Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Open Season on My Abilities: Sudbury Spring Sprint (5/8/11)

Race: Sudbury Spring Sprint Triathlon

Location: Sudbury, MA

Distances: 400 yard pool Swim/ 7 mile Bike / 2.3 mile Run

Goal Time: 50:00

Actual Time: 50:31 (Course PR by two minutes)

Rule Number one to going to a triathlon: if you have a dog that likes to charge at cyclists – DON’T BRING IT!

Last year we spent the entire wait time packed into the pool’s hallways. Fortunately it was 20 degrees warmer this year. This allowed us waiting for our turn to actually wait outside watching the race. This made the two hours fly by as each athlete went into the pool every ten seconds.

It also allowed me to see perhaps the rudest race spectator since Neil Horan (the priest who tackled Vanderlei Lima in the Olympic Marathon seven years ago). One woman brought a dog on a leash. However, it became obvious that this dog likes to charge at cyclists, since ever single bike that went by she had to restrain her dog from jumping out onto the road. On an open course cyclists have enough to worry about – cars, passing slower riders, potholes founded in winter’s frost heave. But this woman added an extra element of danger. Every time a cyclist went by this dog would lunge at the cyclist. She held it back every time, but it still required the rider to swerve left – into possible traffic.

SWIM – 400 yds

At around 9:30 I was lined up and ready to hop in the pool. I just kept rattling off the two things in my mind

  1. Don’t take the first two laps too fast; and,
  2. Start out in with aerobic swimming.

Strangely enough I did get the first one right. I took laps one and two at a good pace. However, by lap three I was swimming a bit too fast as there was a woman I wanted to pass. As I got to the end of lap three, she stopped to allow me to pass. While this was very nice, it put me in a bad spot. Now I can’t have this woman pass ME. It would seem rude to force the woman to pass me when she had been nice enough to stop and allow me to pass. This left me with never catching my breath until the last lap. At the last lap I hopped from the pool and out the door. I glanced at my watch as I entered transition – 9:05, 15 seconds better than last year.

Transition was fast, I threw on my shirt and put on my shoes (definitely need the elastic laces for next race). Hobbling out of the transition area I made my way to the bike start.

BIKE – 7 miles

I struggled to get properly on the bike as I entered traffic onto Fairbank Road. Between my wobbly legs and the wet swimsuit that had me sliding about the saddle, I could not manage to my feet into the pedals. Within a quarter mile I had my feet in the pedals and within a half I had gathered my breath from the swim.

The bike course is two 3.5 mile laps. Basically it’s a couple of small hills and one small-medium one on the back stretch. As usual, I spent the whole bike loop passing people. I actually lost a little time while I was stuck behind a slower rider and cars were passing on the left.

Fortunately, the biker hating dog had been removed from the course!

I turned back into the transition area from the second loop and looked at the time – 34:25 or so. (I assumed I’d get a split later, but the computer didn’t register me.) So it was a 25:20 bike split, 2 minutes faster than last year.

RUN – 2.3 miles

The run is an easy run through the backroads of the neighborhood around the Atkinson pool. It is flat and fast! That is of course if you can get out of the transition area. There were five or six cyclists who were starting their ride and having problems mounting their bikes as I was trying to start my run. I had to run outside of the cones briefly – to the chagrin of the guy with the megaphone.

While I tried to maintain a steady good pace, when I made the turn for home I realized I had blown it. My legs too easily accelerated. As I finished, I realized I had not left everything on the field. Well, maybe next time.

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