Madeira Beach Triathlon

My initial reaction to my 1:28:23 time and 13th place was disappointment, I'm becoming a master of over expectation. Having had a chance to look at my Garmin 305 data and splits I'm more circumspect, it was a good day at the office.

First, the bike was actually 15-miles, and second its probably one of the toughest places to race the 50-54 age group, there are lots of early retired, fit and wealthy 50+. Have a look at your local sprint races, how many of them can boast 36 starters in the 50-54 age group ? Lastly I did the bike on my 3rd string bike, its not nearly as comfortable and only has regular wheels. So I figure for a 12-mile bike I could go about 10-mins quicker on big-red.

It was a well organised race, packet pick-up was pretty decent with an expo on Saturday, although parking was tight I went there straight from the airport, I took the opportunity to buy a pair of the 2007 Desoto Power Tri Shorts and then it was off to get an early night after getting my stuff ready.

Getting to the race in the morning was a breeze, I already had all my numbers in place, it was just a short line for numbering, racked my stuff and then caught up with two old friends. First up was Fred Rzymek, local Florida race organiser(Top Gun, Escape to Fort De Soto and many more),  and all round great guy. This was as far as I could work out the only time we'd likely ever race in the same age group. Somehow I doubt I'll ever move up to the 55-59, but you never know. Fred and I took out a bet, the winner buys a cse of Guiness. Race on! Theres no way I'd let him beat me...

I managed to grab former World Champion and Ironman legend, fellow Brit' Spencer Smith. Spencer lives locally and despite announcing his retirement earlier this year after a string of problems over the last few years, including a serious bike accident, Spencer was turning out for the race. We talked longer after the race, I wished him the best and left to walk the half mile up the beach to the swim start.

Walking up the beach I bumped into Fred again and we walked up together, turns out he beat me by almost 8-minutes at St Anthonys last month, I had a real race on my hands. The race started on time, first wave elites, Spencer was soon off the front but had to race hard to stay that way.

When our wave started Fred was one of the first in the water in what was a busy, but fairly calm swim, I settled in quickly but lost touch with the lead group of about seven, I was though first or there abouts in the following group. Towards the end of the fairly unventful swim I tried to pick-up up the pace but didn't make much difference, memo to self, must train for swimming, racing once every two weeks is no substitute.

Out of the water I was pretty sure I was till behind Fred, I zipped through T1 in 1:22 including the run up the beach. Not bad considering I put my run number belt on and the Garmin 305 on my wrist, it was helmet on, and out.

I had a minor hick-up getting my foot into the right shoe after a running mount, but no big deal, I was still moving forward. I settled into the bike and we were soon on the long out and back section of the pretty flat course. After passing the 8-mile marker on the otherside of the road, I started to watch out for Fred going the other way, how far ahead was he?

At the turn around I gunned it while standing, deciding if I was going to catch him I'd have to work really hard. After about 200yds I settled back down and the 3rd place woman passed me. Next up I looked down and could see someones shadow close to mine, I was going to get overtaken again. Next thing I felt my bum being pinched, after a moment of wild immagination, I looked up and there was Fred!

That meant I'd passed him in T1! - See all those reading that also read my last ever colum in the British Triathlon Tri news magazine, told you transaction practise was worth more than swim practise!

I let him pass, dropped back 3-bike lengths and then went after him, passing fairly quickly. We kept this up for the next 9-miles or so. On one pass I heard Fred say something to someone else who joined our party but then just sat on my rear wheel. As we came into T2 Fred was about 100yds ahead and between us a small group. I set out to pass them and Fred through T2. Apparently got shouted at a few times coming into T2 to "slow down" I passed Fred before we got to our racks and was out onto the run in just 47-seconds.


Out on the run I felt strong for the first mile or so, it did though seem as if we were heading further than the out and back I'd expected. The run was down Gulf Blvd and then a right turn, down a short lane and out onto the beach. I was a bit rocky and slowed down on the lose sand, I was soon on the hard packed sand at the tide line and heading back up the beach. According to the Garmin data, the run was 3.2-miles.

About 2/3 up the beach Fred passed me, making it look easy but soon slowed, after that I wasn't really sure, was he racing or waiting ? I couldn't really pass him, as we approached the finish line Fred definately waited for me and we crossed the finish line together, although the official results show me 1-place and 1-second ahead, I know I wasn't.

After the race Fred and I talked for a while with Kris, Fred went for a massage and I went to chat with Spencer. The new tri shorts were just fab'. They didn't ride up at all, kept everything in place and I did the swim with a gel in one of the outrside pockets and it was still there at the end.

Here is my HR data in 1-mile splits. Interesting but nothing staggering. Sprint is definately my distance, I can keep over 90% of max for the whole race! Also some good 1-mile bike splits, with AVG speed over 23MPH.




The race distances were:
Swim: .5 mile
Bike: 15-miles
Run: 3.1-miles

Age group place:13/36
Overall place: 182/640
Overall Time: 1:28:23
Swim: 15:34(9th Age group)
T1: 1:22(2nd Age group)
Bike: 42:23 (13th Age Group), AVG MPH 21
T2: 0:47(2nd Age group)
Run: 28:19(26th Age group)

Full Results here.
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Congratulations! 13th is great! (I'd be over the moon!) Big Red would have taken 10 minutes off your time? Amazing! I never think of bikes/wheels making that much of a difference. Is it weight or aerodynamics or both?
No, I think my point was, perhaps poorly expressed that when I saw my results first I was fed-up. 1:28 for a sprint! Then I found out that the bike was 15-miles instead of 12-miles, and I'd used my 3rd string bike. I averaged about 2:40 per mile, so added up thats 8-mins less time IF it had been 12-miles; then I figure at least 2-mins faster if I'd had my race bike.

Its definitely slightly fast, more aero and more comfortable when you are in the aero position.

Edited at 2008-01-18 04:56 pm (UTC)