Date: Sunday, September, 26. 2010

The TriClub races are some of my favorite races. There is always good competition there and there are plenty of beginners that want to try an unofficial race prior to doing a ‘real’ race. To me, these races are pretty real. Sure, I stay out later the night before, sleep in a little, do less of a warm up, but all that adds to it. I just like to get out there and have a hard effort with some of my old friends, make some new friends, and maybe even beat a competitor. I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed with one of these club races, but have surely been let down at many of the big races where you pay a lot of money and get lost in the crowd.

Today’s race follows a 17 mile run on Thursday, a 60 mile night ride up Kitchen Creek on Friday, and a 50 mile ride on Saturday. Phillipe Krebs told me after the race that he had biked Honey Springs yesterday and doesn’t ever feel well biking two days in a row hard. I have had many back to back hard rides, such as a 200K on Saturday and another on Sunday, and really like the feeling of starting on tired legs. It is amazing how tough it can feel initially, but then once I get warmed up my legs really feel ready to ride.

The theme of today’s race was ‘retro’. My first triathlon was back in 1986. I definitely had retro gear, but have parted ways with it over the years. It was almost like walking through a museum as I saw Scott bars, grip shifters, down tube shifters, the first Profile bars, etc. I was commenting to a newbie, Miles, that I had once drooled over the bike that he brought to the race, a Dave Scott signature Ironman – Centurion. The garb was also interesting, and I remember running many triathlon in a speedo and no shirt. I regret not bringing my camera with me today, because it was definitely a sight to see and remember. The sport of Triathlon is infamous for tri-geek gear, and many of these innovations were on display today.

The race started with a 30 second head start for those not wearing wetsuits, encouraging racers to go retro and not utilize expensive neoprenes as an advantage. I lucked out because I had already decided to not race in a wetsuit. Partially I was a little lazy in wanting to deal with the wetsuit, but also I knew the water was warm, the course was short, and in two weeks at Kona wetsuits aren’t allowed. I thought of what the swim at Kona will be like after we started and I couldn’t see more than a foot. Someone told me last week that the water at Kona had a 300 foot visibility. So, just a bit better than the Mission Bay water at Fiesta Island. Before I hit the first buoy I saw Phillipe Krebs in his wetsuit sailing past me. I tried to jump on his draft, and all that did is cause a collision with the person already drafting off of Phillipe. I didn’t worry about it. These fast guys are used to swimming past slower swimmers anyway, unless they start in the elite wave. There was no hanging onto Phillipe’s draft though. He was so smooth in the water that he just seemed to effortlessly slip through.

The bike has become my game, although I usually think of triathlon as my game. I started off at a fairly brisk pace, but was really relaxed and not too worried about the power or pace. I just wanted to go off of feel and not kill it too hard. I’m in tapering mode after all, and this was just to get some hard effort in, but less than all out. I flew by Phillipe as he was chatting with another rider on the course. I could tell he wasn’t focused on a best effort. I then passed by professional Xterra triathlete Trevor Glavin. I didn’t think much of it, but the look on his face made me appreciate the moment that much more. I did push the last lap of the bike course because I really started to feel warmed up, although my fourth lap ended up being the fastest (26.9 MPH average). Overall I averaged 26.1 MPH, and my NP was 314, only about 92% of my FTP, but not bad without warming up and for a triathlon.

When I got off the bike I saw that Trevor wasn’t far behind, and knew I was doomed. I held him off for about ½ mile. I was running about 6:20 pace at the time, but it sure didn’t feel like it when I saw how fast he was running. It would have been good for the old fat guy to win a race, but now I had to fight for second place, which I gave up about 2 miles later. I saw Molly about a ½ mile before the finish when I lapped her, and wish I had told her that if someone is coming to chase me down to yell out. Well, I guess I didn’t have to tell her because as I was starting up the small hill before the finish she yelled “run Jerrrrry! Run!” which was quickly followed by Brandon Mills yelling “slow down!” I was running at about 6:30 at the time, but dug deep and ran sub 6 for the remainder of the race, only to beat Brandon by a couple seconds. I wasn’t planning on running that hard, but it did feel good to give a last minute push. When I crossed a girl gave me a shell she found on the island and told me it was the 3rd place prize. I asked her what 4th got, and she said “nothing”. It was good razzing Brandon. I had a 30 second head start on him because he chose at the last minute to race with a wetsuit. I guess we’ll never know if he could have won if he gave up the wetsuit and took the head start.

Phillipe Krebs took it easy, and finished behind a lot of people that he normally destroys. Brandon deserved the razzing though because he likes to stir up the competition before the race.

It was definitely another beautiful day on the island. I was excited to see so many people bragging about how much fun they had. Triathlon is definitely a fun sport that should be enjoyed and the TriClub definitely reminds us of that.