Posted by: bradhammond | June 30, 2013

Race Report – 5 Mile Lake Triathlon

On Saturday, June 29 I raced the 5 Mile Lake Sprint Triathlon.  It consists of a 1/4 mile swim, a 14 mile bike ride, and a 3.1 mile run.  I also did this race in 2010 and 2012, so I was curious to see how much faster or slower I would be this time around.  (From 2010 to 2012, I had slowed down by almost a minute in total time, from 1:10:30.3 to 1:11:28.8, so just being more familiar with the race course is no guarantee of going faster.)  I wanted to do pretty well in the race, so I did another fairly light week of training – starting next week I plan to get back to 10 or more hours of biking.  I had some problems with my shoulder on Thursday – sometimes things seem to “pop out of place” where the collar bone attaches to the top of the shoulder.  It was ok during my 1 hour swim workout, but I afterwards I was running on a treadmill and things popped out of place.  After rolling around on the floor for a while, it seemed to be back in place so I did another mile and called it good enough.  I decided to take Friday off completely, so I was very well rested.

The race as scheduled to start at 8, and I got to the start area about 7:15.  As I was entering the transition area, Steve Lutz saw me and started talking to me.  He is in my age group, and we met at a race a few years ago.  I think I have beaten him once or twice, but he usually beats me.  My number was 369, and I noticed that he was 370 – we would have been at the same bike rack in transition, but I found out that there a couple of extra racks that were completely empty, so rather than crowding in, I used an extra rack.  After I set up all my stuff, I made one last pit stop and then headed down to the beach for a practice swim.  I had nice long practice swim, then came out and listened to our final instructions.


One of the swim buoys was set up in the wrong spot, so we waited a couple of minutes while a kayak moved it.  At one point the race director (standing on a dock) said “That’s good, drop it there!”, which helps confirm my suspicion that the swim courses are not marked with the utmost precision.  There were two mens waves – all men under 40 started 3 minutes before my wave.  I assume that the women’s waves were started 3 and 6 minutes after us.  I waded out waist deep and was in the middle of the front row when we started.

I bumped arms once, and had people swimming across my legs a few times, but there was fairly little contact.  I concentrated on my form and keeping on course.  Like last week, I was trying to keep my stroke rate at a comfortable rhythm rather going into an all out sprint.  As I did the final stretch into shore, I could see a lot of people getting out of the water ahead of me.  I came out of the water feeling pretty good, but maybe I should have tried to go a little faster.  Time: 6:22.6  This is pretty comparable to my swim times of 6:11.7 in 2010 and 6:23.1 last year.  I ranked 60 out of 194, so I had a pretty good swim.


I had my swim cap and goggles off, and my wet suit peeled down as far as my waist by the time I got into the transition area.  The rest of my bike was empty so I had plenty of room to flop on the ground and finish pulling off my wet suit, and I didn’t have to be real careful about where I dumped my swim stuff.  I stood up, buckled on my helmet, and ran out with my bike.  Time: 48.0  That’s fast!  For comparison, my times were 57.3 in 2010 and 53.3 in 2012.


I had my bike shoes attached to the pedals, so after I crossed the mount line I slid my left foot in and started pedaling with my left foot loosely in the shoe and the right foot on top of my shoe.  The bike right in front of me stopped after about 50 yards, with the rider getting off.  I noticed the number 370 on the bike, so I thought “Well, I’m ahead of Steve for the moment.  I just hope I can stay ahead!”  A minute or so later, I felt like I was going fast enough to coast a bit while I tried to get my right foot into the shoe.  It was kind of squashed down, so it was tricky getting my foot in, and I got passed by another rider in a red and black tri-suit while I was messing with it.  After turning a corner, I could see several riders ahead of me as we entered a downhill section of the course that had several 90 degree turns.  I passed back the guy who had passed me, then a couple more.

The weather was very nice – sunny and dry – and I was able to take the corners a lot faster than last year when it was cool and rainy.  The guy in the red and black tri-suit passed me back again, and was soon 30 or 40 yards ahead of me.  We had a long straight section, and I was slowly getting further behind, but I kept trying to catch and pass everyone that he passed.  At one point, I thought I had caught up to him, but it was actually someone in a white and black tri-suit with a bit of red trim who was only in his 30’s.

The bike course has 2 loops, and about 3/4 of the way through loop 1 we hit a long stretch of uphill riding.  I got passed by 2 or 3 riders on the uphill.  As we neared the top, I tried to shift back onto my big ring in front, but even though I pushed the shift lever as far as it would go, I couldn’t get back in the big ring.  I worried a bit  that I might have to do the rest of the ride in my little gear in front, but eventually I got it to go.  The second loop of bike course was relatively uneventful.  I kept sipping water, and managed to empty my bottle by the end of the ride.  I was worried about getting back into my big ring if I shifted out of it, so I just kept shifting the rear gears and standing up some during the climbs.  About halfway through the second loop I started passing women who were on their first loop, so I saw a lot more riders.  Finally I completed the second loop and turned off into the park.  I had loosened my shoes on the last downhill, and rode the last part in the park with my feet on top of the shoes. Time: 38:36.9 (21.8 mph) My fastest yet! (39:36 in 2010, 39:56.7 in 2012, so a full minute faster than my previous best.)


I knew right where to go as I approached the dismount line, so I managed to dismount with a bit of speed and run on the right path to transition.  Last week I had a bit of trouble getting my feet to slide into my running shoes quickly, so last night I was dumping baby powder in the shoes and taking them on and off until they were sliding on easily.  I quickly racked my bike and took off my helmet, then slid my shoes on and ran out.  Time 33.4 !  (Previous times were 56.9 in 2010, and 44.1 in 2012.)  One of the relays took 33.2, so I’m pretty proud of my T2 time this week.


I felt pretty good to start the run.  I was sort of expecting Steve to catch up and pass me early in the run, but the first person to pass me a 14 year old boy in a blue tri-suit.  It seemed like there were lots of runners not that far ahead of me, but the boy in blue was passing them and I seemed to be getting further behind.  Eventually I saw one guy that I was definitely gaining on – for a few minutes I thought about predators; they tend to prey on the slow and the weak, because they’re easier to catch.  The guy I was gaining on stopped to tie his shoe, and that got me to within a few strides of him, then a few seconds later I passed him.  He said “Good job” or something like that, and I reciprocated.

I was getting passed by a steady trickle of younger guys, and most of them commented about trying to chase me down.  We passed a water stop at about 1.5 miles, and I didn’t get any water but I could hear guys behind me saying “Thank you” and dropping cups on the road.  With a mile or less to go, I got passed by the first woman.  There were actually 4 women who ended up beating me, but due to the wave starts there was only one who actually beat me across the finish line.  Soon after she passed me, we got back to the park and did a short loop to the finish. I got passed by 2 more guys inside the park, and took a glance at the clock as I got to the finish.  The clock showed 1:12 and some seconds, so I figured that my total time was between 1:09 and 1:10. Time: 23:03.4 7:26 pace.  Past times were 22:48 (7:21 pace) in 2010 and 23:31.6 (7:35 pace) in 2012.  I had been hoping to do a 7:30 pace, and using that as my goal when I was deciding how fast to do my interval workouts, so I am very happy with the 7:26 pace!

Post Race

After a quick dip to cool off and rinse the sweat off my body I went back some stuff to eat and drink.  After I got some food, I saw Steve sitting on a bench, so I went over to talk.  I asked about his bike, and he said the chain had dropped a couple times; the first time was right at the start, and he had seen me go past.  I asked about his time, and he said about 1:06, and mentioned that he had chased down someone else in our age group fairly late in the run.  At this point I took a closer look at his red and black tri-suit, and figured out that he had passed me back fairly quickly on the bike, and I had been chasing him for much of that first bike loop.  I told him what the clock was when I finished, and he figured (correctly) that I had placed 3rd in our age group.  We congratulated each other, and talked a bit more about this year’s race, last year’s race, etc.

My final time was 1:09:24.3, good for 3rd in my age group and 37th out of 194 overall.  Clearly better than last year or 2010!  The weather certainly made it easier to take the corners fast this year, but I don’t think that would be a whole minute of difference.  The only part of the race where I feel like I probably could have gone faster is the swim, and given the problems I’ve had with my shoulder I think it’s sensible to be a bit cautious in that.



  1. Good race brad

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