Monday, September 14, 2009

Mighty Hamptons Race Report - I actually finished!

I have to start with the fact that this is only the second triathlon of this long season where I've crossed the finish line. So, it is nice to write something that does not involve broken wheels, cut tires or flats.

Our family was invited to the Hamptons for the weekend by some friends as Will was competing in the Mighty Hamptons Olympic distance triathlon and he asked me to race as well.

Going into this race I was a bit down on my season and had pretty much packed it in for triathlon racing and have been focusing on bike fitness for my attempt to complete the Tour of the Catskills. I have not swam since the NYC triathlon and had been running just once a week since July as I have had a few nagging running pains. Cycling has been my fitness and racing outlet for the last few weeks so going into this race I knew I'd ride well, but that would be pretty much it.

An additional factor to the race was that on Saturday, I engaged in about 2 hours of vigorous backyard soccer with one feisty 9-year-old; I've never felt so old and sore before a race.

SWIM: I rely on my swimming background way too much and figured I'd have little trouble hanging with a lead group. This was a huge mistake, not keeping up on the swimming fitness and technique make for uncomfortable swims. When the horn sounded I took off, going hypoxic within the first 30 seconds, great idea, and kept on the toes of the leaders. The water was a bit rough and the course lay out was odd as it curved following the shoreline. About 500meters into the race I looked up to sight and see what this lead group looked like and to my surprise the leaders were all spread out and there was no group. I pick a set of feet and proceeded to swim like a drunken sailor. I began to struggle big time as I approached the turn around and just focused on staying smooth and getting through the swim. I was all alone on the last leg which indicated that I was way off the pace.
41st Overall - YIKES!

T1: This must have been hilarious to watch. My transition spot was as close to swim exit as possible and so I arrived at my spot well before I had settled down and stripped the top half of my wetsuit; my goggle were still over my eyes and I again went through my mental patient dance of trying to escape from a straight jacket. Finally freed from my shackles, I had a nice long run with the bike to the exit.
115th - BRUTAL!!!

BIKE: Finally on to something I knew I had the fitness for and confidence to put the hammer down. My first thoughts were on all the bad bike luck I've had this year, but that lasted only a second as I got focused and got into a rhythm. The roads were wet and a bit slick from the misting condition so I was overly cautious in the corners but went after it whenever I had some good long sections. I was picking people off and felt strong; I was really wishing the course was dry as I feel I have better bike handling skills and that is nullified with wet conditions. A little section of headwind towards the end, but a pretty fast uneventful bike.
5th - There we go!

T2: Great dismount, a lengthy barefoot run to my spot, but good quick transition.
6th -Solid

RUN: I'm a notoriously bad runner off the bike. I was told coming out of T2 that I was in 4th position overall, so I felt like with a mediocre run I could hold on to a top ten and more importantly be under 2:15 to retain my elite wave status for 2010. I saw my wife, son in his BOB and dog walking into the finish area as I was headed out on the run. What an amazing feeling to stop and give her kiss and say hello. My legs felt sluggish and tired; the backyard soccer and bike hammerfest was not helping. I fell into what I felt was a good pace and rhythm that I could hold for the entire 10K. I was passed by one guy early and wasn't passed again until two guys caught me in the last two miles. The good thing was, I felt little pain and actually felt like I was running, not shuffling. Looking up at the clock down the finishing chute I was happy to see that I would just get in under the 2:15 mark, which raised my spirits and made the race an instant success.
59th - could use some work, but good under the circumstances.

TOTAL : 2:14:09 13th OVERALL
This was a cool race. Good transition area; good bike course; flat run course and not too crowed. The swim course buoy placement could be better. All in all a great weekend with friends and a good race where I FINISHED!

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