I will start with the days leading up to the race, which was on the 19th of June. On Friday and Saturday, Logan and I were both under the weather. I had a sore throat, which had been hanging around for at about 10 days, and I started coughing up a lot of phlegm. It was unpleasant, but I don’t think I felt as bad as Logan, who had a fever both days and didn’t feel like doing much of anything. He is generally an early riser and he slept until 9am on Friday and almost 10am on Saturday. I also didn’t feel like doing anything that I didn’t have to do, but I did do a short spin and then went on a slow bike ride with my wife, just around town. Afterwards, I was sore and tired and not exactly looking forward to racing.
I did manage to get the car packed on Saturday evening. I knew I would regret it if I had to get up and do it on Sunday. This was the first time we had to get two bikes and gear, along with three people into my wife’s car, and I wasn’t sure how exactly that was going to go. We made it work without too much hassle. We have bike racks, but we like our bikes to be inside the car.
Sunday morning, we got up at 3:45am to get ready. We planned on leaving at 4:45 because Maumee Bay is about an hour and twenty minutes away, according to MapQuest. I stepped on the scale first thing and I was not happy. I weighed in at 178 pounds, which is not what I wanted to see. However, it was race day and not the time to worry about it. I struggle with tapering, and being sick cost me calories that I normally wouldn’t have eaten. I had two cups of coffee, grabbed two bananas to eat on the way, and a Cliff bar to eat when we got there. I was mindful not to take in too many calories, or too much sugar because that was the source of the bloating that I had during Toughman Indiana.
We got our race packets, body markings, and timing chips. After that we headed back to the car and got our bikes put together and checked the tire pressure. We took a quick warm-up ride down the road that we had come in on, and then we got our bikes racked and transition areas set up. Logan and I both like to set up our bikes and gear near a landmark. It is not about getting a place close to the beginning or end of transition, but a place where I can find my bike and re-rack it quickly. Logan once did a big race and he had an issue finding his bike in transition. That was a lesson!
After setting up transition, we walked down to the beach and looked out over the lake, discussing the turn buoys for the different courses. Logan was doing the mini-sprint triathlon, so his buoys were green, running from the south end of the swimming area to the north end. I was doing the Olympic distance, and my course was easy to see. I would have to swim the sprint triathlon course, which was well marked. I would just have to swim it twice. From the beach, we were able to look out over the run course, which was on the bike/walk path that ran on the levy of the man-made lake, and along the shore of Lake Erie.
It was a real treat to see Logan race the same day as me, for a change. I got to watch him take off on the swim, track him in the water, and watch him finish the swim. The way the course was set up, I could watch him head out onto the bike course and I also saw him coming back in on the bike. He started the run about 5 minutes before my wave started for the Olympic distance, so I had a quick chat with my wife about his race and then it was time to get going. She had been chasing him and trying to keep up with where I was, as well. It was definitely a new experience for all three of us.
The swim start for the Olympic distance was a modified time trial start, meaning we lined up three athletes abreast, starting about every 3-5 seconds. Someone I know who is a very good swimmer was there, so I made sure to line up with him at the start. I wanted to try and get a draft off him at the beginning of the swim. I knew I had not been doing hard enough swim training to swim a personal best, but I wanted to swim as fast as I could. That plan didn’t work because he was too fast for me. I lost him within the first 200 meters. As usual, I was having a hard time getting into rhythm on the swim. I was doing more fighting with the water on the first lap, than I was swimming. I settled into a good rhythm during the second lap and got my time back down to where I knew I could finish the swim. According to my Garmin, I had a swim time of 25:12. I finished the swim 11th out of 21 athletes in my age group and 68th out of a total of 167 athletes. This was one of my faster Olympic swims, so I know that if I get some solid training in and can control my breathing at Alum Creek, Vermilion, and Toughman New York, my swim times will be a lot faster. My new training plan has more time in the water, doing longer sets, more days per week.
The distance from the lake to transition was not bad. My wife was waiting on the beach and was able to tell me how Logan finished, as she followed me up to transition. It was only .14 of a mile and I ran through the water pails to get my feet washed off. It wasn’t the fasted transition, but I was happy with the time and speed that I was moving at. I had all my swim gear shoved against the fence, out of the bike path. After forgetting my wetsuit last year at Toughman Indiana, I make it a habit to keep all of my gear in one pile. I was 8th out of 21 athletes in my age group for T1, and 79th out of 167 total Olympic distance athletes.
Once I was out on the bike, I knew my plan and objectives. Most people will tell you, and I do agree that pacing on the bike is the right way to race a triathlon. That was not my plan, however. I wanted to ride the course in 1 hour and 2 minutes, and I ended up riding it in 1 hour 3 minutes and 40 seconds. This season, and this race is about riding the bike as fast as I can, to put pressure on the bike muscles that I want to build for the Ohio State Time Trial Championship in July, and the bike leg of the relay at Cedar Point. I am also trying to build strength on the bike for Toughman New York. After not getting the time I wanted at Toughman Indiana, I am on a mission. The bike course had to be changed twice in the days leading up to the race, due to road construction. HFP Racing came up with a good, flat course, which is the norm for the Maumee Bay area. The old bike course was basically a box that the sprint distance did once and the Olympic distance was to do twice. The new course was not a box, to say the least. It had 10 turns and two of them were 180 degree turn arounds in the middle of the road. The sprint distance did the course once, and the Olympic distance did it twice. This meant that I had to do 20 turns, 4 of which were 180s, during 24.29 miles of cycling. This was not ideal for getting into a rhythm and building speed. The course was super flat, though. My Garmin had it at only 272 feet of elevation over the 24.29 miles, and most of the roads had new pavement, so they were really smooth. Out of 21 athletes in my age group I had the fastest split, and out of the 167 Olympic distance athletes, I was 15th in the bike. Remember, you don’t win the triathlon during the swim, bike, or run leg alone, but you can lose it by having a bad leg during any of the three.
T2 was a little smoother than my T1, but I have to do some transition training over the next 6 weeks. My transition could be faster and smoother. I have not been doing transition drills this season. This is something that Logan and I will both have to work on before our next races. My T2 time was 1 minute and 24 seconds which was the 9th fastest out of the 21 athletes in my age group, and 82nd overall.
The run course was also super flat and I thought it was easy to follow. I averaged 9:43 on the run, for a 1 hour and 1 minute and 53 seconds. The run was 6.36 miles, and was the slowest 10k that I have ever run, I do believe. It was hot out and there was no escaping the sun. My legs were spent from the bike leg of the course. I will build more brick sessions (run off the bike training) over the next six weeks, with more long runs. I was 9th out of 21 and 99th overall.
The finish time was slower than I wanted it to be, but not a big issue. My total time was 2 hours 35 minutes and 6 seconds, giving me 7th in my age group and 59th overall. There were lessons learned, as there are during every event, whether good or bad. I know that pushing on the bike will ultimately make me stronger and help my upcoming time trials and Cedar Point, which is a very important event for me. Spending Father’s Day racing with my son was a great experience. He also walked away with some lessons learned and things to work on before his upcoming events. It was a good day.