Monday, April 22, 2013

Smithfield Sprint Tri Race Report

Smithfield Sprint Tri - Smithfield YMCA, VA

April 6, 2013

Jeff Rodarmel - Men 40-45 - 22nd - 1:11.06

So this is the start of my second year of doing triathlons, so I’m hoping to be at least a little better prepared or knowledgeable. I’m sure either one is clearly debatable! This was my second Smithfield Sprint and my wife came with me on this one too. She is good for the sprints, but isn’t going to jump to the Olympic distances yet. I’m waiting for Jamestown to come. The conditions this year were a little different as they were much colder than last year. At least it wasn’t wet and rainy. Just cold and muddy. Nice! I did learn from last year that I needed to be a little optimistic about my swim time so I don’t end up at the back of the pack (Like Larry, sorry I didn’t give you the heads up on that one!). So this year when we go pick up our race packets we find out we are 155 & 156 respectively which is a MUCH better start time, but I need to bring my A game for swimming. Last year it was a 398 & 399 start. You could take a nap in between the start of the Tri and our swim times. So we get there and set up our bikes and I see Jerry and Larry running for the packet pick up and I catch up with them and strategize the race. We also catch up with Mike in the transition area and say our good lucks. Jerry and Mike started was ahead of me and I’m sure Larry with be a little less honest about his swim time if he does this again. I will say he was the only person is the YMCA waiting area that had a “Hammer Nutrition” tri top on!
The Swim – Was much better this year as I was more in line with the swimmers of my speed vs. the large man who walked the shallow end last year. And, who was also 75 or more slots ahead of me. But, I improved my time from last year. T1 was good as well and knocked 2 minutes of last year.
The Bike – Again, clearly my Achilles heel and I thought I was much faster, but come to find out I had the same time as last year. Note to self, more bike training. T2 was good as well, I decided to not go with the clip on’s and go with the cages so no shoes to change. Knocked a minute off of last year.
The Run – So here is where I am a little perplexed but have some comfort in Chuck’s analysis from last year that the run was a little on the short side last year. I was about two minutes slower, but the turnaround point on the road was about a hundred yards or so further down the road.
Overall I finished 9 spots better than last year in a field that seemed to be pretty strong. That’s my goal for this is to do better than last year and increase my distances.

Larry Bowers - 4th place AG (58 min 11 sec)
First thing, I don’t like sprints.  I am too old and it takes me a lot of miles and/or several hours to get up to speed and that is why I like the international distances and especially the halfs.  But for 2013 I am signed up for three sprints.  So … why did I do that?  Mainly to stay near home and keep the family happy.  Next year, I will likely go back to my international or further races.

Any who … Smithfield was fun and fast.  I was not even warmed up by time I came across the finish line.  I enjoyed the ride to Smithfield with Jerry though we kept missing turns because we were yakking so much.  And we departed his house at 730AM, geez, I am use to departing homes at 3 or 4AM for tri’s.  This was different.

As expected, we arrive in Smithfield with plenty of time to spare (for me mostly, seeming my swim seed position was sort of way back there).  So I say what the heck and go into the weight room at the Y and work out.  I did limit it to only 35 minutes with free weights.  Yes, I was the only person in that room with race numbers marked on their body.

I saw Jeff and his wife, and Mike B at the race.  Jeff saved my skin many a time by providing me intel on the course and the intricacies of this high speed dash I was about to start.  Thanks Jeff!  About 3 days after Jerry and everyone else started their swim, I finally got wet.  I passed one swimmer but had no problem with the balance of the zig zag process.  Got a bit winded also because I was not use to going all out in the water … so much for getting into a rhythm like for a 40 minute 1.2 mile swim.  In 4 to 6 minutes you are on your bike.  The bike course was only 10 miles so I had no clue how to ride it (all out, chill, combo, chase squirrels, draft behind fast moving cars, pop wheelies, all the above?).  As I froze on my bike (which was expected), I computed my time and knew this bad boy segment would be over in about 27 to 28 minutes.  Geez, still not warmed up.  I arrive into T2 and am a bit concerned about my cold hands which seem to be ok but as soon as I try to take off my bike shoes and put on my running shoes, it gets a bit challenging.  I could not open/close my fingers very well and struggled just getting my running shoes on.  Dang.  Time is going by and I have no intentions of running 3.1 miles barefoot, no way.

I get out of T2 eventually and run left and right and left and right and left and right … geez, give me a 10 mile straight-away folks.  I have never run just 3.1 miles except in high school (folks – 1975 to 1979 … longggggg time ago) and those were 15 to 16 minute cross country dashes in the blazing Florida heat.  Well, I am clueless how to handle this and am surprised how long it takes to clock just one mile.  I see Jeff heading the other way after the turn around and we wave.  At the turn around it dawns on me that it is now mostly downhill and with the wind.  Nice.  I blow off all the water/fuel stops on the run because I fueled on the bike.  With about 200 yards to go, I see Jeff standing on the sidewalk (done) and I yell “Where the heck do I turn?”  He saved me again.  The last 200 yards was on a sidewalk and I really wanted to run in the road next to it but stayed on the course.

I hit the chute and I am done.  There was not even enough time to get cramps.  Man that was fast.  Jerry, Jeff and his wife and I then chowed down on some very good bar b q (yeah – NO pizzas).  I just wish I would have burned my typical several thousand calories to deserve such a good post-race spread.

So 4th place.  What happened?  Well, I am so-so in transitions and Smithfield proved a point.  You can lose races in T1 and T2.  Or win them.  If you wipe away the T times, I tied for second in my AG but oh well … I was fumbling with frozen fingers and shoes and such.  At least I was able to outride and outrun almost everyone in my age group, yeah.  But as we all know the number that matters most is the ending chute time.

Smithfield lived up to its traditions.  The race was early in the season, it was cold, it was fast, it was close by, it had banker hours, the food was GREAT and it was a pleasant beginning season experience.
Jerry Berman  - 5th Men 40-44 - 1:00.17
Larry and I had an on time departure and a slightly delayed arrival after an unplanned detour (damn Siri). We rolled up on the Y with plenty of time to spare and parked out front like a Y member in good standing (I think Larry is). Jeff greeted us inside and seemed fired up to go. We grabbed our packets and girly pink and yellow race shirts then headed out into the cold (47 degrees as I recall). I laid out the my winter wardrobe with the rest of my gear, went for a jog, did the pledge, and headed into the pool deck to line up.
The swim doesn't count for much but there always seems to be someone that lies about their time in front of you. This time, I felt like that clown. The guy behind me says he'll probably go under 4 minutes. That's about 20 seconds faster than I planned and only a 15 second head start. Hmmm. At 200 meters, I'm starting to pull away from him and I feel like I've got plenty in the tank. As it turns out, I totally dogged the swim and the guy behind me swam 5 minutes. I'm sure he's still laughing about that. I am too.
I jogged out into the cold (that's my pace) and made a wardrobe selection. It was not enough. The cold breezy ride was not fun for me and drinking anything seemed very difficult. The course didn't bring much excitement until the last half mile. I spent much of it to the left of the double yellow line to avoid the log jam of cars. I'm sure that's grounds for DQ, but I escaped. Ever since I ditched the red jersey (Thanks Chuck) I've been penalty free.
The zig zag run course through town is kind of funny. It's kind of like that game where you drink a beer, spin on a baseball bat, and try to run straight. It all ended without injury or heart attack so I called it a success. The tasty chicken BBQ with the company of Larry and team Rodarmel was an added bonus.
Mike Bruwelhiede - 6th Men 40-44 - 1:00.31
I've done the VADU for the past several years. This year however, I decided to do the Smithfield YMCA tri instead. I spotted Jeff in the transition area before the start. We chatted about the muddy field that was the transition area. I wondered 'bout mud getting in my cleats on the way out of transition 1. Jeff did the smart thing and decided to ride in his running shoes. So i waited around for a my swim time. While standing on the pool deck, the guy in front of me says, "If you need to pass, tap me on the foot." I caught him half way through. He let me pass at one of the walls. I do have to work on my under the lane rope transitions. Saying that I was less than graceful would be a compliment. The swim lasted 6 minutes, then I headed out to the muddy field. I wasted a bunch of time trying to figure out what to wear for the 50 degree bike ride. Turns out I didn't need the vest, arm warmers, and gloves. The jersey was enough. I picked up lots of mud in my cleats on the way out of the transition area, and struggled to clip in. Next year i'll use my mountain bike pedals. Once i was securely in, the bike ride was uneventful. After a faster transition 2 I started the run. I was immediately passed by a 9 year old girl and never saw her again. I thought great, this is going to be fun. But, I was never put into difficulty, and finished feeling good. I picked up my medal, the blaze yellow t-shirt, and plate of BBQ and headed home. Good race overall. I did break one of my race/ride rules though. Rule #6 states, the total drive time must be equal to, or less than the race/ride time. I drove for 2 hours and raced for one. Next year I plan on doing a long cool down ride afterwards so I can stick to the rule. --Mike 

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