Austin Tri-Cyclist Blog

Monday, June 6, 2011

CapTex Tri Race Reports
May 30, 2011

Every Memorial Day, the cars and free-spirited fixies that patrol downtown are replaced by
alien invaders in spandex and aero helmets. The streets are closed and the area teems with
spectators and triathletes walking, swimming, biking, and running in every possible direction.
No doubt the 1.5 million bats living under the Congress Street Bridge think every year, "This is
it. This is the end of the world." But no, it’s just one of the biggest races in town.

This year, the CapTex Tri had over 3,000 competitors spread across four different races, including a pro category, Olympic-distance race, sprint-distance race, and a super sprint "first timer" triathlon, further divided into sprint and Olympic relays and age group divisions. The number of participating athletes and the downtown venue make this race very complex and difficult to organize, and this year’s event had a number of hiccups, including timing problems and delays, as well as some course confusion during the pro men’s swim.

Logistical problems aside, we love the CapTex Tri and all the great people and excitement it brings to town. Whether you simply watch or compete in this race, it’s always a memorable occasion. So check out the pro-race summary and the reports below from ATC's own George Schmitz and renowned newcomer Maggi Finley of the Snapple Tri Team, who was also overall female amateur at the Memphis in May triathlon on May 22.

The Men’s Pro Race & the Legend of Andy Potts

Part of the Toyota Cup Series of triathlons this year, CapTex attracted some big-name pros,
including Andy Potts, Big Matty Reed, Hunter Kemper, Cameron Dye, and Filip Osplay. The
complications of the men’s pro race began during the swim when the lead kayak started to head the wrong direction at the first turnaround. The pros knew it was going the wrong way and were making the turn properly, when an unknown person on a jet ski, claimed to be an Austin police officer (but there may be 'Mo' to the story), approached and told them they had to follow the kayak. Ben Collins reported that when he attempted to push past the jet ski, the driver actually turned it toward him and gave it a burst of gas. At this point, Collins and most of the other pros decided they would obey the instructions rather than risk a collision. But Andy Potts, who had apparently run into the jet ski with his head, simply said "You are wrong," dove under it, and proceeded along the correct swim course, unsure of whether he would be disqualified for not following the verbal instructions.

In the meantime, the rest of the pros were led on a two-minute, meandering trip of the lake before the officials in the water sorted things out. Andy Potts left the swim with a three-minute lead, but when exiting T1, was directed the wrong way and lost about a minute before getting back on track.

The other pros, actually caught by the pro women's swim wave, which had been allowed to follow the correct course, began to chase Potts, with Cameron Dye managing to catch him at the end of the bike. Potts held on for the win, however, with Hunter Kemper a close second. We'll never know whether, if the race had gone smoothly, Hunter would have won. What we do know is Andy Potts said "you are wrong" and dove under a man with a large machine and a temper. Legend.

Race report from Maggi Finley
Olympic Elite Wave, Overall Amateur Female winner

Dustin and I started our Memorial Day celebration at 4:55am, racing already to get dressed, all the kids’ things in the car for the day, race gear packed, dragging sleepy girls from bed to the car, and shoving down breakfast (pb&j, coffee, and Accelerade – yummy!) on the way to the race site. We arrived at Austin Tri-Cyclist to drop the girls for the duration of the race with their cool new babysitter (daughter of ATC's owners Don and Missy) and we were off to the transition area.

Lucky for me, we had a wetsuit-legal swim. I was in the open wave so I got to start early in the race, as opposed to last weekend’s start at the very end! We had a delay for another unknown reason after the pros went off, so we got plenty of warm-up time. The gun finally went off and the pre-race jitters ended. Whew! The swim went smoothly for me – I was in a pack of red caps (my color!) the whole time, didn’t see swimmers constantly passing me – always a relief, and even caught a consistent pair of feet for the last 1/3 and felt like I was using almost no energy to move forward!

The bike was a different story. The wind was so strong, I was nearly blown over more times than I could count.So much for the aero position – but life is good and I’d like to hold on to it as long as I have any control. The 40k bike was four loops of wind, some hills, and lots of turns. Oh, and three separate races all on the same bike course: Olympic doing four laps, the sprint doing two laps, and the First Tri doing one loop – lots of people out there! My first lap proved to be good practice with a learning curve of how to handle the 180 degree turnarounds, the wooden timing platforms in these turns, and did I mention the wind? I tried to pay attention to the women’s positions, I really did. But considering I couldn’t even tell where I was on the course and spent three laps trying to figure out how I was going to get back to the transition area on the fourth, my position among the open female division was completely lost on me!

I finally got off the bike, and though unimpressed with my bike split, I figured I must have done okay because I didn’t get passed more than three times during the entire bike course, and almost the entire field started behind me. I headed out on the run with mediocre confidence of maintaining the lead that I thought I had. My run training has been significantly hindered for the past few months with some injuries and I was just hoping that I wasn’t going to spend the next 10k getting passed. Have I mentioned the wind? Wow – I don’t think I’ve been blown around so much on a RUN course in my entire life! It was heating up, but we were lucky with some cloud cover and "breezes" of 20+ mph. My cool new bedazzled Snapple visor that I just received last week blew off at the mile 1 aid station. I turned around to pick it up only to see it flying about 200 feet back and moving in the opposite direction. Sadness. Surprisingly, I passed a few people in the run and don’t think I got passed by anyone other than two young guys also in the Open division. I finished thinking I may have gotten the OA amateur female win, but really couldn’t be sure. Two hours later I discovered that I did indeed win, by a close 30 seconds or so thanks to my 42-minute run (glad the run course wasn’t too long!).

I have four races in and am looking forward to a little downtime to address some ailments and hopefully come back for a stronger last half of the tri season. Is it too early to say that?!! (Oh, and my visor magically appeared back at my transition area before I left - thank you, volunteers!!)

Race report from George Schmitz
Male 20-24 Olympic, 6th in division and 17th overall

This year was my sixth or seventh time participating in CapTex, Austin's premier downtown triathlon. (Consecutively, if it hadn’t been rained out in 2007 .) This year the race itself went well. The water was clearer and cleaner than usual, the course was well marked, aid stations were sufficiently manned and stocked, and the distances were seemingly accurate. The only problems I was affected by during the race were responsibilities of my own, minor details like training and remembering to unload all items out of my transition bag before the race started.

My wave start, scheduled for ~7:50 ended up closer to 8:15, which is normal for this race. No problems in the swim besides traffic when we caught the feet of the 50+ age groups that were seeded in front of us. Out of the water, out of the wetsuit, courtesy of wetsuit strippers newly implanted for the 2011 race, and out on the bike.

The bike was windier than I've ever experienced it and especially bad when going back and forth between being shielded by buildings and being sailed around in open intersections. The bike course was mostly unchanged except going up the highway ramp rather than under it. This made no difference besides the carpet covering the curb we rode over. Four times. No PR bike split but not PR weather conditions.

Back into transition, threw my bike in the pile, and headed out for the run (jog). Same course as always (for the most part) but made especially hard running uphill with the wind and downhill against it. Still muscled out a semi-acceptable pace marginally ahead of what I thought I was capable of that day. Post-race support was good like always and I even got out a little early since the award ceremony was cancelled because of the timing issues...

To read more about the event, check out these links:

1 comment:

  1. Here's my sprint race report (from a little farther back). Thanks!