Capital City Triathlon Race Report

>> Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The boys had chocolate ice cream on Saturday night. That called for a bath:

Charlie's beautiful, guilty face.

Sunday morning was the race. Interstate 94 between downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul was pretty dead at 5 am:

The 2nd time this year that I was first in the lot. I have a disorder.

From Instagram: "Is there an award for first in transition?"
(I soon learned "bike out" was at the other side of transition, so then I moved over there.)

The sun coming up over the swim course at Lake Phalen.

Pre-race tradition. No porta-potties. All INDOOR bathrooms! *la-ti-da*

I talked with lots of local mutlisport athletes pre-race and made a few new "race buddies." Brother-in-law Matt was racked near me, and we both squeezed into our wetsuits. We got down to the water and did a quick swim. The water felt nice! (First dip since last year!) The race had about 130 participants, so they just had 2 waves: men and women. The beach filled up with dudes, and soon we were off.


I started to the far right, but I couldn't go TOO far right because it was dense weeds. I talked to a guy right before the start who talked about swimming here recently and getting his arms all wrapped up in weeds and nearly getting stuck. No thanks. So once I got past the weeds, I veered a little farther to the right for clean water.

I rounded the first buoy feeling OK but not fantastic. I've been swimming a LOT more over the last few months, and I didn't know how it would affect my open water racing in a triathlon. (This was the first open water swim of mine since last year - since racing at the Lake Marion Triathlon 10 months ago.) I swung VERY wide around the 2nd buoy as we turned for shore. I looked across the swim course and saw the buoys on the other side, and then quickly realized that those were the buoys on MY side and I was just REALLY far away from them. Still, I was swimming pretty consistently.

Here's my Garmin swim map, and it shows me swinging wide once we got past the weeds around "lap 1," and it shows me pretty wide (but a little hard to tell) around "lap 4:"

Sassy, hilarious Shannon snapped 3 photos of me running up the beach:

It was "Flag Day," so the run back to T1 was lined with mini flags. 'Merica.
(And Veterans in uniform were helping at body marking!)

In the background behind my neck you can see the "weed line" in the lake.

Dangerously close to showing a little ass. And if you've seen me, you know it's a LITTLE ass.

Another pic from Amy.


Really nothing to report. Fumbled a bit out of my wetsuit, grabbed my stuff, and hit the road.


I was ready to like this bike course: it was a 3.325 mile stretch that we did as an out-and-back TWICE. I like seeing where I'm at in regards to other racers, so this was my kinda bike course. I thought I was killing it on the way out - my speed was great! Then we turned around and I realized that we were going slightly downhill for about the entire way out. I didn't get too depressed; I just hammered.

I counted that I was about 22nd on the bike at the first turn around after I passed 1 or 2 guys and got passed 2 times. It was pretty quiet on the bike - I just passed 1 or 2 more guys, and got passed maybe 2 more times before it was over. Oh, it WASN'T quiet when Lisa saw me: after all 3 turn-arounds, I heard a loud "GO STEEEEEVE" from a random cyclist coming the other way. I finally saw it was Lisa the last time. And I gave Matt a shout the last time I saw him too.

Riding by transition, ready to start lap 2. (Pic from Amy.)

Shannon's photo of me starting the 2nd out-and-back halfway into the ride.

My overall average on the bike every 3.325 miles shows the slight "downhill on the way out" course:

- Mile 3.325: 23.8 mph average
- Mile 6.65: 22.1 mph average
- Mile 9.975: 22.7 mph average
- Mile 13.30 (back at transition): 22.1 mph average

THE MOST DRAMATIC EVENTS OF THE DAY HAPPENED AT THE VERY END OF THE BIKE! Remember last week when I showed photos of me practicing getting out of my shoes on the bike before transition? Well about 1 mile before the end of the bike, it hit me that THIS would be a good course to try that. (I had decided that Duathlon Nationals a week ago was NOT a good spot to try that because there was a sharp turn right before dismounting - it was pointless to try to carry speed through that and hop off.) So I ACTUALLY DID IT AT THIS RACE! I got my left foot out first with no trouble about 1.5 blocks before transition.

When I slid my right foot out of my bike shoe, I lost my balance a little bit and swerved quickly to the left. I heard lots of loud, incoherent blabbering behind me, as well as my name being yelled, and I could tell that it was Nicole. She must have been the lead female, and she was trying to pass me right before dismount. I felt SUPER bad that I got her her way, but later I learned that she was really just teasing me by yelling at me. But I didn't know that at the time - I hoped I hadn't pissed her off. (I don't know if Nicole CAN get pissed off, but I didn't want to find out.)

Then apparently she wanted to "get back at me" by running past me with her bike on the grassy run to transition. She ran a little too hard - soon I heard a slight shriek behind me along with a muffled "OOOOoooooooooooo" from all the spectators. Yep, Nicole went down with her bike in the grass. I knew that's what had happened, but I didn't dare turn around while running in with my bike or I'd do the same.

Don't believe me? Nicole's Mom got pics of the incident:

About 10 secs after cutting off Nicole as I was getting out of my shoes.
Until I saw this pic, I didn't realize she dismounted SO CLOSE to me!

Uncropped and unedited. This is how Nicole's Mom shot it as she went down.

Getting up with a smile (of course).

Nicole and I racking next to each other (with David on our tail).


I had guys to catch. I needed to move. I had the 9th fastest T2 overall, so that shows I was going!


Oh Lord, this started slow. I felt like I wasn't moving. There were 2 uphill sections in about the first 0.6 miles, and that was rough. My quads were fried. THE WORST PART WAS I COULDN'T SEE ANYONE IN FRONT OF ME. I do better when I have someone to shoot for, but there was no one. My first 2 half-mile splits were 3:09.1 and 3:04.9 for a 6:15 first mile. At certain points, I could BARELY see someone way up there in front of me. Mile 2 was 3:08.5 and 3:02.7 for a 6:11 split. There were some sneaky, nasty little hills back there, but now it was flat around the last part of the lake back to the finish. I saw Brad in front of me (the guy who took the wrong turn at Cinco Du to hand me the win), and he was passing 1 other guy.

FINALLY, around mile 2.5 of the run, I passed someone! That was the loneliest stretch in a tri that I've maybe ever had! Brad was now just in front of me, so I went for him. In the final 100-150 yards of the race, I pulled up along side of Brad. But he knew I was coming and found another gear. He kicked in and beat me by 2 seconds. (He told me post-race that he thought I LET him beat me, but it was all him - I was hashed. I couldn't match his kick.) This photo of me just behind Brad a few seconds from the finish line doesn't look all that bad:

I expected a photo of me at this point in the race to look a LOT worse. Thanks Amy!

A sporadic pace chart building speed near the end.
(With a sharp downhill near the middle that brought on a quick burst of speed.)


Steve Stenzel, Male, 34, St. Paul, #138

• SWIM 500 METERS: 9:02.5
, 1:39/100 yd pace (27th overall, 3rd in age group)
• T1: 1:10.4 (30th overall, 5th in age group)
• BIKE 13.3 MILES: 35:59.1, 22.2 mph ave (32nd overall, 5th AG [Garmin: 13.22, 22.1 mph])
• T2: 30.7 (9th overall, 2nd in age group)
• RUN 5K: 17:56.3, 5:46 pace (14th overall, 3rd in AG [Garmin: 2.96 miles at 6:04 pace])

TOTAL: 1:04:39.1

- 25th out of 131 overall
- 24th out of 77 men
- 5th out of 14 in the 30-34 age group


• My swim place was better than my bike place! That's only happened 1 or 2 other times. The swim didn't feel like anything special, and it felt relatively easy. My "recommitment" to swimming since November has paid off. (125,000 yards in the last 7 months, which is usually around my year-long total - I've only had 3 FULL years with more yardage, and 1 was an Ironman year! 2015 should easily end up being my biggest year in the pool.)

• My run split looks familiar. Oh yeah, that's because it's within 0.5 seconds of my winning 5K with Henry in the stroller around Lake Phalen in October. (That race was a "true" 5K though, which is a lap around the lake and a little more.) Pretty funny how close those run splits were around the same lake! (Click here for that race report, and click here for some HORRIBLE photos of me suffering through a sub-18 stroller-pushing 5K!)

• Notice that I had 1 female beat me - it was Nicole! I was SUPER glad she was able to hold on to win. I didn't want to be responsible for her getting passed! Whew. Nice job Nicole!

• Speaking of Nicole... Matt and I were teasing her for being a mess post-race. In the photo where she first falls down above, you can see a wetsuit along the transition fence in the background. That belongs to Nicole. When she was running out of T1 with her bike, she felt something weird, and thought her back wheel was locked up. Turns out she was dragging her wetsuit along with her bike, so she just chucked it next to the fence. Man, we were all laughing for quite a while post-race. Matt didn't want to give her his pocket knife to cut off her disposable timing chip for fear of something horrible happening.

• Minnesota has some ROCKSTAR multisport athletes. Here's something I posted to Facebook shortly after the race:

I grabbed my camera because I knew Matt was on his way to the finish. I think this was only the second race ever head-to-head with Matt that I was able to out-bike him (thanks to lots of milage lately). His swimming has been getting better! Here were his splits: 11:45 swim, 1:18 T1, 37:23 bike, 1:32 T2, 25:39 run, for a 1:17:39 total (8th out of 14 in AG, 51 out of 131 overall).

Matt running past a nice Asian couple out for a stroll.

On his way to the finish.

Most of the photos of me racing were from Shannon and Amy. Here's some of their
family who raced: Shannon's family on the left, Amy's on the right.

Kevin finished 4th overall (1st master) and then made pancakes for everyone. On his birthday!
Here he is making a blueberry pancake smily face for Bill B's birthday.

So good.

Culvers was there with their frozen custard!

From Nicole's Mom: Nicole and Matt high-fiving (with me looking on)
as they celebrated being able to get out of their wetsuits. Really.

Another pseudo-awkward post-race photo with Lisa.

Someone wanted a selfie before I left. That's "tall nice-guy Kyle" (who got that nickname
when we first met at the 2011 Oakdale Du), Nicole (the WINNER), me, and
Brendon who was directing bikes just out of transition.


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