Hermosa Beach Triathlon – 9 July 2017

This was my 6th triathlon of the season and 3rd sprint.  I started to build back up again after returning from a work trip to Ohio so I came into this race pretty fatigued.  I also challenged a relay team for dominance, vanity, and bragging rights.

Hermosa Beach Triathlon – 500y swim, 10 mile bike, 3 mile run

Pre-Race – There wasn’t much prep work going into this.  I got up around 0500L then ate 2 bananas, geared up, and headed down to the pier.  This was a 5 minute bike ride for me so nice and easy.  I got to transition and setup with an alright rack spot (right in the middle).

We had to clear out pretty fast so I didn’t get any band work in.  I talked to some friends then headed out to get a warmup.  We did some beach running to get a sweat going and I added about 30 pushups.  We then headed to the swim start and I spent about 4-5 minutes in the chop doing some sprints to get primed up.  I worked up a sweat and was ready to roll.

Swim – We were the second wave and we hit it hard at the beginning.  I pushed through some folks and hit this swim as hard as I could and held on for dear life.  I was pushing my max pace and my HR was already redlining, so I was feeling tired by the time I cleared the first buoy.  I just focused on chasing and holding on.  I managed to catch a wave riding in and hit my watch as soon as my hand hit the sand, then I got up and ran in.

Final Swim – 7:55 – link here

**Note – My garmin times are different than the official times. I stopped my watch as soon as I hit sand, but I think the timing chip portion was a little bit north of the swim exit. The “official” times on the website stand, but these are what I have based on what I hit on my watch.**

T1 – I was gassed coming out of the water so I looked like a beat-up degenerate crawling out of the pub.  I focused on getting the wetsuit down while running and moving as fast as I could towards the bike.  Once I got there, only one bike was gone so I was quite happy.  I got everything off, put my shoes and helmet on, ran out with the bike, mounted up and rolled out.

Final T1 – 2:55

Bike – We had a “climb” straight up Pier Ave directly out of transition, so this was a good way to get the legs warmed up.  Once we hit the top, we took a left and started the three-loop bike course.  I focused on slamming it as hard as I could and chasing everyone down.  Before the race, Dana Staggs said “Don’t let anyone pass you on the bike” – I took his advice to heart and set about to crush everyone in front of me.

They kept the right lanes closed for cyclists but the left lanes open for on-coming traffic, so parts of the bike course were very narrow and started to get congested.   Since I started on the second swim wave, there weren’t as many cyclists out on the roads yet, so I managed to get through the first 2 loops without much incident.  By the third loop, there were more folks coming out so I was constantly yelling “ON YOUR LEFT” to folks to clear the way.  This wasn’t just new triathletes racing for the first time, but seasoned folks who were hugging the left lane.

On the final stretch, I took the descent down Pier Ave but kept my feet in my shoes because I was leery of the transition entrance (lots of beginners, etc).  I took the descent pretty slowly and came to a complete stop at the bottom, then ran through transition with my shoes on which hasn’t happened in quite awhile, but I was alright with that due to the congestion of people running out with their bikes.

I redlined this bike and my heart rate showed, but my legs were jelly throughout so it was hard to sustain any decent wattage.  I also had to surge a lot to pass folks or come out of turns, so this wasn’t my ideal ride – I enjoy longer rides where I can settle and hold vice surging.  However, training has been going well and even with jelly legs I was able to get a decent bike split.  Based on race results, I had a top 5/6 bike split overall, and that was with low watts, jelly legs, and course congestion, so my “slippery” aero position and surges seemed to help.  I also had no one pass me on the bike so I’m holding my “sprint bike streak” alive.

Final Bike – 23:18 – link here

T2 – There was nothing special here.  My bike rack was very close to the bike in entrance so I moved fast.  I saw no bikes on my rack so I was pleased.  I racked the bike, ripped off my shoes and helmet, put on shoes and socks, then grabbed hat/visor/sunglasses while running out.

Final T2 – 1:06

Run – Since I had redlined the swim and bike, I was tired starting out.  I came in with some guys off the bike but they were gone and I couldn’t catch them so I just settled in.  I knew this would be a “hold on and survive” run so I wasn’t focused on making any surges as I had burned most of my matches and was on fumes.  I managed to pass a few folks and not get passed by anyone.  I saw the same guy that beat me at the Redondo Beach Triathlon in June when I hit the half-way mark, so I knew that he could take me if he got within sight of me, so I managed to start picking it up towards the end.  I held on and finished without him catching me so I was happy for revenge.  This was one of my tougher sprint distance runs because of my HR being high the whole time and just feeling wiped the whole run.

Final Run – 19:29 – link here

Overall Time (per Garmin) – 54:43 – link here

Results – 5th AG, 17th OA – link here

I wanted to redline this race and push hard while fatigued so I’m quite pleased I was able to place.

However, I failed to beat my friends in their relay team, “In it to Winn It” as they defeated me by a 2 minute margin.  I’ll get revenge on them next year.

Here are some key takeaways:

  1. I find that if I’m not completely fresh, I can’t push any real watts on the bike.  Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out but I can push decent watts on tired legs on the trainer, but in a race I’m usually zapped from the swim so by the time I hit the bike, my quads are toast.  It takes me roughly 5-15 miles for my legs to wake up after this so on a sprint there isn’t much relief.  Therefore, if I need to push hard on an “A” race, I need to rest my legs up well in advance to get the real power.  This was the case in Santa Rosa 70.3 when I had forced rest due to illness, but my legs were in perfect condition then and I was able to push hard with minimal fatigue.
  2. Heat – I still don’t race well in the heat / humidity as my HR was already high going into the swim.  There has been a heat wave here in South Bay and I don’t have air conditioning, so coupled with hard training, I came in pretty drained and tired and this adds up.  As of Monday night’s writing I’m still a bit gassed from a sprint triathlon which shouldn’t  be the case.
  3. Testing out the mantra “Don’t try anything new on race day.”  I tried my new one-piece D3 Tri-suit the day before in the weekly SMOG swim to see if I could swim with a long-sleeved top under a wetsuit.  I was fine so I opted to race in the new kit.  I had no real issues except I need to wear it more.  When I race, my stomach expands and in a tight suit, this gets pretty tight around my stomach and things can cramp up.  Luckily this was a short race so I didn’t have many issues but I’ll need to test this suit out more and drop more weight before Santa Cruz in September.

Overall, I had fun doing this local race and seeing all my SB Tri and Equinox friends.  Kudos to my friends (Courtney, Mike, Ivan) for holding me off on their relay team and giving me a reason to do this race faster next year.  This will be my last triathlon for 2 months so I can focus on hard training until Santa Cruz.

Congrats to everyone who raced!