Emily made a decision last year that she wanted to race the Door County Triathlon Half Ironman course. When I woke up New Year’s Day, (she registered in the middle of the night) and we were talking about the trip up to Door County, I decided to register for the Sprint distance race. This would give us something to do on Saturday morning of the weekend. I’ll leave the weekend round up to Emily, but I wanted to talk about my race specifically.
I honestly didn’t have a lot of expectations for this race when I registered for it. I really thought I would get out, have some fun, and then help Emily get ready for her race the next day. I was a touch nervous the morning of the race and even had to go back to the hotel after we left to pick up my Garmin (if I don’t have it, it doesn’t count).
The water was calm Saturday morning. There were a bunch of people warming up in the water, but I decided to hang out and listen to music. This is the first time I have done this and it helped out a lot. I turned the volume way down so that I could hear what was going on around me, but the music helped to keep me settled. About race time, Emily and I ran into a guy wearing a Chattnooga shirt from last year and we talked to him and his family for a bit. He gave us some insight into the Chattanooga race. This was his daughter’s first triathlon, and they were there to support her Saturday, the following day he was going to be doing the half distance race.
Waves were sent into the water, but mine was about 30 minutes after the race start. When it got close to time, I pulled on my wetsuit, my swim camp, pulled my goggles on to my head, and made my way to the beach. Lots of nervous folks out there gave me a bit more confidence. I have done this before, there isn’t anything to worry about.
The swim was not too bad. There was a bit of a current that pushed me around a little, and that caused me to have to redirect myself a few times. The water was very clear, so I was easily able to see the lines that the race volunteers had painted the night before, so getting back on track wasn’t tough. We had recently listened to the DC Rainmaker podcast where he discussed how you can lose your watch if you have the quick disconnect on it. So I had that worry going through my head about every 20 seconds. Ultimately, I didn’t lose my watch.
Getting out of the water, I made my way to the wetsuit strippers. They tore my wetsuit off quick (after deciding who was going to do it), but they took something else with them, which I didn’t notice for a few minutes.
Transition went pretty flawless. Helmet on. Glasses on. Run to the bike out. I made it to the mount line, but there wasn’t a beep when I crossed?!?!?!? I looked down and noticed that I didn’t have my timing chip on. So, it was back to my rack spot to see if it was there. After a little digging I was able to find it tangled up in my wetsuit. I put it back on and was off again. Once at the mount line, and jumped up and spun off. About a minute later I slipped into my shoes and got ready for the next 18 miles.
Em and I rode the bike course a few weeks ago, and I knew what to expect for the most part. We had also discussed what we thought I could hold for power over the course. Em thought I could hold 160 watts or so for the 18 miles, and I guessed 180. I averaged 185 watts and almost 21 miles per hour, finishing the bike in about 52 minutes. That’s pretty quick for me, and honestly, a new expectation for myself.
It’s a great bike course. For a little while you are in the woods, then you get a view of the bay before getting to the beginning of the city and turning around. One thing I really remember from the ride was a great banked turn. I remember it because I felt like I was flying, which I guess I was, since Garmin shows me at almost 25 MPH.
The transition to run was a little less stressful, having not lost my timing chip this time. But I did bring newer shoes that didn’t have speed laces on them, so I did actually have to tie my shoes (poor planning on my part).
The run is a simple out and back. I ran past the parking lot, then a corn field, then the corn field again, then the parking lot again, then finish line. And it felt that quick. At just over a 9 minute pace, I killed any effort I have ever put forward.
I kept thinking I was going to hit the wall at some point, but I just kept going. At one point I wanted to walk, but remembered that I have been talking to Emily about pace management instead of walking, so I just managed my pace back a little for a few minutes, then off I went again.
Finish time 1:35:03 (exactly one second behind the guy who placed 15th). 17 of 36 in my age group and 222 of about 1000 total athletes for the sprint. This is now my effort to beat for sure. I can’t really match this up against the Elkhart sprint since the bike distances are different, but I can say my effort was better. I am definitely interested in doing this race again.
Door County Tri really puts on a great race. Everything about this was great (including volunteering the next day). The food was good. Beer was vast and they had music or a live band all day. It makes me wish that Ironman would put the same effort forward for their races, but I realize they host a lot more athletes and are a bit more spread out.