Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Stumpy Creek International Race Recap

The Stumpy Creek International Tri was located in Mooresville, NC.   A good point between DC and Atlanta for Ryan and I to meet up - and for Ryan to get his first taste of an International Distance Tri!  The drive from DC to Mooresville was absolutely gorgeous along 81 and 77 and no traffic issues.  I am thankful I decided on this route in lieu of 95.  I hear 95 can be a mess during beach season.

Pre-Race: Friday Evening
A Saturday race meant a busy Friday - traveling, packet pickup, dinner, and getting everything together for the race in time for an early bed time.  Packet pick-up was not crowded at all and easy to find.  Ryan and I were a bit surprised that we couldn't see the water or transition from packet pick-up/finish-line.  Though, we were on pristine soccer fields, so I felt right at home :).   After getting our packets and scoping out transition we set out to find dinner.  I prefer simple Olive Garden with unruly amount of salad and pasta with marinara for pre-race dinners on the road.  No Olive Garden in the area so we found a local Italian joint which turned out to be quite good.  We stopped across the street at Dick's and picked up a bike rack for my car since I'd been needing one and then headed back to the hotel to get everything set for Saturday morning and get some rest.

Pre-Race: Saturday AM
Transition set and ready.  Treks hanging out.
Alarms went off rather early at 4:35 AM.  I had my usual breakfast of Special K Red Berried with banana and Almond Milk.  Got into race gear, loaded the bikes onto the car and set off for the race site - it was pouring rain!  We were determined to be early enough to have time to get in a warm-up swim.  Last month at Tri Latta parking was a hot mess and we ended up having just enough time to set everything up before transition closed - no time for a warm up.  We weren't going to let that happen again so we got to the race site super early!  We arrived around 5:45, luckily the rain had stopped, and started setting up transition, picking up timing chips and taking care of business.  Ryan and I were on the same bike rack, which was interesting.  The weather was....cold!  It was about 64 on race morning quite a shock since DC had been hovering close to 100 in the days leading up to the race.  The water temp was about 86 degrees so it felt very warm compared to the air.  We had more than enough time to get in a warm up swim.  This was good for Ryan - who's race started only 3 minutes after the first wave - at 7:03.  My race, on the other hand didn't start until 7:15, which meant I froze once I got out of the water and waited to get back in.

THE SWIM - 1500m
I was determined to do well in this.  My swim at Tri Latta was sub-par and I knew I was capable of better.  I took that energy to go better and put it into my swim at last weekend's training tri with the DC Tri Club.  I had had a great swim the weekend before this race and was hoping to ride the wave on into this race.  While waiting in the coral to enter the water I learned a few girls were college swimmers at Davidson and Columbia - great.  I bet they're better at swimming than a college soccer player...
I lined up on the inside just to the left of the buoy's, this start position workout out well.  I had a decent start, but I need to get more comfortable fighting through the first 100-200m instead of conceding to avoid being hit, kicked and swam over.  I was relaxed in the water and my breathing was going well.  I guess I was too relaxed though, because my final time was surprisingly horrible.  On a good note I did pass one of the college swimmers around 1200m, that's really the only good thing to come of this swim.  And the fire relit inside me to swim my butt off next weekend.  The final time was 3 minutes worse than my swim time at Nation's last year - and I know I am a better swimmer now than I was then.
Final Swim Time: 37:26

Beautiful Lake Norman.
T1 went well.  I felt great running out of the water, understandably so because apparently I didn't push myself very hard during the swim.
T1 Time: 1:26

The Bike - 27 Miles
The course was adjusted a couple weeks prior to the race and turned out to be slightly longer than your average International Distance Tri course would be.  It was a fun course with many hills and little traffic.  I took 2 PowerGels on the ride and felt good the whole time.  My Trek Road bike holds up pretty well to the Tri Bikes - but I am looking to get on a Tri bike soon.  Gorgeous mountain and nature views on a pretty shaded course.  The weather stayed at an overcast 64 throughout the ride.  My legs felt strong throughout the ride.
Final Bike Time: 1:25:33

A little snafu during T2 slowed me down a bit, so I woulda/shoulda been about 30 seconds faster.  As I was bringing my bike in to re-rack two bikes that had already been re-racked across from each other in my row were practically touching - ie not enough room to fit a person, let alone a bike through.  I proceeded to knock into the bikes as did a runner coming out of  T2.  After getting by we both stopped to pick up the bikes before continuing on.  Other than this snafu T2 went well.
Final T2 Time: 1:50

This bike has been on my mind.
  Any reviews, thoughts, advice?
By far the best part of this race and my race.  I set a a new PR for the 10K.  The course was a 2-loop hilly course.  The weather stayed at 64 and there was heed, water, and cold sponges along the run course.  I passed Ryan about 1/2 way through the run, around the same time Rascal Flatts was playing over the speakers which made me happy and probably run faster.  The 2-loop course allowed me to scope out the course and know where to push myself during the 2nd loop.  I concentrated on picking off people 1 by 1 during the run.  It worked to an extent.  At the end of the run I caught a glimpse of someone I recognized as being in my age group.  I kicked up my speed to try and catch her - I gained on her but ran out of room and I finished 18 seconds behind her.  
Final 10k Time: 48:34

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Every race offers a new insight to my training, my mentality and areas of improvement.  Mentally I think I am in a good place for the bike and the run.  I am able to push myself during these two disciplines and generally finish in the top 3 in my age group (I was 3rd in the bike and 2nd on the run for this race).  Yes, I once again lost this race in the swim.  I am not comfortable pushing myself in the water.  I can swim fast enough to achieve a respectable time - such as last weeks 7:48 400M at the Training Tri.  I know I have the endurance to swim hard for 30 minutes.,  It's time to put it all together.  Sunday, at Mid-Atlantic Club Championships/Rockett's Landing it well be better.  I think I've made some gains mentally in regards to the swim since Saturday.  I am proud of the run.  It will be hard to be this time next weekend with the weather predicted to be about 100.  I will build on it use it as a confidence booster.

Mooresville, NC
A great little town.  Nice movie theater where we saw Harry Potter 7.2 Saturday afternoon.  Relaxed at a dueling piano bar on Saturday night lakeside.  State park in the area as well.  We left mid-morning in Sunday to get back in time to prepare for our busy weeks.  I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a challenging International Distance event at an affordable price.  The post-race festivities weren't much to write home about but we had a good time.

On Another Note - I few have inquired about the ultimate goal in regards to triathlon.  Trust me I've got them, I will share/post soon about these.  Everything is coming together quite nicely.

"Those who think only sunshine brings happiness haven't learned to dance in the rain."


  1. Congratulations on a new PR in the 10k--after a mile swim & 27 mile bike, impressive ---a good effort. Two words: swim coach! technique is everything in swimming, I know, because I don't have any----you have the fitness and power, you just need to learn to be more efficient in the water and soon you'll be going much faster. Good luck this weekend. love dad

  2. a nice review of the QR: http://university.tri-sports.com/2010/07/13/a-logical-progression/

  3. Bike looks cool! The pink is very ...ladylike. With a Tri bike I think the fit of the bike is of utmost importance. You want to work with an experienced bike fitter to make sure your riding position is what you want. You will probably but not necessarily ride the same size frame Tri bike as you do road bike. Remember that the main reason you're buying this type of bike is for an aerodynamic advantage, so you want a riding position and therefore a bike fit that enables this. Elbows and knees in, back as flat as you can get it. But you want to make these adjustments without sacrificing power output. Generally triathletes dial back the maximum aero position so that they're able to get off the bike and run without being too cramped up. You have to find the right balance there. Also: deep dish aero wheels are expensive but are one of the easiest ways to see a huge improvement aerodynamically speaking.

  4. Congrats on the race and the PR on the 10K, impressive bike split as well