It was a wet and cold start for the state TT. I showed up early and once I checked in and got my gear in order I started my warm up. I spent about 25 minutes on the trainer and I was debating about what to wear. I ended up using a wind proof undershirt under my skinsuit with arm warmers and full finger gloves, not very aero but it seemed everyone else was bundling up too. I drove the course the day before a few times but it was set up totally different from what i expected. I started off in the small chainring 18 to 19 mph. We started out climbing, I caught my 30 sec guy on the last part of the climb before the turnaround. I started heading back down the hill and the rain really became an issue, I couldn’t see crap so I put my visor up so I could see. I hit the first roundabout pretty fast and kept peddling through using my front break and kept the bike upright by shifting my weight to the left. As I came out of the turn i got back on it and hit the second roundabout. No problems, not as bad as I expected. Going down the hill I hit the last roundabout pretty fast, made it through and stayed on it through the short climb and then a right turn on Hidden Valley Rd. I was able to make some pretty good time here and held a steady pace. I didn’t even think about being wet or cold, no time due to all the concentrating on staying on two wheels. I made it through the turn around and finally got caught an SVMIC rider on the climb back to the turn at the fire station we both were passed by another rider. I kept the SVMIC guy in contact back through the stair step to the last climb. I was concentrating on him so much that I forgot to downshift to the small chainring and kept pushing the big gear on the climb. This screwed my on the last climb before the turn. Either way I kept pushing and started to drop back from the SVMIC rider. I caught another rider on a roadbike, Cannone, I think. Once I made the turn to start the last lap I nailed it down hill and carved the roundabouts. It had stopped raining and I was alot more confident. I got caught by Carpenter, the overall winner, after the Firestation. I kept him in contact until the turn around. On the way back I got caught by Matt Joiner and then at the turn by the Firehouse an SVMIC guy got around me in the turn. I kept this guy in contact and made my way to the finish hoping to stay under 50 minutes but the seconds ticked by and I sprinted up the hill to the finish. 50:46 was my time. I was 8th in the group that included Pro 1, 2,3, and 4 riders. 6th in the 40+ Cat 3,4,5.
The First Annual Sombrero 5K4WRAP was hosted by Coyotes Blues on Cinco de Mayo, followed by free margaritas, however after taking 1rst and 3rd place, Steve and Mike Shepard were off to another local 5K the Medina Hornet 5K where Mike was able to win his age group. Great work guys!
Chris Winter and myself lined up for the final of the Tiger Lane series on May 1, 2013. Chris had been able to make it to all of the races and had done very well, so the goal for the day was to try and get him a podium spot and secure an overall podium as well. Despite threatening weather and a complete downpour during an earlier race, we were lucky to have good conditions during our event with little to no wind. There was an excellent showing from the Marx-Bensdorf squad, as well as Team 901, Hering Gas, and Jonathan Brown a local junior phenom from Memphis. The race was very active with multiple attempts to get people off the front. I was in almost all the breakaways, trying to pick and choose what would be most advantageous for Chris, but mostly trying to keep it together unless we could get Chris off the front with the right combination of riders. I was able to pick up some primes during the race, but passed on a $100 cash prime fearing the counter attacks close to the end of the race. Will Stoffel quickly picked up the cash. Marx Bensdorf did an excellent job of animating the race, with quick responses and counters to most moves, and Jon Brown, Team 901, and Hering Gas were also quick to try and capitalize on any pace fluctuations.
After two failed brief breakaways with Scott Newberry and Dale Sanford, I realized it was gonna stay together. With 3 to go I moved up front and tried to keep pace high, then with 1 to go made sure I had Chris on my wheel and strung it out. Unfortunately, I was spent from an active race, but was able get Chris out of the last corner first before I sat up. This wasn’t optimal positioning for him, but it could have been worse. Brown, King, and Bryant Funston were on Chris’s wheel and ready to drag it up the final 200m. Chris was able to keep a top 5, and secured a podium spot in the overall Standings (picture in blog below). Jonathan Brown won the days race, with an excellent jump from the corner, with Jon King taking second and securing his overall series Win.
Tiger Lane Criteriums are an excellent race series, and the most fun you can have on a Wednesday night during the spring cycling season. Props to Team 901 and Matt West for making this an excellent annual event. Everyone was friendly, the prizes and primes were excellent, and the course was safe and open clean corners. Thanks again to the officials and race organizers for a successful and safe event.
Spring racing is always unpredictable and the Tiger Lane Crit series was no exception. Wind, chill, and water, an extra adversary, were in play during the four week series in Memphis where the local and not so local teams(as far as middle and east Tennessee) come to test their fitness and racing tactics in the early racing season. The Cat5 division of this series had a wide range of talent, with many gifted athletes cutting their teeth at racing and joining the entry level of this sport and pushing the envelope as evidenced in the shredding of the field in all four races. David Piercey completed all four races and endured a crash in the second and proved himself as a bicycle racer in addition to an accomplished triathlete. Bobby Haynes came back from early season adversity of illness and a significant crash that prevented him from racing, in the fourth installment of the series and showed tremendous courage and perseverance. Eddy Koonce completed three of the four and was consistent in mid field and gleaned experience and a plan for improvement as the season progresses. The last in the series of races started with the race course drying from a recent shower and the pace was high averaging over 25mph for the laps leading up to the deluge. All three of us were in the main pack at this point then the bottom fell out. Sheets of water fell, the course was compressed to following the wake of the tire in front of you, and everyone got pretty edgy. The field shredded although no one knew it as you could not see five feet in front of you until the last couple of laps when the rain stopped. Thankfully we all ended rubber side down and no mishaps! The Memphis folks put on a great series and kudos to all that made it a successful event. Looking forward to next year!
- report from Eddy Koonce
One of my “A” races I targeted this year was Ironman 70.3 New Orleans. I had participated in my first long course race in October and was pleased with a 5h16m finish even if the course was a little short at 67.6 miles. I hoped to at least match that on a true 70.3 mile course and targeted an off season program that would hopefully allow me to do so.I had started CrossFit in October and was enjoying the competitive nature of the program as well as the strength gains I was seeing. I must admit, I drank the Kool-Aid! When I learned about the CrossFit Endurance programming and began to investigate the philosophy and sport science behind the idea further (including an article in January’s Outside magazine), I decided to give it a try. I began dabbling in the programming in December. I formulated a training plan incorporating three CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance work-outs during the week on the same day along with three days of more typical training with one of those days including a 2-3 hour ride and a brick run. I also began power testing monthly. The training began earnestly in January.
One of the things that appealed to me about this style is the maniacal logging, unpredictable variation, and repeat testing of performance to track gains. Over the training period I increased my FTP by 20% while only riding 6-8 hours a week. My mile run time improved by 15 seconds. My 100 yard swim time improved by 4 seconds and my Fran (one of the benchmark work-outs in CrossFit) by 2.5 minutes. Mixing that in with the occasional long run, ride, and swim, on what would be a flat New Orleans course and I thought I was good to go. At 40, I was the fittest and fastest I had ever been in my life.
I rode down with a friend to New Orleans who would also do the race. We enjoyed some good cajun cooking while we were there and a light run in the French Quarter to loosen the legs after the time in the car. At the expo, we met some folks who had done the race before. We figured it would be a good idea to try to extract some bets from them. Unfortunately, we learned that even though the course is flat, the bayou is unforgiving, and that this venue had been ranked as the fifth most difficult out of thirty-five 70.3 venues by RunTri. We were warned that the swim and the bike might be more interesting than for what we had planned. After checking the bikes in we drove most of the bike course. Pancake flat on the bayou, but absolutely nothing to stop the wind blowing off Lake Ponchartrain and the Gulf. This was nothing like Jackson, TN!
Race day came and we were on location by 0530. Due to the Boston bombing, bikes were locked in transition till the race started. No warm up! The wind had already started whipping up and was steady at 15-20mph. Even though the swim was in a slightly sheltered area it was getting choppy. With only one entry point, no opportunity for a warm-up. I had to settle for some active stretching and standing in line with the 1500 people waiting to get in the water as it was a time trial start. The guy next to me also commented that the lack of a warm-up and the 64 degree water was a perfect set-up for a heart attack. That was right before two guys were pulled out of the chop by the safety team. That was an encouraging start to my swim.
Shortly after that I was given the tap on the back and hit the cold, choppy water. I had done one open water swim session, but neither that nor the hours of cruising the lanes of the LIFT had prepared me for Lake Ponchartrain. I kept telling myself to just keep calm and carry on as the water kept a churning. Overall, I thought I had a decent swim with good sighting. I had to stop briefly once to defog the goggles, but other than that the swim went without a hitch. Upon exiting and getting the wetsuit stripped, I glanced at my watch. Ugh! 5 minutes slower than I had wanted to be. 43:37 on the swim (745/1194). I am not a strong swimmer to begin with, but this was my slowest swim time ever in a race and was 8 minutes lower than my last HIM. I think I took the mantra that the swim is just a warm-up for the race a little too seriously. To hit my goal, I was going to have to try to reel in some time on the bike which is my strongest of the three. Obviously, my swim sucked.
I had a great T1 at 2:43, sped down the road, made short work of an on-ramp onto the highway and turned directly into a 15-20mph headwind that would be with me for the next 35 miles. Occasionally, it would let up and turn into a crosswind that would catch my 90mm racing wheels and almost push me over. It just kept blowing and I kept on watching my goal time disappear as I kept on pedaling hard hoping to stay near my goal time for the bike. Once I hit the turnaround which put that bad boy on my tail, I hit it and pedaled lights out. I had fed myself every 10 miles on the bike and finished off 44 ounces so felt like nutrition was spot on, but as I made the turn for the last 7 mile stretch on the bike, I was wondering if I was going to pay for that effort on the run. I guess I would see. I finished the bike split in 2:45 (20.3mph/216w) and 320/1194.
T2 was solid at 1:47. I started out at around my targeted pace for the run 8:15/mile. It had started to heat up a little even though it was a perfect day. I maintained that pace for the first five miles and then the wall came and the voices began to creep inside my head. The pace began to slow. Even though I told my legs to go faster, they wouldn’t listen. The pace slowed to the mid 9′s for the next several miles as I took the time to speed walk the aid stations and push the fluids. I honestly don’t even remember miles 6-11. Shortly after turning into downtown New Orleans, I willed my legs to move a little faster and crossed the finish line in 1:58 (9:05/mile) and 492/1194. Total time was 5:32 for 61st in age group and 365 overall.
It was a fun race. I learned. I even wound up with a similar finish time as my first long distance race on a much more difficult course. While unorthodox, I think the training plan worked, but needs to be tweaked a little more for 70.3 racing. It will be interesting to test the approach at Memphis in May this year as I will have last year’s time for comparison. While I didn’t meet my lofty goals, New Orleans was still a great start to the triathlon season! I have several others scheduled for the season and am targeting Ironman Augusta 70.3 in September for a follow-up.