Bevoman SMW Conference Championship

Bevoman SMW Conference Championship

This was my final collegiate conference championship race, down in Austin, Texas at Pace Bend State Park on Lake Travis.  The University of Texas triathlon club put on the race and did an excellent job.  It was fun to finally have a collegiate-only race and a real open water swim for our championship.  Many people have been wanting this for years and it was great to see how much has changed since my freshman year.  Thanks to all the people that put together the race, especially Neil Doughty of UT.  Beautiful, fun, awesome course.  There were some hiccups but I’m sure they will iron it out for next time.

Now, onto the race report.  There was one wave for men and one for women.  Prior to the start, the race director mentioned that there would be red or orange turn buoys and yellow sighting buoys.  We couldn’t see the course because the water had steam coming off of it due to the difference in temperature between air and water.  So the course was a couple yellow sighting buoys and then a turn buoy, across, another turn buoy, and then back two yellow buoys and then turn and into shore.

Swim

We all got lined up and the horn went off.  I got out front and started leading the front group.  Eventually it became a smaller group until finally it was just me and Michael Arishita, friend and rival. Michael was on my feet so he was trusting I was going the right way.  Unfortunately, the lead kayak was no where near us and I couldn’t see much due to the steam off the water.  Turns out, we were swimming to the other yellow buoy on the return side.  We got back on track and then hit the 3rd buoy which was YELLOW.  We both swam past the yellow buoy probably an extra 50-75 meters and I kept looking up to see the red turn buoy.  Nothing in sight.  I actually started treading water and took my goggles off.  I was dumbfounded.  Meanwhile Michael did the same and we both said, “Forget this! Let’s swim to the other buoy!” which was also yellow.  Of course, the chase pack saw us turn around before they got to the last yellow buoy, which was where the “red” turn around buoy should have been.  Michael and I were both frustrated, but I kept focusing and was able to shake him and the rest of the group off, once we headed back.  I exited the water first, about 30 seconds ahead of Arishita and ran up to my bike.  My Xterra Vengeance proved to be wicked fast and maybe just wanted me to swim extra 😉

Bike

To my surprise, someone had jammed their old steel road bike into transition on top of mine at the last minute before the race start.  I know this because about 10 minutes before the start, I went up to grab my pre race gel.  When I got to my new Ventum One and got my wetsuit off to head out for the ride, my bike was stuck between the steel road bike drop bars and my brakes.  I couldn’t move either bike.  I messed with it for a good 20-30 seconds and finally had to lift the rack to get my bike off.  Really frustrating!  Meanwhile, Arishita was already running to the mount line and got away.  I started riding hard with my feet on top of my shoes to hopefully keep him in sight, but while I was coming down the first “descent” there was a sharp, blind turn.  The combination of my wicked fast Ventum One souped up with Alto wheels created too much speed for the turn and I went flying straight across the corner and into the ditch.  Luckily, I was able to handle the bike well enough that I didn’t crash or get road rash.  I had ridden the course the day before and remembered (too late) I needed to be careful there, so it was an error on my part.  I turned around and got back on the road and started riding.  So far things weren’t going my way.  To make matters worse I couldn’t see Arishita anymore.

I got passed by Scott Wilkinson, uber biker who got the bike prime, on the second lap, despite another guy accepting the bike award, even though there was talk he did just 3 of the 4 laps.  The rest of the ride was uneventful, but with weak legs.  I generated close 270 watts, give or take a little.   It was a very honest and fun course with lots of punchy climbs and descents.  I enjoyed it except that I spent more than half of it out of my aero bars trying to pull and loosen up my tri shorts.  The TCU tri kit is made by an off brand named Cliff Keen.  I felt like I was racing in a straight jacket and skinny jeans.

Run

I got off the bike and knew I was in third to start the out-and-back run course.  Right away, I got to work and tried to try close the gap up to Wilkinson and Arishita.  I wasn’t sure how far ahead they were until one of the spectators said 2nd place was 3 minutes ahead.  I thought, “OK. that’s probably Wilkinson, so let’s see what I can do.”  I didn’t feel great, but put one foot ahead of the other.  I got to the trail portion of the run, about halfway in, and eventually saw both Arishita and Wilkinson.  I knew they were probably running about the same pace or a bit faster so I tried to pick it up and be efficient on the trail.  Overall, I was feeling better towards the end, and eventually made my way back towards transition and crossed the finish.  No one was really sure if it was the finish or not because it was just two timing mats, without a finishing tunnel.  I ended up putting together a pretty solid run on a reasonably challenging course with 2 miles of trail, in 35:18 just 4 seconds off Arishita’s winning split.  I finished 3rd in a time of 2:01, 1.5 min behind Wilkinson, and 4 minutes behind Arishita. Congrats to both of them for putting together good races.  It’s always fun racing those guys because each of us has our strengths, so we never know what will happen.

Lessons

I wasn’t really thrilled how the race went, because I would have preferred a battle on the run with Arishita but, all in all, I got some good feedback:

  1. It was a good way to kick out the rust after not racing since November.
  2. I got the swim prime despite swimming off course twice. Thanks, Xterra Wetsuits!
  3. Don’t wear that TCU tri kit again.  My awesome sponsor, Kiwami, is going to whip something up for me with the TCU logo so I have a better suit for Collegiate Nationals in 3 weeks.
  4. Make sure you ride/drive the course and pay attention to it. If nothing else, look at the map!
  5. Fitness is there; execution needs a bit of work.
  6. In the words of Coach Brent in regards to training, “Prepare, prepare, prepare, and prepare some more.”

All in all, it was a good experience.  Racing is the best way to gain fitness and it’s really the “icing on the cake”.

Results from the race are here.

This week I am focusing on recovery and getting prepared for my pro debut at Ironman Texas 70.3 this Sunday, April 10th, in Galveston.  My training has been more geared towards this event so I’m feeling really confident.  It will be a great way to start off as there are 58 men on the pro list which will surely provide great competition and a good evaluation for me as I move forward into 2016.

Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share This