Washington Sprint Triathlon

Washington Sprint 2013
Forecasts were 50% precipitation and we had finally reached the warmer temperatures of NC.  Along with this and the race location also came high percentage of humidity.  Leaving very early for the two hour ride to Little Washington, driving through rain most of the trip, all I could think of was; this is going to be a wet race.  Thankfully, we lucked out and remain clear of rain, however, not the humidity.  Arriving fairly early, it gave me time to drive the bike course which is always nice to have that visual clear before race time.  Now at the race site being greeted by all the friendly folks of FSSeries is always enjoyable.  Small venue, it was quick and easy to set up and head out for my warm up.
Race time and off on the swim.  Starting out against the current and Dwayne Dixon tapping my toes, I chose to swim a bit to the right of the course line, this worked or I shook him with speed.  Now I could see Gil Cukeirman and we met up at the first turn.  Following the turn, now with the current, Gil and I swam together for a bit and I attempted the same tactic of holding the line on the right with similar results.  Knowing some of the field, I knew Gil and Dwayne were some of the competition to watch out for and if I wanted a chance, I would need to gain some time in the swim and bike.
Getting through T1 fast and off on the bike, I was looking forward to the ride, all I heard before race was how fast the rides are in Washington and the roads all looked smooth in the pre-race drive.  Starting out on a good note, I got into the shoes quick and smoothly.  Through the first few races the shoes have been quite the learning curve for me.  Not that I couldn’t get my feet into the shoes smoothly while riding, it was the small techniques that worked or didn’t work that I struggled with.  I have found that riding first and then taking my time to get my feet secured works best.  Trying to get one foot completely done at a time didn’t allow the opportunity to get my momentum going soon enough.  So now it is peddle, foot, peddle, foot, peddle,velcro, peddle and velcro.  Okay, back to the ride, the course was very nice and smooth, an out and back.  The out and back was nice as the turn around was through neighborhood roads opposed to turning at a cone, allowing our speeded to continue.  A small head wind out didn’t seam to bother me to much, I had an extremely fast front end of the bike.  Following the turn around I was able to see the other competitors and realized I had created a good lead.  The second half of the ride didn’t fail me, it was even faster, finishing with a PR for my fastest ride ever.
In and out of T2, here I have found that the grab and run works great.  What I mean is, getting my shoes on, grab the rest and then run.  I now get my hat, sun glasses and belt taken care of on the move, much faster.  Now off on the flat run, I was hoping to have a solid run following the good times I had produced early on in the season.  Mile one didn’t feel well, however for this mile my time was fair, after is when I believe the humidity began to get the best of me and I struggled with the last two miles.  Following the turn around, I saw that Dwayne was gaining on me and it was going to be close.  Holding on until almost the final turn, Dwayne took over and pulled away on the final stretch.  Strong overall finish in second place. 
Over all, I enjoyed the event in Little Washington, always FSSeries professionals/volunteers and the great competitors.    

Rough Waters at White Lake Double Sprint

Heading into this years White Lake Double Sprint, I continued to recall how uncomfortable the second run and swim were from last year’s Double Sprint at Kure Beach.  Some unique parts of this double sprint were the four transitions and five different legs swim/run/bike/run/swim.  Also, that this year the water temperature was 64 degrees and choppy, that meant head wind on the bike as well.  Some were wearing wetsuits for the first swim, however, I was planning to give the cold water a try, didn’t really have a choice for the second swim.
For some reason, the order of events prompted me not to warm up on the bike.  Headed down to the dock for the swim start, avoiding the cold water, I waited until the National Anthem was complete.  Usually, we would have five minutes after before the start, perfect time to warm up.  Not this time, as soon as the song was complete they announced two minutes until the race begins.  So, to say the least, I didn’t warm up at all for this race, simply tried to acclimate to the water conditions.  Now off on the swim I was feeling surprised until the first turn buoy, I thought (dreaming) I was ahead of Matt Patton on the swim, which would have been impossible.  Shortly after the first turn I did see Matt and reality sunk back in and so did the water conditions.  The conditions were not too bad for me, I shortened my stroke entry and that solved quite a bit with the choppy conditions.  I was however victim to my share of white caps breaking as I attempted to breath.  In all, pleased with my first swim.
Now in T1, I found Matt again and was able to catch up with him.  While getting my shoes on and watching Matt and sharing with him that he was running the wrong way on the run out, I resulted in me scattering my transition area up, which made it a bit different for the next transitions, pair for a double sprint and four transitions.  Lesson learned, don’t worry about others.  The first run was good, I was able to hold off Derek Kidwell and Dwayne Dixon until about the turn around, I was then looking for Mark Carey to be coming along soon.  Heading into T2 fourth, I was looking forward to getting on the bike.
Smooth T2, besides clipping my helmet.  Now on the bike.  I did have a little difficulty once again getting my feet into the shoes, however was able to maintain distances to the leaders.  Once in the shoes, I passed Matt, Dwayne and Kevin all fairly quickly, within the first few miles.  There was a headwind which made it a bit frustrating for about two miles on each loop of the course.  After the first loop Dwayne and Kevin were hanging in there with me, I was hoping I could shake them on lap two.  This was not the case, I did gain some time in front of them, however not as much as I had hoped.  
T3, I decided to get everything to finish the race here, got the shoes on, took goggles and cap thinking I would clean off the cap while running, I never saw the cap again until the swim.  Run two was a bit tougher, Dwayne and Kevin passed me fairly quickly.  Dwayne did pull away a bit, but I was able to keep Kevin at least some what in sight.  After the turn around and not seeing Matt or Mark for a bit, I was settling into the possibility of third place which was better than I hoped. 
Cruising through the final transition, getting the cap and goggle on while running, I head out onto the final leg, the second swim.  Entering the water, it didn’t feel as cold the second time around.  The chop did seam worse or maybe it was we were now swimming the opposite direction as the first swim.  Swimming out to the first buoy was the toughest part this time around, the wind seamed to be pushing me off course, later finding out others as well.  Rounding the first buoy I simply tried to keep myself going strong, telling myself it’s at this point it’s a race with the clock.  After turning the final buoy I did see one of the other leaders and thought, just maybe I could catch them, short lived as the distance was too short, I accepted third.
In all, the event was fun, I was very happy with my performance and the race outcome.  Certainly looking forward to more races at White Lake!  Congratulations to all the competitors from both events this weekend, International distance and Double Sprint distance.