Wildflower 2011 David R.
It took me a few weeks to finish it, but here is my race report from Wildflower 2011. This was my sixth Wildflower Long Course (I did one WF Olympic), and my second best time. So overall I was pleased.
I drove to Lake San Antonio on Friday. I left my house about 2:30pm and got to the Lake about 6:30, with a short stop for gas and dinner. I paid the outrageous $70 for one night of camping, and proceeded into the park. I first parked at the top of Lynch Road, and took the shuttle down to get my packet. The shuttle service was very quick, and there was no line at registration, so that was a painless process. Number 1829.
Then I drove to the Redondo campground to look for the TRIMORE Fitness site. There was a sign just inside the campground which listed where the various Tri-Clubs were camped. I saw GGTC/TRIMORE was in “H”, although I would have found it pretty easily even without that information because Neil’s banner was up, and the usual caravan of Camper-trailers was recognizable. And the road goes around in loop.
Mucho thanks to Stephanie for pointing out the best place to pitch my tent (away from the camper’s exhaust) and for lending me a sleeping bag, which I can’t believe I forgot. I should have used my checklist for camping, along with my Tri checklist, to insure I did not forget anything. I got my tent set up, air mattress blown up (the pump plugs in to the car lighter socket) and pillow, etc, placed in the tent. I went to Neil’s 8pm briefing, then set up my bike, etc. for the morning. It was good that I had brought my headlamp; that helped tremendously in seeing what I was doing. I was in bed by 10:30, and slept surprisingly well for being in a sleeping bag. It was definitely cold overnight, but not as cold, or damp, as I have experienced in past years.
I went down to transition at 7:30. (they close Lynch at 8am for bikes.so I would have to walk down if I left much later. Not desirable. I rode my bike, had my gear in my Blue Seventy tri-pack, helmet on head, but wore my running shoes rather than bike shoes. My wave was not until 9:05 (baby blue swim caps), and was the final men’s wave to take off. The old guys leave last…Frankly, it was good to get their early enough to leisurely get my number tattooed on my arms, hands and legs, organize my space, chat with other competitors and wait through the porta-potty line (I guess I must be nervous before every race, as I always need to include that in my pre-race timeline.) And I took my usual dose of 1 1/2 Excedrin, and two tablets of calcium orotate. I had a banana also, which I forgot to bring, but someone else happened to have an extra.
So 9:05 and I was off with the other blue-heads. I had not been practicing my swimming like I should (please don’t tell my coach), but I surprised myself with a swim that was only 14 seconds slower than my best time. I guess the swim analysis helped me concentrate on the important weaknesses in my stroke. I did not push too hard, and worked on long steady strokes, grabbing the water sooner than I was doing it before. Reaching as far as I could, and getting into a rhythm to stroke and glide. And I kept my thumb pressed up against my hand. The swim outbound was pretty easy, coming back there was a bad chop, and I swallowed some water. Good thing it was fresh water, and not salt. I felt pretty strong after the swim. I walked, albeit rapidly, up the ramp, but then ran the rest of the way to my transition area.
Swim 47:09 (http://connect.garmin.com/activity/82809414)
The transition was better than some of my other WF’s but not so great altogether, mainly because I still have a hard time getting out of my wetsuit. I need to work on that. Although for the IM they have volunteers to strip off your wetsuit. Reminder to self: cut legs back a bit on the wetsuit, and practice stripping.
Transition: 7:38 (http://connect.garmin.com/activity/82809419)
I got off to a good start on the bike, and felt pretty strong. I took it somewhat easy though, not slacking off, but not pushing overly hard. Just trying to take the initial rises and dips smoothly and without mishap since the road is a bit rough, and there are other bikers. Just warming up for the long haul. High Zone 2 to Low Zone 3. I slowed down at Beach hill, of course. I am not sure what I can ever do to be a better climber, but the TRIMORE RST classes have made a difference. I made it up the hill slowly, but felt fine at the crest, and ready to kick some but downhill. Unfortunately, much of the first 20 miles were quite windy, and it seemed like the wind kept shifting, sometimes a head wind and sometime from the side (but never from my back!). I remember from previous races that this part of the course can be particularly brutal. In 2007 the wind was so strong that I was almost crying and ready to quit. But just as in 2007, we made a sharp right turn at about 20 miles, at which point the wind shifted and my ground speed picked up. The rest of the course felt great, and even Nasty Grade didn’t feel too nasty. I was pushing 45 mph coming off the back of Nasty. In my aeros. Hanging on tightly. Hyper-aware. Exhilarated at the speed. Screaming “on your left” as I passed slower bikers, afraid of them moving into my way.
I refilled my aerobottle with water at almost every aid station. Although I had filled my the water bottle on my down tube with concentrated Perpetuem, I found it difficult to efficiently drink from that bottle, and took most liquids from the aeroebottle. I should have dissolved some Nuun or other electrolyte tablets in the water. I think one reason I felt weak at the beginning of the run may be due to an electrolyte deficiency. I felt much better later in the run after I worked hard at replenishing my nutritional stores.
Bike: 3:47:55 (http://connect.garmin.com/activity/82809435)
T2 was better than any other leg of the race, and my best place in comparison with the entire field of athletes. It is not the part of the race I would chose to be the best, however. But what the heck. At least that is one area, although I could improve a little, I don’t need to concentrate.
T2: 3:37 (http://connect.garmin.com/activity/82809447)
I felt like I came apart in the run, or at least the first third. The beginning part of the run is hilly anyway, but I should have felt stronger. I started running slowly, figuring I would just jog the first mile or two, and then develop a fairly steady pace for the rest of the run. However, I ended up walking quite a bit. Lots of people passed me. I ate and drank at every opportunity, and tried to get my energy level back up. Slowly I gained strength and speed. I did take another 1 1/2 Excedrin and some calcium near the end of the bike, so the caffeine was also probably starting to kick in. The second half of the run was MUCH stronger, and I passed most of the people who had passed me earlier, finishing with a strong kick down Lynch and into the chute. I was even running, well, running slowly, most of the way up the hill on mile 10-11. Even with the problems, I placed better in my age group on the run than for the bike or swim (8th).
I didn’t get an accurate time/distance with my Garmin; somehow I think the foot pod messed up the timing with the GPS. Note to self: Do not use the foot pod for races.
Run 2:41:42 (http://connect.garmin.com/activity/82809454)