King Pine Olympic Triathlon Race Report

First triathlon of the year complete. The King Pine Olympic Triathlon took place this past Saturday, May 30, 2015. I wound up finishing 3rd in my age group and 15th overall. Well, technically I was 2nd in the age group rankings as the winner of the race (also in the Male 30-34 category) holds an elite card and doesn’t count in age group rankings. Total distance and official times were:

(0.9 Miles)
(32 Miles)
(6.2 Miles)

Read on for more.

How It Went

The race started at King Pine ski area. There were only 58 people who started and finished the race so this was a very, very small race compared to what Timberman 70.3 will be like. Registration was very fast. Basic swag bag and WOAH, what a purple shirt. Many of the participants were a bit annoyed and confused by the bike frame numbers. We had only wire ties to mount them using three holes. Unfortunately only one hole could be used with the flat tube aero frames. It wasn’t aerodynamic and on many of the tri bikes, the tubes were too fat to make the wire tie work. There were a few rolls of duct tape being passed around.

I went for a really quick warmup run once my transition area was all setup.

The Swim

The race was supposed to start at 8 am. I had timed my warmup run to be about 35 minutes before the start of the race to just get some blood moving. I’m sure the warmup should have been longer than 5 minutes, but it was ok. Next I got the wetsuit on up to my waist, pounded a Clif Shot Gel and started the 150 yard hike to the starting beach. About 15 minutes before the scheduled start time, I started a brief warmup swim. Unfortunately, the start would wind up being delayed almost 20 minutes. All of our warmup plans were shot and it was pretty darn hot in the sun and in a full sleeve wetsuit out of the water.

The swim course had the buoys on our left swimming counter clockwise. Once we did get started I felt like lots of people were swimming on the inside (left of me) with plenty others swimming to the outside (right of me). Splitting the distance seemed reasonable to me. I was probably 20 yards to the outside of every buoy. No big deal it seemed. It felt like the inside line people were taking was not a direct path, but how to find out for certain? Strava has a pretty slick feature called “flyby” where you can see how you performed compared to another person in the race. Looking at the non-pro finisher in front of me in my age group (green line), I see his track was in fact mostly to the inside of mine (red line). Over the course of the swim I probably added somewhere between 150-225 yards due to my track.

Comparing swim tracks. I'm the red and the first place in our age group is green.
Comparing swim tracks. I’m the red and the first place in our age group is green.

All things equal, my Garmin says I averaged a pace of 1:25/100 yards which is pretty damn fast. I’m certainly curious now what the average would have been if I took the more direct route as the age group winner in front of me. I can say that the “winning” swim time was an average of 1:34/100. If I really was swimming that fast and swam a tighter track, I would have been first out of the water and that’s a pretty damn cool thing to think about.

Activity Details

  • Distance: 1.02 mi
  • Average Speed: 00:01:25 per 100 yards
  • Max Speed: 00:00:36 per 100 yards
  • Moving Time: 00:25:40

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The Bike

When I exited the water I didn’t get light headed which was awesome. The organizers also had a carpet rolled out up the dirt path hill, crossing the road, and staying on pavement. It actually was awesome in that there was no dirt or grass on your feet when you got to transition. My T1 time was 2:30. Not terrible, but could have been better if it didn’t take me a few extra seconds to get the wetsuit off over the timing chip.

When I got on my bike, I started noticing my heart rate was way low. Like almost resting heart rate low. After about 10 minutes, it was right where I expected it to be. It was frustrating to be spending the first ten minutes trying to figure out why the heart rate monitor wasn’t working. I even stopped once to add a little saliva to the band. After a minute or so it came back to life but I felt like my perceived exertion wasn’t matching my heart rate, but I trusted the number. Having not pre-ridden the course, I knew there was a “big” hill right in the middle of the course so I was ok conserving a little energy to turn on the gas after the hill. But, right around the hill starting I noticed the heart rate monitor pretty much ceased to work. This was unfortunate as it was part of my race plan to use that value to measure my output and honestly, took my head off what I was trying to do on the bike…hammer on awesome roads. Nearly a quarter of the bike course had brand new pavement.

What happened to the HRM? Not cool from a pacing standpoint.
What happened to the HRM? Not cool from a pacing standpoint.

I then attempted to measure how hard to ride by how I felt, but you can clearly see I’m all over the place and I know for a fact went slower than I could or should have. I left a lot out on the bike course, but I’m still happy with a 19 mph average. I was targeting 20+ which I know I could have hit. I’m pretty confident that if I had the HRM for the full thing I would have hit a 20+ mph average. For nutrition I had a Clif Blok every 15 minutes which resulted in a full package being consumed. I also had a bottle of water between the arms and a bottle of Gatorade on board. I probably left the bike with a total of a half bottle left. I need to make sure I drink more on the bike as I felt this on the run.

Activity Details

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The Run

When I got off the bike I knew I still had some in the tank as I didn’t hurt that bad getting off it. My T2 time was 1:59. I lost several seconds as I got almost to Run Out and realized I left my number belt back at my transition area. So, back I went. While in transition, I also took a few extra seconds to pound another Clif Shot Gel and a gulp of water.

When I originally looked at the course profile, it looked pretty darn flat on the run. As I started out, I saw that the heart rate monitor still hadn’t recovered and was reading a constant 72 bpm. Crap. My run plan also was based on heart rate. But as I start out I begin running downhill. And then more downhill. So I think to myself I better hold a little back here since I know I’m not a strong uphill runner on a good day. The course was an out and back so the original plan was to take it easy a bit for the first 3 miles and turn it up the last three. A little after the turnaround I saw my co-worker. He was definitely running faster than I was.

Around mile 3.5-4 I started feeling the effects of the heat, hills, and not drinking enough liquid on the bike. Note for next time…drink more fluid on bike. I muscled through the run and finished with an average of 8:28/mile. I forgot to stop the watch after the multisport mode stopped so it kept calculating for a few minutes.

Activity Details

  • Distance: 6.17 mi
  • Average Speed: 00:09:06 per mile
  • Max Speed: 00:05:42 per mile
  • Elevation Gain: 413.39 feet
  • Moving Time: 00:52:16
  • Calories: 1029.8
  • Location: Madison New Hampshire
  • Achievement Count: 0
  • Strava Segments: 1

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What I Learned

For as angry as I was with the heart rate monitor not working, I still did a pretty decent job. I was not very tired after the race or even the following day which tells me I left more out on the course. I will be looking into why the heart rate monitor pretty much stopped working as that can’t happen at Timberman. I also know my swim and biking is my strengths but will need to put additional time into running. I’ve switched up the training plan a bit for the next 11 weeks but am totally confident I’ll hit Timberman strong. As for nutrition, the one Clif Blok every 15 minutes on the bike worked well as did taking a gel before the swim and run. When scaling up to Timberman, I’ll probably add some more gels. I do need to make sure I drink more on the bike so I’m not dehydrated on the run.

I’m super psyched to have placed in the top 25% of all competitors and am really looking forward to the next few weeks of training and Timberman where there will be 2,000 athletes.