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A novel by Len Joy

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lake Havasu Triathlon - 2010

I competed in the Lake Havasu Triathlon on Saturday for the third year in a row. Two years ago, amidst rough waters, I missed a couple of buoys in the channel, which gave me a really good time for the swim, but also disqualified me. Last year, I managed to become the first person to ever get lost on the run course and ended up running an extra couple of miles and finishing last in my age group. But at least I finished.

I rode out to the race with my brother-in-law Tom and his son, Colin. When we arrived on Friday afternoon, the winds were gusting up to 30 mph. The lake had whitecaps. It didn’t look promising. But Saturday morning, the wind was gone and the water, although cold (about 61 degrees) was smooth. The wind increased later during the race, but overall the race conditions were very good.

This year I went around all the buoys and paced myself for a stronger finish. I was out of the water in less than 28 minutes, which was six minutes faster than the year before.

The bike course is challenging – generally uphill for the first half, with some side trips where the hills are relatively steep. Not hard to scale, just hard to make time on. Then on the return portion there is another side trip with very short, very steep hills. You have to hit those hills hard and gear down quickly to make it over them. I failed on the first mini-hill – had to walk my bike up the last ten yards – but after that I did well on the hills. It was a great feeling to complete that section because the last eight miles of the course is generally downhill with the wind. I finished strong and averaged 18 mph, which was 3 miles per hour faster than last year.

On the run course I felt good, but my right leg started to cramp, when I slowed down to grab a cup of water at the first aid station. I managed to keep running and decided to not disrupt my running rhythm by slowing down for any of the water stations.

I didn’t want to ruin my race by not being able to finish due to a leg cramp. I had hydrated well enough on the bike segment that I didn't have a need for any water on the Run course. I took it easy, running nine minute miles and finished with a time of two hours, fifty-one minutes.

I finished 3rd in my age group (out of six old-age survivors).  Tom finished 3rd in his age group for the Sprint race and Colin finished sixth in his age group (which has a lot more competitors that in the old guys groups).

It was a good race for me. I did a lot of things right, my fitness level was good and I made some nice improvements in both swim and bike. I need to find a drink supplement (maybe salt?) that will help me to avoid cramping on the run.

Next race: Tempe International – May 16, 2010 – Tempe, Arizona


Mary said...

Congrats, Len!
Thanks for encouraging me to read your blogpost with race details. Kudos on all of the improvements you made and lessons you learned.
Keep spinning,

Anonymous said...

thanks for the write up! I am currently getting ready for the Lake Havasu triathlon in 2011, see you there?