Well I just went through the Elite Men's division of the 2009 Patriot Triathlon in East Freetown, MA. Those who don't know they offer an open division ,usually to try to attract local pros, and wannabes like me, who maybe if the planets cosmical align in the right position and everything goes right might bring home a check.
Well as went through the list of guys in the Elite division I saw two familiar faces:
Ray Botelho who won the elite division last year and John Hirsch, the national Champion of the People's Republic of Block Island, and 10th at Ironman Louisville last year.
Now I knew I was going to lose to Ray but still had a remote shot at the remaining check, with John in the field it looks like I'm racing for the paper weight for third. Part of me has thought about emailing the race director and going back to the age group ranks, but I seriously hate having to swim around guys from the previous waves,Plus my age group goes last wave so there are tons of people all over the place and the sun is usually pretty high in the sky on the run. Besides Patriot is a race that I do to push myself, and see where I stack up with New England's best. Plus with Providence being A+++ priority I don't mind having a 58 mile tempo ride with little to no traffic. But enough on me here's how I think this thing is going to go down.
John, Ray and I are all within about a minute of each other on the swim. My plan is to go hard and see if I can't throw down the day's fastest swim for the second year in a row.
The bike is where John and Ray go bye-bye and battle for glory.
I only know the times of one other dude in the division, Craig Sheckler, everyone else is unknown quantity, but Craig threw down a 4:49 here last year and looks to be at my goal pace on the bike and run. So if I can stay in front of him on the bike or at the very least hold on to him I will definitely bust the 5 hour barrier and hopefully hit my goal of 4:45.
My strategy this year is different than last year. While I fully plan on throttling the swim, I'm going to break my bike leg into quarters, go hard the first half of the two loops and tone down the second halves to try to keep my legs somewhat fresh for the run. Figure I average about a 2:40 so if I can go between 2:35 and 2:45 I'll be happy.
The tempo work with Tony has me confident that I can break 1:40 on the run. But I know I usually end up going about 1:45. This year I need to hammer the run. Hopefully they'll have flat cola at the aid stations although last year they didn't bring it out until late in the race, and needless to say I was suffering through the run.I can't explain it but for some odd reason Coke works for me.
All these plans look well and defined on paper but once you actually get into the race it's amazing how it doesn't stick to a script. A key competitior getting a flat here...a bad night of sleep there, a missed water bottle, the leader deciding to hammer fest the bike and the rest of us driniking the "kool aid" and trying to gun after him. I guess that's why we run the race...nothing is certain until we cross that finish line.
Trying to get pumped.