Friday, July 01, 2011

PacCrest Long Course Triathlon

I decided to participate in some triathlons this year for some "base training" before cross season. Here's alittle report on the PacCrest Long Course event I did this past weekend.

I swam in high school and I've been doing alot of swimming in the pool. However, I learned that open water swimming is a whole different thing. I did a few open water swims before the Portland Tri Club "mock tri", but I discovered a mass start is a whole different thing. After that "learning experience" I did some training swims and completed the Hagg Lake Swim and Blue Lake triathlon for some more experience. Well, the first part of the swim at PacCrest was still a bit of a "challenge". P robably a mixture of the cold water (60F) and the altitude. I finally settled down into my stroke after the 1st buoy. Finished with a 42:00 swim - not too far off my 40 minute target. I will say that it's a beautiful lake to swim. The skyline view of snow covered mountains you see while taking a breath is awesome.

The course took you from Wickiup Reservoir over to the Cascade Lakes highway, over Mt Bachelor and down into Sunriver. A total of 58 miles or so. I was verify familiar with the climb since I"ve done the Cascade Classic a couple times. However, the strategy is ALOT different. There's that half marathon afterwards that you need to save some gas in the tank for. The road was lined with 10' snow banks towards the top, so that was an awesome sight. I road my Corsa wheels, so no PT for pacing. I was "guessing a 2:40 bike time and ended up with about 2:51. I'm happy with that. Any harder and I would have totally died on the run.


OK, this is part I was concerned about. I've only started running in January, so I don't have too much running mileage in the legs. During training, I was finding that anything over 10 miles was a killer to recover from since I just didn't have the experience. At Blue Lake, I found that I can run great for a 10k in the Olympic distance and finish strong. So, I really wasn't sure what was going to happen with a 1/2 marathon after a 58 mile bike. I was hoping to beat a 2 hour time.The transistion off the bike went fine. After a mile or so, I was putting out a decent pace of 8.5-9 min/mile. I walked through the water stations every mile (just like many folks). I knew the tough part would be coming up. The route followed the bike path trails through Sunriver. The first 8 miles were in the trees and I was feeling good.Then, I got to the "dead zone" about mile 8 or so. That's when the path heads out to the stables and there's no tree cover. This year, we were lucky and the temperatures were in the mid 70s. However, it still got much hotter in that direct sun light. The legs started to ache, my feet were killing me, and the gel and liquid in my stomach were starting to rumble. Luckily some friends came by on their bikes to cheer me on. I started brief walks alittle more often and saw the 5:30 stretch goal time fade away and I was mustering all I could to keep the "lead leg shuffle" going. The crowd kept me motivated to "run" that last mile and I finished with a 2:04 run time and 5:44:44 overall time (16th out of 44 folks in the M40-44 division).Overall, a great race experience. I'd recommend it if you're looking for alittle extra variety in your endurance training.

Now it's time to get these aero bars off and enjoy some Saturday ride slug-fests with the PV race team.

Link to results:

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