The sun was in our eyes on the start, but no trouble sighting. Very pleasant swim because it was not a huge wave, so I didn’t get kicked or hit much at all. The water had very good visibility so I stayed on the feet of a couple of swimmers. The first turn around was an inflatable green turtle trampoline and the next turn around was a boat shaped like a swan. How cool is that! When I came out of the water I saw the Craig Dietz, the guy with no arms and no legs who swam the leg portion of a relay race finishing. What an amazing guy!
Running through sand uphill then on asphalt meant walking. Then I saw Don Knott walking around. He told me his LOOK cleat broke on his shoe. Oh crap! I felt helpless. I don’t know how I can help him because I don’t have those type of pedals. Then I heard on the loudspeaker the RD asking for help. I’m hoping someone can help him… and I later found out he did get help and on his bike.
I LOVE the downhills and can fly past everyone (don’t challenge me!), but today wasn’t the day to do that. Doing so means I’m in a very tucked position leaning forward and it feels like doing an isometric squat. Well, I don’t want to burn out before the WALL. Oh the Westernport Wall. That’s all everyone was talking about. The pressure was on to make it up. The thoughts kept me up the night before. What if this, what if that. I imagined myself making it up. I imagined myself falling and being devastated. UGH! OK. So I took it very easy the first 18 or so miles to the wall. Knowing I had to position myself perfectly to make sure no one fell in front of me, I started the climb slowly. I was going as slow as possible, conserving energy. I remember seeing Maura Dunnigan and her son at the bottom of the wall. I remember going so slow that my wheels practically stopped rolling between cranking. Then I saw my moment and screamed something (I don’t remember) at the top of my lungs and pounded up that wall. I saw the Devil and he chased me up the wall…. Screaming at me… I was screaming back…”ahhh!” Once I knew I was almost there I know I dropped the F-bomb “F-YEAH!!” (maybe twice). But it felt so good to make it up that beast. Now was a 7 mile climb to the top of Big Savage Mtn. Again I took it easy knowing what was ahead of me (other major climbs plus Killer Miller)… plus having to run a ½ marathon. I made it up every climb, although slowly, and was thankful for my compact cranks. Someone placed hilarious signs on the course, like… “For Sale: Triple Chainrings $400”, or while going up a climb like Ilchester the sign reads “How’s that Tri bike and aero helmet working?” “No drafting”, “Minimum speed 15 MPH”. I loved the signs!
An easy transition, but my legs started to crap as I put on my running shoes. Self massage, port-a-potty, then on to the run.
It was great to see MMTC out on the course, as it was a 2-loop run with a few sections that go out and back. I felt strong at the start, then faded quickly on the uphills. The fireroad was for sure a walk-a-thon for me. The miles went by better than expected, although I knew my pace was slow. I had no goal but to finish within the 8:30 cutoff. I estimated a 7:40 finish for my family and was on target all day. The last 1.5 miles I took it home and finished with 7:38:42. The best part was high 5-ing all the MMTC folks in the finish chute and seeing my dad at the end. How great is it to be a part of this club!
So many thanks to our club members to organizing training events for this. Mike Dori, Chewy, Kelsie, Chris L, PowerTwin Laurie, Steve L, Jellyman, Cadillac man, Ed O, Scott M, Rusty WD40, and Westernport native Donnie K.
So you want to know what this feels like? It’s hard to describe. Yes, it’s painful, but as one sign said.. “It not called WussyMan, is it?” This is by far the hardest bike ride I have done, including 112 miles of Lake Placid. The swim was one of the easiest, but the run was just plain tough. But when you finish, it’s all worth it. MMTC was a team in all senses. We all trained together and pulled for each other. There is nothing more important than MMTC camaraderie when you are suffering like everyone else is. We all have our own stories and goals. Our own journeys as how we got there and our own destinations and what it means to us. Kelsie: you continue to inspire us all and we are amazed at your perseverance. Donnie: you have battled through what most of us can not fathom and you have dominated your hometown “Wall” for 3 years in a row. Wade Gaasch: What a comeback from Eagleman… great to see you there! Mike and Alan: I knew you’d get your bricks this year! Rusty: I am so glad to see you finish despite your illness. It was a tough road and so proud you didn’t quit.
15 MMTC members toed the line at the Savageman Half-Ironman. 15 MMTC members made it up the wall! And 15 members will get their BRICK! BOOYA! We Are the Champions, my friend!
MMTC had 5 podium finishes for the Half-Ironman! Kelsie Bernot, Chris Lewis, Laurie Travisano, Steve Levickas, and Wade Gaasch.