Evergreen Lake Triathlon
6:00 am, July 14, 2012: While many Wild Card riders were beginning a long
day in the saddle at Big Jay’s Fat Ass, I was racking my bike and preparing
for the Evergreen Lake Triathlon. I have competed in this Olympic-distance
event (1500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run) every year since 2008. It always draws
one of the largest and most competitive fields in downstate Illinois and its
timing in mid-July matches the peak of my annual fitness. It is my “A” race.
I arrived late and did not have ample time to warm up in the water, and my
swim was predictably rough. Aggressive fellow swimmers, cramping feet, and
locking toe tendons plagued the first half, but I eventually found in a
rhythm and felt good rounding the last buoy to the finish. My swim split was
more than 2 minutes slower than last year, but the course was laid out
differently due to the abnormally low lake level. The times of all swimmers,
including the elites, were higher than normal, so the improvised course may
have been a bit long.
I settled into a nice tempo on the bike right away, pushing at about 90% of
my open 40k time trial effort. I don’t keep time or speed on my computer
display for races of this length or longer, instead focusing only on heart
rate, cadence, and perceived exertion. I finished the bike in just under 62
minutes, just 12.1 seconds faster than last year. (Ride profile:
http://app.strava.com/activities/13414442) I probably could have gone a
couple minutes faster, but it is much better to err on the side of caution
on the bike. Going too hard and blowing up on or before the run can cost
huge chunks of time. Put another way, just because you CAN ride 25 mph on
the bike, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
With the restraint on the bike, I began the run feeling really fresh. I was
not sure how hard I could push, but paid careful attention to heart rate,
breathing, and perceived exertion. All of my mile splits were within 9
seconds of each other. It was by far my best 10k run within a triathlon,
nearly 3 minutes faster than last year. (Run profile:
http://app.strava.com/activities/13413943) I am not really running any
better than in the past, but my endurance has improved from training the
half-iron distance and I have grown wiser with experience as it relates to
Despite the rough start, I improved by 1:07 over last year, finishing in
2:19:30. I took 3rd place of 32 in my age group and was in the 89th
percentile overall. (Full results:
http://itsracetime.com/Results.aspx?ID=379) After the race, I joined
teammates at Big Jay’s Fat Ass for an easy 75 mile cool-down on the bike.
What a day!
Reported by Scott Dahman
Posted by Karl on 07/19 at 08:19 AM • (0) Comments
Morton was hot. The 5’s started at 11:15 and it was already pushing 100 deg when we rolled out. The race started fast from the gun, I pushed my way into the first 5 riders and stuck there for a majority of the race. On the first few laps we shed a large portion of the field and it was pretty strung out near the front for the whole race. There were only a few attacks, most were solo or a pair and died out quickly. The guy who won the O’Fallon crit was there so I marked him for the majority of the race and was either on his wheel or directly in front of him for the whole race. On the last 2 laps two Proctor racers tried to work to put one off the front but both blew up almost immediately. I was 3rd wheel on the last lap and halfway through the first rider attacked and gained 20 feet on the field. I was hoping somebody else would try to chase it down but after nobody seemed up to it I jumped on the final corner. I ran out of steam but the only rider to hang was the O’Fallon winner, he passed me and I couldn’t grab his wheel. He beat the attack by about half a wheel across the line and I rolled across 3rd.
Posted by Karl on 07/10 at 05:55 AM • (0) Comments
Herscher Two Man Time Trial
Thunderstorms passed through the area of Herscher, Illinois the morning of the 2012 Wolfgang Freitag Memorial 2-person team time trial, delaying the start by 20 minutes. Light rain continued off and on through the race. Winds were from the northeast and variable, at times picking up and at times subsiding. Conditions were far from ideal, but the riders welcomed a break from the oppressive heat of the past few weeks.
John Betenia and Scott Dahman had a plan: trade 1-minute to 0.5-mile pulls at slightly higher than John’s 40k individual time trial wattage. Without the aid of a power meter, Scott would pull through at a constant speed set by John. As John is normally a little stronger, it was expected that Scott’s pulls would shorten toward the end of the race. It was a good plan, but execution proved challenging as John and Scott had not really worked together prior to the morning’s warm-up. John took the opening pull to set the tempo into the cross-headwind. Filled with pre-race adrenaline and squinting through raindrops on his glasses and computer, Scott lost track of time and distance and cooked himself in the opening five miles. He never fully recovered and soon John was carrying most of the workload. Both men persevered, however, to finish in the top 10 overall and take silver medals in the 90-99 combined age group. With a little practice, the duo should be able to knock off a couple minutes next year.
Sean Walker and Martin Gruebele had a promising start, but quickly ran into hard luck. 5 miles into the race, Martin’s front derailleur ‘mysteriously’ shifted to the small chain ring, and could not be shifted back. At mile 21, just when Sean had gotten used to the idea that Martin was going to suck his wheel spinning at 130 rpm muttering f&*% about every 30 seconds, the real reason for the ‘mysterious’ shift reared its ugly head: Martin’s crank flew off! Miraculously no crashes or collisions ensued. Inspection revealed that the right bottom bracket shell had come completely unscrewed. “Aren’t bottom brackets threaded such that pedaling is supposed to tighten them?” asked Martin. “Try plumber’s tape,” Sean replied.
Martin had the tools to fix it, and he and Sean put in a good training ride to the Kankakee River State Park before downing a large lunch in the picturesque downtown of Herscher.
Better luck next year!
Posted by Karl on 07/09 at 02:41 PM • (0) Comments
Lytle Park Tri
Lytle Park Tri - reported by Martin
This little gem (300 m swim, 13 mi. bike, 3 mi. run) takes place in Mattoon every summer. I drove down early on July 1st, which was easy because I was still jet-lagged from my Italy trip. A few weeks back, I missed the podium by one spot at the Half (Iron) Classic in Effingham, so the goal was simple: podium! The plan was equally simple: Bike at 163±2 bpm (ca. 24.5 mph), run at 170±2 bpm to squeeze out the most just below my anaerobic threshold, and hope not too many sub-1 hour guys were going to show up! No PR was likely today, as the temp was already at 85 F at race start (8:30) and it was HUMID. But thanks to low fat levels (137 lb), I would suffer less from the heat than most participants.
The swim was in a huge round outdoor pool with buoys, and went routinely. The bike route from Mattoon to Cooks Mills will be familiar to Wild Cards such as Jay, Dis and John W., who frequently accompany me on the Mattoon 100 mile loop. With the fastest bike split of the day, I dashed past all the faster swimmers, and homed in on the front runner. Alas, this 19 year-old proved to be a blistering runner doing 5:20 miles (!), so despite my own fast 3 miler, I lost ground on the run. I finished on the podium (2nd place overall, in 57 minutes). Plan accomplished. NB: I lost my front skewer nut when I loaded the TT machine into my trusty Honda in the morning. I only was able to race thanks to a kind soul (Bob Zollmann, a fellow Ironman with a truck full of spare parts) who had an extra skewer nut! Photo: getting back into Mattoon on the black TT machine, the foot’s already half out of the shoe for dismount.
Posted by Karl on 07/06 at 07:21 AM • (0) Comments
Effingham Double Feature
Race Report - Effingham Double Feature!!
An Half Ironman Race at Lake Sara. Scott, Sean and Martin drove down, with different goals: Scott to test the Half Iron waters for the first time, as a prep race for the Evergreen Olympic distance in July; Sean to improve on his 5:35 beginner’s time from last year; and Martin to see if his weight loss program (egads!) would give his run the edge for a new PR.
The race started at 7 AM, with Scott out of the water first, Martin and Sean a couple minutes later after the 1.2 mile swim. The water was pleasant but weedy. Open water swimming is not for people squeamish about getting entangled in slimy stuff! Off to the 56 mile bike ride. A straight out-and-back, where each racer used different strategies: Scott held back conservatively because he knows the run on the Half Iron can get you if you go all-out on the bike; Sean stuck with Scott for the same reason, having experienced hot and humid runs last season; Martin dialed in his 153±2 bpm and 22.3 mph based on mathematical equations he developed from previous races. Those &*%@ physics types! It worked for all three in the Half Marathon that followed.
Scott won his age group by posting swim, bike, and run splits of 13th, 14th, and 15th. It added up to 11th overall: The reward of a balanced race is often greater than the sum of its parts. Sean beat his time from last year by over 10 minutes and won his age group. Martin PRed at 4:51 thanks to a 2nd place bike and fast run, placing in the bitter-sweet 4th overall and winning his age group. The 35 year old overall winner posted a 4:41 time and 22.6 mph on the bike. Prize: a bucket of HEED powder for each (see photo!).
A few weeks earlier, Scott and Martin drove to Lake Sara for a warmup sprint triathlon. It was a beautiful Mother’s Day morning. Last year, Scott and Martin were neck-and-neck most of the way: Martin has the advantage on the run, Scott has the advantage on the swim, and both are fairly evenly matched on the bike. This year, the big question: would Martin’s crazy Marathon weight loss training program maintain enough of his edge on the run to overcome Scott’s swim?
Transition set-up and the race start in a cool and very weedy Lake Sara were smooth, and Scott emerged from the water almost a minute ahead of Martin. His first transition was slowed by the wetsuit getting stuck on his ankle chip. The fortunes were fair though, and Martin got his wetsuit equally stuck. On the bike, Scott expanded his lead by 6.5 seconds, both doing a measly 24+ mph. (Advice for Martin: DO NOT stick to Jonathan Kuck on the town sign sprint at the end of an 80 mile ride the day before a race! Advice for Scott: if a family member gets ill during a race week, move out before you get sick!) At the end of T2, Scott was still about a minute ahead. Both Martin and Scott turned in negative splits on the run, with each mile faster than the one before. Martin’s legs really turned over after the turnaround, as he kicked it up to a 6:05 mile to finish the race, overtaking Scott in the final 1/4 mile to muster the razor-thin margin of 5 seconds.
Martin and Scott placed 9th and 10th overall and won their age groups minutes ahead of the nearest competition. Both PRed by a wide margin over their previous marks, though conditions were certainly more favorable this year. The top 8 finishers were all under 40, about 6’4” muscle-machines, and six of them were named Michael or Matthew. We suspect they may have been cloned in a top-secret government triathlon lab. (Full results: http://www.cuttingedgeevents.net/results/MAY%202012/May_Madness2012_OA.htm)
Race photos: Scott biking into transition, the trio holding their HEED prize and trophies.
Posted by Karl on 07/06 at 07:14 AM • (0) Comments