June 18, 2007

Muskoka Race Report - good/bad

So, I'm sure those of you that haven't contacted me already are wondering how the weekend in Canadia went… and for those of you that checked out the results already, some of you may have seen what happened. But without further adieu, here is the race report for the Muskoka Long Course triathlon:

Sunday at 7am, departed from Rochester and drove the 5.5 hours north to Huntsville, Ontario to compete in the Muskoka Long Course triathlon to try and nab a slot for Ironman Lake Placid this year. (I have been training all winter like I was going to Placid without actually being registered for the event...some may have called that stupid, but I just figured if I didn't get in, I would just do a few marathons and maybe a really fast half ironman...)

I got up there and toured the course after going thru check-in and race kit pickup. (which ironically was in an ice rink...Imagine that, an ice rink in Canada, hah!) I toured the brand new for 2007 bike course Saturday night and my first thoughts were, “HOLY #@*%!, it was hilly….” It was about as bad as Lake Placid, but a much steeper version Kind of a cross between Canandaigua and Lake Placid. It was a tough as nails bike course. (I'll tell more about it later) I took a photo of this on the bike course, just thought it was cool...
Anyway, I got done with the bike course and it just seemed to climb throughout the entire thing and just went downhill for the last 10 km's (of 55 km's total - which translates to 34.15 miles for our non-metric, imperial unit folk...) It was looking to be a beast of a course. The run course had a nice hard uphill right out of transition which just showed how hardcore these Canadian's were about the triathlon. (on a side note, I have NEVER seen THAT MANY REALLY nice bikes, like Cervelo's with Zipp wheelsets and bullet helmets, in one place... just seemed like everyone had a nice bike with nice wheels and a LARGE disposable income...I don’t know how they do it…crazy)

The alarm clock buzzes at 5:45am on race day and I get up and am rip roaring ready to roll. Amazingly though, I’m calm inside. I get to the race site with all of my stuff and en route to setting up my transition area, I see Craig Alexander and wish him good luck (by the way, he is the 70.3 WORLD CHAMPION) and I shook his hand and then saw Samantha Maglone (also a world champion...) and it was nuts how many pro's were there... cool to see that they were just chillin before the race and all. (Sorry I didn't want to geek out and get photos with them, just because they seemed so down to earth and I didn't want to be the typical "tourist"...)

The race swim start and exit were like 500m away and I thought it would be a good idea to swim to the start as a warm up, I got into the new Profile Design Metal cell 2 wetsuit that was given to me by Handlebars Cycle Company and it was a tight fit, but a SPEEDY wetsuit to boot. I started swimming down to the start and was apparently going up river in the outlet there and took me much longer than anticipated to get to the start. I got to the start and 2 minutes later we were off... It was VERY physical. There were about 160 people in my wave and it was males and females under 30 years old. (20-24 age group and 25-29 age group)

The swim was nice and it was in a really beautiful lake up there with pine trees lining the shores. If I had stayed a few extra days, I would have just spent days kayaking the inlets and exploring these pristine lakes. But for now, I was racing. I caught up after the first buoy to the lead group in our wave and we were all swimming in a reverse V shape (perfect for catching the draft off those elusive fast feet in front of you…) and I hit the shore in less than 30 minutes. (first time I have EVER done that in a 1.2 mile swim. - I’m attributing most of that to the new wetsuit!) By the time I crossed the timing mat, the clock had ticked over 30 minutes and the official time for the swim was 30:16. Still not half bad.
After a short T1, I was off on the bike on the course. For the first few miles I was playing cat and mouse with this 16 year old kid who was obviously a pure cyclist who was trying out a triathlon. He was whizzing up the hills and I was catching him on the flats. I dropped him and then about 40k into the course I noticed there were dudes just pulling away from me on the bike. I was in a major gap and at some points in the race I was wondering if I was going the right way after I couldn’t see anyone like 300m up the road. Turns out, I was going the right way, but just getting shelled by these hills. Apparently no one in Canada is affected by mass elevation gains…

I split a 1:34:xx on the bike and that was good enough to pull me back to T2 in one piece. It was an average of like 21.7 mph for the 34+ miles. It hurt. I was pleased to be onto the run course, but it was getting REALLY hot out and I had some cramping issues that I was still working out from Keuka and I was worried about how the abs would hold up. I came out of transition like a bat out of hell and I was on a plan to split 4:00 per kilometer to get a 60 minute 15k. I hit the first Km in 3:43 and I knew I was hitting it too hard. I made it thru 5k in about 19:40 and then began to go backwards. My 10k split was about a 40:45 and then I went into survival mode.

I began to reprioritize my goals as several people were passing me, I was thinking that there was NO WAY I was going to be able to grab an IMUSA slot at this pace and I came up here for nothing. I was getting discouraged and pissed and couldn’t pick up the pace because I was cramping in my abs and just not running well. At 12k I kind of blew up. 13k hit and I knew I just had to focus for the last 1.2 miles and I just went at it and focused on finishing. 14k hit and there was a climb back into town (which was rather mean, pictured below, my form is terrible) and I got thru the chute in 3:08:43.

2 people passed me in the last 5k that were in my age group and I just couldn’t get them. One blew past me and one was within reach, just couldn’t get up to him in time. I was a little disappointed in the finish (not that I did poorly, but that I didn’t race smartly…blowing up like that means that I just didn’t pace myself correctly) These were odd distances to race and I had apparently gotten too comfy with the 1.5k/40k/10k Olympic distances. I finished the 15k off in 62:15 and it was good enough for 54th overall out of 790+ and it was 7th in the male 25-29 age group.

The awards ceremony was in the same ice rink and it took forever and it was hot as anything inside… I wasn’t getting up for any awards so it was a waiting game until the Ironman slot distribution occurred. It was a nail biter, I went up when they called the age group and the 2nd place kid in the group took a Florida slot, the 4th asked for another Florida slot and was out of luck, and then there were 2 people who weren’t there and they called my name and asked me what I wanted; any of 2 IM Canada slots or 1 IM USA slot. I got into Ironman Lake Placid. Nuts, right? So I’m doing Lake Placid as Ironman #2 in a little more than a month. Needless to say the car ride home was better than I thought it was going to be.

I’m just so stoked to be given the opportunity to compete in another Ironman race so soon. I seriously thought that I would not be nabbing this slot after I got back into T2 from the bike so I am just thankful that it was rolled down to me. Now comes a short little 2-3 week build and a little taper down for game day on July 22nd, 2007. It’s time to hit the hills again and I’ll let you all know how the training is going after this week. This was a rest week and about 9.5 hours of training so it’s getting hot and heavy over here, but it’s only a few weeks until the infamous taper, so that’s a plus.

I hope everyone is getting out and enjoying the warm weather that we are having in upstate NY now days. See you on the roads everyone and thank you all for your kind emails and support that you’ve given me. I hope I can make you all proud in Placid this year. Believe me, I will do my best. Take care and enjoy the ride. Cheers.


Bolder said...

you dirty little f'er!

you so had me!!


Joseph Vinciquerra said...

Nice job out there - looks like we'll see you in the Northcountry ;-)

Anonymous said...

awesome trav! way to go, guess Ill see you after Placid huh?? all that training you have to do...(: good thing you love it. really trav, great job.

SkiRough said...

Psyched you won a slot!!

What are you looking at in that second running pic? Pace clock?

Curly Su said...

great race; i'm glad it worked out...

are you doing timberman again this year??

Anonymous said...

Great race report! Can't wait for Placid. ; ) Rachel

Anonymous said...

Great race! And good luck at the next event!

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