Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lanikai Sprint Tri Race Report- Relay Edition

Transition in the pre-dawn
 Sunday was the Lanikai Sprint Triathlon. A few months ago Diesel, the Grey, and I decided it would be fun to do the race as a relay. None of us was very interested in doing it solo, since we are all deep into Honu training and spending a Sunday doing a sprint tri seemed like a silly use of workout time. So the original plan was to have the wives drive with us to the race with our bikes, do the race as a relay, then the wives would drive home and we would ride the sixty miles or so back. Good plan, yeah?
For various reasons this plan fell through, but that was ok, also for various reasons. Which I'll get to when I'm good and ready.

I'm ready.
The weather Sunday was, in a word, awful. In a bunch of words, it was really pretty crappy, overcast, rainy, windy, and cold. For a while there before the start it looked like just about the worst weather you could have on Hawaii for a race. Listen, racing in bad weather sucks for a number of reasons. In the ocean, bad weather creates chop, making swimming in a straight line difficult, and stirs up the sand, making visibility poor. On the bike it makes the roads slick and unsafe, and when your glasses get soaked you can't see. And on the run wind slows you down and can make you cold. A little cool is nice to run in. Cold isn't so much.
We hit for the cycle on Sunday. Not to complain.
I started the race, since of the three of us I'm the strongest swimmer. We figured that as long as we're doing a relay we may as well stack it. I hadn't been in the water at all for a week, having taken a recovery week. The swim was only 500m, so it's not like a week off killed me, but it doesn't help going into a race to not do anything for seven days. This is my impression of me making excuses for a less-than-stellar result.
Relays started in the second wave, same as the women. I've, obviously, never started with the women before. It was me, a couple of other guys, and a ton of very serious looking female triathletes looking to take me down. The first buoy was 100 or so yard off shore and the key to a good swim is to get there first. Once everyone hits the turn at the buoy everything bottlenecks as swimmers get as close to the giant yellow floating prism as they can so as to not swim any further than they need. I lined up just off center from said prism and fidgeted until the countdown got to 30 seconds. We started three minutes after the men, so hopefully there wouldn't be too much swimming over slow guys.
At the go I sprinted for the water, along with 200 or so of my soon-to-be closest female friends. I got out good but got slightly off course right away, having to correct 75 yards in and swim at an angle to hit the turn correctly. Didn't get stuck behind too many people. Yet. I did swim right over a massive sea turtle though. And I did shout, "Cool!" into the water. Because I'm bright like that. And because it's freaking cool to see a giant sea turtle.

Once we made the turn the course was parallel to the beach for 400yds or so, then another turn in. I tried to set a good, fast pace that would guarantee I finished with an empty tank, but it wasn't easy.  Remember what I said a few minutes ago about open water swimming in bad weather? No? You need to work on your comprehension skills. Go back and find it.
Ok, bad weather makes for choppy water. Choppy water makes for choppy strokes. I never once had a decent rhythm going. I didn't even start to feel warmed up until halfway through the swim. Couple that with rain making it hard to sight the next giant yellow buoy and I'm not all the happy with my swim. I got stuck behind a few people, did some swimming around, avoided getting kicked in the face, and hit the beach hard charging past some of the slower men, finishing my leg with a time of 8:33.
I'd like to pause here and say that my swim time for this event last year was an 8:14. But the weather was great and my training was more short-distance-centric. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I cranked up the beach and into transition, handing the timing chip off to Diesel.
From here to the end of the race I probably said the following words half a dozen times, "Boy, I kinda like working for 500m and then being done for the day. It's nice!" This is true. The flip side of that is also true. I woke up at 3:30am and drove 45 minutes to work for eight minutes. 
Diesel's version of the ride is, "It was wet and slick, so I rode safe. Painted white lines are slippery and they happen every block. I passed people going up Radar Hill (the only climb of the ride, and the turn-around point), saw some people fishtail out on the way down Radar Hill, and remembered halfway back that I didn't have to run when I got off the bike so I put the hammer down." So yeah, he forgot he wasn't doing a full triathlon. That happens I guess, as one ages.
He put in a strong time of 30:13 anyway and came in to transition where the Grey was waiting for him. And, in his excitement, the Grey tried to grab Diesel's bike and help him rack it. No, we don't know why. I guess that happens as one ages. We reminded him (read: shouted at him) to just grab the timing chip and go. So he did and went. And 25 minutes later he came cranking in for a finishing time of 1:05.45, putting us in second place for the men's relay division.
Not too shabby. Especially considering I'm not thrilled with my swim, Diesel isn't impressed with his ride, and the Grey complained about his run time until he realized (read: justified it by saying) the course was muuuuuch longer than the advertised three miles.
We won basil plants, which made Super Awesome Wife happy. And here is where I put one more joke about the Grey stroking the plant all night long like Gollum, "My preciousssssss, yessssss, nasty filthy Hobbittses tries to take you precioussssss." To be fair, he has placed in each of his last three races. but don't tell him I was fair just then, ok?
The Grey and his precioussssss

Diesel, "Why is this cup empty and what kind of plant is this?"
 Sunday was also the first triathlon ever for a friend of mine and she did awesome! I'm really proud of her. She embraced the spirit of fun and was smiling through every transition and across the finish line. At the race debrief at Koa Pancake House, the only place to eat after a race, she couldn't stop talking about how much fun she'd had. Love to hear it.

As always, I want to thank my sponsor, Background Profiles, for the help paying for events like this. Now I just need to remember to pay Diesel back for registration.

1 comment:

  1. Great race report! Despite the weather, I had way too much fun! And I'm so glad it was you facing the cold water that early in the morning!