2009 was supposed to be a non-racing year for me. I was simply supposed to have fun riding and running Notice I didn't mention swimming. ;-) I LOVE TO SWIM is the ironic part.
At any rate I was actually having a ball not racing. Sure I did a sprint Du in March and Columbia as a relay, but that's not really 'racing'. I volunteered this year at E-man and had a great time leading out the
first place pro....I don't think I broke 11 mph. It sucked seeing Wade go down there too... I was signed up for a 6 hour MTB race that got canceled....bummer! I was starting to feel low, just wandering to and fro.
I remember leaving E-man and thinking to myself, "Hmmmm, why not do just a little race?" I needed to do something or MMTC would surely pull my Tricard and perhaps banish me from the MMTC island. As the summer wore on and my hill climbing and hill running became my number one obsession of 2009 I decided what the heck, it's not too late to sign up for Savageman. How hard can that be? Cheese-n-rice, it can possibly be harder than an IM. Should be a piece of cake. Hell I can sneak in a few more HHPP rides, get back in the pool and just chill at Savageman. DONE!!! BACK IN THE SADDLE!!! I'M IN!!!
2 X HHPP, 1 X Catoctin Ride with Mark Yost and Crew, countless Friday morning Ilchester repeats. 2 x 10Up cue rides, TMR with extra hills thrown in, Savageman training ride, monster bricks, ride out to Sugarloaf and back with Steve Levickas, Civil War Century, swimming, running, chasing Patttt Blair and Adam D around Catonsville .... yeah man I was beginning to feel whole again. The Holy Tri-nity was upon me! ;-)
The best plan was to keep it simple. So I reserved a campsite with the intention of being my antisocial self and chillin' solo before the race. My plans were laid to waste! Rusty had a place, Don Knott had a place, Bob Reid had a place. Hell with all these places to stay I may as well take up an offer...plus by the time I got home the Friday night before the race I wouldn't have been able to make it up to Deep Creek until late and would have ended up setting up camp in the dark. That said, I decided to drive up Saturday morning and meet up with Rusty(H1N1) later.
So I hooked up with H1N1 and was living the life of Riley in the lap of luxury courtesy of his friend Gary (THANKS GARY!!) who had a place
up at Deep Creek....Schweeeeeeeeeeet!!!!!.....no raisins....bummer ;-(
Stopped in High Mountain Sports, got the bike inspected, ran into MTBer Bob Reid too. Steve L. was coming up later...Oh I better
Call him and see if he can bring some raisins. Foodland was clean out. They said I should check the "Gourmet" section....FOR RAISINS!?
WTF would raisins be doing in a gourmet section of a super market!? Steve L. was still at home and said he'd bring the goods. Schweet, I'm all set now!
Oh my goodness....everyone was there, Lauri, Donny, Dan Fletcher, Mike Dori, Alan Waytoochewy, Kelsie B!!!, Dan Fletcher, H1N1 Allwein. ;-)...and so on....It was good to see so many familiar faces. Nothing too difficult to remember from the meeting, basically, "Come and race in the morning." That's all I got out of it anyway...;-)....not one for a lot of words as you can tell from this RR that really hasn't even started yet. ;-)
Dinner at Donny's:
UNREAL! Donny said that he had some pasta and we should stop by for dinner...They ordered enough food to serve the entire RACE! Laurie, Steve, Donny, Rusty(H1N1), Mark and I ate...and ate...and ate. Thanks for the super food and incredible hospitality. Don Knott could definitely be the Mayor of Deep Creek...He knows EVERYONE!!! All those people cheering on the wall were either relatives or friends of Donny! Enough can’t be said about Donny’s family. There’s a term in Minnesota called Minnesota Nice, taken to mean that everyone is very friendly. Well, compared to Donny’s family, my Minnesota buds would be locked up in the county Penn for impersonating nice people! ... sorry MN peeps but it’s the truth... and I’m from MN I should know.
Bet you thought I’d never get here.
My secret race day weapon is a MASSIVE bowl of oatmeal, double scoop of brown suga, BUTTA, and plenty-o-RAISINS!!!! Crap, where are my raisins?! I had to do without. I was worried my performance would suffer without my raisins.
It was a fairly chilly morning low to mid 50’s, by race time it was around 55 – 60. H1N1 and I made it to the park by 7:20. Everyone seemed sooooo relaxed. The sun was out the skies were crystal clear, low humidity. I really don’t think I was ever so relaxed at any race as much as this one. Most likely it was the good company and mellow vibes.
Mayor Fenty was in the wave ahead of me. I yelled from the beach, “I’m comin’ to get you Mayor!” He looked back and said with a straight face, “What’s your race number?”... Prolly not the smartest thing to say to a mayor who travels with 400 lbs monster bodyguards!
The swim was ridiculously perfect, clear and calm. A few big rocks to look out for making it to the start, but that was not a factor. I felt like Nemo in Finding Nemo. I swear you could just about see 3 body lengths in front of you and it was so nice looking down and checking out the fish, lake grass, boulders, sunken ships, bunions on the feet in front of me...Well after 42 minutes of that I was done. ;-). My swim time was slow and was expected only after putting in whopping total of 12 miles of swimming this summer! Not even a 1 quarter of what I did last year. I got out of the water feeling fresh and not winded in the least.
8 minutes and change. I took time to send some pre written text messages to a few members who couldn’t make the race and to the family. I had a bit of trouble putting on my arm warmers...God only knows what the heck else took me so long. No worries, it’s all about fun!!!
I rode with Donny for the first 18 miles or so to the wall. Donny was in the first wave but got a late start due to a cleat issue. I FROZE on the downhills. Even with arm warmers and a wind breaker! I noticed a chattering sound and thought, “Crap what the hell is that noise?!” It was my teeth!!! They were chattering so bad I think I broke them! You may or may not know but the first 18 miles are generally downhill and fast, as long as you don’t hit the brakes. ;-)
Hey! Teacher! Leave those kids alone!,..., stand still laddie! Holy hell the start of the race is now upon me. 3 pedal strokes after mile 18 and I was warm and ready to roll! I rolled up the wall, dodging the zig-ziggers, breathing hard, checking the hrt monitor, Maura D. was saying something totally unintelligible and running alongside me. Thanks for the motivation getting me up the wall Maura! Next think I know I was up, everything went quiet. DAMN I WAS HOT! I didn’t want to stop so I kept going for another mile or two before I finally got too hot. I stopped, shed the jacket and rolled down the arm warmers. I don’t think anyone passed me during that stoppage time. I kept rolling up that 7 mile stretch making sure my hrt was just tipping the top of my aerobic zone 155 – 165. I made sure I stayed away from the big numbers. I took time to eat knowing that this is still just the beginning of the race. I was determined to save myself for the run. There were some seriously funny signs on the sides of the road. My favorite one was, What goes up…Keeps going up! What a sense of humor someone had, ha, ha. I finally caught up to MTBer Bob and H1N1 near the top. I crossed the matt, stopped, got some water and rolled on. The descent off of Savage Mountain was so frikken niceeeesch! I hit 43 and change before sanity took control again and forced me to reach for the brakes. It felt good to finally go fast. Once at the bottom I rolled through the forest on what seemed to be a slight incline for a few miles. Again I took the time to eat, drink and be merry, knowing full well what to come was going to be the hardest part of the bike.
After another brutal climb out of the forest I finally get to Killer Miller. What sucks about this hill is you see it coming on the downhill approach. You don’t want to look but you can’t help yourself. 1.3 miles, average 8% grade, max 22%. With 38 miles on your legs already, this is a real beast!!!!! I had no choice but to spike my hrt on this one. It hit 175, I had 25 more to give but I was hoping the top would come before I had to take out that loan. I passed and chatted with Rick S. briefly and rolled on. I had more water and a Gel at the “supposed” top. Having rode the course before I knew the top was still about .5 mile further. Was that supposed be some kind of cruel joke? ;-) ONE MORE HILL TO GO, then some sweet relief with a last 10 miles of gentle rollers. I passed Ironman Alan D. on Maynardier 12% average, 22% max, and asked if he’d seen big Mike D. I wasn’t sure but I think he said that Mike may have stopped to eat a bear or something. ;-)
Surprisingly the legs were feeling good on the last 10. I stay down in the drops and passed a lot of people coming home. Glad to finally arrive at the start of my half marathon.
More texting, I saw a response from an earlier text I’d sent from my daughter. “WHY ARE YOU TEXTING DURING YOUR RACE!” I had no good response...to this day I still don’t ;-) I was going to text here back but decided that may take too long. ;-)... as if.
The legs felt incredible. No pain, no fatigue, light, ready! I filled up my water bottle, which already had a packet of CERA Sport poured in it, with water at the first rest stop just a few steps out of T2. I never go anywhere without CERA, it’s my safety blanket. Popped my bottle in my fanny pack bottle holder and I was off. The first loop plan was to settle into a high cadence, high effort, and just roll up the hills. I had my hrt monitor chest strap on, but my watch was still on the bike. I didn’t want to monitor my run anyway as I knew it would be as high as I could get it. It was great seeing all the MMTC folks out on the course. Kelsie B. was looking strong and making good time as I passed her through the park. Laurie T. was look in strong too but was Waaaay ahead. My goal was to close the gap. I think she was about 1.5 to 2 miles ahead. Someone in MMTC gear cheering on the side of the road gave me the MMTC props. I stopped quickly and asked if they’d hold onto my chest strap so I didn’t have to carry it during the run. Turns out it was Kelsie’s parents and sister. I told the Kels was coming up soon. As I came to the fire road I was still feeling REALLY good. The fire road is similar to the water bar trail in Patapsco but a bit longer. The turnaround is at the top, then it’s back down and do the loop again. Thoughts like walking never entered my mind, but thoughts like, “Damn I gotta pee,” certainly do. Unfortunately someone was in the porta-john at the top. Looks like I’ll have to blend into this mound of dirt next to it and let ‘er rip. Luckily nobody saw and no peeenalties were assessed. ;-). For my run training I incorporated many downhill runs, mainly downhill on Ilchester. This really helped on my descent of the fire road. I just flew down picking my line and just barely staying in control. The quads never felt better!
Second loop, I running through the campgrounds and like the first loop they’re still BLASTING the Sex Pistols! That was one of my single most motivating factors. I can’t remember the last time I rocked out to Sid V. and Jonny Rotten!...GET PISSED DISTROY!!!!! I really picked up the pace for my last loop as much as humanly possible. Rhythmic breathing helped keep my cadence up, I tried to lengthen my stride and just ROLL!! I could tell I was closing the gap on a few folks in front of me, but the distance was getting short. My second time up the fire trail was just as brutal as the first, but no time to pee now. I flew down once again and mentally picked up the pace for the last 2 miles. I almost ran down a former Arbitron co-worker at the end but I need a couple hundred yards more. I ran the 13.1 at an 8:50 pace. This was the 5th fastest in my age group. I was completely wasted, pretty vacant, when I finished. Exactly like I planned it. I saved myself for the run and then blew it out! I think I hugged Maura D. and then laid down under the MMTC tent an nearly fell asleep afterwords.
It was good enough to put me 9th in my age group and 65 overall for the men. This race was THE hardest race I’ve ever done. Even harder than my IM. Also, hands down this was my most satisfying Triathlon experience ever!
Guess the raisins didn’t matter after all. ;-)
Long live MMTC GREATEST TRI CLUB EVER!!!