Louisville Landsharks Triathlon Race Report

I've raced this Olympic Distance triathlon course at Taylorsville Lake many times in the past. It's a familiar course and one that I actually love to race because there's no advantage for someone that is very strong in just one of the three disciplines. The swim is in a very calm lake and with it being only 1500 meters, it's not long enough for someone with a swimming background to get more than a few minutes on most other racers. The bike is barrage of hills and could give someone that's a strong rider a few minutes on those not as efficient on hills, but then the run will make you pay if you pushed too hard on the 40K bike (24.8 mile). Starting off with a steep climb and featuring one rolling hill after another, even strong runners will definitely feel some pain on this 10K (6.2 mile) course.

Another reason that I always look forward to races at Taylorsville Lake is that I know it's going to be a race put on by Headfirst Performance. I've been doing their races since I started in this sport back in 2008 and I always look forward to seeing Todd, Cynthia and Chase early on a Saturday or Sunday morning!

In my mind, there are different classifications for us age-group athletes. There are those that are competitive at a LOCAL level. Which means that they can compete for overall podium spots at smaller, local races and will likely place in the top 3 of their age group on a regular basis. Then there are people at that are competitive at a REGIONAL level. These athletes are able to fight for top 10 finishes and age-group podiums on larger races that have several hundred competitors are draw racers from several surrounding states. The next level are those that can go to a NATIONAL competition and finish in the top of their age-group at National Championship races. After that of course are the athletes that can compete on the WORLD stage and fight it out for world champion status. These are the elite group of athletes that have the option to make a career of their chosen sport. Given the day and race, I would consider myself somewhere between LOCAL and REGIONAL.

I say all of this to tell you that the Landsharks Triathlon is definitely a local race and I had hopes of competing for a top-3 spot in my Age Group (this is my last year in the 35- 39 group!). Maybe being the young-pup in the 40-45 group next year will give me an advantage??


Race morning began for me like all others do. Up early and one of the first to the race site. I racked my bike, picked up my packet and got body-marked. I like to take my time in transition and set things up slowly while talking with other athletes and helping out  people that have questions or need assistance. Triathlon is an individual sport, but we definitely are a group that cares about our fellow athletes!

The swim was wetsuit-legal, so most of us were sporting the neoprene. My buddy Jeremy was nice enough to lend me is super-sweet TYR suit. My suit is 7 years old and has lots of holes. It's time for me to retire it and I'm debating about what I will buy next. The swim was two loops and I did my best to get out trouble at the start by swimming hard from the gun. Mass starts always mean lots of feet and arms flying around. I was kicked and hit a few times in the first few minutes, but nothing unexpected. I found some clean water and got in a good rhythm quickly. I felt good the whole swim and was happy with my time considering I wasn't able to swim with any groups or Master's teams this year. Swimming with others always makes me faster, but it just didn't work out to join a group this spring/summer.

1500 Meter Swim

23:58.7 (1:36 / 100m)

2nd out of 10 in Age Group

8th out of 57 Overall

I declined the ​help of the wetsuit strippers at the swim exit and worked on getting my arms out and pulling it down as I ran up the hill to transition. I had some trouble getting it down my legs and getting my feet out once at transition. This cost me a few seconds in T1, but overall my transition was pretty efficient and quick.

T1

1:34.5

2nd out of 10 in Age Group

6th out of 57 Overall

I got my feet in my bike shoes after the mounting line and started up the climb leading us away from the lake. I had no idea what place I was in at that point and with the Sprint Distance racers mixed in (they started a few minutes after us). I knew that I would have to wait until the bike turn-around to find out my position. ​I was pushing pretty hard on the bike while being careful not to spike my power or heart rate on the hills. Then I dropped the hammer on the down hills until I ran out of gear. This strategy has worked well for me on hilly courses and while it leads to a lot of yo-yo racing where I get passed on the climbs and then re-pass the same people on the downhill, it ultimately saves my legs. I was in fourth place at the turn-around. but first and second place were pretty far ahead of the rest of us. The third place guy and I were going back and forth over the last 8-10 miles of the bike. I decided to push things and try and put a little gap between us once we entered the park. I finished the bike a few seconds ahead of him in third place overall.

40K (24.8 mile) Bike

1:10:30.2 (21.2 mph)

1st out of 10 in Age Group

5th out of 57 Overall

Transition from bike to run was pretty fast. I sat down, but on my socks and shoes, grabbed my hat and race belt and ran out.

T2

0:57.2

2nd out of 10 in Age Group

8th out of 57 Overall

I had a great brick (bike then run) workout the weekend before the race, so I was pretty confident in my run of the bike. The mental side of triathlon is much bigger than most people think. If I had had a crappy run on the brick workout, I know that it would have effected my run negatively in this race. But with the strong workout in the forefront of my mind, I was expecting a good run. I was passed by third place on the first big climb, but I decided to hold back and let him go. I focused on my cadence and managed to keep him in close. About half a mile in, I was passed by a guy that was flying! He looked strong as he passed me and I knew that there was no keeping up (he ended up with a 39:32 run split!). I was in fifth at that point, but I still had fourth place in site up ahead. I kept my pace steady and caught him about a mile and a half in. My mile splits were a little faster than I expected, but I felt strong and saw no reason to slow down. As first, second and then third place came past me on the out and back course, I knew that a top three overall was not going to happen on this day. I saw that I had a little gap over fifth place, but there was a big group of guys about 20-30 seconds behind him and I had no idea how fast they were running. I kept the hammer down the whole way and fought the urge to look back and see if anyone was catching me. I just ran as hard as I could and ended up with my fastest ever 10K on this course!

10K (6.2 miles) Run

43:28.7 (7:00 / mile)

1st of of 10 in Age Group

5th out of 57 Overall

While a top three overall seemed possible during different parts of the race, I ended up solidly in fourth place (3 min., 26 seconds behind 3rd place and 4 min, 22 seconds ahead of 5th place). This was a new PR for me on this course and the result has me feeling really good heading into Ironman Louisville in three weeks!

Overall Time

2:20:29.6

1st in Age Group

4th out of 57 Overall

Nutrition Used:

Pre-Race - (1) Medium Sweet Potato and (1) packet of Justin's Almond Butter

Bike- 3 scoops Phat Fibre mix with 3/4 bottle coconut water mixed in a 20oz bottle

1 bottle of clear water

Run - Water at Aid stations

Gear used:


TYR Hurricane 5 wetsuit

Aqua Sphere Kayenne goggles​

Argon 18 E-112 Triathlon bike with Zipp wheel set (404 front, 808 back)​

Bike Javelin aero helmet​

Adidas Boost running shoes with Swiftwick socks​

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Wishing you optimal health and peak performance,




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