I don’t believe anyone can deny that their is something about your hometown that is just special. Whether that be the first time you make the newspaper for an elementary school field trip, your first Varsity Baseball game, or some other notworthy event.
Last weekend, well I guess now it would almost be two weekends ago since I have been so negligent in my posting, I raced the sprint triathlon down on Keuka Lake. I was born and raised in Penn Yan so this is a hometown race for me. I get to see many people I know race around, sleep at my house, get loads of free food from the parents house, and have the ability to sleep in on race morning since its only about a 5 minute bike ride to transition. Its really nice after what you can go through at other races….the waking up at 3 am to eat and get on the road. Or the waking up early, then going back to bed, then driving to transition only to find that you still have to walk a half mile to get to where the bikes are. All these are little things but little things do add up so when you can find a race that is simple and convenient it really is a nice deal. Just in the past year and a half I’ve learned at just how nice it is to have the easy convenient races on your schedule. Simply for the fact that it is expensive to travel and race. Don’t get me wrong its amazing to travel to cool locations (or travel to any location) and race. Its just that it can be a lot of work and a lot of planning is needed. Their is the race entry, the lodging, the airplane tickets, or the long drive in the car. Then their is all the stuff you have to go through when you don’t know the area that well. Your not sure which restaurant is going to have the food you want (although an IHOP of Waffle House is usually a safe bet on race week), you don’t exactly know where the grocery store is, etc…all these things just add up when your already stressing about the race a little. I do enjoy the travel and the adventure of it all, don’t get me wrong, its just that coming back home to do a race is pretty cool in my opinion. Makes it easy on my two biggest fans as well (Mom and Dad) since they don’t have to travel as far. I have never had to ask them to come to an event I was participating in whether that be sports or academic. They just come..they do it because they love to do it. They come to Florida to cheer me on, they came to LP to cheer me on. It’s not a chore for them, its something they love and want to do and couldn’t imagine missing. I hope I have the same dedication if I ever have children of my own someday.
Moving along then, the actual race went something like this. The swim was a short one (even though it felt long, sprint swims always seems longer than they should to me) and really was uneventful. I didn’t set any world records but for the first time I was actually able to stay in contact and sight with the lead pack of swimmers. In most of my previous races I have absolutely no clue where I am in the broad scheme of things but since the waves were relatively small for this race I had a pretty good idea of where everyone was. I exited the water and knew their were probably 5 guys ahead of me. I managed to run up the stairs without falling, find my bike, and got the wetsuit off with no issues. Once I was on the bike I got the cleats situated and started rolling. I’d say I passed almost all the guys in my wave that were ahead of me within a quarter of a mile. I was just kind of estimating where I was since I really didn’t know for sure. Their were a lot of people on course since we started after the olympic. As I hammered past my cottage on lower west lake road I knew that I was feeling pretty strong on the bike. I ended up passing another guy in my wave at about the 3 mile mark. I knew he was either the first or second guy out of the water because I remember seeing him at the start. He was one of those legit swimmer dudes in a jammer only in really cold weather…tell tale sign of a truly bad or truly great swimmer…he was the good one. Anyway, I came up on him and saw that he was rolling on a nice speed concept so I gave him the “nice bike” comment and went on my way. On my way back my subcosious goal was to catch up with the front of the pack olympic wave who had about a 45 min head start on me. I ended up coming to the point in the course where the two races converge and managed to latch on to what was third and fourth place. We all ended up coming into T2 together. As I exited T2 I kind of snuck out with the Olympic athletes and still didn’t know if I was in the lead or not. However, I did here Mary Eggers, who was announcing, say that she thought I was the first one through. So that was cool. I flew out of transition and almost took out Kim Ammon who was cheering for everyone and didn’t even see me coming. After I avoided taking her out I promptly began screwing with my garmin that decided to stay in Bike mode, I wanted my run pace dammit! I got it working in a couple seconds and settled in. Well settled in as much as you can for a 5k. Travis was just ahead of me having left transition probably a minute or less before me. I wanted to catch up to my buddy but I just didn’t have it in me. I was running around 5:50 – 6:00 and just didn’t have the extra gear at the moment. I ended up keeping him at the same distance and eventually came to my turn around. As he trooped on I made my way back home. I had not seen anyone in my wave on the way out (all the people heading back were in the duathlon) so I knew that unless I decided to take a face plant to the pavement I would actually get to cross the line as the first triathlete. As I was coming into the last quarter mile I saw the guys who would be my closest competitors. Yep, those two rangy veterans pictures above with me on the podium. None other than Brian Emelson and Curt Eggers. Yes, legends of the sports. Well the old guys can still hammer on the short course and both looked to be running pretty well. I knew I had a decent bike so when they passed me and I headed towards the finish I knew the work was done and it was time to see what their times would be since they started 5 minutes after me.
As a side note I want to mention that I caught both my parents off guard. My mom who thought she would be able to make it to a friends house to watch me run by was only about half way there when I came up and said hey and took her by surprise. This was numero uno of parents being caught off guard. The second was just as I was about to cross the finish line. I am coming down the last 200 yards and I see my Dad to my left talking some ladies ear off. If you know my Dad you know he is a talker…he should have been a politician..seriously. Anywho I yell over to him that I am about to finish and everything and he completely drops the ball and is off in his own world, haha. After the race he goes “Oh yeah, that lady said that you had been yelling my name”…just funny to me. Totally my Dad.
Well in the end I came out on top for the first time. Sure it was a small local sprint tri but it was still my first Overall Victory and I got to do it at the race and place where it all started. On my own turf. And I got to have a podium picture with two great guys. It was a good day.
For your viewing pleasure (please try and not laugh to hard) I have included both the race results from my first ever triathlon in 2004 as well as the most recent this year. Boy, if I had only gotten the bug back in 2004…I should have known I wasn’t going to be the next Chipper Jones.
Past Results (My very first Triathlon before a 5 year break)..2004 Keuka Lake Tri Results
2011 Keuka Lake Tri Results –> RESULTS HERE