Monday, July 15, 2013

Shadow Creek Ranch Triathlon - Race Report

It’s nice to finally have a solid race under my belt.  I’ve been waiting since last August to walk away from a race feeling like it was a solid result!  It wasn’t a perfect race by any means, but overall this was a really strong race.  Here’s a breakdown of how it went:

I actually did a taper for this race, which is a rarity for a low priority sprint triathlon.  It was more due to the fact that I had 4-6 weeks for strong training and I was due for an “unload” week.  So the taper was more coincidence than anything else, but it worked out well. 

I got my gear ready on Friday evening, giving the bike a really good cleaning and taking time to pay attention to the details on setup.  I’ve been getting a bit too casual with prepping my gear, so it was time for that to change.  I got a short ride in on Saturday to test out wheels, brakes, gears and nutrition setup.  All was good to go, so I packed things up and set my alarm for 3:30 am. 

Race MorningSo yeah, I like to get to races early.  There’s nothing more stressful than feeling rushed or not having time to react of something goes wrong.  I rolled out of bed at 3:45, ate a bagel and banana and sipped on an espresso while I got ready.  Really, there wasn’t much to do but take bottles out of the fridge and kill time so that I can get in my requisite 2-3 trips to the bathroom.

I was on the road by 4:10 and reached transition right at 5.  They were still getting set up, but I was able to get my bike racked and transition setup by 5:15, with plenty of time to kill.  The nice thing about local races is that there are a ton of familiar faces, so I made my rounds and caught up with some folks I hadn’t seen in a while.

Warm up
My wave started at 7:08, so I went out for a 1 mile jog at about 6:20.  It was a bit early, but I wanted to allow time to get in a longer swim.  The run was really just to wake the legs up a bit, and I fit in 4-5 race pace strides.

At about 6:35, I got in the water and swam the entire swim course backwards; so 500m at a steady pace, with some practice on sighting.  After getting out of the water to watch the 4-5 waves in front  of me start, I fit in another hard 100m before my wave started to really get ready.  I was feeling pretty good at this point but it’s hard to tell how the body will respond when the gun goes off. 

Swim (500m)

8:44 (1:36/100yd)
6thAG/56th OA

This swim course is a straight shot down a narrow man made finger lake.  There’s a slight bend to the left, but this is pretty much just 500m of straight swimming. 

I’ve been working hard on my swimming so I was hoping to see the work pay off today.  I didn’t swim hard, but kept the pace steady and smooth.  I also focused on navigation and trying to find some feet to latch on to, which are two things I usually do horribly at. 

After some early zig sagging, I did finally find some feet to follow and settled into a good steady pace.  I really didn’t feel like I was working hard, but I wasn’t going to risk pushing too hard and ending up in no man’s land.  6th AG isn’t superb, but it left me with less time to make up than I normally have. 

36th AG/57th OA

Man, the M30-34 AG must have some fast transitioners!  I’ve never been super fast at T1 since I don’t clip my shoes into the bike and insist on putting them on and running in them. I still gained 5 places during the T1 moving from 56th OA to 51st OA!

Bike (16.1mi)
38:52 (25.9mph)
4th AG/20th OA  (8th amateur)

The bike course is a super flat, 2 loop course that’s surprisingly technical.  There are a total of 4 180 degree turns and quite a few other turns. 

I came into this race with the intent of nailing the bike, since I’ve been struggling with it so much recently.  I wanted to keep my cadence high and keep my power between 260-270W, which is around 90% CP.  I had my garmin set up to show power and cadence and focused on keeping those numbers in the target ranges.  It hurt....bad.  And that's probably how it's supposed to feel!

Average Power: 266W
Average Cadence: 95RPM

I really think the higher cadence helped.  I managed to pass 31 folks on the bike, moving from 51st OA to 20th OA. 

40th AG/57th OA

In and out.  Not super fast, but solid enough not to lose any places. 

Run (3.2mi)
3rd AG/19th OA

The run course is just over a 5k, but it's a slow course.  Very congested and hot and humid.  The fastest time was 19:XX something, so that tells you a lot about the course.  The first and last .5 miles are super congested, which made passing impossible.

This run hurt a lot.  I felt like I overcooked the bike a bit, because I ran the first mile in 6:31 and even that was painful.  Conditions were super hot and humid, and getting a breathing pattern down was impossible.  Still, I managed negative splits for each mile and ended up with an OK run.  

Ave Pace: 6:21/mile
Splits: 6:31/mi, 6:26/mi, 6:23/mi, 5:51/mi

I picked up another 7 places on the run, finishing 13th OA (3rd amateur).  

3rd AG/3rd Amateur/13th OA
This was a solid race.  I still feel like it's just scratching the surface, but I'm really pleased with the result.  I beat out a good number of the elites/pros and showed that I'm still on the upswing for this year's races.  With a full calendar remaining, I'm pretty stocked about the remaining races!

Race Review:
This was a really nice race; perfect for families and spectators.   The swim is fast, but the water is your standard hot, murkey muck that you find in TX.  The bike is incredibly flat, but that second lap gets incredibly congested and dangerous.  The run was flat, although not as fast as you'd expect.  Well run and convenient, I'll definitely be doing this race next year!

Congrats to Gael Souci, Jimmy Vaeth, Guillaume Penel, Sean Anger(it happens!), Meril Moen, Greg Colvin and others.  It's so much fun to race with friends!


  1. I actually read the whole thing.. on the edge of my seat awaiting for THE event, THE RUN!!! Awesome job! sounds like you nailed it to me! CONGRATS!

  2. Look at those run splits! GREAT job Andrew!!!!

    1. Thanks Jana! The run was my worst event of the day though!

  3. Thanks Jana! The run was my worst event of the day though!

  4. Excellent blog you’ve got here. It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate individuals like you! Take care!! You can visit my site.
    Starting out in triathlons