Tiger Tri – Post Race Report
Greetings All! What a terrific race Tiger Tri is! Great weather, beautiful lake and this time great friends and a great finish!
Yes indeed! We had awesome weather for the race compared to 2006 where we saw the temps hit over 100 degrees! This year it was a pleasant 60 in the morning and maybe 80 at the end. Very nice.
My wife & I traveled up on Friday afternoon (Ugh..going up Division was a nightmare at noon!) and arrived in Colville around 2:30. We checked into our hotel at Benny’s Colvile Inn, which was worth the $68 bucks just to see the lobby full of mounted fish and other oddities that Benny himself has caught all over the world. Very impressive! (Just sent him an email and if he has a web site I’ll post it here).
After a few errands around the town and a great meal at Tony’s Pizza and it was great! Not just another pizza place but a real Italian experience with great food and a good value with a great wait staff. The outside cafe is pretty amazing as you can watch this gigantic 10 or 12 story “A” frame type wood mover with a gigantic “Claw” that picks up the wood right off the truck and puts them in a huge pile. Very entertaining. My wife & I ate there for dinner and returned with Travis and his wife for lunch after the race. Mmmmm Mmmmmm Good!
So race morning I awoke at 5:15 without the help of an alarm. (Well, I set it, but I missed additional setting to get it to work…duh!). Walked over to the lobby of the hotel and had two large bowls of oatmeal and some toast (No butter, Steve!), a banana and two cups of coffee and three large glasses of water. (Can you say slosh slosh?) I met a couple there and the husband who works at Eastern was doing the race. I asked if they had room in their car as my wife was going to try and come up later. So they said sure. So I got to ride up to the race in a Prius. Wow! That was a neat experience. I’d never been in a car where you get in, push in the key and nothing happens. (Well, I have had that experience but usually it wasn’t pleasant) He just took this little tiny gearshift on the dash and put it in reverse and the next thing I knew, we were moving. Very cool!
Got up to the race site and setup my T1 transition. My number was 29 and the bike locations were all numbered and my was right by the bike exit….perfect! I thew my stuff down, had my morning constitutional, and then went to see the lake. There was steam coming off the lake as the morning air up at 3200 feet was very cold. In fact I was nervous about just wearing my jersey. I started asking around and everyone said, don’t worry when you come out of the water it will have warmed up considerably, and they were right!
The night before I had gone up to gather my race packet and meet Travis and his wife from my Saturday morning running group and they just happened to have been sitting with a couple of other friends of mine, Anne and Kathleen from O’Doherty’s during the pasta feed. What an amazingly small world we live in. They were all sitting there chatting about the race and one of them asked if they had any other friends up here racing and Travis mentioned he knew me and Anne said “Hey…I know that guy!”. I had just done an adventure race with Anne and Kathleen in Newman Lake the Sunday before and Travis had just done a full marathon on the same Sunday, not to mention removing the roof from a house. What are we, nuts?
Anyway, back to the race: After checking out the lake I went back to the transition area and finished setting up my area. The sun was just starting to strain through the trees and took a little nip off the temperature so I knew it would be just fine when we started the bike portion of the race. As I started to look around there was “Bob”. Bob Massie is an old timer (yes, older than me!) that I have seen at everyone of my races. He’s 69 and runs everything! Half Marathons, Tri’s of all sizes, basically any race, any time. I asked him why he runs so much and he said, “Well I’m afraid if I stop, I’ll die!”. Go ahead, Google his name along with Spokane and you’ll find him in race after race after race. Very cool.
Well, to get back to the race: The gun went off at 8:00 AM on the nose and all of the male swimmers took off including me. However, I have learned a bit this year and I was sort of in the back of the pack and carefully started swimming with my head out of the water. This allowed me to watch what was going on and to avoid some of the jostling that always happens at the start of a swim. My wife was nervous about the whole race and especially the swim and was calling to me before the start, “Paul, remember, relax!”. I was relaxed and I knew I would be fine.
You see two years ago when I did this race I took a gel just before the swim and I didn’t notice that it contained caffeine and it sent my heart rate racing and the entire swim, bike & run I was unable to get my breath and at one point I almost blacked out during the bike. But at the time we didn’t know what was happening. So this time my wife wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again, so she was making sure I was relaxed and that I hadn’t taken a gel.
So off we went into the water and I was relaxed and being careful not to go out too fast and to keep the orange buoy in site buy raising my head every 7th stroke or so. It was a little difficult to see the buoy as the sun was hitting the water at such an angle that sometimes all I could see was shimmering diamonds on the water. But as I got closer to it I could see better and it seemed in no time I was around it. But as I turned the corner for the long side of the triangle a swimmer on my right started bumping into me. So I kept going and he kept bumping me. I did a sight stroke and I was right on target but he kept bumping. So I reached over with my left hand and pushed him away and as I did his arm came down on mine and knocked my very expensive watch off and down into the water it sank. DANG! (Well, that might not be what I said but since I was under water maybe God didn’t hear me…?) So somewhere on the bottom of Gillette Lake lies a $5.00 Walmart watch. May it rest in peace.
My swim the rest of the way in was somewhat uneventful and I felt okay, however, near the end I had to stop and take my goggles off as I was unable to see the finish line. It was a large white blow up finish arch like most races have but my goggles were fogging up and I was struggling to keep on target. I came out of the water in 20:54 which was better than my predicted time of 25:00. So on to T1:
Sock Sock, Shoe Shoe, Jersey, Glasses, Helmet, GO! Wait!! Don’t forget the bike! Man, ever since “TheAgeGrouper.Com” guys gave me that mantra my transition times have improved a lot! The T1 transition time was 3:05 which included removing my wet suit so although I probably could have done it a little faster (I took some time to dry my face and feet and then clean my glasses..next time do the glasses before the swim) I felt I was very smooth and even remembered to start my Garmin.
The bike portion of the event is always my weakest (not that my swim is any great shakes either) but I had already planned the entire 28 miles out in my head earlier in the week and then solidified it the night before by driving it. I took the elevation chart (Click here then scroll down) and then attempted to remember where the up and down hill sections started and ended so I knew when to push and when to recover. I don’t know if it helped but it helped to pass the time as I flew down the hills and around the corners. My wife was so nervous about the corners she followed me down the 28 miles and would rush ahead and setup the video camera and video tape me flying down the road, or in some cases, struggling up the hills all the time yelling out the passenger window as she passed me, “Be careful Hon!”.
The bike portion really did seem to fly by and the next thing I knew I was flying down the last hill where I could see the high school in the distance where the run was to start. So as I was heading down the hill I took the time to get up off the saddle and stretch my calf’s and do a high cadence to help get the lactic acid out of my legs. Not sure if it helped but it did feel good to change positions before I hopped off the bike.
I finished the bike in 1:24:09 for 28 miles for a pace of 19.96 MPH. Normally I don’t get close to 19 MPH but since there was so much down hill it was pretty easy. Well, okay, not easy but easier than normal.
The run I was disappointed in, which normally is my strongest portion of a tri. I will admit that I hadn’t really run much prior to the race as I had done the adventure race on Sunday and that took a lot out of me and I was so nervous about the swim that I spent most of my training time in the pool rather than running. So my T2 time was 1:05 which was okay but I’ve done better. Took off from the transition area and my legs felt like they normally do after getting off a bike…I could feel them, but actually they didn’t feel as bad. So I just shorten my stride and allowed them to get used to running and to try and settle into a normal pace. I was hoping for an 8:00 mpm pace but as I was getting ready for the race a couple of days before I wished I had projected my pace between 8:15 & 8:30 as I’m always much slower during a tri. And this proved to be true for this one as my time was 58:54 for an 8:23 mpm pace. One thing I noticed during the run was that I felt like I had over hydrated as my stomach felt bloated and I did have to ah..well, you know…use the restroom pretty badly. So around the 2 1/2 mile marker there was a bathroom next to the golf course so just like last time 2 years ago I stopped in and used the facilities. After that I felt better and by mile 4 I felt I had my stride back. In fact I was passing people right and left and that made me feel pretty good. (After the race one guy said, “Man you passed me like I was standing still!”. I said, “Well, just like a horse I smelled water and wanted to get to the barn as quick as I could!”).
The finish line is actually on the high school track so you pass in front of the high school, go up a pretty good sized hill (well, at that point in the race ANY sized hill seemed pretty big!) and then down onto the track where the crowds went crazy standing and shouting my name, “Go PAUL, GO PAUL!!!! You’re the MAN!!!!!!”. Oh wait, maybe that was just in my head. Anyway, I was able to limp in without anyone coming in from behind me and passing (I always hate when someone tries to do that) and I felt pretty darn good. I mean I wasn’t ready to out and do it all again, but I felt I still had something left in the tank which is how I like to finish.
I walked around for a while, got my massage (IF you don’t do anything in a race get a massage right after you finish as it helps with recovery!!) and Sandy came by with the camera and got me laying down table. Not the best look for a triathlete! Afterwards we went to “Tony’s Pizza” and lunch with Travis and his wife and had a wonderful end to a wonderful race.
I highly recommend this race to anyone who likes to swim in a beautiful clear cool lake and fly down hills in beautiful surroundings and you don’t mind a little heat on the run.
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