My race time last year was 5:40 and one of my race season goals was to do better than that by swimming about a 38min, having about the same bike leg, and running a little faster without losing about 2min by having to take a Port-O-John break on the run.
I camped again this year at the high school, which is a lot of fun and was hoping my wife and 3 young daughters would be joining me for some fun, but they couldn’t make it. I was hoping to register in time to get some of the GREAT freebies, including a SPINeVALS DVD, but was not able to leave Ellicott City until 1:30pm, so by the time I got to Sailwinds, it was 3pm and the DVD were all gone by 12noon. Who else is a Troy spin junkie?
Anyway, registered, heard a great panel discussion host by Troy Jacobson, mingled, bought some over-priced merchandise, got bike inspected and shifting tuned, headed to Great Marsh Park for bike racking and tarp coverup, then headed to the HS to pitch the tent and get some pasta-buffet at the Hyatt (damn that mud pie dessert was decadent!!!)
I learned from last year not to pitch the tent in front of the HS but to be behind the building, so that I would not hear the predictable “red-necks” who are driving home after the bars close (about 2-3pm) honk their horns yelling “WAKE UP”, would allow me to get a reasonably good night rest.
Got up about 5am as soon as there was some dawn and headed to the park, but was directed to the parking lot at the school with the several blocks walk. By the time I got to the park, cars were still getting in there, so will have to either remember to get up earlier next year or to come in a different direction to get to White Marsh Park.. Even getting to the park and having about 3hrs before my wave start, seems like not enough time, especially when the pros get to transition and it closes about 7am. I forgot my run race number, swim cap and bike helmet number, but was able to get a substitute and I at least had my chip in my race gear bag.
The morning race conditions look Excellent, overcast and relatively cool. Wind? I don’t think you can get away from that on the bike leg. At least the temps were not like they were Friday!!! With the overcast, I think everyone was glad that we did not have to worry about trying to stay on course for the first swim leg with the normal blinding sun!
Thanks to some video taping and analysis of my swim stroke at a MMTC session, I was really practicing and concentrating on my technique.
The chop on the CHOP-Tank was not bad this year and the current going out did not seem to push us off course. Being one of the “Big Boys” Clydesdales, I was able to walk for quite a way and go as fast as those men swimming, so my actually swim was quite a bit less than the 1.2 miles. Hey, I’ll take every advantage I can get to my weakest triathlon leg. I did the same thing as soon as I saw some stand up and my net actual swimming was probably only 1 mile.
Came out of the water in about 36min vs 44min last year! A GREAT swim leg can set the mood for the rest of the race and I was having a GOOD day, so far. Really greased my wetsuit with Vaseline and it came off with less hassle than in other tria using Body Glide. Got out of transition in reasonable time and wore socks with my bike shoes for a tighter fit for the long bike leg.
Unfortunately, I could not get my bike computer to work, so had try to stay with so faster cyclist and as about where we were at any particular time. Because I had bike 48 and 45 mile the prior 2 Sundays and was biking a lot more on wind-trainer during the cold months, felt stronger on the bike this year and tried to concentrate on using my ankles and pulling up and “scraping the poop-off my shoe” motion.
I also recently purchase a Louis Garnet (LG) time-trial aero helmet that cuts down on drag from behind your head. Saw some others out there with the same lid, and it seemed to help, at least psychologically. On the way past 45miles, it seemed like lot of packs were forming and I was wondering where the marshalling was. The packs I saw did not get a “tent-penalty”.
Came in off the bike in great time, grabbed a hat and shirt and sunglasses and headed out on the run. Combined swim/bike was an amazing 3:15. Was I going to break 5hrs?
Could not believe my first mile spit of 7:50 or my 2nd mile of 7:38!!! I was just hoping to maintain 8min miles and was feeling VERY strong, as my training included more mileage up to Eagleman, from the prior year, clearly paying off. My splits kept increasing from there to a high of 9:15. I was planning just to cruise in for the last mile, when I saw someone pass me who had a “C” and 47 on his leg, assuming that was a Clydesdale over 40 ….MY CATEGORY. So decide to keep him in my sights and pick the pace up. As we turned for home I kicked it in and passed him within 5 feet of the finish line. Damn that hurt sprinting to the finish, but felt I had probably got a higher award, hopefully. Last mile was 8:57 where mile 12 was 9:13. Completely blew away my goal by finishing in 5:09, 31min faster than last year!!!
After getting lots of ice cold Gatorade really fast and having a volunteer to take my timing chip off made a bee-line to the massage tent to get on the waiting list, to come back later. Went to the Eagleman food table, got some pasta and a diet Pepsi, then headed to the MMTC tent for some post-race socializing and post-mortem race analysis. A little eating then went back to the bike corral to accumulate all my neatly strewn gear. Noticing the there were now spots in the Great Mash Park parking lot were opening up, decided to get my car to the Park and not try to carry the gear to my car. Coming into the Park was now a breeze and parked next to all my gear!!! Once all loaded, brought a cooler of ice cold brews to the tent for my fellow MMTCers and had 1 when I went back to the massage tent and was not the next in line, after having been long passed over, just what the Dr. ordered and worth its weight in gold! Massage and beer, a great combination.
After the massage, check the results and was listed as 4th in Clydesdale over 40. Then went back to the HS to park up the tent, sleeping bag and miscellaneous items. Last year, I made the mistake of waiting for at least an hour for the awards before going back and packing up. It was now sunny and VERY hot packing up the tent, then back to the Park and collect a 4th place prize, which had already been announced, but had Jane check her results list, just to be sure. For whatever reason, I was now in 3rs Place. Hardware baby!!!
Thanks Sadj, Bob, Melissa and all the MMTC volunteers for a great tent set up,awesome cheering, spirit and the best race support anyone could want. You guy ROCK!!!