Thursday, August 12, 2010

Barrington YMCA Sprint Tri Preview...

This morning I drove down to Barrington to preview the bike portion of the YMCA Sprint Triathlon I'm racing in on Saturday.  I was not impressed!  But more on that in a minute...  first up some general thoughts on the course.

Swim:  1/2 Mile

I've swam at the beach in Barrington a few times and driven past there a few times to keep an eye on the ocean conditions.  It seems to pretty much always be flat calm in the mornings there.  So I'm not worried about swim conditions.  Worst part of the swim is going to be the taste of the water.  Worst I've swam in so far in Rhode Island.  Its not pleasant.  If anything rough waters in the swim may improve my odds over some of the field as I'm getting more and more used to (and even enjoying) swimming in the ocean when its not so smooth out.  I am hoping to swim much harder than I did at the Naval and see if I can improve my ranking to better than the top 50% mark of last time.  I'm not too worried about the swim...   I think there may be a bit of a long run across the beach into the transition area though which is a mild bummer, but no big deal.


I'm not 100% sure where the transition area is going to be.  Its a large parking lot so it could be anywhere really.  The bike course starts very quickly with a small hill so today I practiced riding up that hill with my feet still on top of my shoes.  Theres a right hand turn and then a small descent which will be the perfect place to get my feet in the shoes.  So I think that will be my plan.  If for some reason the transition area is further away from that hill than I think then I'll get my feet in the shoes before the hill and potentially close the velcro on the descent.  We'll see how it shakes out on Saturday morning.


Seriously Barrington...    how is it possible that you charge such ludicrous property taxes and yet have some of the nastiest road conditions I've seen in a long time.  And not just on part of the course, on MOST of the course.  The shoulder is all chewed up, rough, has giant lumpy tarmac patches all over it, potholes, and all sorts of other nastiness.  Now I know what Kevan meant when he said flats can be a factor on that course.  Knowing what I know now of the road conditions and the nasty ocean taste there I would have picked a different race to do this weekend.  Oh well.  I'm just going to do my best and hope that there is not much traffic so I can ride a little closer to the center of the road where the pavement is much nicer and faster.  Of course thats a delicate balance of riding on smooth pavement without getting the way of faster riders or car traffic.  There were also two sections of the course that were reduced to one lane of traffic with backhoes digging giant holes in the road.  Hope that gets cleared up Saturday or theres going to be a big bottleneck of cars and bikes that will be miserable to get through.  I was not impressed with the bike course at all.  There are a lot of turns, stop signs, 4 way intersections, and a traffic light or two.  I am going to be fully prepared to have to come to a complete stop on the course.  I hope the intersections are well staffed with volunteers or its going to be possible to lose a lot of time to traffic.  I will definitely need to be very aware during the race.  No sense in hurting myself or my bike before the FIRM.  Generally the course if pretty flat, no real hills to speak of but a few descents and some super mild climbs.  Nothing worth getting out of the saddle for though other than the first little climb out of transition.  Theres also a slight descent going towards the bike dismount line that could get ugly if someone is not careful. 


Run course will be fine....   nice and flat and easy peasy.  No worries there other than paying attention to uneven pavement so as not to twist an ankle.  I want to try and REALLY go all out on the run this time.  I raced hard last time but I was alone for so much of the run that I had noone to chase.  I hope there are more people ahead of me this time so I can push a little harder.  I need to REALLY go for it.

Race Goals:

I felt pretty beat up today when I rode the course.  I felt like I was getting a nice groove going and loosening up and then noticed my speed was only 16.5mph.  So clearly my legs are still pretty tired.  Hopefully they relax a bit in the next day or two and feel fresher on Saturday morning.  I'm sure they will.  Assuming I'm fairly close to race shape that morning my goal is to try and finish in the top 10% or so of the field and somewhere around 5th-7th in my age group.  Looking at last year's results I think those are somewhat realistic goals.  It will be close, and I'll have to have a good day to pull that off.  Realistically though my goal is to have a solid race and have great transitions and have a fun training day under race conditions.  Once again I'm going into this with pretty much no taper off a hard week of training so I should expect my results to reflect that. 


I'm pretty excited that my friends Chris, Jen, and Michelle are all coming to the race to watch.  Should be great fun.  As well as them some members of my tri club will be around too, some racing and some cheering so it should be a fun day.

Next up...

Only thing left training wise before the race is a nice 1 mile tuneup swim at GVP tomorrow morning.  I plan on doing it really slowly with just a few pickups to top speed and then I'm taking the rest of the day off.

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