Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Stumpy Creek and IM NYC

This one is going to absolutely blow your mind.  There will be so much awesome both hinted at and bluntly stated in the next couple of minutes that you may or may not suffer a breakdown.  The first week revolved around Stumpy Creek International.  After a relatively disappointing day at Giant Eagle I was fired up to race well at Stumpy, knowing the competition was going to be fierce.  I was mainly focused on DVW, as he's had my number at each of our encounters this year but I knew that Kenneth, Sebastian and Selle would also be threats.  Kenneth likely would have won the race last year if he hadn't taken a wrong turn on the run after absolutely blowing up the bike course.  Sebastian nearly beat me at Belews on a road bike and Selle is old but crafty and speedy.  Doug, of course, is Doug and would likely have a 3-4+ minute lead on me out of the water....

Swim 1500m in 22:42 (8th); 03:35 back from 1st

The water was advertised as being very warm and upon entry we all found that it was, in fact, steamy.  Gross.  Consequently, after lining up and the sounding of the gun I started off at a fairly relaxed pace.  I wanted to build my effort through the swim and hopefully come out a little less war-torn than at other races.  So after 200m I was not very high up in terms of place but after that I started to move up naturally as other racers came back to me.  Eventually at about 500m I found myself alone, maybe 30-50m behind the front pack (consisting of Jenny, Derek, Mike and Dave, as DVW had long ago separated himself) but a little in front of the rest of the field.

After the first turn at the far end of the course I looked back and saw I had a decent gap on what looked like Kenneth, Sebastian and Melissa (among others) and so felt confident that my swim was going well.  At the next turn I noticed my gap had increased and I seemed to be holding pace with the front group decently well.  So on the long back stretch I focused on staying smooth and picking up the effort a bit, which - at the last turn - further distanced me from those behind me.  Coming into the swim finish I felt happy with my swim and exited the water and crossed the mat.

T1 in 00:43 (11th)

As I ran into T1 I could see the front group leaving and getting on their bikes so I tried to have a quick T1 and mostly succeeded.  I could have shaved a couple of seconds off if I hadn't made a silly mistake, but oh well.

Bike 27 miles in 1:04:41 (1st); 01:28 up from 2nd

Heading out on the bike I tried to take the first mile relatively easily as it involved a couple of technical turns and a long uphill and I wanted to get to the top of the hill and not be gassed.  Once there, however, I put the pedal to the medal.  There are some days when you push hard but don't go fast, there are some days when you can't push hard but go fast, there are some days when you can't push hard and go slow, and this was none of those things.  Today I was putting out manly-style watts and was moving along nicely.  I passed Jenny like she was standing still, moved on next to Derek before catching Dave and Mike before the 20 minute mark.  Mike stayed with me briefly but I upped the pace a little bit to get out of sight and focused on catching DVW.  Unfortunately, this did not happen anytime soon.  One of my most epic moments of triathlon racing came riding through the state park.

There was a sharp downhill and at the bottom was a bridge that had a pretty big bump.  I took this in my aerobars and my water bottle popped out of the front cage and I somehow (well, obviously though my incredible skillz) caught it in between my legs.  Unfortunately there was no one around to see this awesomeness so all I could do was shout out "I'm awesome" to the trees.

Once I got back in the out/back section of the lollipop course it was fun to see the other people going the opposite direction.  At this point, I almost got hit by a car and I caught my first glimpse of DVW.  Unfortunately, he was not coming back to me fast enough.  I made the turn back into the slight downhill into transition and took my shoes off and hopped off the bike with expeditiousness, only a short way behind Doug.

T2 in 00:38 (1st); 00:02 up from 2nd (:07 seconds behind DVW out of T2)

As I put my bike on the race, Doug was (I believe) putting on his run shoes so I was very close.  I had a quick transition but my insole ended up getting slammed in the toebox of my right shoe which would prove uncomfortable after the race with a giant black toenail. I headed out of T2 seconds after Doug, determined to catch him.

Run 10k in 38:33 (7th)

Unfortunately, my run legs did not want me to catch Doug.  For about a mile I stayed relatively close behind him but I never had that "spring" in my step like at Giant Eagle last week.  I was pushing hard but not going fast.  I honestly just didn't have the run fitness that day to keep up with Doug, who ended up having the third fastest run of the day (behind two run specialists).  He's just fast.  Dammit.

To make a somewhat long story short, I continued on but only with the goal of not getting caught by anyone behind me (I was assuming it'd be Kenneth, but I also assumed he'd catch me on the bike; fortunately for all of us Kenneth and his wife have a very, very new baby...) and I continued on with that mentality.  I didn't run fast, I didn't run slow.  I ran just fast enough to call it a not-too-bad run, but certainly not a good one.  I believe on this course I'm capable of at least 3 minutes faster.  But not today.

I cruised across the finish line a ways behind Doug but a ways in front of 3rd place, mostly happy with my race.

The second week of our journey began on Monday, heading to NYC to work for IOS at the expo.  Tuesday was a full day of setup, Wednesday/Thursday/Friday involved lots of selling, Saturday involved lots of race-watching, Sunday involved breakdown and packing, and Monday involved flying home.  Super duper.  Here are some pics of the week

is JKHH in there? if not, bad list.

the site of the expo, pier 92

cool street art

southbound on the GW bike path

the rail is not nearly high enough

jordan rapp and mary beth ellis hamming it up at IOS expo

transition area on the nj side of the river

mile 18 on the run

rappstar coming through mile 17, just off the bridge

it's lonely out there at times

winning his 5th IM

the city certainly can be pretty

northbound on the GW

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