September 8, 2013

Wurst Tri Ever

I had a friend from high school coming to New Braunfels (about 45 minutes south of me) to race the Wurst Tri Ever.  New Braunfels is in the part of Texas that was heavily settled by Germans and is famous for, among other things, their wurst.  Since this triathlon was just after TriRock (less than week) I wasn't sure I would be able to do it.  But the chance to race with an old friend and frankly, just do another triathlon, was too much to pass up.

It was a very small race that takes place in a park.  The 400 meter swim is one of the most interesting I've done.  First, you start off going down a big water slide into a natural spring fed pool.  You could choose to skip the water slide and start out from the shore on the other side, but how much fun would that be?  Of course, since the slide is one at a time like a time trial start, it took an hour to get through the line and down the slide.  Down the slide and into the cool (~70 degree) water for one lap around the natural pool.  Then, you have a climb out and walk (they were very specific that you couldn't run or jog else incur a penalty) to the lap pool where you were to finish the rest of the swim.  The lap pool was shallow, uncovered, and very hot.  It was a stark difference to the 70 degree, non-chlorinated water we just left.  You had to snake your way through the lanes of the lap pool until you finally reached (what I can only assume to be) the 400 meter mark.

Then it was in to transition and on to the bike.  It was a little tricky getting out of the park and since we were in a river bottom, we had a steep hill to climb to get out of the park.  More on this hill in a bit. The ride was not too bad.  Roads weren't the greatest.  No traffic was blocked off.  Not too much in the way of support.  And, there were some pretty good hills, including the biggest climb which was at the turnaround.  Coming back as we were to reenter the park, we came to that same hill we had to climb to get out of the park.  It was a blind corner with a steep downhill, on a two lane road that was in bad shape, and was not closed to vehicle traffic.  All of this led to the most bizarre part of the race.  There was someone running radar there and if you exceeded 25 mph in this section, you got a 10 minute penalty.  If you passed anyone in this section, it was an automatic DQ.

Finally getting back to transition after slowing properly, dodging the stream of cars that were going into a beautiful park on summer Saturday morning, and dealing with potholes, gravel and train tracks, I was ready for the run.  The run was a 2.7 mile loop course around a golf course and through a neighborhood.  The run wasn't too bad.  Although I wondered if I was going to get hit by a golf ball as close as we were running to the fairway.

In the end, I finished in the 10th in my age group.  Being vegetarian, I couldn't partake in the sausage they were serving afterwards, but that seemed like a nice perk.  It was a lot of fun and an interesting experience.

September 5, 2013

It's Not About the Race

Having just completed my second TriRock a year after my very first triathlon and in the midst of my first full triathlon season, I'm doing a lot of reflection.  As I've talked about previously, I was really working to focus on enjoying the races and training and not putting so much pressure on myself.  Timely, I've been reading articles, looking through videos, and listening to podcasts about this type of thinking.  Recently, I came across an article from Chris McCormack on the soul of the sport.  He talks about how he, as a professional, is inspired and reinvigorated by local races.  It's an interesting perspective and one that we as local racers could easily lose.

I've also gotten into Zen and the Art of Triathlon.  It's the longest running triathlon podcast from a racer and coach who is based not too far from me.  I'm still going through the archives but I recently listed to a great episode about being a "soul triathlete".  He references the "soul surfers" who don't do contests and are not professional.  They just surf for the enjoyment of it and for the sake of the sport itself.  Brett, the host, talks about taking that perspective to what he calls the "triathlon lifestyle".  It's a great listen and I highly recommend his podcast.  You can find the episode I'm talking about here.  

Finally, here's a great video from Chrissie Wellington at Ironman Texas where she talks about this same topic.

September 3, 2013

TriRock Austin

I had a pretty good race at TriRock.  Most notably, I had the best swim I've had.  It wasn't great by any standards (other than mine) but I felt great throughout.  I was steady and consistent and didn't stop until I got to the swim exit.  I felt more comfortable and, by extension, was faster than I've been in any race.  All that work has apparently paid off.  My transitions have even gotten better.  The bike was relatively good.  I had some challenges with some road hazards.  While I didn't flat out, fortunately, but after the race I discovered my front wheel was out of true and rubbing the brake.  I'm not sure how long it had been that way.  I went over the same bad area of road three times.  That could have been part of the reason I wasn't as fast as I wanted to be.

The other could have been that I was focused on the run.  I kept reminding myself that I was riding to run, not for a good bike split.  I wanted to have a race where I didn't blow up on the run.  I didn't quite realize this goal.  I blew up on the last mile, but was able to dig deep and finish strong through the last stretch.  I was relatively happy with my time overall, especially my swim time.  It was a good race and good reflection of both how far I've come in a year and how much more I can go.

Me and training group partner Stacy.

September 1, 2013


I'm set to race TriRock Austin.  This is the race I did last year that was my first triathlon.  I'm doing the Olympic distance this year.  An added excitement this year is that Chris “Macca” McCormack will be racing the sprint distance.  Sure, it's no doubt for the appearance fees but it's still pretty cool nonetheless.  The day before, he led a shakeout run with anyone who wanted to join.  

It was a pretty cool experience.  We did an easy 3 mile run and got to chat with him during and after.  I found him to be a super nice guy and I was really glad I go to have that experience.  I'm excited about the race to come!