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If there was ever a race to do based on name alone, this would be it. I mean – really – how many races have the ASS word not once – but TWICE in name of the race? The RumpASS in BumpASS. Brilliant!
Now, the race is actually held in Bumpass, VA (which, btw, seems like a good time to point out the folks in these parts like having ass in their town names – for example – Manassas…which I just simply call Man’s Ass). This little town (Bumpass) is about 90 minutes south of Washington DC on the shores of Lake Anna. This is the same lake that I race at early season last year (though different race), as well as the same lake that The Girl and I went out on our first bike ride together…and got horribly lost…and ended up going 55 miles instead of the planned 15.
Since we had our little RV setup the night before, the race morning commute was pretty easy. Just to re-iterate how close we were, I refer to the satellite imagery:
I got into the transition area pretty quickly and got to work setting up my little station. It was a pretty clean setup with just the core essentials present. I tossed my transition bag to the side of transition along the fence (which is permitted and recommended btw).
Meanwhile, everyone else got busy bumbling around trying to take care of last minute items. I should point out that the race started at 10AM…which is pretty sweet as far as keeping things nice and relaxing.
From there it was off to the swim area for the swim start…which looks identical to the below:
I went ahead and got my wetsuit on and kerplunked myself into the nice ‘warm’ 66*F waters to get in about a 10 minute warm-up. As I always mention, getting into the water AHEAD of your race wave is absolutely critical to ensuring a successful swim start. Even if you don’t swim anywhere at all, just getting your body temperature re-adjusted is important.
At almost 10:00AM on the dot the race director counted down and the buzzer went off for the first wave…which included me. I started on the front line and that seemed to work moderately well. I wasn’t swam over very much…but I was very much out-swam.
I noticed it about 100 yards into the swim during one of the sighting strokes. I was way the heck back from the leaders. Now, it’s no secret my level of swim ability is sorta low, but I was getting pummeled here from a pace standpoint. And while there was a bit of chop – I actually do BETTER than average in rough waters – see my crazy Rhode Island 70.3 swim as proof of that.
Nonetheless, I kept on plodding along. I was frequently wandering off course and not quite on the best line. In general it just wasn’t a very good swim for me. Not quite sure why, as I had some rockin’ fast times on Thursday evening in the pool in the wetsuit – like almost sub-6 minutes for 500 yards. I was pretty happy with that time. :-/
Anyway, I eventually found land again, and climbed out over the embankment and onto the grass for the very short run into transition.
My total swim time…26:20. Ouch.
My transition to bike wasn’t horrible though, but wasn’t as fast as it could have been either. I did make a very conscious decision to forgo the shoes on the pedals and flying mount due to the start line configuration. The mount/dismount line was directly into an incline riddled with spray-painted potholes – which were just ripe for crash and burn. In fact, later when I would come into transition off the bike, the guy directly in front of me front flipped his bike trying to dismount.
T1 time: 1:37
I got up to pace relatively quickly on the bike, just chugging along holding just under 300w – right on race plan. I was moving pretty quickly despite the occasional gust of wind, but my only real focus was holding the wattages on the race plan. One interesting side note to be on the pointy end of the race pack is that it’s actually kinda lonely from a race standpoint. Meaning, when you’re back a few waves you have a lot of people you can target and try and catch up to. But when you’re both the first wave, and out of the water relatively quickly, there’s just not many peeps out there on the bike course – and those that are, are well spread out.
So the majority of the first loop of the rolling course was spent by myself, with only a few early passes of folks that were better swimmers than I.
The second loop however is where some of the action started. By this point almost everyone was out of the water and on the bike, so there was some 600 people out in front of me on the loop – providing plenty of motivation to keep on pushing.
The race plan called for a slight bump in wattage to just over 300w for the last 10 miles, so I dutifully did that. Though, my legs were starting to fall apart a bit, and I couldn’t maintain my heart rate as high I needed it to be. Sorta odd. I think relatively poor nutrition the day prior was having an impact here.
But, I was at least pacing a number of people…and other random things. At one point a nasty looking tractor rolled out onto the road in front of me. Lots of blades and things that could easily make me look like a canister of neatly cut Pringles. He eventually pulled over a bit ahead of me and I was able to legally pass him (on the left, not the right, and not crossing the line). The problem was he wasn’t done yet being a menace to my race.
That tractor decided to start chasing me a bit, which resulted in some of the highest heart rates and power numbers of the race. for example, I defer you to the chart below:
See that little section above – the max wattage there is approaching 1,000 watts – at 854 watts. I was really really really trying to ensure I could beat this tractor up that hill. I know if I could make it to the top of the hill, that I could gain a big enough of a lead going back down the other side to make it hard for him to catch me (and disrupt my race).
It’s right about this time that the camera guy happened to show up at the top of the hill. Unfortunately, he missed the shot of me (actually I know he got it cause I talked to him after the race, I just can’t find it in lost and found, or it came out bad afterall) – nonetheless, you can see me in the background (in red circle) struggling to stay ahead of the monster-tractor.
Anyway, the rest of the bike was fairly bland in comparison. My heart rates were low, but my overall power numbers were significantly higher – and I blew away my power numbers from my last Olympic distance race last fall by more than 40w. Coach put together this quick little comparison below using Training Peaks.
Final time on the bike (as reported by race officials) was 1:03:01, which adjusted for the actual length of the course is 23MPH. I think the course was a tad bit short – about a mile I’d guess though.
I just wish I was feeling less exhausted and would have been able to sustain the HR zones I should have been for the bike, would have been much faster.
T2 was accomplished in a respectable 49 seconds – the fastest of the day was only 9 seconds faster.
I was theoretically looking forward to the run, as I was sorta hoping to try and break the sub-6 barrier for the first time in a triathlon 10K. And things started off pretty promising, the first 10-12 minutes were at 6:06/mile average, which included the semi-steep climb out of transition and up into the woods running across tree limbs. So I was happy with that.
From there though things started to unravel a bit. My HR was a good solid 10-15 BPM off of where it should have been (which was higher btw). And my paces started to dramatically fall apart. It was as if I just ran out of battery. Kaput.
My paces stared dropping pretty significantly, down into the high 6’s – far from what I should have been running on this rolling course. Though I would say the course is more difficult than simple elevation charts would lead you to believe, you see see the rollers below – up and down as it turns off to the left in the distance:
The turnaround for the first portion of the loop was placed nicely up the hill below, just beyond the water stop:
I made it back from the first out and back section and a blog reader shouted out my name – which took a moment to realize they were yelling my name, and then another moment to figure out why, and where it was coming from. I appreciate the cheers!
(Minor side note to photographers: When I buy your photo – like above – please don’t put your logos on it unless I ask for it, it’s sorta really annoying. I guess I need to add that to my rant post.)
From there it was back out across the rolling section. By this point a number of folks were coming of the bike, which did again provide some encouragement to try and track folks down. Once I got to the outer turnaround again I saw the Girl almost to the same turnaround on her first loop. So that was good!
By time I hit mile 5 I was a bit more happy with the situation, mostly because I was almost done. At around mile 5.5 another guy in my age group made a pass by me. He was running just slightly faster than I was.
At this point I had a rough count on who was ahead, but wasn’t exactly sure – and really didn’t want to give up a podium spot. So, I latched on – you can see the bump in HR’s below where the black line is:
My hope was that if I could hang with him until the trees (which was a quarter mile wooded section on trails), I could mentally hang with him to the finish. At which point I could probably stomach an all out sprint.
We got to the trees successfully, without him making any sudden moves, and the pace wasn’t too bad once I latched on. It was certainly causing my HR to climb, but I was able to hold. And he wasn’t really increasing the pace any, it was staying about constant. So life was good.
Meanwhile I was plotting my final sprint. It really boiled down to one question: Could he sprint? Cause I know I sure as hell can’t. I was also careful to keep him just a foot or two ahead of me, I didn’t want him to make any surprise moves and pass me. In my mind, recovering from a sudden pass is incredibly difficult.
As we cleared the trees we had a downward section to navigate before hitting the final couple hundred yards to the finish. This may be a good time to point out that at the end of every hill and interval workout I do, Coach has me run 4x200m at full tilt. So, I’m really actually quite proficient at running 200m after a long workout. Though, that still didn’t answer whether or not he could sprint.
So, just as we hit the last ditch/obstacle thing and were almost out of the clearing but still going downhill I went for it, and simply ran like a bat out of hell. The area I started was about where the trees were. You can see the blue line above in the pace graph skyrocket to 3:18/mile.
I ran like there was no tomorrow all the way in. By time I got to about the point below, I looked back and realized he was nowhere to be found.
Success! I had ditched him. I got to the finish by myself…and about 10 seconds later…completely and totally lost my lunch. And my breakfast. And everything else in between.
The ground below along the fence is now well watered…and fertilized.
But it was worth it. 🙂
Run time: 40:30
Swim: 26:20 (10th in AG, 72nd overall split…ouch) T1: 1:37 Bike: 1:03:01 (3rd in AG, 10th overall bike split) T2: 0:49 Run: 40:30 (2nd in AG, 16th overall)
Done: 2:12:15 (2nd in AG, 18th OA)
After a quick check of the first page of results, it looked like it might be good enough for an age group podium finish.
And sure enough, a bit later – the announced the Men’s 25-29 age group awards – putting me in 2nd place within my AG (after they removed the top 3 finishers).
We gots ourselves some nice big beer mugs out of it – complete with the Rumpass in Bumpass log on it:
Oh, and as for the Girl…she gots herself a beer mug too:
From there, it was back to the RV just behind the bushes…to relax…and ponder what to put in my mug.
So all in all, not a bad way to start off the outdoor triathlon season for the year. Plus, it was a PR by about 30 seconds or so. The one thing I really like about these shorter races is that you’re whole year isn’t tied up in one single event. I’ve got another race in three weeks (Rev3 Knoxville), and I’ll be able to take all my lessons learned from this event (Nutrition day before, less navigational charting on swim) and apply them there to hopefully get things really kicked into gear.
Oh – and lastly – thanks to everyone over the course of the weekend who stopped by or said Hello – it’s pretty amazing how many people out there read my little slice of the world. Glad to be able to put some faces to names and hear how your races went. And from the conversations, it sounds like things generally went pretty well for everyone. Woot!
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