Big Creek State Park, Polk City, IA


More of the same…The Big Creek Triathlon is one of my favorite events. I first did Big Creek around my fifteenth birthday (just before I started high school), as a runner on a relay team with my cousin, Eric Lambi, as the cyclist, and my older sister, Alissa, as the swimmer. I ran on a relay at Big Creek four consecutive years and won each year (’95-98). It wasn’t until 2001 that I finally did the whole thing by myself. I have won Big Creek 3 times, and took second once to David Thompson as he set a blistering course record of 1:49:55 or something close to that. Last year the date was moved to July and the course was changed, and it didn’t work out. This year, I decided not to race and joined a relay team as a substitute for a friend who had a last minute schedule change and couldn’t race. Collier Schofield was scheduled to cycle on a team with my girlfriend, Ashley, and a friend, Brian Hill, who swims at the University of Iowa. When Collier couldn’t make the race, I stepped in for another 40k TT. I was expecting Brian Hill to crush everyone in the swim but the day before the race the water temp dropped to 75 degrees and wetsuits were allowed. Brian didn’t have a wetsuit so he was at a distinct disadvantage but still managed the 3rd fastest swim of the day and put me close enough to take over the lead in a few miles on the bike. My transition was horrible because I was not prepared to run in my cycling shoes. The old Big Creek relay rules had the swimmers and runners do all the transition running (sans cycling shoes). This time around, I had to do all the transition running in my cleats. Had I known the change of rules in advance, I would have done it barefoot like I do in a tri. Oh well. To make matters worse as soon as I started on the bike I hit a large bump in the park road and lost my aerobar pad. Luckily, neutral course support was right behind me and all I had to do was slow down and wait for them to return it to me. Ok, now I was all set to rock and roll. I did a worse job pacing this TT than I did on Wednesday and that turned out to be a bigger mistake because there was a tailwind going out and a headwind coming home. You should always ride slightly harder with the head wind for a faster result. Overall it was still a solid effort and good second 40k TT in one week. Nothing gets you in shape faster on the bike than doing a straight 40k TT. A 40k time trial is also the best measure of your functional threshold. Whatever you can average for power (watts) during a 40k effort is the best indicator of your actual threshold power. I could tell my ride on Sunday was slightly better at just over 350 watts versus my just under 350 watts on Wednesday. That is good news; the bad news is I am still about 20 watts off from where I would like to be (370 watts). Really it won’t take much for me to get back there, just a few specific workouts, but it is always nice to have a test of your current level of fitness. So I came into transition with a total clock time of 1:11:xx and after another slow run through transition and waiting for Ashley to put on the timing chip just outside of T2 we were a long way in front, which was a good thing because Ashley set out at a blazing speed but rolled her ankle about 6k into the 10k run and had to stop and walk for a bit. She continued to run and made it to the finish line just fine but slightly slower than David Thompson’s course record. It was fun to be out at Big Creek and taking part in the event, even if I wasn’t racing individually and going for the overall win. I made it a good day of training by warming up with a swim of the course (which took me 21:20), then finished by running 3 laps of the run at a meager 7:30 pace, just to get used to running after a hard bike. I went home after the race, took a nap then went for another 7 mile run later in the day. All in all it was another fine day of training. Maybe next year I will get back and race individually.


Work Hard,