This race was as challenging as my 1/2IM. It challenging in a different way but it was tough.
Background - Quartermax is located in a beautiful location in the hills of Missouri just outside of St. Louis on a resort lake (Innsbrook) near Wright City. The lake is beautiful and it is just a really neat place. One of the things that makes it so scenic is the hills. Hills are good for vacation - challenging for triathlons. Although a challenge, my race went great.
Here are my thoughts:
Goals Vs Actual
Swim: 18:00 minutes: Actual was 24:00 minutes, I thought I was swimming well and although the water temp was 85 degrees + it was not even close to being wetsuit legal. I was fully prepped for that so no big surprise race morning. I thought I swam really well and my time doesn not reflect it. Only hit a couple times, was able to draft for a little bit and it was a solid swim eventhough my time doesnt' reflect it. Many people thought the swim was long but no complaints, we all raced the same course so it is what it is.
T1: 3:00 minutes: 2:55 actual. Tranistion was a good ways from the swim up a long hill. This time was under goal.
Bike: 1 hour:20 min Goal : Actual 1:19:20 rate 21.2 MPH I am very please with this considering the hills. This is one of the hilliest rides I have ever done in training or racing. There was approx 2300 feet of climbing in 28 miles and relatively that is a lot (you can laugh now Montoya) - Mike is a buddy of mine who just did St. George IM - his nickname is Mighty because of the way he climbs. For the rest of you, this is a lot, for Mike - read on once you are done laughing.
T2: 2:00 min : 1:11 (seemed efficient but always room to improve)
Run: 54 minutes (an okay run, this takes the hills into account): Actual - 52:29 pace 8:24. My run felt really good and it was in the shade for most of the time on a rock road. It was hillier than the bike and if it would have been in the sun instead of the shade it would have been brutal.
Total: 2 hours: 37 min goal vs. actual 2:39.56 I am very please with this result.
Overall I had a great race. I really thought I rocked the swim but knew I was in the water too long but technique and “feel” was good. I don’t see how I lost 6 minutes off of goal but of the three disciplines this was the least of my focus from a timing goal standpoint. As I prep for my longer races the swim time becomes even less important since it represents a fraction of the overall race time. This race was to focus, check fitness, race as hard as possible without blowing up my legs on the bike destroying my run. I pushed pretty hard on the bike. This was on purpose to gauge my legs on the run after pushing a little too much on the bike. I didn’t hammer it but I know there were times that I made the decision to be aggressive on the hills. My actually power (by my meter) that I was tracking during the race was showing 195 watts so that was on target. As a side note, I passed a fellow TriSmart athlete (Ben) with about 4 miles left on the bike course. The fact he swam several minutes faster than me and I was able to catch him on the bike was a positive. The negative comes when he passed me at the first water stop on the run and although I kept the spacing between us for a few miles I couldn't catch him. As a more light note during the race. I had my power meter alert set if I dropped below 200 watts to alarm(it sound like what I would think a ray gun would sound like – really annoying). It was beeping a lot especially on the downhills. At one point, a guy asked me “is that your cell phone???” I of course put that thought out of his mind with a “Ha, Hell no, power meter” For those of you that don't do triathlons it is amazing that you always end up riding with a group that paces at your speed so many times, you will ride next to or around the same few people almost the entire ride. The poor guys riding around me were well aware when I wasn't pushing the power that I needed to, my "ray gun" let everyone know.
My legs felt good on the run. I felt like my technique was solid and was able to keep my pacing. It was pretty hilly so pacing is relative so I rarely looked at my watch for pace since there were so little flats. There was actually 1500 feet of climbing on the 6 mile run so compare that with the bike and you will see how difficult that was.
This is a great event and now I understand why this is so many athlete's "A" race for the year. Very Very challenging and I will be recovering for a few days for sure and most importantly, I will be back next year.