Wednesday, September 26, 2012

2012 Claytor Lake Sprint Tri

     2012 Claytor Lake Sprint Triathlon

     Having completed the 5 race requirement for the VTS series award at Richmond just 6 days ago, I approached the Claytor Lake Sprint Tri as more of a workout and not really a race. The Claytor Lake Sprint Triathlon had 3 main factors that kept it on my radar A) The price increase for registration didn't kick in till the Wednesday before the event B)It is a stand alone event (not part of the VTS series) and C) At 500meters, it is the shortest open water swim triathlon that I know of in the region.

Unflattering self photography.  The GoPro sits just above the eyebrows when it is correctly positioned.
     I usually postpone registering for events until just before the registration fee increases and this race was no exception. I wanted to be sure the "feel" of it would fit in with the 1/2 marathon training plan I'm currently following. On Tuesday afternoon I decided on two race goals that would make this event more of a casual low intensity workout than an actual race, so I decided to participate with a "just finish" mentality.

     My first race goal was to test the feel of open water swimming. I hadn't had much experience on the open water, but I regularly swim around a mile non-stop during my pool workouts, so I had hope that the skill set would translate over. 

Arrived. Picked up my race numbers. Set up my transition. Then went to check out the swim course.
     My second and perhaps more pressing goal was to test my new GoPro camera in a race environment and see what kind of video I could put together for a race report. I suspect many of us bloggers, from time to time, like to think we can write the perfect piece that just draws the reader in and makes them feel like they were right there with us...that's something I think about sometimes and I figured a GoPro video, with the right editing, might go a long way towards drawing the reader in.
     Having never participated in an open water swim I didn't want to take for granted that I would be able to achieve my primary goal, but I did have plenty of pool experience and training. On Thursday I even wore my GoPro for a 1000m continuous swim just to make sure it wouldn't upset my rhythm in any way. It didn't. so I was confident enough to give the open water a shot.
The red dot near the boat is the right side buoy, set 100 meters from the shore.

The red triangle shape in the water is the left side buoy, also set 100 meters from shore.
     Now I had participated in an open water swim triathlon last year at Smith Mountain Lake as a runner on a relay team and I looked at the 1500 meter swim course at that one and thought "No frackin' way!". In my mind I figured 500 meters would look considerably less intimidating, but when they got the buoys in place and I looked out at it I realized I was mistaken and immediately thought "No way am I doin' this."

     My disqualification seemed likely before the swim even started, but I knew I could reach the first buoy and their were plenty of kayaks in the water, so it seemed reasonable to make a go of it with considerable regards for my safety and welfare.
     The result for the swim was not as good as I had hoped, but I can't diminish at all what a great achievement it was for me make it as far as I did. The atmosphere that far from shore was just too foreign to my senses and I found myself unable to navigate as I would have liked to. I decided it was better to play it safe and get a lift from a kayak than to take a chance at swimming too far off course. The penalty would be a disqualification, but I still had a video to record, so I maintained my sense of purpose.

     Making the video in and of itself was a great experience. Now that I have a GoPro I'll probably be making more like this. The Windows Movie Maker software is very basic and easy to use and it even got me pointed in the direction of the Free Music Archive for vast quantities of soundtrack music. I eventually found the works of  Krackatoa and selected four Krackatoa tracks for the soundtrack. I corresponded with the artist directly by email to make sure my use was within the boundaries of Creative Commons licensing and was given specific, easy to understand details on how to make certain I attributed his work correctly. In my opinion the music really makes the video come alive, so I am happy to create as many links as possible to generate enthusiasm for the musical aptitude of Krackatoa!

     I split the video in 3 parts to accomadate processing. Pt 1, above, is the swim and T1. krackatoa's This ain't Kansas  is providing the sound track. Of the 3 parts to the video this track matched the video best. The Wizard of Oz references capture my frame of mind almost perfectly.

     I approached the bike with a less than competitive frame of mind. I was still shaking off the DQ for using boat assistance with the swim and didn't see any need to push past a medium intensity effort. krackatoa's track Goldengate honey sets an appropriate tempo. I even stopped for 4 minutes to try to assist a guy who had a flat tire. Opportunities to pay goodwill forward in a race environment are often fleeting, so since I was already DQ'd helping a guy out was a no brainer. Unfortunately his tire never would stay inflated...looked like a bad valve stem to me...
     Coming into the world of triathlon from a strong running background it's no wonder the run portion of the video is the longest. I started out at 2x speed for the first mile, then slowed it down to live speed for the last 2 miles. I was going to just do the whole run at recovery pace (10 min/miles), but after the first mile I was feeling really good so I decided to make it a progression run. Final splits per Garmin show as 9:51, 8:50, and 7:21. I made the audio from the video louder for the last two miles because I found me talking to myself about my pace to be amusing. Krackatoa's use of monkey sounds in the background with Monkies in the Temple Tribes struck me as quite appropriate for a trail run and finishing up with krackatoa's Komodo Dodo fit right in with its steady rhythm.

This aint Kansas (krackatoa) / CC BY-NC 3.0
Goldengate honey (krackatoa) / CC BY-NC 3.0
Komodo Dodo (krackatoa) / CC BY-NC 3.0
Monkies in the Temple Tribes (krackatoa) / CC BY-NC 3.0

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