Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Redemption Song: Tri-Maine Pirate Tri Race Report

So after last weekend's disast-debacle at Rev3 Quassy, I took a look at my schedule and decided that I needed to go racing. My legs felt great (after all, I really only did a swim-bike brick with a 2.5 mile tempo run), I didn't feel tired, so I figured I might as well use some of the fitness I've built this spring.

Tri-Maine is a local event production company that helps put on Rev3 Old Orchard Beach, as well as the store's Endless Summer 5-Miler. I've never had the opportunity to race one of their sole branded events. In fact, the only triathlon race distance I have ever competed in is the halfRev. So it was about time to change that.

Saturday featured an absolute panic moment as I discovered one of the issues from Rev3 Quassy: the adapter on my frame to run the SRM had come loose, leading to a clicking noise while under load and driveline loss. I immediately popped off, got the tools I needed, cleaned everything out, re-greased liberally, and re-applied everything. Tip of the cap to Josh Freeman for the knowledge he's shared over the years which led to me being able to find that problem in short order and fix it immediately.

Packed the bag on up, and got myself to bed at an early hour. An 8:30 race time meant a bit more sleep than normal for one of these things.

Sunday Morning
Woke up at 5:00 to get breakfast going. I wanted to be out the door by 5:45 to make the drive out to Sebago, about 25 miles away. Managed to hit my target time for a change.

Rolled on up and immediately spotted my nemesis, Bob Turner. Bob and I have a long-standing swath of destruction with one another. I blew my race up at Rev3 Maine last year by chasing him on the bike. The Friday Night Fights series has featured round after round of trash talk between one another. It helps push us to reach for new limits. So our friendly rivalry was put to the test.

I also had a couple of other targets to watch for: my good friend Adam, who dragged me out of the road last weekend, as well as Tom Norton. Tom is one fast dude. His brother runs the beer shop that I frequent here in town, and Tom is a hell of an athlete. I knew I had my work cut out for me to have a shot of beating him, but I figured a good swim-bike might give me the cushion I needed.

Laid everything out, got my blueseventy Helix on, and got in for a swim warm-up.

Ice cream headache!

The water might have been 62 degrees. It was COLD. Adam got in to his toes, went "oh no," and immediately started doing some sprints on the beach. With his wetsuit on. Yeah, that cold.

Men under 40 comprised the third wave of the day, after two novice waves and a 7 minute lead time. We loaded into the corral. Adam, Tom, and I all lined up towards the left hand side.

30 seconds.
Good luck today, bud. Let's have some fun.
15 seconds.
Easy, easy. You got this.
5 seconds.
Deep breath. All that master's swimming. Light it up.

Swim: 9:04, 21st OA
We sprinted into the water. Immediately, the top two overall guys (Vinnie Johnson and Kyle Burnell) were GONE. I was on Adam's feet. Tom fell away immediately.

It was pretty crowded out of the gate. I was right on the buoy line, and sighted about every 8th stroke. There was another guy that was right on my right. We were in sync on the stroke front, so we slapped hands for a little bit.

I put in a small surge to get in front of him, because it was getting annoying. The whole pack was still pretty much together...

...and then I was by myself, with the couple of guys in front, and everyone else gone. I sighted again, and I was on course. But everybody else had slowed down. Guess that masters swimming has really paid off!

I put in another surge as soon as I rounded the last turn. We started getting into the back half of the novice waves. I felt bad for them, simply because you have this freight train of athletes coming up from behind that, if not careful, will swim right over the top. For the first time, I managed to avoid swimming over somebody.

I swam till my hands touched the bottom, popped up, and saw that the swim was a bit longer than the advertised 1/3 of a mile. But I was happy with the pacing and the effort.

T1: 1:28.6 (slower than molasses going uphill in January)
Holy Christmas, what a terrible transition!

I got caught behind a couple of people walking the chute into transition. OK, no biggie, make it up as you get out of the wetsuit and onto the bike.

I couldn't get my left ankle out of the suit. I had run out of TriSlide at the race. I'd thought I'd gotten my ankles well...and I was wrong.

Get out of the wetsuit, OK. Then I couldn't get the swim cap off! Comedy of errors. I finally get everything on, make the run, and hop on board the bike. Jeez, you have some work to do...

Bike: 37:50 (5th fastest bike of the day, 5th OA)
Immediately on the bike, and it's time to lay the hammer down. Get the SRM on and away we go.

I am FLYING on this course. Immediately pass a couple of people who swam a bit better than I. Pretty close to redline, but still feeling like I'm in control of the effort overall.

It's a third of the way into the bike and I see the familiar Pearl Izumi kit of Adam. Holy crap, I just rode that 45 seconds out of him that quickly? Good Lord! We're moving!

There's a third athlete in our age group who keeps playing leap-frog with us. So we all follow the rules: if we get passed, back for 15 seconds, drop out of the zone, re-enter, pass again. And just keep making huge efforts.

I averaged 285 watts on the ride. Could've gone a bit deeper, especially towards the end of the ride, but wanted to salvage something resembling running legs.

Flying dismount, and here we go.

T2: 0:44.4
Alright, now we're talking. Still slow...but better than before.

Run: 20:56 (Final Placement: 10th OA).
I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was nervous as hell getting onto the run. After all, with what had happened the weekend before, I didn't want it to happen again. So I didn't know what the effort would feel like, or anything.

Also, idiot me screwed with his watch coming out of transition, so I had no idea what the actual timing looked like.

Adam was GONE. He put in a big surge coming out of transition and gapped me by a good 20-30 seconds. I kept trying to find something in the legs...

...and it wouldn't come.

Blew through the first mile. Saw Vinnie and Kyle hustling back towards transition. OK, good for them. Gotta find your legs now, buddy. You still have a chance of getting Tom.

"That swim sucked."

Great. Here's Tom. At mile 1.5. And he's an 18:XX 5K guy. Guess I'll be the one buying beer!

Him blowing my doors off, though, was a good thing, as I could finally dig in and get my run legs going. I wanted to at least keep a couple of these guys in my sights.

Mile 2, got some water in my system, and kept rolling. Adam rounded the corner to head back towards transition. I looked around and realized that I'd pretty much locked in my position for the day. I just wanted to keep a comfortable hard pace going for the rest of the run. Figured I'd finish between 1:09 high and very low 1:10.

Rounded the last corner of the run and saw I had about 15 seconds to get under 1:10. Missed it by two seconds. Darn!

Suffer face. Thumbs up.

Bob came up behind about 90 seconds later. He had an absolutely amazing day, including the fastest I've ever seen him run. To put in perspective: Bob was 6th OA, Tom 7th, Adam 9th, and myself 10th. We all pushed one another to some great heights. The spread between us was 1:44.

Now, you'd think that a top 10 OA finish would lead to a good placement in the age group. I was 5th! There are some very fast folks in M25-29 right now. Well done to everybody.

In all, it was great to push on through. And to give Jesse Thomas a run for the new Hairiest Chest in Triathlon Award.

Now, where's my gold chain?

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