Boulder Sunset Tri – Olympic Distance

Yesterday was the Boulder Sunset triathlon up at the Boulder reservoir. This was my first crack at an olympic distance and I really wasn’t sure what I was getting into. I self-classify as an endurance athlete, but coach told me to plan on spending a few hours in the hurt locker up and beyond my normal Zone 2 efforts. Yikes.

The course is 1500 meter swim in the lake, then a 26.4 mile bike ride on the highways around the reservoir, and then returning for a 10K run out and back around the lake. All based out of the park at the reservoir.

My A Goal was to finish around 3 hours 15 minutes or 3:30. I finished with a 2:53 (!) which equated to 8th overall in my age group. As usual, pretty solidly mid-pack for my AG.

The swim was tough! It was straight out into the rising sun. I don’t know if anyone could actually see our turn buoy from the start line — even with my tinted goggles on I know I couldn’t. So, most of my “sighting” going out was ensuring I was still going straight into the sun and I wasn’t too far to one side or the other compared to the other swimmers.

Once we turned around that first buoy it sure got a lot easier.

My starting wave was for Men 40 and older. We started just a couple minutes behind the Men 40 and younger. That was a lot of guys out there and swimming involved getting through a lot of traffic and then we had the fast ladies carving through us by halfway as well. Got lots of bumps and shoves but I’m happy to say I didn’t get punched and no battle wounds of consequence.

I finished the swim (and run up the beach to transition) in 32 minutes which looks to be 10th in my AG. I think I could have been a little faster in the water but overall I’m happy.

First transition was 3:18. Probably a record for me for a T1 🙂

The bike segment was great. I sort of lost my ever-loving mind and just went out and hammered for almost the entire distance. That QR race bike is fast! I think I ran most of it around 80 – 90% of FTP for power and finished at 1:11 which put me in 5th for my age group (I did not beat any of the guys who finished first through fourth, however. Those cats were FAST).

Coming back into transition after a super fun bike ride.

My T2 was 3:03. Not bad but does need to get faster. In my defense, I was well hydrated coming off the bike and had to “relieve” some pressure.

And then we get to the run… I started out way too hot. Like, in the 6’s (minutes/mile) which for me is just insane. Managed to dial that back before I blew up and got settled in for my long trot. Pretty uneventful until around mile 4 and then it started to become a challenge. I was OK with keeping heart rate up in zone 3 and even pushing into zone 4. But as time went on, the rate wanted to increase and that just makes me uncomfortable due to my “heart history” so I had to start taking very short walks to get that rate back down.

Still managed to finish with my fastest 1k/5k/10k times ever so I’ll take it. However, compared to the rest of the guys in my age group, it wasn’t so great and I was 11th in the group. 1:02:59. I think my overall pace was about 9:13 which really is considered fast for me. I’m happy.

Man, it felt so good at the end 🙂

Talking race stories with teammate Bill afterwards

Random What-Ifs

If I wanted to stand on the podium I would have had to find another 30 minutes somewhere to get 3rd. Ouch.

If I had raced aquabike (swim & bike), I would have placed second in my AG. Hmm…

And if I would have done sprint distance with my same efforts, I still would have finished 8th in my age group.

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