Monday, July 14, 2008

The Patriot Triathlon, a tale of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Well On Saturday July 5th I competed in the 2nd Annual Patriot ( longer than half iron) Triathlon, as most people know Speedy Claire was racing and it was my first race as an elite. Now a lot of people looked at me crazily when I decided to enter as an elite, but I figured it was worth the gamble, if I won the Elite Division I would win $300 if I was second $200 3rd a picture with the guys taking home cash and 4th or lower I'd be the smuck taking the picture. There were only 9 guys in the elite ranks so a top ten was assured, I showed up to the race expo early on Friday to claim my gear, and get a quick swim in. I was shocked when I looked at my number. Popping out at me on the front of my run bib a huge black #1. #1? No way, I'm good but I'm not that good, oh man I don't know how to take this. One part of me is thinking cool this will be a great psyche up, another part is thinking now I have to go fast because I will look like a total poseur if I finish in 107th like last year, the other part is having replays of DeBoom passing a kidney stone in Kona in o3, Stadler's Flat F**king tire fiasco of 05 and his orange puke all over his bike from 07, what did these two star crossed triathletes have in common they wore bib #1.

Trying to keep the curse of bib #1 out of my head I began to BS with some of the Volunteers and other racers, gave Claire a quick call, then stripped down to my HEAT shorts and went for a swim. Now this lake was warm, they had measured the temp at 76 degrees 2 degrees below the no wetsuit mark, I was going to practice sans wet suit just to be ready for a no wet suit swim, which might work to my advantage. I couldn't go out to the first buoy due to some powerboaters and jet skiers tearing up the calm waters, so I resigned myself to swimming between the start buoys and the last buoys at the finish They must have been the grand total of 100 meters apart but 200 meters after a long car ride isn't too shabby. My stroke felt pretty good because I went hardcore on the swim practice last week, so I was hoping for a good result. After BSing with Jonas a frist timer from New Haven it was off to Claire's place, I will say only one thing Boston Traffic is crazy. NYC is turn your blinker on and go, Boston is look for clear asphalt and make a break for it. I could write about the commute but that's for another post. Long story Short I got to Claire's place ate, crashed, we got up, got to the race site,after I missed the exit again this year. Anyway Claire went to register and I went to set up my rack. For some odd reason I thought that they gave the low numbers to the elites because it looked all of us red cappers were on the front rack. After a some quick BS and finding Raf I went off in search of a toliet The ones by the swim start were ten people deep, I spied the ones at the end of transition and made my way over with my wetsuit half on. When I got there there were 5 age group ladies waiting for the next empty portolet. " Do you mind terribly if I cut infront of you , my swim wave goes off in 6 minutes." I asked doing the pee dance the girls let me ahead and I was able to relieve myself , then make a mad dash for the swim corral a few ounces lighter.

The Swim: ie the good or Bob-o goes out like a champ.

In the swim corral the other elites and I started to size one another up. Most of us were pretty friendly, one guy, Tom and his wife entered in the elite wave to race together, One kid Mike would couldn't have been much older than me was a bike and run phenom so he was just looking to survive the swim another guy was doing this a a warm up for Placid and wanted clear water and roads for most of his long training day, the rest of us were looking to do battle for the overall. I took a postion at the front and inside so I could power ahead, and since there were only 12 of us elites including the women I decided that the inside was the way to go. The ten second countdown went of then the air horn then the sound of splashing and first elite race had begun. As I approached the first buoy only one chick and a guy in a flaming red Pro-motion wet suit were in front of me. The thing is they were going outside so I glued myself to the inside of the course by the 3 bouy I was on their feet and as we made our way down the cross leg I glued my self to the fast chick's feet and let her lead the way.When we made it to the last buoy on the cross leg both of us stopped for a second trying to get a bearing on the return leg buoys Pro motion dude and I spotted them first and had a good old fashioned drag race, I was going to be first out of the Water I needed to be first out of the water my manly worth rested on it. At the second buoy I surged going so hard I thought that the crossaint I ate on the ride up would rear its ugly head and become fish chow. Luckily it didn't the last buoy came into sight but it took an eternity to pass, seriously I must have taken 20 strokes and sighted 4 times and got no closer, finally after what felt like forever I reached the boat dock ripped off the cap and goggle and started on the wetsuit, as I ran to T-1 the first man out with the day's best swim split.


T-1 No time to lose!

I got into T-1 with a 20 second lead..not as much as I was hoping for but then again I was with elites, just having the lead was a big deal.The wetsuit came off the cycling shoes went on, as did the helmet, my race number, and I was off. 1:31

The bike: Let's just say Volunteers are like all other human beings some good, some bad, and some you wonder how they made it this far.

The guy in second ran along side as we tried to find the mount line which had been washed away in the deluge of rain coming down on us, funny this year in Halves I haven't caught a break, either heat and humidity, or a down pour, irregardless we got half way up the driveway and mounted, the best sight in the world was that police motorcycle leading us out granted the new leader was gone in a flash, following the less soaked piece of asphalt created by the motorcycle.

We got to the Route 140 interchange and shockingly I was greeted by two cars tunring infront of me. ( Note to race director, Please put a cop here next year.) Needless to saw it was about this time the women's overall leader showed up, and got around, then we leap frogged, that was about the time the good cyclists started showing up. One Gentleman (Bib #3) came by and was going about my pace So he became my target rider I took off in pursuit of him and the girlie chick was toast. Me and bib 3 began to leap frog at one point I thought I get an overtaken penalty ( I also had a bit of Bike envy he had a fully pimp Felt B-12.) because we were going the same pace with different strengths, on descents and short power climbs I was quick, but at turns or shifting savy ascents ( the grand total of 1 hill at the bottom of down hill turn) he was more proficient, but I digress The good cyclist began to show up starting with Mike and a dude in a full lime green jump suit, then another full pimp rig flew by at about the 20 mile mark. I managed to dust bib #3 for a little bit but he caught up as we began loop 2. Loop 1 went well and it looked like I might be able to finsh the bike in the top 5 , my strategy of turning this thing into a hammerfest might work.... Loop2 turned into a loop of doom and gloom I didn't really drink much on loop 1 and I only ate 1 GU, so on this loop my body began to scream for fluid and sugar. The first 5 miles went well, bib #3 came back and we started to leap frog again, he was feeling a little fresher and my semi roasted butt, then Bib # 9 Jason from Trisports got into the fray, it became a 3 way leap frog between a kid on an entry level tri bike and two middle aged warriors on high tech equipment. needless to say the warriors won, by the first aid station the two guys were barely in my sights and after the rough bombed out stretch they were gone, my legs were shot and the rest of the ride went into survival mode. I had tried to go out hard on the bike because I know my half marathon isn't in the same zip code as most of the elites, it was a gamble that didn't payoff.
Bike Split 2:45.16.

Now I'm going to go on my good, bad, ugly rant about the volunteers on this bike course, the first aid station the guys were pretty good, but sadly all they carried on loop1 was water. Also at some of the intersections some of the guys they had out there were in the zone. Usually there was at least one person making sure that you stood on course, but at some intersections I was asking straight, right, or left, just to make sure. The guys at the bottom of the steep hill were good and made sure everyone got through safely. Aid station #2 was ok although on the first loop they were kinda of disorganized, but by the time the age groupers got going they were in full swing. Also there was one intersection that a couple of guys got mis directed then they had to make up a mile that they had been directed off course including Mike (who would go on to finish second.)

T-2: Shoes, belt turned around, visor on, trying to find the running legs. T-2 split 1:31

The Run: Let the suffering begin!
At the pre race meeting we were told that there would be flat coke on the run. Now some people ask "flat coke?" After two and a half hours of sipping Gu2O or HEED, or Gatorade, the body starts to revolt against anything fruity flavored, so I took off on the run expecting salty caffinated goodness to be awaiting me at the second aid station, ( I didn't take anything leaving transition) I was told I was in 7th and 6th was only a minute ahead, I tried to settle into a quick race pace I hit the first mile at 7:25 and was passed, my legs felt like crap and there is no other way to put it I felt like crap and ran like it. I hit the second aid station no coke I figured ok maybe every other one, gulpped some HEED ( at least it was watermelon flavored and not lemon lime so the stomach could handle it.) The humidity was getting intense so I was expecting a rain shower to come along and cool things down but it never came, another runner got around, I tried to keep pace but was soon dropped, 3rd aid station no coke, maybe at mile 6 , In no man's land for the next 3 aid stations age grouper Jamie comes along side huffing and puffing I mutter something about my knees feeling like garbarge and he's looking strong and try to keep pace with him I do so for a couple miles then get dropped, I have never felt this bad on a run well ok I have ( Eagleman). Another elite or age grouper comes along at about 9 miles and passes me Jamie takes off after him and I'm back in no man's land where I stay for the next 2 miles. at the aid stations it's the same story, no coke, I take a gu to get some more sugar into the system finally mile 12 shows up I get into Braveheart mode and decide to up the pain threshold a little bit, I start to really push the last mile I break the tape in 5:03.36 My half Split was a 1:47.39 my run was about average but it hurt, penance for going hard on the bike.

I could go on about the post race but this post is way too long already, needless to say I feel like I made a Douche bag out of myself ( while still in a hypoxic state) I mentioned something about the race leader riding in the wake of water created by the motorcycle and called it drafting not the illegal sucking wheel kind of drafting by using the bike to block the wind. which I had to clarify before I got my ass kicked, ( seriously the elite winner bicepts as big as my calves, one punch and I would need dentures. Also upon talking with him he was like dude the motorcycle wasn't even worth it, I nearly got off course 3 times following it.) I need to come up with a term for trying to ride in a dry line, needless to say karma got back at me and I sliced my foot open on a tent post so all in all I felt like an ass. Met up with Claire and Raf post race and we sat at a table with a bunch of the run volunteers, for as hit or miss as the bike course was the run guys were spot on. I just wish they got the soda there quicker. Claire won her age group and was shocked. Raf was third in his division, he's doing Placid next week so it should be interesting to see how it turns out. I found out the time of the kid that won the the 20-24 age group a 5:44, I felt glad I went elite I'm all for winning my age group but I don't want to win by a huge margin, first I don't want to embarass anybody, second I needed to really push myself to see what I could do, and how to strategize a race, not having to worry about how I fared with all the other 20 somethings. this race report is way too long and way over due but I needed to get it out there I should have the Griskus Report up on Wed. and the RI 70.3 on Thurs.I'm running a week behind due to travel so please bear with me. Also I couldn't get any of the photos to up load so check them out at Capstone enter bib #1

The Road Warrior


iron-boyer said...

long report but beautiful...congrats on taking the lead in our battle.
I will get you back.

Speed Racer said...

Good job in your race. You're being so tough on yourself! You had a great race, you're just measuring yourself with a bigger measuring stick in the elite category. Now you know what to work on for when you get that pro card. In the meantime, try to avoid accusing anyone of drafting unless you're a USAT official, that NEVER turns out well. Ever.

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