Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Presque Isle Sprint Race Report

Saturday, August 29th was the Presque Isle Sprint tri in Erie PA. This was a race I did my first year in the sport in 2006 but due to conflicting with Ironman Wisconsin I had to skip the last 2 years so despite only being 6 days after the Cannonman Half I still wanted to do this race and do well. In fact I had e-mailed coach John and told him I wanted top 3 or was going to be very disappointed. I registered the week before and was lucky as the race sold out with about 350 entries and I had been planning on just signing up race day.

The week after Cannonman I took easy, with a few recovery rides and some easy spins on the bike and just tried to concentrate on re-fueling the body and letting the legs recover, although my legs did not feel sore or tired at all. I got up Saturday morning and drove to Erie in the rain to get ready for this race. Oh, did I mention it rains EVERY year for this event for some reason??

Swim .35 miles: 10:13 (1:39/100, 9th Overall, 7th Male, 2nd Age Group)
The swim felt long, as there is no way I was almost at a 1:40/100 pace. It was also held in the bay instead of the lake this year so the water was relatively calm compared to years past. All males and females 39 and under went first, so it was a pretty big wave. Nothing really exciting happened in the swim however I did feel a little drained energy-wise which would be a sign for things to come.

Bike 12.5 miles: 31:32 (23.8mph, 11th Overall, 11th Male, 2nd AG)
This was a huge disappointment. The bike was held on the exact same course the yearly time trials are held on and it's a dead flat single loop course. Both times in the time trials this year I've gone just a few ticks over 28 minutes, so I was thinking anything around 29 would be acceptable for today. The rain was light and steady and not really a factor and I got off to an ok start but did not have much snap to the legs. I had passed a couple people in transition and on the course quickly worked my way up to 3rd. Dan Pierce, of course, led the swim and based on my times vs his on the bike at Edinboro and or the time trials I was planning on getting at least a minute back. Unfortunately around mile 7 I simply ran out of gas and the half the weekend before was catching up with me. The legs felt fine, but I had almost no energy. Finished the bike disappointed with my time and would later check results and see that people I've been easily beating on the bike all summer finished ahead of me and that did not make me happy. Despite this I was in 3rd place and anxious to see if I had anything for the run as I had a really bad bike a few weeks ago at the Yellow Creek race but a good solid run.

Run 3.5 miles: 23:50:35 (7:01/mile, 19th overall, 19th male, 4th AG)
Unfortunately the legs were fine but the gas tank was on empty as I started the run. I had no turnover, no energy and was just slogging away in the wet and rainy conditions. Also the run felt a little long as I am pretty sure I was doing better than 7 minute miles, but maybe not!

I saw two guys coming into T-2 as I was leaving and held them off for about the first mile until I got passed by a young guy in the under 20 age group. He was going along at a clip I should have easily been able to match but I just had nothing. The run was a basic out and back and we saw Dan coming back running strong but 2nd place looked to be lumbering so it appeared that maybe we'd catch him. On the way back I got passed by the second guy that came into transition and he too was going at a pace I should have easily been able to top, so by now I was just mad and wanted to be done. I followed him by about 5 seconds to where the last 300 or so yards of the run splits off the road and goes through a wooded bike trail to the finish. I didn't see anyone behind me so I was just going along until just around the corner from the finish I heard footsteps and I frantically tried to kick it in. Some young kid came barrelling by me with about 100 yards to go and got a step ahead of me. I dug deep and caught back up to him and we were shoulder to shoulder going as fast as we could with about 50 yards to go. I was on his right and the trail made a slight right hand bend to the finish and at this point the people cheering were crowding the finish and he was drifting right going around this bend. I had three choices: elbow him off, wipe out someone in the crowd or just say f@#k it and let him go, which I did and finished about 1 step behind him. I don't know if I could have beat him to the line as he had youth and a winged-foot tattoo which in my book makes him fast, but I know I could have given a little more that last stretch if not for getting crowded but by that point I just didn't care and wanted to be done. My run was almost 3 minutes slower than at Yellow Creek which was also a 3.5 mile run but was on a tougher, rolling course. Oh well.

Final Result 1:07:29 (7th overall, 7th male, 1st AG)
Not the result I wanted, and in fact almost 5 minutes slower than I thought I should have been going into the race. The overall winner, Kevin Park, started in the second heat so I was 7th overall and 6th in my heat. My legs felt fine, I simply was still drained from the half just 6 days before. Got a picture for winning my age group, which is normal for this race and I don't understand why they could not at least put a tag on the picture saying what you won. Also, wish there would have been mile markers on the run, although it probably would not have made any difference other than to tell me how slow I was going.

The only good thing to come out of the day was the McDonalds Angus Bacon Cheeseburger I treated myself to on the way home. That was pretty good!

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