Rec Plex Fall Triathlon – October 9th, 2005

When I had found out the Rec Plex would be having a fall triathlon this year, I had decided I would do it as a tune up for the Florida Ironman. So when I signed up, I signed up for the elite division which does the race twice, the person with the lowest combined time wins. However, by the time the race got here I had withdrawn from the Ironman, my Achilles were hurt, and it was supposed to be really cold on the morning of the race, needless to say I wasn’t looking forward to doing the Rec Plex Triathlon…I had spent the weekend hanging out in St. Louis with my girlfriend Nikki Reed, visiting her friends and family and on race morning we left her parent’s house around 5am. The morning air felt frigid, temperatures in the lower 40’s. We were both ready to get this thing over, both the triathlon and the season…

The elite competitors start the triathlon first, I had been slated to be the first in the water, but the spring winner Shawn O’neal had asked the race director to be first making me the second in the water. I knew Shawn would be faster in the water as well as on the bike; my only hope was to beat him substantially on the run.

Normally in the Rec Plex I’ve started towards the back in the swim, so it was strange not to be catching and passing people. I figured that some of the people behind me would catch me, but I didn’t get caught at all and had a decent swim, 9:02. I hadn’t been swimming since NEMO except maybe a couple of times so I was surprised I swam faster than in June.

Heading out the door into the transition area made me realize how miserable the bike was going to be. I had laid a jacket, pants, and gloves out by my bike and it took me a couple of minutes to get the gloves and jacket on. I started putting the pants on, but the water on my legs was slowing me down and finally I decided to skip the pants and then wasted another minute or so trying to get them back off. Finally, I was out on the bike.

Things never felt good on the bike and I could tell I was at least 5 minutes behind Shawn at the turnaround. As I rode back into the second transition, I had heard a volunteer yell that I was eight minutes back. However another person told me I was just 2 minutes back; I wasn’t sure who to believe. After a much faster 2nd transition, I headed out on the run.

When Shawn passed me heading back on the run, I was a little more than a mile back, I knew I wasn’t going to catch him. However, I felt pretty confident that I would be solidly in second place. So it came as a shock to me when with less than a mile to go, I heard footsteps coming up behind me. Caleb Goldkamp who had obviously started behind me had caught me! He ran past and I picked up my pace and ran right behind him for a little while. He eventually pulled away and finished 20 or 30 yards ahead of me. He had run a 5:18 pace on the run; I had averaged 6:04. My final time for the first triathlon was 1:38:06, over 3:35 slower than in June, the entire deficit coming from the bike leg…

One nice feature about the elite division is the top 3 get a cash payout, $150 for first, $100 for second, and $50 for third. After the first race, Caleb was 3:21 ahead of me in second place. I was determined to go faster in the second half.

As I expected, my second swim was 45 seconds slower than the morning race. But my transition was much faster than earlier. I didn’t waste any time trying to put on my pants and I even skipped putting on my jacket this time. Once out on the bike I felt like I was going faster and my computer told me that I was. Shawn was still a good distance ahead of me at the turnaround, but I was definitely closer than in the morning. My second bike was 3 minutes faster than earlier!

I had figured I would be significantly slower on the second run, but things didn’t feel as badly as I thought they would. It took a couple of minutes, but I settled into a pretty good pace and began to have hopes of catching Shawn and at least beating him in the second race. I ended up making up 4 minutes on him in that 5 mile run, but it wasn’t enough and he beat me by 2:05. However, I beat Caleb by 6:51 which moved me into second place overall. My second triathlon took me 1:36:15, 1:51 faster than in the morning, though still slower than in June…

The cold conditions made things rough, but by the end of the race the sun had warmed things up some and I was able to enjoy the customary Chevy’s breakfast burrito they always have at Rec Plex Triathlon’s. Only this time it was better as I sat next to my girlfriend Nikki who had placed 3rd overall. A great end to a fun triathlon season…

posted at 17:04:24 on 12/11/05 by Tony Rigdon – Category: Race Reports