Well yesterday was my second race of the 2010 Tri season. Just like the Griskus Oly it was a game time decision, in that I entered the week of. I had been looking forward to doing this race for a while because it combined visiting my girlfriend and racing. So Friday night I braved the Mass Pike and made my way up to Holliston to Steph's place. On Sunday morning Steph drove me to Stoddard Park and helped me lug my gear about a quarter mile through the woods to transition. She took a seat next to the bike rack as I set up my gear and started communing with my fellow tri geeks. I took my bike out for a quick spin so I could mount my shoes to the pedals and get my gearing right for the hill leading out of the transition area. I got my bike back on the rack and slid my self in to the wetsuit. I had really greased the calves of the suit up with suit juice. Funny thing about suit juice is it looks a lot like snot and other slimy sticky body fluids... I had gone for a swim the previous day on the swim course and Steph had round two of the "Honey could you zip me up?" After a struggle in which another athlete also tried to get my zipper together Steph and I managed to my neoprene beast zipped and ready to go. After meeting up with fellow HEATster Raf, I got a few yards of warm up swimming. The space between the first and second buoys was sort of a weed bed but the water cleared about the third buoy in. I swam back to the beach just as the national anthem started playing. After the anthem and the pre race announcements the field was set to go.
The swim: Was it 400 meters cleverly disguised as 1/2 a mile?
A just a little after 8AM the first wave received a "Ready Go!" and we were off. The beginning was a little choppy and again I found myself bunched up in traffic until we cleared the weed bed. By the 3rd buoy I had found my groove and started to reeling the leaders. By the turn around I found myself catching some of the stragglers from the lead group. I started trying to catch the leaders and managed to get some distance back to the main group. I hit the beach in 8:06 and tore to transition. The wetsuit came off easily and I managed to get out of T-1 in just about a minute.1:03 even.
The bike course was a 15 mile/ 3 loop crit. I managed to get my feet into my shoes about a half mile in. I was amazed that I was still pretty high ranked on the bike. I didn't see anyone in front of me. So I tried to find a rhythm. By mile 2 the train started to roll on by first one rider. Then 2 then 3 or 4 at a time. By the first real "hill" I had fallen back to 5th or 6th. Then the course flattened out and at mile 3 there was the only true climb and a descent into the center of Holliston. I managed to keep some spots on the descent and was slowed up by volunteers as we made a hard right from MA 16 past a crepe shop, the fire station and about 4 body shop. About a 1/2 mile down the road there was a right hander and a false flat and small rollers back toward Stoddard park. By the beginning of 2nd loop I had dropped to 10th overall and was beginning to come up on lap traffic. The traffic served as sort of a pump up in that I was able to get some passing in. I managed to get around the 2nd kid who came out of the water. I shouted out some encouragement to him as he was racing the way I began, doing the local sprint in a pair or running shorts on a mountain bike. I sort of reached equilibrium as only 2 or 3 more riders got around and I was able to keep a few of them in sight. By the third lap I was in about 20th spot. I managed to roll into T-2 and perform my dismount, flawlessly. The bike course took me about 42:57. I tore through T-2 in 52 sec. as I got my shoes on a took off on the run. It was sort of a pump up as Steph cheered me out of T-2.
The Run: Do you guys have any gatorade?
The run was a loop of the bike course in reverse. I left T-2 with a runner from the Cyclonaunts tri club just in sight. I made it my goal to reel him in. Like with the Griskus the week before it took me a bit to find my rhthym. I got passed by a flying 30 year old at the one mile mark. We hit the first aid station and I grabbed a water. I was still closing in on the cyclonaunt but was losing ground to the the other runner. Likewise a runner from team Amino Vital passed me at about mile 2 and I had to let up in my pursuit as a tow truck pulled right out in front of me and was not going to yield. I had to jog in place as it slid into traffic. Once again proving that "traffic control" is a relative term. After my mini time loss I took off in hot pursuit. Partially filled with rage at nearly being struck down, the other with determination at trying to salvage a top 20. I kept the Amino Vital runner in sight and noticed that the Cyclonaunt was within striking distance. I really pushed up the last hill and caught the cyclonaunt as we passed the third aid station. "Got any gatorade?" I asked knowing I needed the salt. " "Just water." the volunteer responded. I took it as I needed to hydrate. I got around the Cyclonaunt and in my head kept trying to tell myself that "once you make a pass late in the race it doesn't get undone." We made our way up the last little hill and I could still hear his feet fresh on my heels. As we passed the last aid station he came along side. "Thanks for pacing me the last mile." He said. " Thanks for giving me a target for the first two I said back." We started to talk and pace one another running shoulder to shoulder for the last mile. I found out the guy's name was Steve and that he'll be running at the Griskus Sprint next Wednesday. As we turned into the park he looked at my calf "You're not in the 45-49 Age Group are you?" We both sort of laughed. "25-29" "Well you can go on in ahead of me." he said back. As we hit the down hill back into the park I really started to sprint. I could hear Steph cheering for me, and saw the clock ticking away. I made it over the mat in just under 1:29. Steve was in about 6sec.behind me. My totaltime was 1:28:56 my run Split was a 35:56 not a PR for 5 miles but good considering.
After the race I got a finish line kiss from Steph. Met up with Raf as he came in about a minute behind us, and won the Cyldesdale division. After waiting for the results to post, I found I had finished 19th overall and 3rd in my age group. ( the over all winner was 25-29 and second was only 3 minutes ahead.). Steph and I made our way back to her place after awards to chill for the rest of the afternoon. Then I had a 3 hour car ride back to CT which was an epic in itself due to the traffic from the Nascar race in New Hampshire.
All in all it was a good weekend.