Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Report - Merced Gateway Triathlon (Long Course) 2009

(Here is my race report from over at BT.)

Total Time = 3:01:22
Overall Rank = 32/35
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 6/7

Pre-race routine:

This race was scheduled to start at 8:30 with racks opening up at 7 so I got to sleep in 'til 6am! Woke up, drank some water, hung around 'til 7, then rode my bike to the event (I stayed with friends who live down the road).

Event warmup:

I had slightly dislocated my shoulder two weeks prior to the race but was not able to get in a swim beforehand so the big question was how was I going to swim with a messed up shoulder. The answer was "With some pain and difficulty". They allowed us in the water to warm up and I was really surprised at how much pain shot through my body when I tried to lift my right arm to take a stroke. After the initial shock I kept at it and figured out a way I could hobble through the swim.


I put myself in one of the slow lanes and started behind everybody else because I knew my shoulder was going to slow me down, and it did. However, after 100 yards I started passing people because they were even slower than me.

For someone with a trashed shoulder, I did okay. My breathing was fine. Doing a full stroke with the left arm and a half stroke with the right arm did get a bit tiring, though. I felt like Nemo with his "lucky fin". Still, I felt good about the swim, all things considered.

When I finished, I couldn't pull myself out of the water because of the shoulder so I had to duck under a couple of lanes to get to a ladder.

What would you do differently?

Not dislocate my shoulder in the weeks prior to the race.

Also, one of my gels came out of my pocket during the swim. Luckily it was the shallow end so it was easy to retrieve. Note to self: put gels in pocket in T1.


Even though it was a longer course than a sprint, I treated T1 as if it were a sprint, if nothing else than for the practice. I was initially a little foggy and I caught myself trying to unrack my bike before getting my helmet on. At that point I told myself to wake up and the fog was gone. I got into my shoes while riding better than at any previous race (last week's practice really helped). I lost two or three seconds to people I was riding with when I mounted my bike because of the shoes but that's okay because those people got out of the pool way before I did.

What would you do differently?

Snap myself out of my post-swim haze as soon as I get to my bike.


I did okay here. Once the rollers started I fell behind people I was with but that's the life of a clydesdale.

This was a draft-legal race, mainly because they don't have enough people to monitor the course. I didn't think much of this until a guy passed me but stayed in front of me instead of flying away. Not wanting to look a gift draft in the mouth I hung onto him for about a mile. It was good to be Lance and I got some energy back. I passed him and told him that I would take a turn pulling but I don't think he understood and fell behind me. Oh well.

What would you do differently?

My bum was getting sore because that little tri-suit chamois just didn't cut it for the longer distance. Next time I race much more than ten miles I am going to throw some bike shorts with a real chamois over my tri suit.

I think I may have gone out too fast. Need to do practice races and pay attention to pacing.


This would have been a pretty good T2 if I hadn't had to use the restroom. Oh well. That and one of my shoes came off the bike after I dismounted. It popped off as the cranks turned. Don't know what I can do about that in the future.

First time having to get into socks in T2. Six miles is too far for my feet to be sockless for now. The irony is that this was my first race with the Lock Laces, which worked great.

What would you do differently?

Wish I knew of a way to keep from having to use the restroom...other than going on the bike. Sorry but the time savings isn't worth it for me. The course wasn't that long anyway.

I'd like to toughen up my feet so I don't have to put on socks for this distance.


This was to be my longest run of the year. I knew that the trick was going to be not to go out too fast, which I caught myself doing right away. Slow and steady was going to get me through this and it did. At the turnaround they had a water station and I did walk it but it was because I hate drinking from a cup on the run.

At mile five I let myself run a bit faster, not than anybody watching would have noticed but I did. :-) As I turned the last corner I had some friends cheering for me so I went a little bit faster still. That was all I had, though, so I joked to them "Can you tell I'm sprinting?"

During the run, some kid told me I had nice hair. I don't know what that was about but I did thank him.

What would you do differently?

Gotta lose more weight. Gotta work on speed.

Post race

Warm down:

Walked around. I was pretty tired so I didn't even want water right away. When I was ready I attacked the fruit table.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Recovering dislocated shoulder did a number on my swim, of course.

It's the end of my first season so things are going to get better the longer I train. Plus, I was doing sprints all season and this was my first near-Olympic (except for the swim) distance race so the goal was pretty much to finish upright without walking (except for the water station).

Event comments:

Not using timing chips was lame. What were my splits? I don't know, they didn't use timing chips! Jack up the entry fee a couple of bucks next year and spring for the timing chips, gang. Do I really need to buy one of those Ironman watches?

For what it is, a small triathlon in a small city, it was okay. The mass pool swim was kinda lame but it's bearable (the race benefits the JC's water polo team).

After the race they had a raffle, using your race number as the ticket number...while people were still on the course. Yeah, that's smart.

On the plus side, the bike and the run were nice. Also, I got to see a some old friends. Yeah, I'll probably do it next year. I just wish they'd use timing chips.

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