I (Michael) raced the Columbia Triathlon yesterday (May 20, 2012) for the first time. Overall the race went well, though the bike portion was (as usual) the worst portion. The Columbia Triathlon bike and run courses are some of the hilliest I have raced on; it was quite a challenge. The race is an Olympic distance (1.5 km swim, 41 km bike, and 10 km run) and my race time was 2:28:04. Of the 77 males 25-29, 1,124 total males, and 1,683 total finishers, I finished 12th, 161st, and 173rd, respectively. 12th in my age group likely qualifies me for the Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championship Age Group race in September, but I’ll know for sure in the coming days.
Morgan and Ruby were there to help me get ready and to cheer me on throughout the race. Morgan is absent from all the photos as she is usually taking them all.
1.5 km Swim: The swim went well enough. I haven’t been focusing much on my swim training, just mostly getting in the pool to maintain my swim strength held over from high school swimming. I completed the 1.5 km swim in 22:27, a 1:30 per 100 m pace. This put me 7th in my age group on the swim alone.
Transition 1: My first transition was slow but not too terrible. I got out of the water and was on my bike in 2:46. After stumbling around the other swimmers while exiting the swim course I ran into transition, struggled to get my wetsuit off (this cost me most of the delay), put on my socks and shoes (more delay), and ran my bike out to the mount line.
41km Bike: OK, so here was the miserable part of the race. The course was hilly to begin with, but I had other complications along the way. The first thing I noticed shortly into the ride was that my Garmin computer crashed or died right away (no idea why, I charged it all last night). Recently I made some adjustments to my bike, and unfortunately for me, the fit isn’t yet correct so I spent most of the ride with lower back pain, mostly when I got into ‘aero’ position. And to top it all off, I missed a turn (along with the lady I was following) and lost some minutes having to backtrack to get back onto the course. Still I was able to complete the 41 km bike in 1:18:58 which is 19.0 mph overall pace. This put me in 26th in my age group for the bike alone. This is my weakest leg of the race to begin with and the days complications didn’t help matters.
Transition 2: My second transition was much better, getting off the bike and onto the run course in 0:59. I practiced getting out of my bike shoes before the dismount line which went well enough but still needs work.
10 km Run: Now this segment went well. The run course was hilly with some seriously challenging hills. I started the run feeling good but immediately got painful, sharp cramps in my sides that took some time to work out. Thankfully I pressed on through the cramps and they were gone within the first mile. I was happy to pass some of my fellow 25-29 age groupers that passed me on the bike. I have been very focused on my run training and it has paid off. I completed the 10km run in 42:56 which was a 6:56 per mile pace and put me in 7th in my age group for the run alone.
Overall, this was a good race. I was disappointed about the bike, but I still did well. Perhaps I can do this race again next year with the goal of making top 5-10 in my age group. Next year I move up into the 30-34 age group which is a pretty tough group.
And of course Ruby had fun enjoying the weather and people around her.