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Race Result

Racer: Ben Mertes
Race: Celebration Sprint Triathlon
Date: Sunday, June 26, 2011
Location: Columbia, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - Sprint
Age Group: -- 35 - 39
Time: 1:41:01
Overall Place: 54 / 947
Age Group Place: 6 / 82

Race Report:

The story begins with a simple story of a group of friends, college buddies, a few elite amateurs (Mike O.), who do triathlons together. My brother calls me and says he is doing Columbia triathlon with all his buddies. So I sign up, buy a bike and begin to train for Columbia, my very first race. The race had gone just as I had trained and practiced or lack thereof practices on the run portion. My goal was just to beat my brother (I did). Well, the TRI bug bit me that weekend and I needed to do better. I signed up for Celebration immediately. I started to train harder and worked on my running. Last week I competed in the DC Tri sprint distance. It was an opportunity to practice with race day transitions and the run. I ended up doing much better than expected, so needless to say I was really looking forward to the Celebration Triathlon as a little redemption for Columbia in order to prove that I could do the hills and run a little better.

I wasn’t going to post a report until I won something, but I hope that my report reflects an appreciation of support for the people that I train with and push me to want to do better in order to be like the champions that post their reports and inspire others to do great.

Swim: (18:25 7th)
The swim went well. The water was calm, warm, and being first in the water was an amazing feeling. I actually used the kayak near the start buoy to hold myself up prior to the start as to not waste energy treading water. I got off to a quick start and could see the few ahead of me the entire time. I couldn’t get as relaxed as I would have liked during the middle portion of the swim as I wanted to. I felt like Dave was lapping me in the pool again, but I got on someone’s heels and drafted strong into the finish. I didn’t start swimming until January and hadn’t swum more than a lap or two in 25 years. I have to thank Rob Reber for inviting me to the swim class and being a great swim coach. I also have to thank those individuals who swim at Lifetime fitness for allowing me to swim with you on Tuesday and Thursdays and making me a better swimmer. My swim time was a good one for me personally, but for those in the swim group reading this all know that if I didn’t beat Sara’s swim time I would never hear the end of it!

Overall transitions went well, no complaints. (T1 1:55 and T2 1:01)The one thing that really helped during the transitions was having good friends yell out positioning. Thanks Beth and Laura.

Bike: (51:59 20.2 4th)
I didn’t have much in the legs for the first portion of the bike. I was able to keep in site two or three guys heading down 108 onto Homewood. We reached the first hill on Homewood, but I couldn’t get the legs going to power up and go like I would normally do, but I was able to gain a little ground on the two in front of me. Going down the hill and onto Folly Quarter is when I was able to move up. I felt like my legs were starting to warm-up. I powered up Mt. Albert and began picking up the pace and maintained a good pace all the way back from the middle school. Once again being the first wave really made a difference in how I rode the bike and it was really exciting. I knew what place I was in and I could see everyone in front of me who I needed to catch. No worries about traffic and people getting over to the right. It was just like a training ride on Sunday, except a little faster. I need to thank Princeton Sports for allowing me to use their Zipp 808 wheels because it made a huge difference. I know I will be buying some real soon. I also would like to thank Zach from Princeton sports. I just started riding a road bike in November. He picked out a great bike and he and I have been riding every Sunday since. He taught me how to ride, pushed me to ride harder, and it shows. As much as it kills me to say, I also have to thank Matt Berens. His indoor classes have made my legs stronger and I am a much better hill climber as a result. If you belong to Lifetime Fitness you should try out his class as well as Lisa and Rob’s. All three classes have made the winter training easier and I was much more ready for the road in the spring. I have to thank all the ladies that come out and ride on Saturdays, as well as Princeton Sports for their Sunday rides. I have to also thank CJ, when he shows up.

Run: (27:43 21st)
Once again the run killed me. I am definitely going to start coming to the RBR and working on this. I felt strong coming out of transition and then around the first mile I was passed, not just passed, blew by me as if I wasn’t running. I guess I wasn’t feeling as strong as I thought. I got to the top of Gatorade hill and loved hearing people yell out Mid Maryland and then I picked it up through the back side of the park and back to Gatorade hill. A very tall long striding individual used me to get up the hill and blew by me going down the hill (he did thank me after the race). I tried to stay on his heels but once we hit the sunlight on the lake, I couldn’t match his stride. Coming into the home stretch I was running hard and I saw my wife and son. My son jumped out of his stroller (4.5 years old) and decided he was running to the finish with me. I knew at this point I was in sixth place and wasn’t worried about my time, so we ran together. I had a little flashback to Columbia when I got passed coming into the finish line so I decided that I may need to hurry up, picked him up and ran as I did not want to get passed at the finish. Needless to say he took the medal at the finish.

This was a very exciting race and it really was all because the people of Mid Maryland make it special. The tent, the cheers, and the friends that I have made as a result of this club make the hard work and effort worth it.