Sunday, April 3, 2011

Beaver Freezer Race Review!

Another Beaver Freezer Triathlon is in the books. And it was a good one! This race seems to be attracting more and more talent every year. I'm sure plenty of people like the early Spring date - it's a good warm-up race heading into the season. But it's also a very fast course and the winning times this year show that it's a great race to go fast! Jared Wilson of Tigard took first overall with a 57:19 and either Emily Krieg from Damascus or Sybil Fisher of Portland took the woman's crown. I'm voting it was Sybil (Emily's splits look very odd - I'm thinking there's a timing error on that one). And a special shout-out to Grant Hayball from Grants Pass with a 5:31 swim! That's smoking! Consider he was in the Langton pool - a horrible, old pool to swim fast in, and the timing mat was outside the door of the pool. I'm guessing he actually swam a 5:20 or under. Nice.

Me? Yeah, no 5:20 swim, but let's not get ahead of ourselves...

The weather report heading into the day was not looking promising, but then the race is called the "Freezer" for a reason, so what can you expect? When I woke up Saturday morning however, there was some promise. Half the sky was covered with scary, black clouds and the other half with blue sky. Hmmmm...maybe we could luck out.

As I loaded my bike on the car to head to the race, the rain started coming down. So much for luck.

After I racked my bike and set out my transition crap, the sun did indeed come out. So we had sun, but the temp was right around 40 degrees. No doubt, the early heats had a cold bike ride. There were 10 heats in each pool, Dixon and Langton, starting at 7:00am. Luckily, I was in the next to last heat at 10:15, so I had some time for the sun to come out.

Once I got changed into my swimsuit and got into Langton, I checked out the posted lanes and positions for the swim heats: I was in lane 3 and would be the first man out. Oh boy. That meant the other three guys in my lane would be starting 5, 10, and 15 seconds after me. And that, of course, meant I'd be bound to go out too fast as I definitely don't like to feel that tap on the toe that signals you're getting passed. Everyone in my lane had signed up to swim a 7:15 500y, but you never know what people are actually going to do. We started on time and after the first two laps I knew I was going out too fast as I was gasping for air a bit. At about halfway, I could tell no one was going to catch me and tried to ease up just a bit and catch some air. I didn't do a great job and hit the finish pretty winded.

Now came the fun part. Langton is an OLD pool. Which means it has a small gutter running around the edge, but the deck itself is literally close to 18 inches above the water level. Yeah...tired arms and old guys trying to flop out of the pool like a bunch of half-dead fish. Good times. Check it out in the photos below:

So I hit the timing mat outside the building at 7:12, which meant I probably swam close to 7:00 flat. Yep, too fast. Still, a nice easy jog to the transition area and I wasn't feeling too bad. I hate being cold on the bike, so I took a lot of time putting on socks, shirt, jacket, and gloves (I know, right?) and spent way too long in T1. Ah well...

Out on the bike, yes my Mountain Bike (OLD SCHOOL SHOUT-OUT!), and felt pretty good. I was quickly on the tail end of my heat (only one other guy in my swim heat on a mt. bike), but I knew I had a 15 minute head start over the last heat in the pool, so I figured I could at least stay ahead of some people. Famous last words...

Didn't feel too bad on the bike. There was a slight wind going out, but not much. The bike course is fairly flat, which I HUGELY appreciate. No big hills, just a few rollers. A little bit past the first turnaround (there are two spokes on the bike course), I saw the first tri bike from the heat behind me coming up fast. Oh boy. Got passed by a few from the heat behind me and I passed a few stragglers from the heat in front of me. Overall, about five minutes slower on the bike than I was two years ago when I still had my Softride tribike, so nothing horrible.

Out on the run and felt like I was at about 1/8 of a tank and heading fast toward "E". I told myself to just keep plugging and whatever time came would be good enough. I felt a little better on the second of the three mile laps we would do, so I headed around for my last lap. All of the sudden, our sunny skies darkened and rain, then HAIL, came pouring down from the heavens. Yikes! Coming around to the MU the last time, the hail was right in my face - ouch.

Chugged slowly across the line with a 1:25:09. Pretty much exactly the same as my time at the Freezer two years ago, except for the five minutes added to the bike time, which I'm blaming completely on my mt. bike (hey, why not?). I'm happy with it.

Once again, great organization, great eats, great lockers, warm showers and towels in Dixon after. Not many races with those amenities. Very cool.

Next week, the EPIC 2011 tour rolls on with the Corvallis Half Marathon! Hope you're already signed up 'cause it's sold out!

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