Portland Rev3 Half Race Report
When I first recived the great news that I was selected to be on the Revolution 3 Triathlon Team, the Portland Half was the race I was looking forward to the most. There are a few reasons for this: 1) I always wanted to visit the Northwest because of my running background...wonderful trails and the lure of Oregon distance running, 2) Portland is known for their craft beer scene (largest number of microbeweries per capita in Portland), and 3) challenging and beautiful bike course at the foothills of Mt. Hood.
Now, you're probably thinking...heck, this kid is from Florida, why would he want to climb and descend? Well, that is true, I'm not much of a climber and the descents were the demise of my race (but I'll get to that later).
Arriving in Portland:
|First beer in Portland|
I wanted to get in a bike and run. I got in a 30 mile ride along the river to Sauvie Island and back. Felt ok, my powertap crapped out on me because of low battery but it was nice to just open the legs up. Abby and I then went up the trails in Forest Park. I mean come on, when in Oregon, you have to run some trails. We ran the Leif Erikson trail (gravel trail that was pretty much a steady incline). Got in just under an hour run, about 8 miles. It felt great to just be able to run trails in the middle of the afternoon and not feel like you're losing gallons of water. Now, you might be wondering...damn 30 mile ride and 8 mile run two days before a race. Yes, normally Friday is my day off, but since Thursday was my travel day that was my rest day; plus recently I signed up for my first full distance triatlon...all 140.6 miles of it, so I needed to keep the training going and use this race as a training race (which makes Abby happy because then I have no expectations and I won't be as crazy the days before the race...hence more beer!) Also, on Friday we drove the bike the course. The bike course was the talk of the race. Some steep climbs and fast, technical descents. The course had everything...first portion mostly flat, then you get into the climbs and descents, a few rollers mixed in at the top, then last portion was flat again. Very fair course and I don't think it favors one cyclist over another. The quote of the day: "this course is a beast"-Abby.
Saturday (day before race):
This year so far has been weird. It seems that every race there is something that goes wrong. Rev3 Knoxville: forgot my computer and goggles. Clermont Olympic: was in the blah funk. Eagleman 70.3: my seat clamp busted and had to search long and far for a good bike shop. What about Portland? As mentioned before, my powertap crapped out, so had to find a Batteries Plus and then find a bike shop to open up the powermeter because I forgot my wrench. After 2 bike shops, I got the batteries replaced and we were behind schedule to get to athlete check-in at Blue Lake Regional Park (which is about 15-20 minute drive from downtown).
|Thanks Rachelle for showing me the|
Rev3 "gang" sign...RevItUp
That night we had a get together at Alisa's home to for some Rev3 team action, pizza, and beer. It was so awesome to actually meet some of my Rev3 teammates in person! Thanks so much for Alisa and her husband, Justin, to have us over. Great to meet Jordan, Heidi, Erin, and Alex. Alex, Erin, and Justin competed as a relay team for the olympic distance (1st place). Heidi finished 1st in AG and 3rd overall female in the olympic! Jordan, also racing the olympic, had a huge day by taking 2nd in AG and 5th overall!
Sunday (Race Day!!)
One of the best part of racing in the north is that it's freaking light out at 5:30 in the morning! No more head lights strapped to your hat or blind searching for a gel in your bag. We woke up at 5:10. I went down to the pool to loosen up a little. I felt I needed some more time in the pool since I haven't swam since the 4000 yards the day before we left with Agnese (swim extraordinaire). It was nice just to be alone for a few minutes to focus at the job in hand. A little hot tube action didn't hurt either. We got to the park and it was smooth sailing. I guess we got there just in time because there was no wait to get in and our parking was rockstar! Made my way to transition to set up (becoming a pro at this...in and out in about 15 minutes [insert joke here]). I made my way to the pro's transition and tried to eves drop on any conversations about the course. Only thing I heard was Rappstar mentioning that some people might be over looking the flats because there is still about 20 miles of flat.
Headed back to the car to stretch and warm up with a little jog. I like to always stay clear from the masses during races. I do my own thing and it works for me.
|Rocking the Rev3 kit with|
SBR Trislide and Helix
Now it was time to find some people to do the work, so spotting ahead I would get on some guys feet until I felt the pace was too slow and then sprint forward to find someone else...that's right I was a leach. Once I made the first turn I found someone that was perfect and stayed with him until he dropped me at the last turn bouy. I was fine with that because he made the swim feel shorter since I was focused on his feet. In actuality, the swim was long and I came out just under 32 minutes at 31:56. I can't say I was disappointed at that moment...more like content. After the fact, when I found out that pro Meredith Kessler came out just under 29 minutes and at Eagleman she was out just under 24 minutes, where I did 28:20, my 32 minutes seem to be spot on and was the 3rd fastest swim in my age group.
|Heading to T1|
A simple run up concrete and grass to get to transition. Generally I can make up some time on people. I made out of T1 in 1:45, which I feel is great given that I had a wetsuit to take off and it was my 2nd time taking the Helix off during a race.
The Bike: (reason why this race course is awesome)
Recenntly I haven't ridden that great. My power numbers seem to be lower than previous months of traning and during Eagleman I finished with 224 NP but averaged 25 mph. So, even during the race when I would see my power in the 220's but riding 25-26 mph, I was like heck why do I need to reach my power numbers of 235-240. But even during traning, it seems my numbers are 5-10% lower then it should be. It could be from the increase in training load for Louisville or I'm losing power. Not sure. Any hoozle, I wanted to be a lot smarter on this bike course than I was at Knoxville. My power graph at Knoxville had more ups and downs than Lindsey Lohan at a New York club...wait is she clean now, oh well. So the first 1/4 of the course is mostly flats, I tried to go out conservative in the 210-220 watt range, with below 200 on the slight downhills. When I got to the meat of the course, I would try to hold 260-280 watts on the climbs and not try to kill the quads too much. And then the last 1/4 of mostly flats would be in the 230-240 range. The course had 3 major climbs that I considered to be rough with multiple switchbacks and changing grade percentages. I swapped out my 25-11 cassette for a 27-12 thanks to Jack Rich from Tempo Bikes! Top notch staff at Tempo. Thanks again Jack.
|Near end of bike course with tail wind|
|Nearing finish...bloody hip!|
Nutrition on the bike was simple: mixed in 4 Powerbar gels (Kona and Berry) into 2 water bottles with water [440 calories] + 1 gel of Powerbar Latte (110 cal) + 16 oz of gatorade perform (100 calories) = 650 calories total on bike
2:43 (225 NP) [Same power as Eagleman which I did 2:17...kind of funny and interesting]
22nd Overall (lost 19 spots!)
|Power graph from bike|
Even simpiler than T1, flew off the bike and found that my legs felt like they did at Eagleman where I died on the run so I was a little worried. Got to my Pearl Izumi ISO Transition shoes (actually the first tri I got to wear them...a little hesitant for 13.1 miles, but oh well!) I did wear my Swiftwick socks for a little insurance. I've done plenty of runs with my ISO's barefoot, but nothing over 6-7 miles. I grabbed my garmin and orange hat (gift from the legend Dr. King) and headed out. [Note: King is my running buddy and coaching guru for Sarasota High Cross Country.]
|Into the first mile|
|Heading out after first 4 miles|
I was running angry! It was hard getting below 7 min pace. I think I got just a couple miles at 7, but I worked hard getting in the 6:50's. I know it's only 10 seconds but mentally those 10 seconds make you more confident. I got to the turn around and what a suprise...team mate Rachelle Little (working the timing for the race) was right there, giving me more encouragements that got me moving faster.
The way back is always glorious since you can smell the finish and getting nods and motivation from other racers. With 2 miles left I did some calculations and realized I could break 1:30, so I channeled my best Dr. King sayisms and started to push harder. I got to one guy that had cramps and started stretching and then on the last mile I passed another runner.
|Heading home...less then a mile|
|Look at those PI ISO's|
12th Overall (moved up 10 spots!)
5th AG (moved up 2 spots!)
|Very pleased with race...probably|
from the PR run.
Now to the med tent to get my cuts cleaned up and bandaged.
|Wish I could have taken a shower in saline solution...|
aka aqueous NaCl. Yes...I'm a nerd.
|All better...Abby was itching to get in|
and do it herself but thank you
medical tent volunteers.
5th AG (I actually get a 3rd place AG award because the top 2 finishers were in my age group)
I was very pleased with this race. I didn't have a taper so had little expectations, which generally a race will go well because you're not over analyzing everything and putting unwanted pressure on yourself.
I love how Rev3 put the course together. I thought it was a fair but tough course. The bike course had every element with flats, hills, and rollers. The run had some undulations, but pretty flat. The course tested everything a triathlete has.
I would like to thank everyone that can make this possible with Abby, Revolution 3 Triathlon, Pearl Izumi, Powerbar, SBR Sports, NormaTech, Blue Seventy, Swiftwick Socks, and Tempo Cyclery
More to come about our shenanigans after the race in Mt. Hood....(camping, fire, and beer)