Race Coverage

deeked at the first buoy...


alexBy Alex Hooke

I was very torn between racing the Liberty 1/2 and Trinona this year.
I loved the Liberty Tri last year even though I had a bit of a meltdown.
Part of me wanted to go back because I felt like I had unfinished
business there. That said, I heard from many folks that Trinona was a
great new race and the opportunity to be a part of it, help it grow, and
stay closer to home in Rochester proved too tempting.

It was my first race of the year so my main goal was just to race hard ...
and try to be in the mix with the top guys. I was excited to race Matt Payne.
Based on looking at other race results I thought we'd match up well (proved
to be true!). I also wanted to see how some changes I've made in my bike
training would play out.

Swim! The water was glassy smooth and not nearly as weedy as I
anticipated. The plan was to stay on David's feet. At first I did, but
then he deeked me out at the first buoy--or perhaps I veered off course--and
he gapped me. I then had to swim the rest of the way solo and managed to
get off course again. Dang. I still managed to come out in 2nd. In
summary, David is getting faster at swimming and I need to learn to swim in
straight line.

Bike! I was running out of T1 with my bike just as Matt was getting to his,
definitely a smaller lead than I'd hoped for. Time for me to test my
hopefully improved bike skills. The bike course was awesome. It has
everything: starts with 12 miles of rolling hills, then the monster bluff
climb, some flattish parts, a screaming descent, and some technical riding
through neighborhoods. The first half is shared by the sprint and olympic
racers, so it was tough to gauge who where the other Olympic guys were. I
saw David on his way back on the early out and back section, but couldn't
identify who the other Olympic guys were when I rode back after the turn
around. Then came the infamous climb up Garvin Heights. Definitely the
biggest climb I've done in a tri as it feels like you're climbing forever.
I looked back at the first switchback and saw no one behind me. I looked
back again at the top and saw Matt. Somehow I held him off until about 1-2
miles to go and then match his pace into T2.

I was very happy with the bike. Having one of the fastest bike splits is
not something I'm used to. My changes in training combined with some
efforts to get more aerodynamic with HED 3 wheels, HED Lollipop bottle
holder, and aero-helmet seem to be paying off.

Run! Coming out of T2, I was side by side with Matt. He set a very fast
pace and got about a 25 second gap in the first mile and stayed about that
the whole way. After the turn around I could see Marc was a few minutes
behind, so I knew it was a race for 2nd. I chipped a little into Matt's
lead, but just couldn't get there. The run course was very fast as it made
the swim look hilly. I was thrilled to get to the finish and see that I
went under 2 hours. Highly unexpected after watching my bike computer
display single digit speeds for so long on the climb.

Post Race! The Trinona venue was great. The race was well run and embraced
by the community with an extremely unique bike course, delicious food, and
friendly people abound. The eco-friendly aspect they hype up was for real
and pretty cool to see. This race has a lot going for it and I'm sure will
only continue to improve, so sign up!
- AH

(Photo of Alex by Darin Wieneke)
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