6.Three.20Eleven – Metro Brokers Triathlon.

This past weekend I participated in the Metro Brokers Triathlon.  This is a pretty low-key (i.e. small) event in Cherry Creek State Park (CCSP).  I raced this event two (2) years ago and like it for several reasons:

  1. It is very close to our loft, so I was able to bike to the race site as part of my warm-up
  2. It is a bit of a “home course” for me as I do quite a few bikes & runs at CCSP
  3. It is a good early season “test” to see where I am fitness-wise with regards to swimming, biking & running.
  4. It occurs on a Friday evening…so there is no need for an early a.m. wake-up call

This was supposed to be my 2nd triathlon of the year.  However, thanks to Mother Nature doing a number with our weather, the Littlefoot Triathlon (my planned 1st tri of the season) was turned into a duathlon (Run – Bike – Run).  Therefore, this would be my first true triathlon test of the year.

As race day approached, I was feeling pretty fit, but had some lingering concerns about my hamstring.  It has been a problem spot for me the past couple of years, and I had been seeing a physical therapist doing various strengthening and stretching exercises.  Although this has helped, I still do not feel 100% and from time-to-time have to deal with hamstring tightness.  Would this be an issue on race day?  I would find out on Friday evening.

The Metro Brokers Triathlon was a ‘C’ race for me.  Basically, this meant that I would not alter my training schedule drastically due to the race.  I would “train through it.”  The fact that this race fell on a recovery week allowed me to keep my “normal” routine for the most part.  The only modification I made to my typical recovery week schedule was that instead of doing a Long Run on Thursday, I moved it to Sunday.

Due to the timing of the race (Friday evening), although I did not have to set an early a.m. wake-up call, I did have to pay a bit more attention to my eating during the day.  On a typical day, around 6:00pm I start to get a bit hungry for dinner.  So…on race day, I had a slightly bigger lunch (Noodles & Co.) and a decent sized snack around 3pm.

After work, I headed home, put on my race attire & warm-ups (which were just a tee-shirt on this day as the weather was beautiful), aired up my bike tires (thanks Molly!) and headed to the race site.  It was about a 25min bike to the race site and I was feeling pretty good.  Thankfully, there were still some decent spots available in the transition area (TA) and lines for packet pick-up and body marking were relatively short.  After getting all of my race goodies, I unpacked my stuff.  As this was a sprint triathlon (i.e. short race), I did not have a lot.  I had a bottle of Gatorade on my bike and another bottle of water on the ground near my bag (to sip on prior to the race).  I pulled out my swim bag that had my wetsuit & goggles and set it aside.  I had left my cycling shoes in my pedals, so I only needed to set out my bike helmet and glasses.  For the run, I only needed my run shoes.  After getting my TA set-up, I noticed that I was across the aisle from one of my Mile High Multisport athletes – Mike Jean.  Mike had gotten there early and was all set-up and ready to go.  This was his first triathlon and he was excited.  We chatted a bit and scoped out the various TA entry & exit points (Swim In, Bike Out, Bike In, and Run Out).  Satisfied that we knew where we were to go, we headed out for a short run warm-up.  The run felt OK…initially I felt like my breathing was a bit labored, but that subsided after a mile or so.

Pre Race

Prepped to race my first tri of 2011.

 
Metro Brokers Triathon - Transition Area

Racers setting up their transition area (TA)

Upon returning to transition, there was a short meeting going over race details.  Mike and I then grabbed our wetsuits and headed down to the beach.  Our cheering section (Molly and Mike’s wife and dad) walked with us down to the water and laughed as we struggled to put on our wetsuits.  😉  After we (finally) got in our wetsuits, we did not waste any time to get in the water as it was rather warm out.  Although some people were taken aback by the cold water temps, neither Mike or I were phased as we had been swimming in the open water at Grant Ranch for several weeks…and trust me, early May in Grant Ranch was MUCH colder than this.

The swim was a ½ mile (880 yards).  It was basically a triangle shape, but there was one buoy about 30 yards into the water that you were *supposed* to go around during the start & finish.  Unfortunately, the sound system was not sufficient so I do not think this message was heard by all of the racers because once the horn sounded to start our wave, 2/3 (or more) of the competitors made a straight-line for the first turn buoy (bypassing the start/finish buoy).  Not wanting to be DQd, nor tempt fate, Mike and I splashed into the water and went around the buoy.  No matter how many triathlons you have completed, the swim start is always “interesting.”  There were 100 adrenaline filled guys jumping into the water and trying to get their swim stroke going.  It is a bit like a washing machine.  Although I was trying to find my line and get moving, I was also concerned about Mike.  The swim start can be intimidating and this was his first experience swimming with a bunch of other people in a relatively small space.  I knew if we both could manage the first part of the swim, we would be able to get into our stroke and be fine.  Unfortunately, due to my decision to go around the start buoy, I had to swim around quite a few people.  I thought I finally had semi-clear water, but then everyone bunched up at the first turn buoy around 200 yards into the swim.  Once turned, I was able to get into a decent stroking & sighting rhythm.  Although I am not the fastest swimmer, I have improved a bit over the past few years and the fact that I was passing people was a testament to that.  Once I got around the last turn buoy, I knew I had about 200 yards to go and so I started to incorporate a bit more kick into my swim stroke to ensure my legs had some blood in them and I could stand up and run up the hill to the TA.

Metro Brokers Triathlon - Swim

Out of the water...on to the bike!

I got out of the water, lifted my goggles and started to take my wetsuit down to my waist while I ran up the hill to transition.  It was a bit like running on hot coals as I have tender feet and the “path” was full of sand, small rocks, and twigs.  I got to the TA, found my bike and pulled off my wetsuit.  It didn’t slip off as quickly as I would like, but I was able to get it off.  I then took off my swim cap and goggles (and chided myself for not removing those during my run to transition).  Grabbed my bike helmet, buckled it, grabbed my sunglasses and bike and ran towards the ‘Bike Out’.

Upon exiting T1, a volunteer said I was in 15th place.  I had some work to do…but that is nothing new for me as cycling & running are my strengths.  I attempted a very poor “flying mount” and due to my lack of momentum weaved a bit back-n-forth before getting my feet on my shoes and starting to pedal.  Once up to speed, I was able to slip my feet into my cycling shoes and off I went.  The start of the bike had a bit of a climb – making the transition from swimming to cycling that much more difficult.  My legs started to come around and I began the “hunt” for those in front of me.  I typically push the bike leg relatively hard due to the “head start” I give to those with a swimming background.  The fact that this was a sprint triathlon made that OK as you generally go full throttle the entire time.  I made it up the climb, down a fast descent and then the course turned pretty flat for the middle portion.  Scanning the course in front of me, I was a bit concerned as I did not see a lot of cyclists.  It did not look as though I would be able to pass many people.  I tried to stay focused and chalked it up to the fact that those in front of me were in the top 15…so they were likely strong all around triathletes…there would be no “freebies” to pass.  That was fine, I would push on and see what I could do.  After approx. 2mi, I rounded a bend in the road and (finally) saw a few riders up the road.  I was gaining…but not super-quick.  About 2mi later, I passed a couple of guys.  At the turnaround on the bike, I had moved up a few spots and saw that there were a couple more people within reach.  I kept pushing and made it up the final two (2) climbs on the bike course.  After the last pseudo-climb there was a fast downhill back to transition.  It was during this section that I slipped my feet out of my shoes and prepared for my flying dismount.  After navigating the last ¼ mile (which included some sections on a small semi-paved sidewalk), I hopped off my bike and raced into transition prepping for the run.

In T2, I racked my bike, took off my bike helmet (inadvertently taking my sunglasses off in the process…but I left them as the sun was not blazing) and slipped on my running shoes.  I then bolted out of T2 and was told that I was in 6th position.  I passed 9 people on the 12mi bike – not too shabby!

Metro Brokers Triathlon - Run

Running in the green shoes

The first ½ mile of the run felt un-gazelle-like.  😉  Having done quite a few Bike-Run brick workouts I knew this sensation would pass…and it did.  Of course, the fact that I was racing a 5K meant that as soon as my legs started to feel semi-normal, my heart rate was pretty much pegged.  I was able to pass one person relatively quick and saw two (2) more a ways in front.  The run course had a turnaround point a little over a mile into it.  I knew that I could use that to determine the gap to the guys up ahead.  As I passed the mile marker, 1st place went roaring past me the opposite direction.  A short time later, 2nd place went passed (Tim Hola….IM Kona qualifier…with a wife & kids…and a job…much respect) and looked strong.  As I grew closer to the turnaround, 3rd and 4th were heading the other direction.  Although I had closed on them, there was still a gap of 20 seconds or so (of course “running math” is tricky…and rarely accurate).  I knew I had less than two (2) miles to go, so I tried to push harder.  There was a small climb as we approached the 2mi mark and my legs-n-lungs were burning a bit.  After cresting the climb, there was an extended downhill and I was making progress on 4th place, but 3rd was looking strong.  With just over ¼ mile to go, there was another 180 turn.  Just after this turn, I was able to pass a guy and move into 4th place.  I pushed up another slight incline to the finish and crossed in 1:05:18.

Metro Brokers Triathlon - Finish

Attempting to finish strong.

All in all I was pleased with my race.  This was my 1st triathlon of the season and I felt like I competed well.  My time was about three (3) minutes faster than 2009 (primarily due to a faster swim & run). 

Race Stats:

1/2mi Swim – 15:38 (25 / 165)
T1 – 0:46
12mi Bike – 30:03 (3 / 165)
T2 – 0:29
3mi Run – 18:20 (2 / 165)
TOTAL:  1:05:18
4th Overall;  1st in Age Group (M 30 – 34)

2011 Metro Brokers Triathlon - 1st Place Age Group

4th Overall - 1st Place Age Group

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3 Responses to “6.Three.20Eleven – Metro Brokers Triathlon.”

  1. Stacy Zobrist Says:

    MAX! This is SOOO AWESOME! CONGRATS! Also, you should consider writing a book. peaceoutlove, your fans – Stacy, Lee & Cole Z

  2. Stacy Zobrist Says:

    One more thing – you look too skinny. EAT! MANGI! MANGER!

  3. Robby Tuttle Says:

    Max,
    It was great to see you and Molly at the race! Congrats on your finish! I’ll see you at Lake to Lake in a few weeks!
    Robby

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