My big weekend of racing was all set to go on the weekend of August 18th and 19th. I had registered for the Degray Olympic and Sprint races. The Olympic was to take place on Saturday and the sprint on Sunday.
Both races were to take place around the Spillway area of Lake Degray outside of Arkadelphia, AR. I decided that week that I would go ahead and stay in Arkadelphia the night before the Olympic race since the race site is about 1.5 hrs away. I drove down to Arkadelphia after work and checked into the Hampton Inn. Since I've never really stayed in Arkadelphia, this would give me the chance to try a little local restaurant in the area. The choice of the restaurant was Little Italy. I saw decent reviews and thought I would give the place a shot. It turned out to be a good place to eat pre-race. The garlic rolls that were served before dinner were excellent and the salad was good also. The seafood alfreado was ok. It large chucks of crab and shrimp, but was disappointed in the taste of scallops.
I headed to the race site after dinner to pick up my packet and then it was back to hotel for a little rest.
The Wash Out
I woke up around 4:45 for the race. I got some coffee going with the in-room coffee maker and hit the shower to wake up a little. The shower was then followed by a small breakfast which was a Cliff Bar and a banana. I usually don't eat too much before a race of Olympic or Sprint length. After this I decided to check the weather, and saw this!
I headed to the site and went to pick up my chip, but didn't really consider setting up transition because as soon as I picked up my chip it started to come down. It started to rain and thunder around 6am and with a 7am start things were not looking good.
I decided to head back to Conway and relax at home. Of course, by the time I got back to Conway, I had clear skies and was so pumped to do the race I had to do something, especially after the big dinner the night before! I chose to go to Beaverfork for a mini aqua bike. I was able to swim for 30 minutes and then did the CATS sprint bike course.
Now for the Race - Degray Sprint
With the race starting at 8am, I got up around 4:45 and was on the road by 5:30. I usually like to get there early, so that I have everything setup and ready. Also, allows me time to get a warm up swim in and just talk to people I know. The breakfast for the morning was another cliff bar, banana, coffee, and orange juice.
I was one of the first people there, so I was able to get a prime spot up front for the race. Easy to find, easy to get in/out and plenty of room since I was at the end of the rack!
I did about a 200 yard warm up swim and then got ready for the race to start!
On to the swim, a 500 yard swim, my worst part of any race! I've been working hard on improving this and only more experience will allow me to get better! Here is another attempt, at glory! I lined up on the far right side away from most of the crowd and start began. I'm feeling good and comfortable through the first 175 yards which is where the first turn is and realized that once I got there I would be in the pack and had trouble getting through the turn. I keep swimming and felt good throughout, but still my time came out a little slow!
After the 100 yard run to transition it's onto the bike! I had trouble getting clipped in right away, but eventually got going to the first hill of the day. The bike is 16 miles compared to the 13 miles for the Spillway Triathlon in June. This extra 3 miles adds another hill/downhill to overall course. With the first part uphill, I try to take it easy. After, the turnaround it's time to put on the speed. As I was heading back in, I had to avoid drafting because I had two people that would pass me, slow up, I would pass them get away for second get caught, and do again. Finally with about a mile to go, they speed off and I didn't want to catch them at that point. I was feeling good as I rolled into transition. Once, in transition, I had a little issue putting on my socks. I'm thinking I may go sockless for the next shorter race.
T2 - 1:00
Now it's my time to shine for the 3.5 mile run, the run is 1/2 mile longer for the Degray Sprint. The run is uphill for the first half before turning around heading back downhill. Again, the plan is to take it easy for the first half and increase the pace till the end. I start off feeling pretty good. About half way, I feel side stitch start to come on, but know that I can push through it. At this point, I have not caught up to anyone and was pretty much alone on the run course. At the turnaround, there was someone about 45 seconds again of me and another about 10 seconds behind me. I try to push the pace to catch the person in front of me, but to no avail! I was passed by 2 people which was disappointing, but I still felt good on the run.
Total Time: 1:25:33, AG 5/15, OAM: 30/117
1. Another strong bike on this day
2. While I felt good on the run, the run times appear to be pretty fast, shows some fast runners showed up
3. Still need to work on the swim, maybe try to start off faster and then settle into a pace
4. Work on transitions.
5. Run faster!
Up Next: Toad Suck Triathlon International Distance September 9th, Conway, AR