After solid results last weekend at the Verona Triterium Triathlon I decided to sign up for the Pardeeville Triathlon which is part of the Wisconsin Tri Series. The series is run extremely well and all the signs including the weather forecast said “do it”.
This was my third tri of the season and everything has been falling nicely into place. My bike is running like a well-oiled machine and fits pretty good, and my run has progressed nicely throughout the season. Looking at the Pardeeville 2012 results I knew I would be up against a fast field of competitors. The top three in my division had put up splits that I’ve yet to achieve. Nevertheless, I was excited to race and would give 100% on the course to see how it would all play out.
It was sunny and 70ºF when I arrived to the transition area in Pardeeville. I’m a warm-weather guy so I was loving the summer weather. I was in the first wave of the morning and was excited about the chance to do the race with one moderately-sized wave. In the past I’ve always started later and then had to pass dozens and dozens on the bike and run just to run my race. Today would be a much more constant pace of racers in front of me.
At the starting gun the swimmers took off and they took off fast. I was complacent for a second and lost the lead pack nearly right away. When I breathed to my left side (shore side) which had the buoys I was looking directly into the sun the entire swim and it sucked. Once again, poor visibility would be a factor in a race. I swam the leg pretty much on my own and was relieved to see people from my wave behind me. For a while I had an irrational fear that I got dropped and was the last one in the water.
My Trek racked in transition.
Hustled into T1 and had a quick transition. Mounted the bike and then secured my shoes once it was safe to do so on a straightaway. I saw a cyclist in front of me about 500 yards away. I was breathing hard and did everything I could to reel them in. Eventually, I caught a few athletes and found my rhythm in a small group of about four or five during the bike course. I was content to be working hard and being able to keep up with the elite wave.
My friend Candice (from college) was biking very well and one minute I would pass her and several minutes later she would pass me. As I had mentioned, the group I caught was holding a nice cycling pace and I was happy to know the race wasn’t over for me yet.
Hopped off the bike with a quick, flying dismount and racked it up. Put on my shoes and it was time to run. This would be a hot, fast, flat course and I was having a pretty good race. My first mile split was a 6:40 and though I was happy to be going out fast, it would prove to be too fast for me to sustain. Regardless, it set the tone of my run.
Starting the run, thumbs up to my dad and stepmom in the crowd.
About a quarter of the way through my run I saw the overall leader cruising to the home stretch with the race leader mountain bike. From here on out [from a fans perpective] it was pretty cool. Even though I was focusing on my running I could see every athlete in front of me (20 or so) that had turned at the out-and-back. It was a lot like watching tri’s on TV when they show the runners checking out the competition on the turnarounds. My breathing was labored almost the entire race but I managed to thank several volunteers and police officers along the way for helping.
I ended up with a personal best on the 5k run as well as a personal best with my average bike speed. I raced to the best of my abilities and ended up placing fifth in my division. There truly were some fast athletes in front of me and I’ll keep training in hopes of competing with them next year…