Monday, September 20, 2010

Tri Club Championships

10 Triathletes swam 600m, biked 24K and ran 7.5K for yesterday's club championships.

Swim: the water was dangerously cold and we almost decided to cut the swim down to "across-the-lake-and-back" but no one wanted to be the one to declare openly that they were worried about the swim.

I don't know what the water temperature was, but apparently the Danish triathlon federation doesn't allow open water swims in water colder than 15 degrees Celsius (59F) and this was colder! 20 yards into the swim, I panicked. The water was so cold my face hurt. The wetsuit felt so tight that I was afraid of suffocating.

I breaststroked the first half of the swim in dead last. Then, I slowly got used to it and was able to crawl some. However, in the dark water and, presumably, because of the cold, I had no sense of direction and couldn't hold a straight line.

Finished the swim in 8th place (third to last). Rikke, who normally swims as fast as the Girl, swam even more zig-zaggy than me and got way off course. I should mention that the Girl swam very fast and finished 4th or 5th, a few minutes ahead of me.

The Bike: drafting was allowed, so I sprinted up from the swim to see if I could make up some time on the transition. Stig, who normally races a spacecraft-like TT bike had had a flat tire before the race, so he was on his wife's road bike. He was coming out of the transition just 30 seconds before me, and I eventually was able to get onto his wheel. I passed the Girl on the way up to Stig and yelled at her to get on my wheel. She was at her limit at that point, though, and couldn't get on.

Stig and I rode most of the bike leg together, although he drifted back a ways on the last section, which included a lot of hills. Runners like hills on bikes; that's just how it is.

The run went really well, as I caught a couple of people and ended up in third place. All in all, a great race, followed by a nice grill-out. The kids were along and another family also had kids, so they all played together. Good times.


Danni said...

That sounds awful. Isn't drafting prohibited? I thought it was in the triathlon.

Fast Bastard said...

Danni, I thought you had done quite a few triathlons. Aren't you race director for a tri?

Anyway, sprint tris, half and full IMs are usually no draft. But the olympic distance (which is also the ITU world cup distance) is a draft distance.

I think draft events take a little of the importance out of being a strong cyclist and makes the swim much more important.

Typically, the swimmers come out of the water in a steady stream, do a lightning transition and start biking quickly to get in a good train. Sometimes, half the field ends up riding together, and then it's all up to how fast of a runner you are.

Sometimes, several smaller packs form and there and it becomes very tactical. You'll even see teammates working for each other, like in the Tour de France.

Draft events are typically more fun to watch on TV, but they are also much more dangerous. Check out this youtube clip of a women's bike transition in a world cup distance tri. They are all panicking to get onto a good wheel and 10 of them end up crashing in the ensuing panic, because they can't click into their pedals.

Drafting while in the tri bar is another story all together. You really shouldn't do it. They allowed min tri bars briefly in the Tour de France but it caused way too many crashes.

Danni said...

I've never RDed a tri (a small trail run and co-RD a 100 miler) but have done a bunch of them. I had no idea that oly distance was a draft distance. I agree that it seems pretty dangerous. In the Ironman distance they're pretty strict about how long you have to pass other cyclists and at which point you have to either pass or drop back (if you're being overtaken you can't race them you have to allow the person to overtake you). Interesting stuff. I'll check out that video now. . .

Amy said...

That seems a great event, looking forward for more good event like that.