Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mountaineer Race Report - Race Morning and Swim

The alarm was set for 4:30AM. Coach told me to eat 3 hours before the start of the race. Mini bagel with peanut butter and 2 Protein Boost would give me around 600 calories. The extra time also allowed me to take a quick jog outside to transition and back. I walked outside with my sweatshirt on but quickly realized that I didn’t need it since the temp was 65 degrees and the humidity was very high, so it actually felt warmer. I started jogging towards transition and along the way saw a group of people sitting on their front porch still partying. I think they had gone all night long, I wasn’t sure if they would still be there during the race. At transition I spoke with two girls that were manning the area with the timing chips. I think I was the first athlete they saw for the day. When I returned to the hotel I finished eating and started making trips to the bathroom getting ready for the race. Aimee stayed in bed while I rummaged around the room getting my racing kit on and making sure I had everything in my transition bag.

Around 5:45 we finally left for transition. We made quick stop by the car to get the Cleveland Tri Club banner and my tire pump. In transition I pulled out all of my gear, put the bottles on the bike, laid out a towel for my shoes, hooked my bag to the chain link fence, etc. One last stop at the port-o-pottie near transition allowed me to talk with some other racers and see Snakebite teammate Mel Bolgrin. Mel was down for the International Distance Tri. She is in good form right now training for her first Half Iron-Distance race in August. I also chatted with several of the tri-club members who were getting their own areas set-up. One last check of my transition area and I grabbed my swim gear and headed towards the swim start.

At the finish area there were more bathrooms so I made one last pit-stop, you can never clean yourself out completely, especially when the nerves start kicking in. As Aimee and I walked down to the swim start Chris Legh, the guy from the Gatorade commercials, was stretching and I wished him good luck, he responded likewise. At the swim start no one had gone into the water yet. Chris Legh came down to the start area and I chatted with him some more, such a nice guy. Someone had to “break the ice” so I slapped on my goggles and swim cap and walked into the comfortable waters of the Mon River. I had a good warm-up of about ten minutes before getting back out and standing with Aimee. The RD gave some last minute swim directions before the pro’s started getting into the water.

minutes after the pro men, 35-39 age group. My wife said we were the only age group to have our own start. All of the other groups were lumped together for the start. Tri club friend Matt joined my age group this year. We made our way out to the starting buoy. This was my first time with an open water swim start. I liked it. We were spread out and the contact was either minimal or non-existent, as in my case. I was able to get into my pace immediately. I was watching where people were at around me to avoid contact but no one was even close. Even at the turns traffic was light. The long straight for the swim was upstream and I could feel a little bit of a wave action from the wind. The Army Corp of Engineers had shut the dam upstream soAt 7:30 the pro men were off, all four of them. Next to start were the two pro women. My wave didn’t start until 12 there was no current. About half way up the long straight I tried to look around at who was near me. I saw one red cap, my wave’s color, to my right about ten yards away. He looked to be going the same pace as I and I almost went over to draft behind him, but he was not really that close and the pace was the same so I didn’t see the benefit. I also started seeing the blue caps of the group that started 2 minutes before us. I was starting to catch and pass some of these guys. I felt great during the swim. This was one of my best swims ever. At the end of the swim we had to hoist ourselves onto a dock. No beach to run up or anything. I wasn’t sure how the arms would get me out of the water after the 1.2 mile swim. I was surprised that it was not a problem. The only thing now was a quick jog up the bank and into T1. The carpet laid down on the uphill was old Mountaineer astro-turf. It made for a nice surface to run up. Aimee was waiting for me at the top of the climb taking pictures and cheering me on.

Swim time: 35:02
4/33 in age group
32/209 overall

T1 is usually pretty fast for me. Off with the wet-suit, pull on some socks, helmet, glasses, shoes, a couple of items in my back pockets and I’m off. Running out of T1 and onto the road I ran past two others and did my flying mount onto the bike. I was outta there.

T1 time: 1:33
5th fastest time in age group

Blogger is having problems with photos so I will get these up soon.


Bolder said...

niiiiiice swim time dude!

did they actually have four pro men start, and then two pro women start? wouldn't it have made sense to have all the pros start together?

greyhound said...

See, but since you're so fast, you miss the in-flight movie and headline news that they show in transition.

I've got to join a masters team. I swim like a refrigerator.

Deb said...

very impressive... great race. congrats!!

BuckeyeRunner said...

It was great seeing you guys this past weekend! Great reporting - I can't wait to read the rest. And great pics, too - you look like a pro!