Sunday, September 11, 2011

28.08.11 - Uster Triathlon Race Report


Although I had this race down on my schedule since the beginning of the year, come the beginning of August I still hadn’t signed up and wasn't sure if I would bother doing so, but as I talked about in this post, I knew I had to sign up and get some training done.

A view of the Alps from grass and blue skies.
The thing is no matter how hard I tried, I didn't manage to get much training done in July (7 Hours) or August (9 Hours) at all. The goal for Uster was to try and knock out a PB (PR), which, when considering my previous PB of 2 Hours 54 Minutes set at Zug in 2009, shouldn’t have been that difficult.

Check-in zone, found in a barn, out in the sticks for this Tri.
Thing was, with very little training I was not confident at all, add to this the fact that the Greifensee water temperature had been up to 26 degrees (78 Fahrenheit) during the week leading up to the race, it was clear it would be a non wetsuit legal swim.


The swim did turn out to be non wetsuit, I can honestly say the idea of 1.5KM without a wetsuit was not a pleasant thought, especially as I had decided beforehand, wetsuit or no wetsuit I was going to as hard as I could for the full distance, this would be a first for me, I’d never gone out hard from the onset before.

That's me, stretched out bottom left, black tri suit, Garmin 310XT in swim cap.
From the start I set myself just behind the front row of swimmers and got stuck in, people often talk about the “washing machine” at the beginning of the swim, this isn’t something I get involved in because I’m normally at the back, like below:

Start position in 2009, right near the back, that's me centre, black and white tri suit.
This time for the first 100 metres I was in the "washing machine", it’s a pretty intense experience, but I was soon dropped by the stronger swimmers. I went hard as I could and soon found myself surrounded by a pack of swimmers who I stayed with until the last few hundred metres, The hard work paid off as when I exited the water my garmin gave me a time of 34:53 (2009’s time 39.38), a PB over my previous (and only) wetsuit 1.5KM swim of 36.48. 
Garmin data (310XT in swim cap) for my swim split...

My bike has sucked all year, so I thought it was about time I hit it as hard as I could, over only 40KM I thought I could at least throw caution to the wind.

The transition zone, pretty cramped, nice wooden racks!
Thing is Uster is a pretty challenging course, for me at least, with a fair bit of climbing, it’s not the climbs are steep but they do go on for a fair distance.
Höhenprofil Uster Triathlon
Bike course Profile.
The profile of the course only tells half the story, the flats aren’t real flats, as you can see below from my Garmin data.
Bike course profile as per my Garmin 310XT data.
From the very start of the bike my legs felt dead, and I was soon be passed left, right and centre, and then the climbing started, I just tried to keep in the highest gear I could and grind it out. You can get a feel for that in the GoPro HD video I made below..

When I hit the “flats” at around 28KM I banged on the pedals as hard and fast as I could and hit some decent speeds for me, I finished in 1:17:44 (2009’s time was 1:23.23, which is my quickest time at the 40KM distance) another nice PB.

Garmin data for my bike split...

I felt pretty good coming off the bike, my transition was pretty quick and I went off as quickly as I could, at 1KM into the run I really started to suffer and started to consider walking, it was like this for the remainder of the run, it was warming up and I was suffering.
One thing I decided to experiment with during this race was biking and running without socks, the idea being I could improve my terrible transitions times. This had worked well on the bike, but 4KM into the run I could feel soreness on the arches of my feet, the insoles where rubber against my feet and with each step it was getting worse (at the finish when i took off my shoes I had a nasty blister on both feet).
I managed to stick it out to the finish, putting in a 10KM split of 46.51,9 (2009’s time and previous PB of 50.41), another PB.

The finish line in the distance, post race.
Garmin data for my run split...

So, three PB splits, and a new Olympic distance triathlon time of 2:42.51,5. (2009’s time being 2:59.13) over my previous 2:54.02 time in Zug which was a wetsuit swim and a very flat bike course in comparison, an 11 minutes PB.

That's 2011 over for me now, as far as triathlon is concerned, I'm happy enough with what I've achieved, but I know I can go a hell of a lot faster if I can find the right balance of training and the will to push harder, as long as it's fun I'm going to keep going. One thing is for sure, I'm not going to start setting myself unrealistic goals, it has to be enjoyable, if I can't improve I'll be finding other activities to occupy myself with!
Cheers for reading!