Bill Davis - 2013 Vineman 70.3 Race Report - fcendurance

Bill Davis – 2013 Vineman 70.3 Race Report

Vineman 70.3 

2013 Race Report

Race Goals, Plans and Expectations

I did this race in 2012 and I had a PR on the course; I really enjoyed the whole venue so I came back for more this year.  Last year my time was 6:01:34, I finished 26th out of about 70 in AG and it seemed like I could beat this time this year, but I really wasn’t setting that as my goal for this race.  This year I was 6:07:34 and 44th out of 81 in AG.  While my times were a little bit off for all 3 legs of the race, this year was about execution of all facets of the race.  Here is the comparison of this year vs. last year:

 

Swim

T1

Bike

T2

Run

Overall

43:52

4:07

2:43:41

4:35

2:25:09

6:01:24

45:22

3:11

2:47:40

3:33

2:27:48

6:07:34

+1:30

-:56

+3:59

-1:32

+2:38

+6:10

 

 I was especially focused on improving my transition times, although they moved the transition mat for T1 up to the top of the hill, making it a longer run out, so the comparison to last year is not apples to apples.  I also had a different (more conservative) bike plan strategy that was expected to improve my ability to run off of the bike so I wanted to see how that worked.  Overall I wanted to enjoy the race and execute my race plan properly.

Pre Race

We arrived in town early on Friday so I had plenty of time to get my bike ready and check everything out to make sure it was working properly.  I had decided to pass on the practice swim Saturday, although I went down to the river just to check water temp and Mindy wanted to swim.  I was having some serious stomach issues and I wasn’t sure if it was something I ate or a flu bug but it lasted all day on Saturday.  I went to the store and got Imodium and this seemed to take care of the problem – If I had to race on Saturday I would have been a DNS or DNF.

On Race day I got up a little before 4 and packed the car.  Went down to the breakfast area (before they opened) and got some oatmeal and yogurt for breakfast.  I think I ate a banana too.  Drove down to the venue and parked in the secret spot that Bob Littrell discovered right next to the entrance to the venue.  We walked down to T1 and I was second in line – they opened the gate early and I got the end spot next to the carpet for bike out.  Of course some jerk showed up 15 minutes before the race and squeezed in between me and the other guy that arrived early.

 Bill1Swim

Including my aquabike swims I have been around this swim course 6 times.  It is an incredibly nice swim in a river that you can stand up in with very little current.  You can smell people cooking breakfast while you are swimming.  I never push too hard when I am swimming because it is kind of a waste of energy for me.  It is a very crowded swim so I mainly focus on not getting kicked in the face and maintaining my form wherever this is space.  I felt like I was swimming pretty good and when I exited the water I saw 45:xx and thought that this was acceptable.

T1 Swim to Bike

I made sure that I had identified landmarks to guide me into transition so I could get to my bike quickly and out of T1.  When I got into my row there were a lot of people getting their wetsuits off and kind of taking their time – I would say there were about 20-30 athletes in my row when I got to my bike and they had all arrived ahead of me.  I exited before all of them.  My T1 time was 4th for my AG and so I was very happy about this.  I was almost one minute faster than last year and T1 had moved all the way to the top of the hill so it was probably 30-45 secs longer.   The actual improvement is closer to 2:00.

Bike

Bill2

The goal of the bike ride is to ride as fast as you can without destroying your legs for the run.  I always want to have the fastest bike time that I can ride because that is the leg of the race that I do best, but I know that holding back can allow for a better, stronger run.  When Joby sent me the bike plan I knew that it was conservative compared to last year, but at last year’s race I had just started using a power meter and we had not really dialed in the power usage with running.  Also, last year I rode the fastest time that I have ever rode in a 70.3 race and it may be the fastest time that I will ever ride in this race (5th in AG for 2012). Trying to beat this time would have been a big mistake.  Here is the race plan and results:

 

Mileage Section

Power Goal

Result

Overall 56 miles

192 watts

192 watts

Miles 1-2

<192

195

Miles 2-17

192

199

Miles 18-28

>192

189

Miles 27-45

<192

185

Chalk Hill .4 miles

<240

234

Chalk Hill to Windsor

<192

181

 

I hit my overall goal wattage on the money which I have never accomplished before.  I am usually close but never right on the number.   I was not monitoring the overall number so this is a product of following the plan as close possible.  There are parts that I wish I would have backed off and parts that I could have pushed harder but overall I rode the bike so that I would feel good starting my run.  When I reached Bike In I felt great.

T2 Bike to Run

As part of my goal of achieving faster transitions I purchased triathlon bike shoes that would enable me to do a flying dismount.  I practiced it and was confident that I could pull this off without crashing, although I had never practiced it after a long (more than 30 miles) bike ride.  As I started the dismount I had some concerns about leg wobbliness, etc.  I had chosen to go sockless for the bike to save time in T1 but I knew I would have to put socks in T2.  I pulled my feet out of the shoes before I entered the coned section that leads into Bike In.  This turned out to be a lot of pedaling on top of my shoes and it was earlier than I needed to pull my feet out, but I didn’t want to risk crashing into the cones or another cyclist near Bike In.   

Bill3I saw the dismount line and swung my right leg over the bike and rode in side saddle balancing on the pedal and hopped off the bike without a crash.  I raced over to my spot in T2 and got my socks on quickly and then I could not keep my balance trying to put my shoes on.  I had a good T2 but it could have been better – I think I was 19th in AG for T2.

 Run

I came out of T2 feeling the best I have ever felt for a run in a 70.3 race, or any race for that matter, although I had a slight quad cramp that I figured I could take care of with Salt Sticks.   My instructions were to run the first half at about 10:45-11:10 pace and then run 10:50-11:00 for the last half of the race.  For the first 4-5 miles I was running 9:30-10:00 pace and I distinctly remember being totally wiped out last year at the beginning of this race struggling to stay at 11:00.  I felt very good and probably should have backed off to the race plan pace, but I thought maybe this would be the race where I can hold a fast starting pace all the way to the end.   I was wrong about that and eventually slowed down for several reasons.

 After about 5 miles this course transitions into a rolling course inferno – it has almost no shade and there are a lot of small rolling hills.  Needless to say, I eventually reduced my pace significantly and my run slowed to a mixture of walking and running.  I started running with a couple of other people and this caused me to run their race; it helped to have company and talk with people, but it throws you off of your plan focus.  I have never done this in a race and I can see the benefits, but there are some drawbacks to this.  I probably won’t do it again.  

I continued to have a quad cramp and at about mile 6 or 7 I took a few more salt sticks and spent some time at the aid station consuming peaches, grapes, Gatorade, water and ice.  This was a good refresher and helped me regain energy and strength for the rest of the run.  One of the athletes that was running with me complained of quad cramps and I gave him one of my salt sticks – it was his first 70.3 race and second triathlon.  Later in the race I needed one more capsule and I did not have any left.  

At mile 8 I checked my overall time and I could see that there was 48 minutes to 6 hours so I was certain that I could not run fast enough to break that barrier.  I also knew that I would not beat 6:01 from last year.  I did want to stay under 6:10 and I managed to accomplish that by keeping a strong run and walk all the way back to the finish.  I walked the remaining hills during the last 2 miles and with one mile to go I picked up the pace to about 10:30 and held that even with a couple of walking breaks.  As I came down the finishing shoot the announcer said something about my apparent limp from the quad cramp – it must have been affecting my gait, but I really didn’t notice.  I sprinted through the line and saw Brian Conn and Mindy right around the finish line.

I was very happy with this run even though the second half was slow.  I am certain that if I would have followed the pacing plan I would have finished with a faster overall pace, but I was excited about how strong I was able to start coming off of a good bike ride.  Next race I will add some conservatism to my run and hopefully turn the race into a PR.

Lessons Learned

Some of the things that I learned in this race or executed properly/improperly are listed as follows:

  1. Sockless bike shoes works unless T2 just won’t accommodate bare feet
  2. A good bike leg is one where I can run comfortably upon completion – 80 to 82% of Full Threshhold Power 192 Watts for a 56 mile bike ride
  3. I need to develop a technique/methodology for putting my run shoes on without falling over – maybe kneeling on one knee will work
  4. Follow the target pacing for the run – I finally had enough gas in the tank to follow my pacing and I spent it in the first 5 miles
  5. Be careful running with others – it is nice to pass the time with conversation, but if they aren’t running your pace you will run theirs and probably lose time
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