Last weekend I participated in the 2nd annual Rev3 Portland triathlon. Last year they only offered a half iron distance race but this year they offered both a half and Olympic. I chose to race the Olympic because I am doing Ironman 70.3 Lake Steven this weekend. I’ve never done two 70.3′s back to back plus my fitness level isn’t where it needs to be to attempt such a feat.
I drove down on Friday morning with my Timex teammate and good friend, Stu Fitch. Stu is from Darwin, Australia but visiting friends in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho this month. Australia was my first ever international traveling experience in 2004 and during my visit down under, I flew to Darwin. On our way down to Portland, Stu and I stopped in the Tri-Cities for a short break and that’s when I broke out my photos from my visit. One of those pictures was an outdoor swimming pool I went to in Darwin. Stu recognized it right away. He told me that’s the same pool where he met his wife Ali. Pretty cool.
Stu signed up for the half iron distance race which included a new bike course; lots of climbing, technical and overall challenging. Last year’s course was super flat. Soon after arriving in the Troutdale/Gresham area, Stu and I went for a short swim in Blue Lake then drove the bike course. Part of my decision for doing the Olympic distance was based on the difficulty of that course. It was a good choice. Many people commented after the race about how hard it was. I don’t like hills.
Saturday included a short bike and run on the course before checking in and racking our bikes. The weather was expected to be in the upper 80′s or low 90′s so we kept as hydrated as possible.
One of my favorite places to eat when at home in Spokane or on assignment is Outback Steakhouse. I figured why not take an Aussie to our Americanized version and see what happens? Well, one of the first things Stu did when the waiter came to take our order was quiz ‘em on Australian trivia. Both nights we went (Friday & Saturday), neither of our servers knew the capital of Australia which should be required knowledge for employees, in my opinion. It was all in good fun and I’m pretty sure Stu left a positive impression on both of them.
Race morning was beautiful. Blue skies and the lake temperature (Blue Lake) was in the low 70′s. The swim was wetsuit legal for the age groupers but not for the pros. Stu was in the third or fourth wave and I was in the second to last I think. I was wearing my brand new Blueseventy Helix wetsuit which was incredible. A nice compliment to my wetsuit was a pair of orange Blueseventy goggles in my athlete goodie-bag. The first out section of the one-loop swim course was directly into the sun. I think I did a fairly good job at staying in line and made the first turn feeling strong and comfortable. But by the time I made the last buoy I glanced at my Timex Global Trainer and noticed I was already at my goal time of 28 minutes. Turns out, and many said the same thing, the swim course was about 250 yards long which explains why most people were about 3 minutes longer than normal. I wasn’t too concerned. My race begins on the bike.
I love this bike course because it’s pancake flat. Last year’s bike course was this year’s Olympic distance course, only cut in half. Last year I averaged 22.35 mph on the half iron distance course for a record time of 2:30:21. This year I knew exactly what I was getting into and was ready to time trial like the wind.
As I was leaving T1 I heard a volunteer yell toward me, “15th overall.” It took me a moment to register what she said. So after figuring out what she said, I repeated it back in the form of a question and she confirmed the statement. I can only assume she was counting either our swim caps entering T1 or just how many Olympic distance athletes were coming and going. Either way I was motivated. Turns out she was pretty close.
Along the bike course there was an electronic speed limit sign for cars to show people their current speed (just below the posted speed limit sign). I was coming up on a rider who was passing through the radar zone and his speed read 19 mph. As soon as I came into the zone it read 22 mph. You should have seen his head whip around once that number change. I admit, I was feeling like Lance Armstrong passing Jan Ullrich in 2005 during the first stage of the Tour de France. I ended up passing 5 people on the day and entered T2 in 17th position.
Once onto the run I had a clear view of who was in front of me and who was behind. The Olympic distance field wasn’t huge, maybe a hundred athletes. One of the first people I passed was a guy who used to live in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and was racing as the running member in a team event. Soon after I passed him I was passed by the lead woman who started the race three minutes after my swim wave. I held pace with her for a quarter mile or so which was helpful and motivating but I soon slowed back to my normal pace. I was averaging in the low 8′s for the first two miles then picked it up for the next three. I started clipping off 7:55′s and feeling pretty good. With about 2 miles to go I got passed the second placed woman who was doing her best to catch the first woman. I am happy to report I wasn’t passed by any of my male competitors which is a first for me.
According to the official timing results I swam a 31:30 (1500 meters), biked a 1:05:18 (24.8 miles, averaging 22.79 mph), and ran a 48:55 (6.2 miles, averaging 8:01 minute miles) for a total time of 2:28:52. My efforts were rewarded with a 2nd place ranking in my age group (40-44).
According to my Timex Cycle Trainer 2.0, I rode 23.9 miles and averaged 20.01 miles per hour. My average watts (power) was 240, I averaged 162 heart beats per minutes and held an average cadence of 85. My mileage and average is a little off compared to my official numbers because I started my bike computer ‘after’ crossing the timing mat and I was configuring my accessories on the fly.
I’m happy with my results, I only wish the swim course was more accurate. By the way, Stu won his age group at the half iron distance. We celebrated later that night in the Tri-Cities at Applebee’s.
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