Saturday, May 8, 2010

Gator Grinder Triathlon

I've been competing in this sprint triathlon most years since 2005 (at least). Most fun sprint triathlon ever (I've done a few in the area; I come back to this one). Hosted by the Canby Gators swim club, it is staffed by the families and swimmers, is great fun, and the volunteers are the most supportive EVER. "Way to go! Looking great!" - that's what you hear during the event.

All the ribbons

Registered back in December (it sells out quickly), put down my 9:00 swim time and didn't think anymore about it. I started my recovery in December, too - running, cycling, lifting weights. I figured I'd get in a pool in March. I got into a pool this past Thursday. Ooops. Didn't swim a 9:00 either. (but not a 10:00. It wasn't THAT dismal.)

After the 300km a few weeks back, I fell off my training. Completely. Probably not the best plan, but I was so done, toasted, exhausted, sore, you name it, that I had absolutely no motivation to do anything. I did keep up the cycling on weekends and did run a couple times - got out and ran 30-40 minutes, no intervals, no timing, just ran a route around the neighborhood, and however long it took, well, that was it. That was fun. That is why I run. Not everything has to be training and organized. Of course, I am signed up for a half marathon in October, so I'll have to get serious again pretty soon.

Where were we? Oh, right. Started organizing on Thursday. This was a good thing, because my triathlon shorts just vanished. I dumped out a couple of drawers, even went through Fitz's cycling gear, looked in all the athletic bags... Nope. A quick perusal of the Team Estrogen catalog, and some shorts were selected and would be ready for me TE World Headquarters. The weather forecast was, at that point, iffy, so I tossed in some warm shirts, knee warmers and a jacket.

Friday I arranged to collect Cecil, as this was her first triathlon (she was doing the swim leg for Team Last Minute, because she still can't run) and she was a bit stressed about the timing mats and transition and all. She'd get the grand tour when we arrived. Stopped at TE on the way home from work to collect my shorts and visit with Susan. Final packing, bag by the front door, bike and tire pump in car.

And then we went to the concert, and didn't get home until late. Up at 6am. YAWN. A lot of stumbling around, but I did get a big cup of coffee, a big bowl of Cheerios and strawberries, and was at Cecil's at our prearranged 7:30am meetup.

Arriving in Canby, we got our stuff out of the van, I gave my tires a final pump-up, and we headed over to check in. Didn't get there QUITE early enough to score an end spot on the bike rack for my heat, but close. Checked in, found Susan, set up my transition area, got my race number written on various appendages, gave Cecil the transition area tour, then we went in to cheer the other TE and Friends folks on. I'm always one of the later (often last) swimmers of the group, but Cecil had finished her swim, handed off to the cyclist on her relay, and was there to cheer me on. Which is novel - everyone is out on the course by the time I get in the pool. (What I'm saying here is that my competitive swimmer past has not entirely left me. In the general population I am accounted a faster swimmer :-) )

I was in the last lane position, which I thought would be good, because 1) maybe I wouldn't be swimming the promised 9 minutes, and 2) I could do flip turns and not freak out the other lane occupants. Flip turns are quicker than grabbing the wall, for sure. The first swimmer was, um, well... he had no form. I am not sure he managed to ever swim a 9:00 500yd swim. I passed the third position swimmer and then him, but he was speeding up and slowing down, and he passed me. Then I passed him again, finally. It was kind of like swimming behind a very confused frog. But in all that, I lost count, and figured I was about 15 when the kickboard was waved in the water at the far wall - I was at 19! Yay! Just about done!

Hauled myself out of the pool (my heart rate monitor expired once I got in the pool. I think it is done), got out to the transition area, turned into Bicyclist and zipped out. The route is a big loop, mostly flat but for the climb up to Central Point Rd, the rollers on Central Point, and then the rollers on Territorial Rd. The last set is fun - you really can surf them. Gorgeous scenery, but clearly, not taking pictures today! Cheerful and supportive volunteers at every turn. Oh, and I forgot the curvy descent - now that I'm better at descending, and know the road, I have more fun with it. That said, still climbing like a rock, and it showed. My average was 15.8mph. I've previously ridden it in the high 16's. Toward the end I was passed by competitors from the next swim heat - the Very Serious Triathletes with Real Tri Bikes and time trial helmets. If you put all their bikes together, my low-spoke-count Bontrager wheels would still have more spokes in them.

T2 (bike to run)

Back to the transition area, where I turned into Runner, said hi to Cecil, and stumbled off on the run (well, that's how it FELT). The first little bit of the run includes non-pavement - lumpy grass. Not fond of that at all. Then down the road to the elementary school track. Two laps; I got some water on each. It was getting hot! I did stop briefly to move the velcro strap with the timing chip to the outside of my sock; it was very, very scratchy. Out of the school (over the entire course, I think I passed two cyclists, and that was it), back up the road to the middle school, over the grass to the track, half a lap and done. Whew. No one there, but I wasn't really expecting it. Got some water and started walking back to the swim center/transition area. Met Cecil, so we headed back together. My overall time was 6 minutes slower than my most recent start, but, really I wasn't expecting great things this year. The bike course was also a bit longer, which might account for some of that 6 minutes.

Got my shower. Locker room entertainment - all the TE staff had the Zoot Recovery Compression Tights. Putting them on seems to be challenging. That said, might be worth considering. My legs hurt all the time now. Headed off to the post-race bbq. Fun as always - Susan and Jeff grill a variety of burgers, and everyone else brings other stuff. Like homemade ice cream, apple crisp, salads, chips, cookies, soda, beer... Most of us placed in our age groups. One of Susan's employees took 2nd overall in Women's Road Bike division. I even came in 4th in my age group, and there were at least 5 folks in it! Update - results are up. There were exactly 5 folks in my age group :-)

bib number:73
location:Portland, OR
overall place:118 out of 177
division place:4 out of 5
gender place:46 out of 83

Cecil's comment: "you know, that's a lot more than most people would expect from someone who was sick all last year". I'll just say that this recovery is not going as rapidly as planned. Grumble. That said, when a certain cycling partner is ready to resume riding 200kms, well, I'm here :-) S*cks that we are serially incapacitated.

4th place in my age group

Little Pink Bear reflects on the day

Won a fabulous door prize - a new RoadID. My current one is getting very ratty, so I'm pleased about that. I wear it whenever I'm riding (even commuting. Especially commuting) or running.

Learnings this year: those standard issue velcro straps for the timing chips are very abrasive. I know you can buy a nicer one, but Susan pointed out that the RoadID strap is perfect. Well then!

New triathlon shorts mini-review: I got these. I'd like them to be cut higher in the back. I bet I have a sunburn between the bottom of my shimmel and the top of the shorts. Also, whenever I pushed off from the wall during the swim, they'd catch the water. I'll have to cinch them down tighter next time. I do like the no-elastic leg openings. The shorts stayed put through the whole race; didn't have to yank them down once.

All the pics here

1 comment:

bikelovejones said...

Little Pink Bear looks SO proud...

I'm with Cecil. Progress is progress, no matter what pace. Congrats to someone who was sick all last year and has managed to recover enough to even DO one of these crazy things.