Wow, this post is way overdue. I apologize sincerely for the tardiness.
The Boulder Peak Triathlon is an Olympic Triathlon. Involving a ridiculous climb up Olde Stage Road, where you gain over 1000 feet of elevation in about 1.4 miles, it's a tough tri to say the least. The ride through the foothills near Boulder gives some spectacular views of nature. Last year, I saw a red fox crossing the road. So while it's a tough tri, it has some good things about it.
This year, I felt better prepared for it then last year. I hadn't done any serious climbing to train, but overall, I thought I'd be okay.
By now, you all know our pre-race morning. I made my egg and toast to eat in the car, grabbed a cup of coffee to go, and off we went. 4 am, we were out the door. Transition opened at 5 am, and we wanted to be there when it opened. Traffic was light, the morning was somewhat cool, and unlike last year, it wasn't raining. Already the day was looking up.
We got there by 4:45 am, and they were strict about waiting to open until 5 am. We waited behind perhaps 10 people, so while we weren't first, we were close. I figured I'd get the best spot on the rack. No such luck this race. The dude directly in front of me grabbed it. So I grabbed the 2nd best, and he and I had a good laugh about it. Such is this sport, I guess.
Set up my transition area nice and quick, then the killing time ritual began. We wanted to get into the open water early again, since both T and I wanted a long warmup.
We both swam 3 loops to warm up. We both know where our swimming is at right now; with little open water experience so far this year, the swim was going to be what it was. I figured I was going to do pretty well, so I lined up in the 31:00-33:00 corral this time around.
When it came time to run under the arch, I didn't hesitate. I led the group into the water. I dolphin-dove into it, and my race began.
Unlike the Boulder Sprint Triathlon, this swim was much clearer and cleaner. The bodies weren't around me constantly; I wasn't swimming over people the whole time. I found open space for a lot of the swim, and enjoyed myself. I felt I was moving through the water well.
I started feeling a bit fatigued when I made the turn around the buoy to come back in, so I dialed it back a bit. This was the only time where the swim got a bit crowded, but it wasn't too big of a deal. I was tempted to look at my watch to see how I was doing, however, last year, that was a cardinal sin that made me panic. So I refused.
When I hit the shore, I looked at my time and wasn't thrilled with what I saw. I knew I was swimming a bit slower to conserve energy, but I didn't think it was that slow. With some time to make up, I hurried into transition to get to my bike.
Swim time - 33:37
T1 went really smooth. I was out and on my bike pretty quickly. The mount line was jammed up and I very nearly lost it.
T1 time - 2:41
The ride out of the res and up the J to Olde Stage is a chance to spin your legs, hydrate, and mentally prepare for a very difficult climb. I took full advantage and didn't go out nearly as hard as I did in the sprint.
Making the turn to Olde Stage, I forced a waffle down my gullet and breathed in as much O2 as I could. The climb loomed.
When I started climbing, I struggled, as did everyone around me. I saw 3 people walking their bikes. People were breathing hard, doing what they had to do to ensure they could make it to the top. I was no different. I barely looked at my cyclometer, but when I saw it, it was 2-3 mph. I made it eventually to the water station, where I refilled my aero bottle with Perform. Then eventually made it to the very top, and prepped myself for the descent.
After you climb Olde Stage, nearly the entire course is downhill. After being limited to 35 mph on the back of Olde Stage, you can throw down the hammer for nearly the entire ride. However, shortly after bombing the hill down, the pack I was in slowed to a near crawl. There was an ambulance there and a rider who was unconscious. It shook a lot of us up, but I recovered and moved on.
Turning back onto 36 for a short bit, then onto Nelson Road. Nelson Road allows a great deal of speed. In our practice ride, we averaged nearly 30 mph on it. However, knowing I had the run still, I pulled it back to about 24. This not only saved my legs, but was still really quick.
Getting back into the res, I felt pretty good about my bike. I felt strong and ready for the run.
Bike Time - 1:23:24
I guess I was due for a bad transition. I forgot my hat and had to turn around and go get it.
T2 time - 2:53
My run was anticipated to be a lot better than last years time. Last years run was hot, humid, and very unpleasant. This year it wasn't too hot yet, the wind was down, and certainly very little humidity.
Mile one was quick, about 9:20. Again, I need to learn how to pace, do I not?
Mile two was slower, but I was still doing sub-10.
Mile three and four were really blah. Grinding. I started to falter a bit; the lack of distance training catching up to me. I was also chafing badly in my tri suit. Why oh why didn't I body glide??? I chatted with T briefly; she was hurting but doing okay.
Somewhere short of mile 5, I overheard two runners talking and just enjoying conversation. I picked it up a bit to catch up to them. An older guy and a girl just going back and forth, talking about nothing and everything. I was quiet, but just enjoyed hearing them talk. And I found I was able to run better with them. Seems I had found "running buddies".
Eventually the older guy dropped back and the girl and I talked nearly all the way to the finish. The last mile and a half flew by and was quite pleasant. She was my savior that day, and I thanked her for getting me in. She wished me luck at Arizona and we agreed we'd say hi at 70.3.
I crossed the finish line smiling and proud.
Run time - 1:06:18
I was happy with my finishing time. 3:08:53. A dramatic improvement over last year. I ran back into transition to grab T's camera; I wanted to get a shot of her finishing. Unfortunately right when she came down the chute her camera shut off and no shot was taken. Sad day.
We grabbed some post-race food and didn't stick around too long; we hustled back down to Denver, grabbed lunch, and went home to collapse after a good race for both of us.