Monday, September 24, 2012

Toad Suck Tri 2012

Well here again is my never too late race report from the Toad Suck Tri on September 9th, 2012.

The Toad Suck Tri is an international distance triathlon put on by DLT Events in Conway, AR.  The swim is 1500 meters, the bike is just a little over 40k, and the run is a 10k.  Race site is located at Lake Beaverfork just a few miles North of Conway.

The international distance is race is now 3 years old and is held along with a sprint distance race that has been there for over 20 years.  The past three years the international distance race was held on Saturday and the sprint on Sunday.  This year they decided to have both races on Sunday. 

I woke up in the morning around 4:45 and ate a PB sandwich along with some OJ and coffee.  I headed out to the race site which is only 10 minutes from my house, win!  The weather was looking excellent for this race.  It was around 50F in the morning with high 80F later in the day with clear sunny skies.

I was going to count this as my "A" race for the year.  I've been working hard on the bike this year and figured that I could finish this race around 2:34 based on some pre-course riding.  If I did, this would be a drop in time over 9 minutes form the race last year.  

I arrived around 6:00 to find that it was still pretty empty for the Toad Suck Tri racks.  I was able to secure a good spot up front and got everything set up.  I was sipping on some gatorade pre race and about 7:00 had a gel before the swim which was scheduled to start at 7:25. 

The swim is a beach start before heading out to form a shape of house.  Last year, the swim was two loops of 750m course.  It was nice this year to have a one loop swim.   My goal for the swim was to swim about the same time as I did last year even though the race was wetsuit legal. 

As the swim is about to start, going to the first buoy was going to be difficult to site.  The sun was coming up directly in front of  the buoy.  Off we go, I know that since I won't be up front, I'll just site off everyone in front of me.  For me, the swim is always the most difficult part.  I still have to calm my mind and body when swimming and the first few hundred meters can be tough sometimes.  This was one of those days.  It took me until the first turn to begin to calm down.  I believe I started off a little to fast and swallowed water a couple of times.  Once the final straight came though I was able to get myself in a rhythm and fought on to finish the swim! 

Because I didn't wear a watch for the swim, I didn't know what my time was.  I could tell about half the bikes are left so it was time to ride.

2012 - 31:03 10/13 AG.
2011 - 31:34

I was able to get a 31 second improvement even though I wasn't comfortable with the swim and the swim wasn't wet suit legal.  I can say I'm really happy with that!

The Toad Suck bike course is a rolling course.  It has a nice uphills followed by good downhills.  If I were to compare it to Arkadelphia course, I may say it's a little tougher because you are having to constantly have short climbs and then downhill.  Whereas, the Arkadelphia course is uphill to the turn around and the downhill back. 

Last year during the bike I felt that I never got in a rhythm and couldn't push any power.  The goal this year was to push the pace and see what would happen on the run.

Riding out I was able to pass a lot of people that were faster swimmers than me.  I was feeling great heading to the turnaround.  From there, I knew the course is faster going back and was ready to up the pace just a little more.  The course uses Hwy 25 N and Burkett Flat Rd.  Well Burkett Flat Rd, has nice new pavement, but it can be kinda of tight with bikers and any cars that may come along.  As I was biking, back to Hwy 25, I came upon a car that was having to go slow and couldn't pass because of a slower cyclist.  Well, the person behind me deceided to pass me and the car.  I didn't know what the rules were but I didn't cross the yellow line and made the pass of the car also!

Heading back to transition, I was feeling great and ready to run.  The nutrition on the bike consisted of a 32oz bottle of water with a NuuN tablet and two gels.

2012 - 1:13:30, 4/13AG  20.5mph
2011 - 1:21:04

Seven and half minute improvement!  I knew the biking was paying off.  The test rides on the course gave the confidence to know about what I would ride and I was right where I wanted to be.

It had been awhile since I passed anyone on the bike, after coming back south to transition it started to get lighter as I passed a lot people.  The thing I love about the international distance is it gives you the chance to make up time that I lose in the swim.  The run and bike are long enough to make up huge gaps!  Off and running I go! 

The run is an out and back course.  It has a few rollers, with a climb just before the turn around and the after the turn around.  My plan was the pace easy the first half and then begin to push the pace at the end.  Going through the first 3 miles, I was feeling great and knew once I got up the last little climb it would be a great chance to push the pace.  I was only passed by one person during the run, but I was able to make the re-pass once I began to increase the speed until the end.  The mile paces are as follows 7:48, 7:55, 7:48, 7:59, 7:37, 7:28, and final .15 was 6:07! 

2012 - 47:26, 7:39min/mile, 5/13 AG
2011 - 48:10

A small improvement in the run, but the bike improvement really helped the overall time! 

2012 - 2:34:42, 6/13 AG, 25/91 Overall
2011 - 2:42:50
Full Results - Click Here

An 8 minute improvement over last year!  I'm glad to see that things are starting to come together.  I would say even with my swim that this was my best overall race yet.  My swim time was good considering the early trouble, the bike was excellent, and the run followed up.

Up next - Heber Springs Tri Oct 14.  Return to the Hill.  I had a tough bike here last year, I will improve this year!