Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Rockin' At Rock Hall 2013

I made the decision to race the Rock Hall International Triathlon a mere 4 days before the race.  I had been considering it as I was feeling good over Memorial Day Weekend and wanted to get another race in before Eagleman.  I had won a free entry to the Battle of the Potomac Sprint in the fall which unfortunately has been cancelled due to construction.  Luck for me both races are put on by SetUp events and registration was the same amount of $$.  The race director was nice enough to transfer my free entry and got me all registered.


Rock Hall is good 1:45 drive from DC, maybe a little fast at 4:45 in the morning.  I work at 4:15 had some cereal, loaded my bike in the car and took off for Rock Hall.  I didn't have issues making it over the Bay Bridge and was relieved to cruise the entire way.  I arrived at the race site about 20 minutes after transition opened and headed over to pick up my packet and use the Johnny on the Spot.   Once I had my race packet I headed back to my car to get my race #'s on my bike, helmet, and race belt.  Since I had more than enough time I also had myself another small bowl of cereal (yes, I took cereal and milk with me).  As I was getting myself sorted to head over to set up transition I heard the announcement of the water temperature - 79 degrees.  This means it was not wetsuit legal - the complaining and whining began from every direction.  The race director made it clear that those people who wanted to wear a wetsuit still could but they would not be eligible for awards or age group nationals slots.  To me it was somewhat of a relief - yay, I don't have to deal with getting it on and then off in transition!  Whoo hoo!

I finally gathered my stuff, leaving my wetsuit behind, and headed over to rack my bike.  It turned out I had a great transition spot (about 15ft from bike in/out).  I racked my bike (facing bike out) and set up my transition towel and goodies.  I took time to check everything over a few times, swim cap and goggles out, all my bike stuff and nutrition out and ready, my run gear out and ready to rock.  I walked over with a couple other  athletes to the swim exit to check out the "stairs" out of the water.  When I came back I decided to
move my car (fear of getting it towed, though it would have been fine) before grabbing my stuff to take the 10 minute walk to swim start.  When I came back from moving my car a late arrival had showed up and

apparently he decided he wanted to rack his bike right were mine was.  FYI the MTS puts a range of numbers (about 8) on each rack and it's first come first serve from there.  So #327 moves my bike over, moves my transition towel behind my front wheel and under the middle of the rack!  I glared at him, got on my hands on and knees and pulled my gear back out next to my front wheel and made sure he hadn't done anything else stupid.  I tried to let this go as quickly as possible, but all I was thinking was 'you idiot, if I wouldn't have come back I would've had a horrible transition awaiting me during T1!'  Ah, ok no big deal, I fixed it.

THE SWIM - 29:14 (12th AG) - 1500m

The swim was 2 loops of a 750m course.  It was well marked with large sight buoys and turn buoys.  My wave was rather small compared to my last 2 wave starts (maybe 40-50 people) and there weren't too many aggressive swimmers out.  The fasties took off and after hitting the first turn buoy I found some nice feet to hold on to, and hold on I did.  This was especially helpful as we turned directly into the sun and I couldn't see a thing.  The 2nd loop offered a lot more people to draft off of as the other waves were now starting (we were wave #2).  Lap two felt strong and comfortable and I was being helped out of the water in no time by some great volunteers.  The swim exit and entrance are both a bit unusual as they are at marinas.  The entry is a cannonball off the dock and the exit is a weird step thing about a foot under the water to help you back onto the dock.  Lucky for me the volunteers were great at helping to pull you up and out.  You then have to fun about 100m to the end of the dock before hitting the time mat.  I couldn't believe my time, if you read my 2011 and 2012 race reports it was not unusual for 1500m to take me almost 35 minutes.

T1: 1:38 (3rd AG)

This involved another 100m run across the road and into transition.  I quickly got my bike stuff together and shoes/helmet on before heading out toward the mount line.

THE BIKE: 1:08:22 (1st AG) - 25 miles

The mount line was wide and flat, so I cruised right past a couple women having some issues before mounting Mr.  The course started out with a decent tail wind that at times was a crosswind.  Advertised as pancake flat, the course was mostly flat, but definitely not pancake flat and not even as flat as Nation's bike course.  The course was fun and newly paved and dry roads made it even better.  The course was one big loop and as we turned back about 1/2 way through we hit a full on head wind.  Oi, thoughts of Kinetic and flat tire was rushing back to me.  No, I'm still passing people, I'm moving faster than everyone else around me, keep working, the wind will fade.  Unfortunately the wind never faded and I worked my butt off for the last 12 miles or so.  I was disappointed I slightly mess up my nutrition on the bike.  I had two gels, one specifically for early in the bike and one for later in the bike, and I accidentally took the wrong one first.  Once I ripped it off my top tube and realized what I'd done I thought about putting it in my jersey pocket to save for later, but I knew that would just end up a sticky mess and a wasted gel.  So I swapped my gel plan, and hoped for the best.  With less than a 1/4 mile left on the course I passed another girl in my age group.

T2: 0:47 (1st AG)

I racked Mr. and slid on my Kinvara's while grabbing my race belt to hit the run course.  Took a couple gels and stuff them in my jersey as I headed out as well.

THE RUN: 50:28 (2nd AG) - 10k

I was definitely expecting a faster run split than Columbia, even if only by a minute.  I'm disappointed in this run split but honestly it was a tough day out there and my run rank reflects that.  The course was 2 loops of a 5k course and the water stops were at mile 0 (T2 exit) and mile 1.  Whoever planned that didn't think about it.  I essentially exited T2 with the age grouper I passed at the end of the bike course.  She took off once we hit the run course and I told myself to hold my pace and run my race.  It was hot and humid and only getting hotter.  Just before mile one I saw said athlete laying in someone's yard stretching, yelling about cramping up.  As I hit the first short out and back she was nowhere in sight.  Unfortunate for her, but I didn't mind too much.  I took water and took my gels when needed and tried to hold pace, but I slowed down quite a bit as the 2nd loop came around.  It may have had something to do with the lack of water from miles 1-3 (hopefully they sort this out for next year).

FINISH: 2:30:27 (8th OA, 1st AG)
#2 (cramper) must have left early.  On top of the podium for 25-29 F!

Oi, 30 seconds faster and I would have hit a huge milestone.  There is still plenty of time for that this year and I can't be too disappointed with a 7+ minute PR.  With the spread of the wave start and the race directors want to have everyone off the course before awards started I had to wait almost 2 hours before awards.  At least this gave me time to cool off, pack up my car, change, eat, nap in the shade and find a couple friends.  Overall this race was awesome, it wasn't a bad drive for a day race, would be nice to at least spend the afternoon in Rock Hall if I do this race again as it looks like a great town with a cute beach and some waterside restaurants.  I can' complain about much since I raced for free, but I really hope they improve the water stop spacing or add one more at mile 2 for next year.

1 comment:

  1. Great result Hols! 8th overall , 1st AG! I remember that sun being a pain for sighting during the swim too.