Monday, June 11, 2012

Tri Latta

S - 6750 yds
B - 174 mi
R - 39.6 mi

Time - 15.39 hours

This week I finally managed to get some go-go juice in my legs.  From feeling pretty dead most of the week before to feeling very, very strong this week I experienced quite the swing.  On Tuesday night I had some new power number bests to brag about (to myself).  On Wednesday night I set a new personal best at the Lowe's Speedway 10mi TT series of 20:45.30 (not sure on overall placing, but only 18s off Ryan Jenkins' winning time), which was very pleasing.  I'm definitely learning to put the pedal to the medal a little bit more this year.  Riding by yourself is hard.  Riding all out by yourself is very hard.  It's a mental exercise in pushing the envelope.  I was hoping that these efforts would result in a good race at Tri Latta on Saturday.  For the most part, it did! Hooray!

Tri Latta - 6.09.12 - 750m/17mi/5k

Tri Latta has always been one of the most competitive races in the IOS NC series.  It has traditionally boasted a very strong field of both open and masters open athletes.  Last year I was finishing my first real week of normal training after my bad crash and actually had a fairly bad infection in my hand on race day.  So needless to say I was hoping to improve a little bit on last year's performance.  I was hoping and expecting to win.  I knew that if I executed the race properly then my race would go as hoped.

Swim - 11:12 (5th)

I lined up on the left side for the simple rectangular course (with two left turns).  When the gun sounded I took off at a fairly quick pace, but as I breathe exclusively to my left I couldn't tell who else was with me.  I knew I was beside Zack Capets as we rubbed shoulders occasionally during the first minute or two.  As I came closer to the first left turn I could tell that I was behind a girl in a Blue Seventy speed suit and a guy.  I couldn't tell enough to know whether it was Melissa or Jenny but as we turned left I COULD tell that they were in the lead.  On the way back a swimmer came up on my left who swam the worst lines I've ever seen in a triathlon.  He was obviously a very fast swimmer as he would pass me but then he'd swim off in the wrong direction before correcting and getting back on course.  This was mildly annoying.  Another swimmer was also on my right and as we emerged from the water I recognized Mike.  Much to my surprise (and excitement!), Jenny and Derek were not more than 15-20 yards ahead of me and I crossed the mat very pleased with my swim, despite feeling a little mediocre about it during the swim itself.

It's also interesting to note that the part of the course I was looking forward to the very least was probably the most important part of my race.  I've been having issues in the pool lately with anxiety "attacks," especially at MAC masters practice which have forced me (or at least, my mind has forced me) to get out of the pool and collect myself.  Consequently, I've been feeling very apprehensive about my swimming of late.  It was good to not have this happen to me during a race as that would have been bad from a race standpoint but also anyone swimming behind me might have been frustrated with me suddenly sitting up in the middle of the swim...  Sometimes it's best to turn the brain completely off and I've yet to figure out how to do that...

Thanks to Sarah for the pic, and myself for the facial hair!

T1 - 1:49 (10th)

On the way up the long hill to transition I passed Mike, the UNCW guy and then later Jenny, who I had made a small bet with that I would beat her out of T1.  Much to her annoyance, I actually beat her INTO T1 at this race; a feat I'm sure she will not let me repeat.  I got to my bike, put on my shoes and helmet before heading out on the road.

Also, I've got to say here that I LOVE racing in a one piece.  The problem with one pieces is two-fold:

1) They're not always the most flattering of attire
2) The less expensive ones (the ones that most people buy) are ill-suited for their perceived purpose (of being faster in the water) as they all have pockets and aren't made out of anything special.

That being said, the Blue Seventy TX3000 I wore for this race was super sweet.  My T1 time was significantly faster than last year and I looked pretty good doing it, if I may say so myself...

Bike - 40:03 (1st)

I headed out on the bike just behind Derek and passed him about halfway down Sample Rd.  I knew this course was rolling but fast so I resolved to push hard and (try to) not look back.  It was fun knowing I had the race lead to myself.  Last year Donny caught me on the bike and we rode together so while my time was a bit faster in 2011 it wasn't quite as steady as it was this year.  I did a pretty good job of pushing throughout the course while keeping it in check on the uphills and full bore on the downhills, creating a pretty even power profile.  I did look back occasionally and sometimes could see someone off in the distance but whoever it was did not appear to be closing the gap so I cruised back onto Sample Rd and to transition feeling confident the race was mine as long as nothing crazy happened.

T2 - 1:12 (1st)

I cruised into T2, took off the helmet and put on my running shoes then grabbed my race belt and sunglasses before heading out onto the run course.  No mistakes here...

Run - 18:19 (4th)

I set a fairly torrid pace on the run in the beggining, despite strongly disliking this run course.  The run course, in fact, sucks.  It's easily the worst part about the Latta Tri.  I can find no redeeming qualities to describe it.  It's all on the trail systems of the park and much of it is channeled quite deeply due to water run off, the gravel is not packed well and is relatively large so sliding is an issue, it's just not awesome.  That being said, I knew that those behind me wouldn't meander slowly along the trails so I tried to hammer to the first turnaround, which I mostly succeeded in doing. I got a chance to see where everyone was after the turnaround and it looked like Donny was running very fast with Zack relatively close behind him and Selle bringing up the 4th spot.  There was a relatively long uphill slog so maintaining pace was tough but after the second turnaround I saw that no one was any closer to me so I grew less worried and pushed the final flat section pretty well before crossing the finish line in first.

Final - 1:12:33 (1st) Full Results Here

All in all I was quite happy with my performance.  Brad Perry had bet me a case of beer (which would've lasted me all year) on whether or not I could go 1:10:00 or better and unfortunately I was not particularly close.  That would take a very, very fast race.  That kind of time is out of reach for me this year on this course.  It's tough to run fast at Latta; the two fastest runs of the day (17:10 and 17:40ish?) are both from runners who are capable of 16:low on the roads.  I honestly felt as though I was at my limit in terms of not falling on Saturday.  Maybe next year I will be able to sniff at a 1:09:59...

This was the largest representation ICE Racing has had at an IOS NC Series event and we did not dissapoint, with Jenny and I claiming first place for men and women and Melissa grabbing 2nd Open and 4th  OA.  Not too shabby at all!


mainers said...

congrats on the race and the W James

Tara Martine said...

Nice job & congrats on the win!!!