Thursday, March 20, 2008

Great sponsorship opportunity

In the ever-expensive sport of triathlon, it gets harder and harder to get the fun little goodies that help you get faster. With my big push this year to really have a good showing at the National Long Course Championships in Las Vegas in October, I started talking to businesses that have already helped me out through the years about some modest sponsorship opportunities. I'm excited to report that my local bike shop that I've used since starting multisport, Schlegel Bicycles, has agreed to support me in my efforts to improve my abilities this year. Steve, the owner of Schlegel Bicycles, is an avid (and skilled) cyclist who has really embraced triathlon here in Oklahoma City and is a big supporter of our local tri club, Tri-OKC. I've already received some really cool benefits from this relationship with his business, thanks to he and Ted...I'll be making a completely separate post on that eye-opening experience! My goal is to represent his store in a positive manner and hopefully increase his business through referrals; the growth of his tri-friendly store can only be a positive impact on the local tri and cycling communities.

Feel free to support his store by purchasing me a Cervelo P3C. :)

Schlegel Bicycles
900 N. Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK
6066 S. Western Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK

Monday, March 10, 2008

March in Okarche Duathlon race report

Well, first race of the multisport season, and a State Championship to boot. I wasn't too keen on having an important race as my first one of the year, but what can you do?

I was clearly rusty with even the basic stuff: preparation. I didn't get everything ready that I needed to on Sat., so I finished up the loose ends on Sunday morning. I normally like to get to the race about 1.5 hours before start; I showed up 25 minutes prior to start on this one. DOH! I barely had enough time to set up my transition area before they were kicking people out of transition. I thought surely I would forget something in such haste, but amazingly, I didn't. I went over to get my timing chip and they were already put away! DOH!...again. Desiree the race director saw I was panicking and offered her chip, so I got that set up. Then I had just enough time while everyone was on the start line to jog to the end of the block and back. Yep, a whopping 2-block warm-up! DOH!! Desiree found my chip and we quickly switched it out just before the gun went off. I really had given up hope for a decent race with all the fiascos thus far. But it was a beautiful day, great temperature, clear skies, and light wind...should make for a fast course.

Once the gun goes off, it's a great feeling. All sense of panic and worry dissipates and you just get into your groove and rhythm. I wore my Polar with a footpod pace sensor so I knew exactly how fast I should be running. It always amazes me how fast people start out. I was probably in about 50th to 60th place at the first mile. As everyone faded, I stayed constant and came in with a 19:44 5K split, which was good for me. It was about 30 seconds faster than I expected, so the course may have been about a tenth of a mile short. Was feeling pretty good on the run...stayed nice and easy the whole time and even chatted with Talbot Cox (a really fast 15 year old who has a lot of potential) for most of it. He knew I was gunning for my good friend, and big rival, Travis Newton. As we approached T1, he said go get him and we went our separate ways. I was in 29th place out of 121 coming into transition.

The start of the bike was where I could really tell I hadn't warmed up. I got settled in and ramped up to my target wattage pace and my legs were burning from no warm up. I eased off a tad until getting loose, then picked it back up. I was having a great bike split. My pace was right where it was supposed to be and I caught Travis before the bike turnaround, but then I started to get a really bad cramp in my right calf. Travis saw me at the turnaround and knew I was on him, so he dropped the hammer. I kept cramping and couldn't keep up with him, so he pulled back away. Then cramps started in my left calf too. I had to do a lot of coasting to stretch them out on the way back in, but they just kept getting worse. I turned in the 8th fastest bike split with an avg. speed of 22.3 mph. I think I was around 14th place at this point or so...not sure.

I dismounted my bike and then all hell broke loose. Both calves and both hamstrings started to cramp. I used my bike as a crutch to support my weight and came into transition. I took my sweet time in T2, debating whether or not to take my very first DNF. I didn't feel like continuing, but I decided to give it a go. With about a mile left, I saw Talbot going the other way; he saw Travis in front of me and said "there he is, go get him!" I sucked it up and made a huge push to close the gap. He seemed so close that I could have thrown a rock at him (maybe I should have), but I just couldn't close that last gap. The only good thing working for me was that I paced the 1st run and the bike so well, that even with cramps in my legs, I turned out a decent 2nd run: a 20:43, but that was only good enough for the 17th ranked 2nd run.

I ended up 13th overall (out of 121), 3rd in age group (out of 20), with a time of 1:31:48. Our age group was tight: Trey Cone won it and he passed Travis and I with about a quarter mile left (Trey's a superb runner). I closed the gap on Travis, but just couldn't make that last push. So Trey took first in AG (11th OA) and beat Travis by 8 seconds. Travis took 2nd AG (12th OA), and beat me by 4 seconds. Tight finish! It was fun!!!

All in all, I can't complain. The start was a fiasco, but I did what I could do with it. I haven't trained much this year, but still turned in a decent performance and didn't embarrass myself. This year's race was of the best fields I've seen in a duathlon in a long time. I finished close to people that used to crush me, which was encouraging. Such a good outing on so little training makes me think that I may be able to surprise myself this season, and maybe even surprise a few other people along the way.