Monday, 24 August 2015

Jersey City Triathlon 2015 Race Recap

It's race report time! Can i just write "fiasco" and call it a day? Blech....ok here goes anyways.

Yesterday was the inaugural Jersey City Sprint and Olympic Distance triathlon. To me, it was appealing mostly because I generally enjoy the "wham-bam" nature of sprint distance races, and because it was so close to home. So I signed up, and challenged my buddy Zach to do the same. I know he's a fast guy, but I figured I could give him a run for his money.

Leading up to the race, it was becoming a little apparent that was some .... "disorganization" . The race director had evidently only gotten the required permits a month before the race, and the website is rudimentary at best. The swim location changed just a couple days before the race itself, and some details were unclear.

Race morning
Registration and Packet pickuup
Thought packet pickup was available Saturday, I opted to just do so on race morning. With pickup and Transition beginning around 5:30AM, I was there by 6AM, easily found parking just a couple blocks away, and walked my bike over. Pickup was fairly orderly, but here we ran into disorganization point #1; not enough Medium shirts. Considering shirt size is a field to input when registering, I don't see why they would run out of the needed size. I ended up with a Large. offense to all my Athena and Clydesdal friends out there, but I'm not a Large anymore, and wearing a Large just looks silly on my. The timing chip was also this massive anklet instead of the usual chip/velcro, but that's just the technology being used, so not really the fault of the race staff.

Transition was a fun mess as well. Rows were marked every 7 feet or so, but not for each bike, so some racks ended up very crowded, and nobody really knew which way to have the bike facing. Race officials were walking around trying to help organize, and along the way I ended up in a discussion with one as I heard her going over the rules with a first-timer. "The smaller sticker goes on your swim-cap". Wait...WHAT?!  So we are supposed to put the sticker on the neoprene cap, NOT the helmet like every other race in existence? I tried to explain that this really didn't make sense to me since it would come off quickly in the the water, but she was adamant that that's the way the race guide said to do it, so that's the way it had to be. Fine, I'll do it, but I'm chalking that up as disorganization pint #2.

Swim start was about a quarter mile away from transition, so we all made our way over. The officials there tried to organize everyone, but nobody really knew the swim course well enough to go over it with the athletes (Disorg point). We mostly stood around until the race director came by to talk to us, In the end we started maybe 10 minutes late. Olympic athletes first, then sprint, Male followed by Female for both. The swim wasn't really the worst layout, Personally, I haven't swim trained in 2 months, so my swim sucked, but that's totally my fault and problem. My second mistake...not starting my watch for the first ten minutes or so. According to the timing people, I finished the 750M swim in 21:52. Crappy, but I knew I'd be slow. I had shoes ready for me, so I stripped my wetsuit and ran the 1/4 mile back. 

T1 - Crap Crap Crap Crap
Got to my bike a little winded from the run there, but quickly got on my cycling shoes, helmet, and sunglasses, grabbed my bike and made my way to Bike-Out. But on the way I saw I had a rear flat. I called out for bike tech support, but there was none (disorg. point!) . After a minute or two, one race staff member called me over and met me with a pump, but was told it was broken (DP!). Looking around and still not seeing any tech support around, I decided to just fix the flat myself. I got out my tools, took off my wheel, stripped the tube, and then turned to smile at the race photographer, who apparently thought that my mishap would make for a good photo-op. Now this is entirely my fault as well, but I've never actually used the CO2 inflater, so I messed that up. I ran back into Transition looking for any bike pumps that I could "borrow". I eventually saw one, but my tube wasn't holding air. Finally, bike tech arrived and helped me properly inflate my new tube, and I was back in the game. 
This pretty sums up my race.
T1 Time: 19:43

I kind of figured that at this point I wasn't going to catch up, so I decided to just treat it as a training day that I haven't really been able to have lately. The course ran partially through downtown Jersey City, complete with light rail tracks, plenty of potholes, and generally not so great road conditions.
Overall, fairly uneventful. I rode along, occasionally pushing a little but not going all out by any means. At one point, I saw a women 100 yards ahead of me wipe out after getting caught in a light rail track, so I stopped to offer any help, but she was up and walking, though visibly in pain. There wasn't anything I could really do, and she told me just keep going. After ensuring that there wasn't anything I could help with, I got moving again. Oh, and just to add a personal fiasco point, in my rush to change my tube, I had knocked my cadence/speed sensor out of alignment, so for the first 15 minutes or so my watch was constantly auto-pausing and resuming, until I managed to nudge it into proper place with my foot. This means I also had no way to really gauge how much farther I had to ride.
Bike Time: 50:50

T2 + Run - Too little too late
Now, I love the run portion of a Sprint race. I'm not super speedy over a long-course, but I can usually haul ass for at least a little bit. I got through T2 as quickly as I could after searching for my stuff (apparently other athletes had not racked their bikes properly, making it more difficult to find my own spot), My T2 time is for some reason not officially posted, but my watch has it at roughly 1:33. 
The run course was mostly out on the nearby streets. Weird disorganization point, the run was not closed to traffic. It was monitored by police sure, by runners were still getting passed by moving cars, making for an interesting and potentially unsafe situation. I was making good time, with my pace somewhere in the 7min/miles. I had opted not to bother wearing a HR monitor, since I figured I would just red-line the whole race so I went by feel. Approaching the finish line and Transition, I took a look at my watch and thought there must be a mistake, since I was only at a little over 2 miles. Turns out we had to actually run PAST the finish line, and back out on the quarter mile run to where Swim start was. From there, we had to do a couple extra loops and out-and-backs which the directors obviously threw in just to cover the distance. From the athlete perspective, this was stupid and annoying. I'm calling these disorganization points #24-25.
The quarter mile run back I tried to pick up the pace even more, and finish strong. I crossed the finish line, got my medal, and it was done. 
Run time:  Officially 24:31, but I've got 23:34 on my watch. I don't really know how to account for the full minute difference but I'll take a look at my GPS data later.

Post-Race food consisted of bagels and coffee... Yup that's about it. Honestly for such a small event, i don't really need a full spread, but I guess I'm used to local events having more local food sponsorship. Water bottles were also available, but it was getting pretty hot and the water was lukewarm. Not exactly desirable at the end of a race, but still welcome. 

Total Race time 1:56
What's really frustrating is that the race was so small, that if I had raced the same time, and NOT had to deal with my tire, I would have gotten on my AG podium for my first time ever. But alas it was not to be. Oh and Zach, he decided to blow his legs on a bike threshold testing the day before, so he decided to skip the race. At the very least...this means I beat him. So there's that. 


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