Monday, June 8, 2015

GWRT Race Report - Good Start to the 2015 Tri Season

Yesterday I raced the Great Western Reserve Olympic Tri put on by Champ Racing. I will admit that I was nervous going into this race. I am always a little worked up about the first OWS of the season and I was not really sure that I was tri-ready with so much focus on the run this season and not as much focus on the bike. I have been pretty good about my swimming and gotten in as many bike miles as I can around a very run-heavy schedule. I just had to give it my best and see where I am right now.

West Branch State Park was the venue for the race. I really liked this venue. The swim was in a calm and warm inland lake and for the most part the bike roads were good and the run course was a nice setup. In addition to the olympic race, there is a sprint, a half and a half aquabike option so that brought out some good people to race. It was nice to see so many friends and fellow Cleveland Tri Club members at the race. Many of which had a great day at the races!

Steve and I both raced the olympic and we are racing an olympic again this weekend at Challenge Williamsburg (formerly Revolution 3 Williamsburg). I love the course there and it's my first team race of the year so that's pretty exciting. Racing GWRT was a great way to test my fitness before Williamsburg.  I am pleased with how things turned out yesterday and looking forward to giving it another go Sunday!

Prerace: We arrived at West Branch around 6:30am to pick up our packets and setup our transition areas. The olympic was scheduled to go off around 8am. The start was delayed about 30 minutes due to the other waves starting later. This was actually not a bad thing for me because I had time to relax and chat with friends as well as get in a nice warm up swim. The water temperature was 71 and my sleeveless Blueseventy wetsuit was very comfortable.

Swim (1500 meters):
Start of one of the swim waves
The olympic men's wave went off and then olympic women were 5 minutes later. We were the last wave. This again was okay with me. I like a relaxing swim where I am not crowded with people. It was a double loop course and the second loop really felt like it went quick. I looked at my watch leaving the water and I was around 26 minutes and change. Once crossing over the timing mat I was at 27:31 (about a 1:50 pace), which is not bad for me in open water. I am working on my sighting as I have a tendency to get off course.

I felt wobbly in T1 but got the wetsuit off pretty fast, dried off a bit, put on my gear and got in a Powerbar energy blend gel before heading for the bike mount. My 1:52 was a little slow but I'm just getting back into the swing of things.

Bike (26 miles):
I liked the bike course. It was mainly flat with a couple sections of rollers. It was a straight forward course so not too technical. The best part I think was riding along the dam. It felt like flying through that section and I got to see Steve and some friends here. My goal for the bike was to average between 19-20mph. I knew that my bike fitness was not as good yet as it was during some of last year's races where I was close to averaging 21 for this distance. I felt pretty strong on the first 13 mile loop and through the first half of the second loop but started to labor toward the end of the ride and had some pesky low back pain as well. I haven't spent too much time in the aero bars yet this season so I am sure that I will build up my tolerance to this again. My new Lazer aero helmet worked great. It was light and comfortable and well ventilated. My bike time ended up at 1:20:16 (19.4 mph average) so for where I am right now this was decent. I will be switching my focus to the bike in early July after I recover from the Charlevoix Marathon.

Again I felt a little slow here with a 1:23 but as the season goes on hopefully I will be quicker with my transitions. The one thing that annoyed me in T2 is that my GPS signal for my run watch did not come on right away so I just had to start the run without it.

Run (6.2 Miles): 
The run was pretty straight forward and flat. Leaving the park was hot but most of the olympic run was shaded, which was nice on a hot day like yesterday. It was an out and back, 2 loop 5K course with 2 aid stations on each loop. It was nice to see so many friends on the course and I got to see Steve a couple of times as well, which was a nice boost of motivation. I ended up running a negative split for the second loop, which allowed me to move up at least a handful of spots in the race. I ended up running a 46:08 10K (7:41 average).  I was glad to have my run working for me with all the miles I have been logging training for my marathon June 27.

Post race with my hubby
Finish & Post Race:
It was nice to have Steve cheering as I finished. I am happy with my time of 2:37:12. It was good enough to win my age group and place 6th female. In looking at the results the swim is really what killed me for this race along with not having my bike legs at 100% yet. I am okay with that. I will get stronger as I change my focus to multisport! Steve had a solid race too and placed 3rd in his AG. We stuck around to hang out with friends and eat. Champ does a great job with the post-race food especially the pizza! Mmm! Many of our friends set PRs and placed so it was a good day at the races!

Closing Thoughts:
I liked this race and will plan to do it again - possibly the half too. Champ did a nice job with the course, volunteers, food, and I loved the race shirt! Today is a recovery day and then I get back into a hard week of training followed by the Challenge Williamsburg olympic tri this Sunday!

Cool shirt & my AG medal

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