My First Race — St. George 2005 Intro through the Bike

I mentioned before that I would post a race report every Friday, so I decided to start at the beginning — this is the race report from my first triathlon ever. Remember this was my first triathlon and I didn’t really know as much as I know now. Otherwise, enjoy! If you want more information on the course, which is swum at the same place as the St. George Ironman, click here.

I loved the race overall. If you live out west and really are hankering for a June race at an unbelievable location, I would make the effort to get to this race. I think it is a fantastic race that is well organized. I did the Olympic for my first and I know they still have the sprint distance race. This is triathlon racing at its finest. A true test.


St. George 2005 Race Report

Introduction
Let me start by saying this race was awesome! It was my first tri and I thought I knew what to expect because of my time spent in training and in learning about our sport. But I was wrong. The race was way more emotional and fun than I thought it would be. It was also a lot lonelier than I thought it was going to be.

Karen and I left Josh at a friends’ for the weekend and drove down to St. George on Thursday night so I could get to the course and do some recon. I also wanted a couple of days to relax and really focus on the race. I wanted to give this race the most I could with the amount of effort I have put into my training.

The trip down was uneventful and we got in town Thursday night. We went to bed a little early and I slept great. I thought I would keep waking up to thing about the details of the race, but I really slept well. We got up and showered fairly early so we could catch breakfast at our favorite hole in the wall restaurant.

We went out to the reservoir to check the water temperature as everyone online had kept saying the water was at somewhere between 58 and 60 degrees. I have a great wetsuit, so I wasn’t that worried about the temp, so this was something more to help the nerves. I tried to envision the transition area and I went out to drive the bike course. The run course is on trails, so I decided to forego any walking or running on the trails.

We started to drive the bike course and I noticed a large gathering of vultures right next to the bike course. I laughed a little as that could be a good indication of my biking splits/abilities/talent. I knew St. George had a hill to climb a couple of miles into the bike, but we got the base of the hill and it looked tough. I train on hills, but this one was big. It is about an 8% grade and it goes for somewhere between 1.2 and 1.4 miles, depending on where you begin and end your measurements. I knew it was going to be a challenge and wow, was I right.

We drove back to town and went to registration, where I got my number, 666. I know there has to be one in every race and it really gave people a reason to talk with me. But dang, why did it have to be on my first race? The rest of the day we spent at the outlet malls and resting at the hotel. Transition bag was packed, nutrition planned and packed and everything double and triple checked.

Went to bed early that night – I am surprised how tired I was all the way through my taper. I tapered well and it showed on race day. But man was I up for naps anytime of the day. Friday night I slept alright, but I did have race night jitters and I kept getting up to pee because of the gallons of water and Gatorade I drank on Friday.

Race Day
I got up race morning, showed and lubed up everywhere. I threw on my Team Javelin uniform and dang does it look good! I love the colors because they are so easy for my wife to pick out of the crowd. I love the look and fit of the tri top and shorts. I am really surprised about the cut – I thought I was going to really hate it. Breakfast was 2 Quaker Instant Oatmeal packages, and Ensure, a 250 calorie bottle of Gatorade, 3 Enduralytes and a bottle of water.

We drove out to the race site and got there about two hours before the start. If you want a way to minimize the amount of stress from controllable variables, I recommend this 100%. My wife slept in the car for about an hour and then showed up to take some photos and cheer on her man. I think she really got a kick out of the race and the hoopla surrounding the event.

Got my transition area set up without any problems and met a buddy of mine that was racing as well. I got a great spot and stood and sat around for a little while to guard from anyone moving my gear around. They had plenty of bike racks at this race, so there was very little in the way of people fighting for space. At the appropriate time, I throw on the wetsuit and head down to the start. I swim a little just to get the blood flowing and the face acclimated to the temperature of the water which was 64 degrees on race morning (I think the RD was embellishing a little and it was more like 60). Body felt great and ready to race. I was ready to race and hit my goals. First goal was to finish and the secret goal was to go sub 3:00. I know, it really isn’t that fast and I will get faster, but that was a realistic goal that would challenge me.

Standing on the boat ramp getting ready for the start and I just felt great. I realized how cool it is for me to be able to race. At that moment I was thankful for my wife in putting up with my hobbies. But as the RD began giving instructions, I knew it was important for me to focus on my race and getting it done.

Swim
1500 m – Watch Time: 27:51.3 – Chip Time: 27:06.7 – 8/29 AG – 45/216 males – 1:48 m/100 m – 168 bpm Average
This swim star was great. It was a deep water start with all the Olympic racers in the first wave. It was a two loop course for us and a one loop course for the sprinters. As the star sounded, I just started swimming. I didn’t concentrate on form or anything else. I think I really had a Zen like moment. I concentrated on sighting and making sure if I made contact I didn’t follow through so it would be less painful for the recipient. I got hit a couple of times, but it really didn’t take me out of my game.

In the pool, the fastest I have ever done 1500 m is 28:00 minutes. The wetsuit really helped my swimming times and I got out of the water feeling great. I was a little winded, but I think that was more nerves than anything else. Wife was sitting at the top of the boat ramp and got a great photo of me running up the ramp with my wetsuit pulled down. She ran around the course all day long taking great photos.

T1
Watch Time: 2:27.3 (They lumped T times together, so I don’t have chip time) – 9/29 AG – 44/216 males – 164 bpm Average

I really didn’t have practice sessions for transitions, but I visualized the entire process. I had the process down in my head and obviously, it worked alright. I didn’t have my shoes clipped in and this is something I would like to do in the rest of my races. I drank some water and took a quick hit from the gel flask and I was off.

Bike

25 miles – Watch Time: 1:21:02 – Chip Time: 1:20:31 – 20/29 AG – 102/216 Males — 18.63 mph Average – 158 bpm Average
No matter how much you ride, you always feel as if you didn’t ride enough after competing on this course. That hill was a killer. I thought it was going to be tough, but it was beyond my wildest dreams. This race had an off-road division and I was passed by a ton of people. Those freaks with triple rings really kicked my butt. I kept telling myself to race your race, slow is fast, but wow, I was not prepared for what so many people passing you will do to your confidence. I would like to say I caught them all, but that is not true. I did save my legs though and really cruised through the rest of the course. I did have to come back down that hill and I even hit 46.1 mph coming back. I quit pedaling at 42.0 mph so I am sure I could have hit 50.0 mph, but I was going fast enough. Next year one of my goals for this race is to hit 50.0 mph on that downhill. I did pass a billion mountain bikes on the way down.

The rest of the course was rollers and I tired to stick to my plan for the rest of the race. I kept leapfrogging with this one guy who had HUGE calves. He would drop me on the uphill and I would pass him on the flats and the downs. We ended up hitting T2 together.

I tried really hard to stick to my nutrition plan during the bike, but I kept forgetting to eat and drink. Nothing too bad, but every once in a while I would look down at my watch and I missed a nutrition session. That never happens in training, but I guess that is racing. I did finish my Hammer Gel flask for about 200 calories and drank my Gatorade, Cytomax and Gu2O mixture for another 150 calories and drank a bottle of water. I felt like I could have drunk and ate more when I hit T2, so for my next race I will. I had about another 150 calories that I could have taken in from my training experience.

Overall, the bike went fine. I had no mechanical issues and my Felt S22 performed like a dream. I did manage to get out of my shoes on the bike and ran barefoot through the transition area. If you can manage it, I totally recommend the effort.

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...