was to take it out at a couple beats below my threshold and then let it go on the way back. I passed the 3 guys in front of me before the Turn around and then let it go for the return. We had some good wind on the way out but the tail wind felt great on the way back. I ended up winning the CAT 5 division with a 56:12 averaging 26.5 mph. Best of all my average power was up about 10 watts since the last time I tested showing training is paying off.
On Sunday Chris Rulon, Mark Saroni, Robbie Wade, and I got together for the team time trial. Mark is a CAT 3 racer so this was going to allow the other 3 “triathletes” riding with him to race CAT 3. All of us usually have a pretty strong bike leg in triathlons so I thought we might have a shot for the win if we could figure out the technique of rotating cyclist around to maximize the aerodynamic advantage. The rules allow you to finish with only 3 riders. The plan was to stay together on the way out and then pick it up on the way back. If someone couldn’t keep pace on the way back that was fine, they would just hold on as long as possible and then fall off and we would finish with three. We lined up and had a good start getting tucked behind each other pretty quickly. About a mile in I was at the lead about to rotate back when I heard Mark yell “Robbie flatted!” This was a major bummer; Robbie was probably our strongest cyclist and now we only had 3 to rotate the work load for the remaining 95% of the race. We did a good job adapting our game plan and still got a pretty solid effort in. We ended up finishing in 6th place for the CAT 3 division with a time of 54:09 averaging 27.5 mph. The kicker was we were only 46 seconds out of 2nd place! All in all it was a fun weekend!

Next up Bridgeland Triathlon!