Mooseman Race ReportJune 10, 2008
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This was my third Olympic distance tri, and second time doing this race. Last year I had a really great time, but was abolutely destroyed on the run from a mix of poor run training and nutrition on the bike. This year my training has been night and day compared to last year (meaning I actually gave half a shit) and I fully expected to beat last year’s time. I didn’t set any specific time goals, but just wanted to beat last year’s goal of going under 3 hours (last year I did 3:03:18).
Note: I’m not exactly going for brevity with this post, so go grab a beer. This may be a while.
Leading up to the race, I was totally prepared for a really hot race. The weather report predicted a cool morning, but topping out at 93 and sunny in the middle of the day. That does NOT make for comfortable run.
I saw a few other people who were rocking the duct tape saddle bag on race day and I was really intrigued. Sure, dropping the saddle bag during a race may help aerodynamics and weight (neither of which really matter when you are riding my big heavy ‘ol Fuji) but I was in the mood to try something new. I took down the saddle bag, and strapped up an extra tube, tire levers and a CO2 cartridge back behind my seat with some medical tape and duct tape. I also folded over the ends of the tape so that there were little tabs to unwrap everything quickly if needed. Here is my new setup:
Riding up to the race site the night before was an absolute mess. Despite the fact that we left pretty early, a 2 hour ride turned into an almost 4 hour ride. Apparently there was some accident with a moose that caused a dead stop in the middle of nowhere on the highway for more than a half hour. Sucky, but pretty fitting giving the race’s name.
I also tried a completely new nutritional plan this time around. Lets just say that normally, my GI track is on a pretty solid schedule and goes off at just about 10 a.m. every morning, which would put me needing to drop a duce right in the middle of the run. NOT something I want to plan for. The night before I woke up extra early and packed down 400 calories worth of fig newtons and some water at 3 a.m. to try and try to jump start my digestive system so that I could fully “empty the tank” before I left for the race. Unfortunately, none of that happened and instead my stomach just grumbled, digesting the newtons for the next hour and keeping me awake until 4 a.m., when I just got up anyway and started prepping for the race. And I never did end up being able to “empty the tank.” OH WELL. Knowing is half the battle.
The rest of my plan was a little better tested since I had done all the rest in training.
- Pre-race: down a packet of Hornet Juice and some Nuun bfore the race.
- Bike: 2 bottles of my Infinit special “Bull Juice” blend (250 calories each). Water as needed if it is hot and an extra Gu of bag of Clif Blocks if I’m starting to feel weak or hungry on the bike.
- Run: Gatorade and water just to wet the whistle, but I should have enough calories in the tank at that point.
After barely getting any sleep the night before from nerves, worrying my alarm wouldn’t go off (which for some reason it didn’t) and my grumbling stomach, the GF and I headed down to the race site as soon as the gates opened at 5:30.
After setting up transition, schmoozing with teammates, stretching and taking in some Gatorade, I strapped on the wetsuit and headed down to the Swim start. Surprise! I can’t see a damn thing. I can just make out the first buoy through all of the fog on the water. NOT Promising for a good swim.
The swim ended up having to be postponed since we couldn’t even see the second buoy from the first bouy and it wasn’t getting any better. Eventually they just had to cut the race short, doing about .6 miles instead of the expected .93. Some people seemed excited about it, but since the swim is usually my strength, I was not so excited.
Once the gun went off, that was about the high point of the swim. After dodging elbows and feet all over the place, I got a little bit of water in my goggles, which got in my eye, which ended up sliding my left contact into the side of my eye. Nevermind the 60 degree water, because when I could barely see because of an MIA contact lens and fogged goggles, on top of already wickedly foggy water, I was basically going blind the whole swim. Not so fun. I just made sure that I had some bubbles immediately in front of me the whole time, because that was all that I could really see.
After worrying about the safety issues of doing the bike half blind, I hopped out of the water, peeled off my goggles, shook my head and POP, my contact slid back in place! PERFECT. Game On! I was ready to go agean.
Time 19:23 (~2:00/100m). Probably one of my worst swims, but decent given the situation so I’m perfectly happy with that time.
I think I must have just been so psyched that I could actually still race now that I could see, because I FLEW through T1. I was even cheering on my wetsuit striper to strip me down faster and was in and out of there in exactly 60 seconds.
Adrenaline is an amazing thing.
Starting off on the bike, I felt really good. I had a big chunk of mud stuck in my shoe cleat, so I had to bang it around and pedal with one foot clipped in for the first 3 miles before I could clear it out and finally clip it in. I wanted to stay nice and consistent all the way through the bike, focusing more on my heart rate than my speed, and keep it in the low 160’s.
At about mile 10, the bumpy New Hampshire roads took their toll on my half-assed saddle bag setup and I could tell that the whole thing had come loose and it was dangling behind me and barely hanging on to one piece of the duct tape. Thankfully I noticed that before it all dropped off and went flying because I was able to reach back, pull it off, and stuff it in my pocket. Maybe I will just tape everything up and stuff it in my pocket in T1 next time. That might be a safer option (assuming that I remember to pick up my taped bundle of bike stuff in T1).
Now, lets talk about drafting. I’ve seen it done pretty blatantly in every race I’ve done. Do people not care, not know the rules, or just assume that drafting will save them more than the 2 minutes they are giogn to be penalized? More specifically, lets talk about annoying purple shirt guy, or d-bag for short. This is the kind of guy who tries to draft the entire bike, but can’t even stick with the group he is drafting off of, insists on making obnoxious small talk as he cheats his way past you, only to get passed by me one minute later when he gets dropped.
This d-bag was my arch nemesis throughout the whole bike. I really wanted to just blow by him and leave him in the dust, but I just stuck to my own race plan and still ended up on top and totally destroyed him on the run. 🙂 I even got to watch the race officials give him and the rest of the pack a penalty. I’m normally not a big stickler for rules, but when racing, justice makes me smile.
Bike time: 1:25:51 (avg 19 mph)
Running is painful. More painful than an bike ride. My feet don’t like pounding, so my plan was to go out easy, focus on staying relaxed and holding just a bit, and progressively getting faster after the turnaround on my way back to the finish line.
I’ve always had a problem pacing the run, or just been wasted after pushing too hard on the bike and blew up on the run, but this time I actually felt pretty good. I cheered on a few walkers, who ended up just following me for the rest of the race. My overall place probably would have been better if I kept my mouth shut, but they did make for some pretty good company along the way. 🙂 I now really like races that have names on the numbers.
I even got to say “hi” quickly to Cara from the In Transit Duo podcast which was pretty cool. We didn’t end up running in to each other post-race, but it is alway fun to “meet” people on the run course.
The negative split plan worked really well. I kept the HR in the mid 160’s until the turn around, then cranked it up from then. I focused more on lengthening my stride to go faster than pushing really hard, which was perfect and I was still able to stay pretty relaxed and brough the HR up to the 170’s by the time I got to mile 5. I was even able to catch up to one guy who blew past me out of T2, but was too tired to keep up by then.
First 5k: 25:04 (8:06/mile)
Second 5k: 23:54 (7:43/mile)
Total Run: 48:58 (7:53)
Doing some adjustments for the shortened swim, I beat last year’s time by more than 15 minutes WITHOUT feeling like I was going to pass out at the end! WOOHOO
3am Fig Newtons make my stomach grumble
Vision is pretty essential to fast swimming
Infinit Nutrition drink rocks my world
Drafters are d-bags
Negative splits actually work
Passing people in transition way easier than catching them anywhere else
My girlfriend takes sweet race pics