This years Vineman 70.3 was the second of my back to back weekend half/70.3 distance schedule. While I set a new PR up at REV3 Portland(5:08), I was realistic in my expectations coming into this race. I have to give a huge shout out to Recovery Pump and First Endurance. I used my Recovery Pump everyday in between the races, as suggested by Doug from Recovery Pump. I also made sure to take my First Endurance OptygenHP. I’ve become a huge fan since leveraging my OptygenHP for my heavy training weeks. I really feel that it helps me recover faster!
It was here at Vineman 70.3 three years ago where I first raced a half/70.3 triathlon. I finished that day in 6:01 even having strained my calf two weeks before the race. I was ecstatic that day and thrilled that I found a new distance that I really liked. I also smartened up last year by hiring a coach in Jeff from PRSfit. He’s done a great job in pushing my limits and keeping me healthy. Last year, I came to Vineman 70.3 off a frustrating Boise 70.3 performance on a windy course there. I was ready to attack the course and I did, finishing in 5:22! Coming into this past weekend, my goal was to beat last years course pr.
The race is up north of Santa Rosa, which is about a 2hr drive for me. As I was packing the car the morning I left, I noticed that one of my TIME RXS pedal cleats was broken! The top piece was dangling off an there would be no way to clip in.
I wasn’t worried though as I had time to swing by my two local shops…you know what that means…of course they didn’t carry them! Off I went to check in and of course the Windsor bike stores also didn’t carry any in stock. I was getting a little concerned now, as it was 3pm the day before the race! I ended up at the Trek store in Santa Rosa of all places. The owner was great and called around for me. I ended up having to buy new pedals/cleats and went for the Look Keo model. As they Trek guys were changing out my pedals the owner was talking about the long history of Trek and Kestrel, which was very cool.
I was feeling good coming into the weekend and was excited to see a bunch of friends out on the course! Race morning was different as my wave didn’t start until 2HRS after the pro’s! Wanting to see the pro’s, I showed up early before 6am. Based on the empty racks at that hour, I was one of the few that came early. It was cool to see the pro’s take off and also to see Andy Potts rocking his TYR Hurricane come out of the water first. They were lightning fast in transition, although they looked cramped when more packs came out of the water.
Swim: 31:57 **new PR
With the temp around 70′ I swam in my TYR Cat 3 Hurricane suit and I just keep getting faster in this suit! For those who’ve never swam here at Vineman 70.3, it’s worth noting that the river gets extremely shallow at points. To the point where your hands drag on the rockbeds. This can also be a good thing in some cases if you need to run away from any bad swim sighters! The swim waves were pretty small with around 100 peeps in my 35-37 wave. Its a mostly straight out and back in the river and I lined up on the front. This has never been a hectic start for me and the waves are 8min apart, so there’s not too much congestion. The horn went off and I found myself actually leading the wave for a few hundred yards. My HR was spiked, but I was feeling good after a nice warmup prior to the start. I did notice that a small group stayed to the far right out of whatever current existed due to a dam up the river. They had talked about a nice current coming back and I completely forgot about that race tip to stay right 😦 Regardless, I pushed hard for those first 4-5min in the lead and they pulled back a bit and jumped on the feet of someone else. That worked pretty well and I just worked to find my groove while focusing on my breathing. At the far turn around my watch read 17min and I was somewhat disappointed, so I hammered the way back. They were right about the nice current bringing us home and I was pleasantly surprised with my 31:57 swim split! That was a new PR and I had a quick thought of my unspoken aggressive goal numbers and smiled a bit!
T1: 3:06 **new PR
T1 was pretty uneventful for me and just ok. It turned out to be a PR for my T1’s even though I took the extra 20sec to rub neosporin on my toes before my socks. That may seem random, but I always rub some on my feet before my training runs and its worked very well for me.
Bike: 2:47:53 / 20.0mph avg
Once again I loved my Kestrel 4000 with Zipp 404’s, ISM Saddle and Trakkers Wheeltags! I felt good coming out of T1 and was excited to let it rip. The course is beautiful with many rolling hills that suite me well. After the first 5mi or so, we had a quick s-turn that they warned us repeatedly about. As I approached the turn the volunteer was yelling that a racer was down. I slowed down to turn and saw a woman on the ground with blood everywhere, especially on her face. She was wailing about how she broke her teeth. Needless to say, it wasn’t a pleasant sight. I heard the ambulance in the background and hoped she would be alright. I went back to my race and was excited to cruise though the vineyards. I seemingly had more pop in my legs than Portland last weekend, but this course did have 2k in climbing. For most of the day I found myself avg 20-20.5 mph and felt ok. I was fueling with my First Endurance EFS drinks and also finished two berry liquidshots. I had three of my EFS drinks on my bike, but lost one of my bottles when a car forced me onto the dirt around mile 30. I kept up, but hit a nasty pothole and lost one bottle. I replaced it later with a course provided G2 Series Pro 02 Perform…I would regret this later! The other small problem I ran into is that my aerobars shifted twice during the ride where I had to stop to pull it back into place. I wasn’t about to dig out my wrench until absolutely necessary and I didn’t feel it was too risky. I had to pull hard to recenter and it only took 10sec each stop.
There is really only one climb on the course around mile 45 and it was really a non-event for me. Once I crested over the top, I attacked until T2 and must have passed 50 peeps. I stayed in my aero position and kept my hr above 160 for those last 10miles or so. I was really enjoying the ride at that point. I also knew that I was on target to ride at roughly the same pace as last year and I ended up just 40sec off last years bike time.
Here’s my Garmin/Strava link: http://t.co/YYT5fHWZ
T2 – 0:56 **New PR
I loved my T2 as I was fast and efficient. There was a bit of a run up to transition, but with my late wave I was close to the run exit. My spot was right next to the pro’s who by this point were done for the day. As I looked up to start running I saw Andy Potts right there cheering me on! He must have seen me drop off my Kestrel 4000! It was very cool to see the overall winner cheering me on!
Run – 1:54:05
I’ve now found my perfect race shoe in my Avia Avi-Stoltz. Even though its a trail shoe, it’s been perfect for my last two races including here at Vineman! This year I have had some breakthroughs on my run confidence. This led up to my PR at Portland with a 1:45 run while hitting the 10mi mark avg 7:25. I would have loved to match that here at Vineman, but that wasn’t meant to be. The run in hilly and exposed, although the heat factor wasn’t really an issue. My biggest problem went back to losing that third EFS bottle on the bike. That forced me to use the course provided G2 and it never sat right in my stomach. The run is an out and back turning around at the Vineyard pictured above. I wasn’t able to take on any cals that first half and I saw 55:30(8:32 avg pace) on my watch at the halfway point. I had been averaging an 164 HR avg up to then as well.
I needed to start with some cals, so I tried taking on some of my berry liquidshot. I tied that together with starting with icy cokes at every station and by mile 9 I was feeling much better and my mind started to focus! I knew I needed to up my game those last four miles and I started chipping away with a 8:10, 8:03, 7:52 and lastly a 7:44 on that last mile to finish in 5:19:24! MY HR was up to 180-182 those last couple of miles.
Total time: 5:19:24 *Course PR for me by 3min
- 77/273 in my division
Overall, I’m psyched with my result given my challenging back to back weekends! In the past six weeks I’ve raced in three half/70.3’s(Hawaii, Portland & Vineman) and that’s a bit much for me. I decided to pass on the Vineman Full Aqubike that I was set to race in at the end of the month. Instead, I’m going to rest and build up to my last 70.3 of the year in the Big Kahuna Half on Sept 11th. This is a flat course and I’m excited to go after that sub-5 barrier!!! I may have a 10k run in there somewhere as well.
My race in Hawaii was the first one where I went to the roll down/awards and not because I had any chance of all! I went to the Vineman rolldown out of pure curiosity. I knew I needed to be close to 5hrs to even have a remote chance here for a Vegas championship spot. In my 35-39 age group, the last spot went to a guy who finished in 5:03. Interestingly enough, there were only two of us even left in our ag…they didn’t end up with any additional spots at the end, but dam that was close! ALWAYS have a blank check in your transition bag just in case!