Saturday, June 25, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again: A Billy the Kid Tombstone Triathlon Race Report

, triathlonThe weekend of June 11th was the second running of the Billy the Kid Tombstone Triathlon. I was scheduled to run a 10K up in Colorado to try and hedge my bets in qualifying for the New Mexico Army National Guard running team to go run the Army 10-miler but I decided against it because I have the Bighorn 100 next weekend and I’m just too paranoid that trying to sprint a 10K downhill might get me injured so I took the prudent route. Besides I already submitted one qualifying time about a month ago that may put me on the team and there is still one more race left that provides me with a good chance at getting one more fast time.

In any case, rather than run the 10K the GeekGrl and I opted to run the BTK Sprint Tri out in Ft. Sumner, NM. One interesting thing about this race is about three years ago I was starting to look around the state for a good venue to start a triathlon of my own and I had settled on Ft. Sumner. I thought it would be a good choice because there is a lake, good roads and it lies between two major areas where triathletes from our region come from. The only problem was that I didn’t know anyone in Ft. Sumner nor had I ever even met someone from Ft. Sumner and it is usually a good idea to have someone locally who is supportive of hosting a race. As triathlon season wraped up I decided to shelf the idea for later and it was about then that someone from Ft. Sumner joined the team and she had already started a triathlon out at lake Sumner it’s just that it was so small nobody I knew had ever heard of it and it had only happened once.

Going into this race I hadn’t been swimming since August and that was in another sprint tri. I also haven’t been on a bike much at all. This year I have logged a total of 64 miles on the bike and that even includes the BTK tri. However, I know that my running can carry me through a sprint.

The water was about 72 degrees so I opted to wear my sleeveless wetsuit though I probably could have gone without it. When the starting gun fired I took off and was swimming very well. It happened that in my wave a high school swim team comprised about half the people and despite my good swim I was quickly left behind. Little did I know that I was actually leading the “regular” swimmers so all I could see were the swim team leaving me behind. I was worried about swimming straight but that didn’t become a problem. What did become a problem was shoulder fatigue. I was pretty surprised to find myself hoping for the end of a 400 meter swim well down from my Ironman swim fitness of being able to go 2.4 miles at a slightly faster pace than I was achieving at the moment.

I came out of the water and got through transition pretty quickly. The bike at BTK is an out and back on rolling country roads. It is also 16 miles long, which was a bit unusual for a sprint. However, it became apparently why it was 16 miles half way through the race. At the bike turn around there is a large tree, the only tree along the road, so it is easy to say, “Just ride out to the tree and turn around. The bike wasn’t hard but I still struggled with it. While my leg strength is fine my tolerance for riding hard and feeling that level of discomfort on the bike is pretty much gone but I was still able to knock out a 20+ mph average speed on the bike, which put me at about 7th fastest overall.

Getting off the bike I was able to get through transition pretty quickly again and I headed out for the run, which began with about ¾ of a mile uphill. The run felt pretty good but I was far enough out front that the few people ahead of me were too far ahead and there wasn’t many people close enough behind me to be passed assuming I could hold the pace to the finish line. The day was starting to heat up toward the end of the run and fellow Outlaw Carl Armstrong was starting to gain on me. Of course he had started in the wave behind me so by the time I saw him he was probably already ahead of me but I still wanted to cross the finish line first because I’m compulsively competitive that way.

I came across the finish line of my first triathlon since August 2010 feeling pretty good and of course, once again, I had a really good time. Triathlon is so much fun I just wish the training for it didn’t suck so much. For the life of me I don’t know how I trained up for seven Ironman races but it’s pretty difficult to imagine stomaching that much time on the bike and in the swim again. Maybe someday.

Next up is the Bighorn 100 mile trail run!

Did I just say it’s hardtop imagine swimming and biking enough to do another Ironman and then immediately follow it up with “next up is the Bighorn 100 mile trail run”? I can at least still appreciate the irony.

1 comment:

  1. My brother is stationed up at Ft. McCoy in Wisconsin and tried out up there for their Army 10 mile team only to get blown out of the water. Having followed your races for a while, I imagine you'll be in better position. Good luck!

    Nice job on the tri. I can definitely see your point about the swim training, but I find it MUCH easier to spend the time on the bike than running. And yeah, pretty ironic that you're excited about running 100 trail miles. :)