Sunday, August 23, 2009

Timberman Short Course Tri

I went up to New Hampshire 3 years ago to race and was greeted by rain. So why should this year be any different? We drove up Friday and got there in the early afternoon. Just in time for the rain to fall. I picked up my packet from the race expo and we drove the bike course so I can see the hills. They certainly did not look as daunting as they did for the Mooseman course. The trick with this course is to just pace the hills. Nothing steep on the short course, just slow climbing.

Wingman and I made it to the hotel and checked in. It was ~10 minutes from the race start which is always good. I managed to get to bed pretty early, but staying asleep is always an issue for me the night before a race.

When the alarm went off at 4a, the usual race morning thoughts went through my head: "maybe I can skip the race cause I'm tired", "the roads are wet, I don't want to ride", "what was I thinking when I signed up" etc. But as soon as I start moving around, it's all good. I had to force myself to eat breakfast. It is such a struggle to eat as I have no appetite on race morning. My bags were already packed and the bike was ready to go. We loaded up the Element and drove over to Ellacoya St park. The park has limited parking so we wanted to get there early to be sure we got a spot. I got body marked and went back to the car and went to sleep again. I woke up a minute before my watch alarm went off. Now it's time to really get ready.

I pumped the tires and grabbed my bag. Setup in transition takes me no time at all that it always makes me think I forgot something. I grabbed my stuff for the swim and we walked over to the swim. I put on the wetsuit and bid farewell to the Wingman. I wanted to get into the water to warm up a little. My last race swim was in the Hudson. This swim was in Lake Winnipesaukee which is regarded as a super clean lake. Well, when I saw a piece of Kielbasa float by, I'd like to challenge that claim. Unless the lake doubles over as a stew, then I guess it would be normal.

Swim waves are supposed to be 6 minutes apart, but after the first few waves went out, they announced that they were going every 4 minutes now. At this time I realized the weather was going to take a turn from the sunshine to rain shortly and they wanted everyone going quickly. I could see that the water was shallow because at the halfway point, I saw a man standing and walking. That's a no-no in a triathlon swim. Now it was time to get into the water for my wave. I got towards the front as I did not want to have to get around people at the start. We we all standing when the horn went off. To my horror, most of the women in my wave RAN ~25 meters before they started swimming. Really people?!?! You're standing in waist deep water and you can't swim? Pathetic. I started swimming as I wanted to find my rhythm. Turns out I had no rhythm the whole time. The words I used later on to describe the swim to the Wingman was "it was an angry swim." I had such rage the whole time. It was a rough swim with a lot of kicking. I was shocked at how many women were doing a breast stroke and kicking wildly. Plus arms were flailing and hitting people. I would have to say this was the closest I ever came to stopping during the swim to kick some ass. I had some woman that tried to swim over me. There was plenty of room around me to pass. So I resorted to increasing my kicking power and she now knows what my foot feels like and I made sure she got an elbow for good measure. Next time I might pack some nunchucks for my next race. Otherwise, I made it out of the swim in a reasonable time. As I ran to transition to get the bike, it started to rain. Ugh.

I made a decision in transition to forgo socks for the bike ride (translation - I was too lazy to dry my feet and put socks on). I was eager to get out onto the bike course before the real rain came down. I was in an easy gear because there is a climb as soon as you get out of the park. I took it easy on the climb because I did not want to fry myself in the first few minutes. The rain is still light at this point and I'm not too concerned. The course is nice and I was able to really move on the flats. About 3 miles in the rain was coming down and I decided to take it easy on the descents. My A race is a few weeks away and I don't want to take myself out of it with a crash in this race. There is nothing on the line for me at Timberman. The turnaround came up quickly and it was time to head back. There were a few downhills to contend with, but other than that, I just plugged away to make up for the time I lost peddling uphill. I made it back to transition within the time frame I predicted. I racked the bike, swapped shoes, downed the last of my drink and was on my way. And no joke, as soon as I racked my bike, the rain stopped. I looked skyward and had a few choice words for mother nature.

The run is a simple out and back. No hills to climb, but the first half is slightly uphill. But first you have to run down the grass chute to get out of the park. Once I made my way onto the road, I plodded along until I felt like I had some running legs. Lucky for me it didn't take took long. I felt decent before I got to the first mile marker. I knew once I got to the turn around I can pickup my pace by having some help from the slight downhill. I wanted to leave it all out there on the course. Once I got to the turnaround, I saw something disturbing. A "large" man in a red speedo running ahead of me. He was in an earlier wave so I was gaining on him. At this point my pride was on the line. No way could I let him finish just ahead of me. I ran a little harder and suddenly realized I made a big mistake by not putting socks on. My toes on my left foot and right arch were on fire. I could picture how raw they must look. Now I really had to move so I could take my shoes off!! I passed the heavy speedo guy, pride intact, and kept on going. I did my best to pass people, but when I got to the long finish chute, a few passed me. Oh well, just keep running. I sprinted across the finish line and was happy it was over.

Overall, my performance is getting better. I am disappointed with the bike ride, but the weather was out of my control. I would love to go back next year and see if I get some better weather and improve my times. And a huge thanks to Brian at Carl Hart Bicycles for covering up the seat bracket so I stop ripping shorts. It worked like a charm!!


  1. Hey Sue, well done, again!!
    Sorry I didn't get your question before your race,but here goes for the next one..
    When you can see the bottom, think of putting your legs down, when you think you can touch the bottom with your fingers on a pul phase of freestyle, (it is deeper than it seems)you should get your feet donw. If you are in the tropics, you might need to go a bit further. If you are in murky long island water, get your feet down a bit earlier! You shoudl, if you time it right, be in lower thigh-above-knee deep water adn can start running. Any earlier andyou will be too floaty with too much drag, any later adn you will be getting up from a squat, which looks to the onlookers like you were peeing..start stripping as you run, getting your zipper going as soon as you get your shoudlers out of the water..
    Don't trip!
    good luck!!

  2. Sinead, thanks for the info. I think I was trying to stand when it was too shallow plus I still had forward momentum from swimming so each time I would try to stand, I would keep falling forward. Next time I go to the lake to swim, I will try your advice. Now what can you recommend for downhill cycling in the rain ;-)