Race Report by Zach Jones
Tritonman: the first race of the racing season. To be honest I came in pretty confident. I’d been working consistently hard since winter camp and had a just passed a month-long streak of no-days-off. I’d also seen some decent progress on my cruise intervals (10s PR /mi avg.) and can feel myself dipping closer and closer to a 1:20 FPSO. I’m also super happy that from mid-December until this week, I maintained at least 50 miles on the bike and 5-8 hrs total/week. And so the reality of the race had both some good and bad elements. However, there weren’t a lot of surprises about what happened out there and the directions I need to take to have a killer Stanford race. So let’s launch into it then. I don’t have the comparative data for this like I did in Davis and apparently the distances were far from standard so pace discussions are also a bit limited. I can see what strava picked up from people and see. But basically I’ll walk through each event and then talk about what I did well and what I shouls focus on in the coming weeks.
Swim– “The confused leg”: Time: 11:09, Rank: 60. The swim returned to being my relatively fastest leg of a triathlon which is still a little mysterious but hey I’ll take it. This was the first race where I took drafting on the swim pretty seriously to a point where I always made sure I was in someone’s bubbles. My only issue was I got a little caught up in that, to a point that my sighting was pretty minimal, which was a problem when I overshot the turnaround buoy (whoops). I’m pretty happy with my swimming. I’ve trained well in it and have hit over 11K the past two weeks so that seems like plenty of progress. The best things to do would be stuff best practiced in races—signing, pack swimming, drafting. I could stay to throw in the wetsuit for a quick pre-race swim.
Bike– “The crowded leg” Time: 35:11, Rank: 70. So TT bikes really are pretty cool. It was really after Davis when I started the hunt for TT bikes and that hunt finally ended last week when I received my 2018 Specialized Shiv. I was pretty nervous to ride it. I hadn’t done much aero work and didn’t really have a experience in a TT position but I think it came surprisingly well to me. I think it was a combination of my MTB history making me comfortable riding in a standing/out of saddle position and my running background. I felt good throughout the bike and probably could’ve gone quicker but that might be debatable. The key to future success on the bike is simple— practice on the TT! Trainer and Bay Trail. Work on the fast stuff, learn what it feels like and what “burn” I can handle on a continuous ride like that. But I can take some enjoyment in the fact that my biking consistency has made this one of my better if not my best bike legs to date. I love ya, Shiv!
Run– “The ‘why are his shoes like that?’ Leg”: Time: 19:16, Rank: 73. I basically just couldn’t put my shoes on because I couldn’t fit my cold dead-fish feet into the narrow pockets of my racing flats. So the lesson there is simple– don’t do that anymore. The legs felt fresh though and the only thing I want to do more of in the future is longer, endurance runs, just so the legs have a better feel for what it is like to run with an hour+ of exercise already beneath them.
Summary: This race was all about transitions. For one, my literal transitions were really bad and fixing them could shave actual minutes from my races in the future. But the race was also about more figurative transitions– the transitions it takes to move from someone who swims, bike and runs for fun to someone who tries to compete in triathlons. This includes transitions for one, but also familiarity and skill on the TT, a having the endurance to get through an entire race. I hope to apply all of these lessons next week at Stanford!