2012 – 4:32:42
2011 – 4:32:49
If you look at the Musselman results sheet from both 2011 and 2012 you will see that I was 7 seconds faster this year. 7 seconds does not qualify as a whopping improvement, however as they old saying goes you can’t judge a book by its cover.
I will start out by saying that in both 2011 and this year, 2012 I was an am extremely happy with my performance. In 2011 I had a breakout race for where my fitness was. I won the double mussel crown by taking 2nd in the Mini-Mussel and 4th in the half ironman. It was at the time my fastest half-iron race and by far my best run (1:27). The take home last year was that I was improving, I could now start really racing and challenging for the overall podiums. So when I went 4:32 last year it was the best I could do and I went to bed a happy man.
Well after posting another 4:32 this year I still went to bed a very happy man last night. (A Dave Matthews concert at CMAC might have helped out with that 🙂 but will keep to triathlon here for now) Like I said I was very pleased with my 4:32. With that said here is how the race played out yesterday.
With the temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s for most of the summer, our little lakes have become quite warm. Warm enough to make the swim a “non-wetsuit legal” race. Meaning that if you wanted to compete for the overall win you must swim WITHOUT a wetsuit. This race format does not play to my favor as swimming is definitely my weakest leg. Wetsuits give you added buoyancy making it easier to swim in a better position and thus you move through the water with more ease and a lot quick. Most likely it slowed me down somewhere between 2-3 minutes. During the swim I got a bit off course by following a swimmer who was heading towards a buoy which we both thought was the first turn. Well it tuned out that the buoy we were heading towards was the second buoy, not the first. Once we realized this we high tailed it back to the main group expending a bit more energy that I would have liked. Once back in the group I stayed in a pack for the rest of the swim and came out in 32 minutes.
Swim: 32:10, 48th Overall
I went through transition with ease as a wetsuit did not need to be stripped. Once the bike was gathered and my helmet strapped I hopped on and got down to business. Having swum a 32 I knew that I would have some catching up to do. I started out aggressive with my effort level higher than it ever has been for a half iron. I kept pushing pretty hard and my body was responding well. The HR and Power readings made sense and I just went for it. By mile 20ish I caught up with my roommates for the weekend (Pat Wheeler and Mike Corona). These guys are the dudes I would typically ride near, meaning we would be at about the same pace. I hung with them for around a minute but I just I had a few more gears. My plan coming into the race was to go as hard as I could on the bike and hang on as best I could for the run. This was a race where I did not want a specific plan, I just wanted to see what my body was capable of and where my limits were. So I made the decision to keep pressing on. I didn’t exactly drop them cold but I pulled away a little bit and probably managed a gap of between 1:30 – 2 minutes. Correct me if I am way off guys. All was good through mile 50. My avg speed was about 24 mph and I was through Sampson State Park (The old Army Depot) which had the worst roads and where it was raining the hardest. So for all intents and purposes the hard part of the bike was done. All I had to do was go straight on a flat road back to the waterfront, just 5 miles. Then disaster struck. I flatted my rear tubular disc. Now I will say that I was due for a flat as I have had a lot of races in a row without one so it was just my time. I’m not sad, bitter or mad…this stuff happens and I am glad that I at least got to mile 50 before it happened.
When I realized my tire was flat I was running in 3rd or 4th place overall if you take away the time differences from the wave start. At the pace I was going and figuring I could maintain that for 5 more miles I was looking at a 2:20 – 2:22 bike split. Which would have put me in good position to challenge for 3rd or 4th overall with the run I ended up having. This is all “hypothetical” though since it took me a bit longer to get to T2. After hitting my tire with “fix a flat” I peddled with feet of fury. Then 5 minutes later it went completely flat again. The only saving grace is that since it was a tubular I could very slowly and carefully ride my bike in. I ended up covering the final 3 miles in over 13 minutes.
Just before I left Portland and headed back East I had the pleasure of celebrating my birthday with my brother, his family and his good buddy Skippy. Skippy is an amazing photographer and he offered to snap a few photos off of me on my bike as a birthday present. One of the best birthday presents a guy can get in my opinion 🙂 It is a bit rare in this sport to get a good photo taken and usually when one is taken during a race you have to pay a ridiculous amount of money to actually have a good copy of it. So I wanted to take the time to really thank Aaron Barna (aka Skippy) for doing this. I really appreciate it and think that these photos are awesome! You can check out his portfolio’s at his website –> Aaron Barna Photogrpahy
Once again Summer is here and the Finger Lakes Region is shining brightly. The small towns that sit mostly dormant during the 9 months that are not June, July and August are flourishing. Pungent farm smells fill the air as cyclist traverse the beautiful terrain and wino’s make their way around the Wine Trail. Summer is truly beautiful here in Upstate New York. With no shortage of amazing lakes to be on it is a one of a kind type of place. Having spent a bit of time out in Portland, Oregon this past winter I have an even deeper appreciation for this area. Don’t get me wrong Portland was AMAZING. It’s just that you can’t beat the Finger Lakes in the summer. The opportunities for cyclists to explore the area are tremendous! I’ve been around the United States now and I can honestly say that we have something special. It is my hope that someday we (cyclists/triathletes) can get together and start working with our government and DOT’s to establish bike lanes that circle our beautiful Finger Lakes not only making it safer to ride but bringing even more people to the area to share in our treasures. I really believe that we have an immense amount of untapped opportunity!
Pardon the tangent above. What I really want to talk about today is one of my favorite events of the summer. It comes but once a year, usually when the weather is really hitting its stride. Subtle reminders are usually strewn about your email inbox’s all throughout the year but the excitement and anticipation really reaches a fever pitch when the calendar page turns to July. Nope, its not the Tour de France although you get some bonus points in my mind if you were thinking that even with the huge picture I put at the start of this article. Never mind the TITLE OF IT! What I am talking about is the Musselman Triathlon held in Upstate New York’s very own Geneva, NY. This race is an absolute GEM. Jeff Henderson (Race Director) with the help of his family and COUNTLESS volunteers around the area have been putting this race on since 2004 and have created in my opinion one of the best triathlon weekends there is. They simply know how to put on a race, get the community involved and make the athletes experience truly unique and special. Races like the Musselman are links to the past, they are what Triathlon is all about and how it started. They celebrate all their athletes competing and create an environment conducive to great times, a ton of laughs and stories that will last a lifetime or at least the 12 months in between races.
I myself have taken part in the Musselman weekend since 2009 when I got into the sport. The first year I naively jumped into the 70.3 and had a rude awakening. Although that didn’t deter me from signing up the next week for Ironman Lake Placid 2010. Then in 2011 I used the mini-mussel as a tune-up for IMLP and finally last year I had my best performance at the Mussel with an Overall win of the Double Mussel Classification which combines the time of both the Mini and the Half over the weekend. So even though I’ve only been in the sport a few years I have history at this race and I really hope I can continue having special moments here for years to come. Special moments like the seasoned veteran Mary Eggers has had. Mary has competed in the Mussel weekend since its birth in 2004 where she took the overall women’s title and earned a lifetime pass to participate in the event. She’s back this year and doing the Mini-Mussel. So all athletes racing on Saturday better take note.
It takes a lot of hard work and effort by the race director and his staff of loyal minions to put this race and I feel they deserve a lot of thanks. These types of weekends and races are special and offer something totally different than the typical M-Dot races. We need to support them and really make them a show.
Now, with that said. Let me explain why this year could really be a show. This years race could really be something. A strong field has been assembled on the shores of Seneca Lake. Leading of the list of challenges for the coveted title of “Musselman” is Chad Holderbaum. Last year (2011) Chad took the overall win with a time of 4:27. Chad is a seasoned veteran who annually makes a trip to Kona for the Ironman World Championships. Just recently (like 3 weeks ago) he was the 2nd Amateur Finisher at Ironman Coeur d’Alene. This finish was a huge accomplishment for him and one that he has been working very hard towards, so a big congrats for him. However, with the quick turnaround from the Ironman and many miles logged even this week from training his task of defending the title won’t be easy. Especially since the Man from Massachusetts is making his 2nd appearance at the Musselman. Yes, Pat Wheeler of QT2 Systems, another mainstay at the Big Island in October is making the journey down to Geneva. Pat raced her win 2010 and he is eager to challenge for the “W”. It should be mentioned that on top of Pat being a mainstay at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii he just recently race Ironman Texas this past May where he set a Personal Record at the 140.6 distance with a 9:10. Pat is known for running his competition down and with a course like the Musselman’s run he could really make some noise.
Also racing the Musselman this year is Pro Triathlete Kevin Taddonio. What you need to know about Kevin is that he just came off a huge performance at Couer d’Alene where he finished 4th in the Pro Field where he out split the likes of Tim O’Donnell (and MANY others) on the bike and finished the race with a sub 3 hour marathon. Which is absolute amazing considering the difficulty of the race course in Idaho. The inside scoop is that Kevin’s parents recently purchased a house on Seneca Lake and once the Musselman was made known to Kevin and his Dad they both hurried to sign up before registration closed. Just goes to show you what kind of appeal the race has. Based on Kevin’s recent performances he looks to be the one to beat on Sunday. However, with racing an Ironman just a few weeks ago it will come down to how well rested his legs are as the run course with its 7 miles of climbing to start are anything but “LEG FRIENDLY”. Kevin we local here in the Finger Lakes are happy to have you.
I can’t forget the Double Mussel competition either. A new Double Mussel Champion will be crowned this year as yours truly took the win in 2011. The Double rewards the athlete who can string together two races back to back. This year Mike Corona, from Syracuse will be throwing his hat into the ring. Mike has raced IMLP the past two July’s and this year with Ironman Louisville on his schedule in August he has targeted the Mussel in July as his mid-summer race of choice. Mike is a strong cyclist who has been putting in some serious running miles this year. He will be one that anyone challenging for the Double Overall Title will need to keep an eye on. However, I must make note that Geneva resident Alvah Aldrich has really been logging the training hours this year and with his extensive knowledge of the course he is not someone to be taken lightly. Alvah is hungry, so watch out people!
Of course there are many others racing this year who will be gunning for the top spots, myself included. However, I do not know enough about their stories to them justice so please do forgive me if I have excluded you. By no means do I mean a discredit to someone not named in here who kicks all out butts.
It’s really shaping up to be a great race weekend as long as the weather holds out for us. I am really excited to have a lot of friends coming to the race this year and since they are all fast I am equally excited about he level of competition. It will be a great race and I think I speak for all the athletes that we are going to put on a show! So tell your friends and family and come on out to the races this weekend (Mini on Saturday and the Full Musselman 70.3 on Sunday 7AM sharp..but we’ll be racing until close to noon so you have plenty of time to eat breakfast, read the paper and all that good stuff).
As always thanks for reading and have a great day!
I am a sucker for all things cool. Things like new gadgets, new shoes, new apple products, the latest bikes, fun races…essentially I am a fanboy as well as a marketing creator’s dream. I have always been attracted to sites like Uncrate, Sneaker News and others because they give brief glimpses at the latest and the greatest. From the newest multi-tool to the latest Air Jordan Retro re-release. The majority of the things on these types of sites are fantasies, things that will never actually be obtained. Yet it is still fun to look at them and dream.
Keeping with the theme of letting the public know what is the latest and greatest I would like to begin what I hope will be a monthly column on the things I think are cool. These will be items, events, people and anything else I deem worthy of attention. So sit back and enjoy, maybe you will see something you have always been looking for.
The List (June/July 2012)
The shoe in the picture is the actual one I created with NikeID. You can mix and match all colorways on the shoe and even put your own message on the tongue’s. As these will be the training shoes I use on a daily basis in preparation for Hawaii in October I chose to put “Kona 2012” on them, split between the left and right shoe.
My personal opinion on these shoes is that Nike really did an amazing job. Yes, it is no secret that I am a huge Nike fan BUT with that said I have never actually trained (running wise) in any Nike shoe for any long duration. I just never found one that worked. However, since I started running in a sample of this shoe back in December I have found it to be a really great everyday shoe. In fact I was getting a bit worried since my “sample” shoes were getting worn out and Nike hadn’t released them to the general public yet. I was relieved to see that these were finally available a couple weeks ago. So with that said if you are looking for a pair of eye catching shoes that are great for putting the big miles in, these are a great choice. The lunarlon technology is really amazing and provides for a great ride!
I’ve had a few Mellow Johnnys Jersey’s over the past few years but I must say that the latest Chevron Kit (In Green) that they have come out with is pretty awesome! Check them out for yourself, I will personally vouch for the material as they are Giordona made and of a very high quality.
Yep, that company who has been doing wonders for the female body with those “black” pants, and the one who has been getting more men into yoga studios than ever before does in fact make outstandingly good apparel for men. In fact Lululemon covers a broad spectrum of individuals from the two-a-day yogi to the dude on his Harley. Like the people who wear it, Lululemon apparel is extremely versatile, always looks good and never dissapoints.
Specifically for the summer months I urge you all to take a look at the offerings they have in the shorts department. Most of them are made with “built in underwear” type liners which really do an amazing job. The shorts come in many lengths and styles, from short 4 inch ones made for those uber-runner types who like to show off their quads to the longer but still very light ones which would be perfect for the fall marathoner in training or Crossfit junkie who deserves to looks and feel good while repping out 50 burpee’s in a row.
Personally, I am in love with Lululemon products and have been since the first time I tried them on. I even bought a pair of running tights from them while I was out in Portland this winter. I had no intention of purchasing them when I entered the store but when I saw them I figured I would try them on. My thinking was that I would try them on and think that their fit was not much different than my other name brand ones from a specific running (athletic) company that I am in love with, which happens to be based in Oregon. No offense Swoosh but Lulu’s tights put yours to shame. Once I had them on me I knew I had to have them. Thus, as I left the store that day I walked with a spring in my step as my wallet was now lighter and I knew I was going to look and feel awesome on the trails 🙂 Look good, feel good, play good right?
One last thing I will leave you with about Lulu is that they seem to really have their proverbial head screwed on straight. I have always loved the clothing that I have bought from them and enjoyed my experiences when in the stores. However, until recently I didn’t really know what they were all about. Then I actually read the Lululemon Manifesto and it hit me square in the chest…like it was calling me. Here is a picture of it and if you click this link you will find a text friendly version. I urge you all to give it a read through, I think you’ll like it.
Are you a fast swimmer? Nah, me neither. That’s why I need every advantage I can get in the water. The new Torpedo Speed Suit by Kiwami is like they say “Lethal in the Water”. You can read all about the details of the suit here. But the fact is that if you have a non-wetsuit swim coming up this year you are probably going to want one of these. What a speed suit has to offer in my opinion is the streamlining effect. When swimming without a wetsuit in your race kit you are most likely leaving your pockets and other areas exposed to water. This means additional drag is being caused because as you swim water is filling those areas and ultimately slowing you down. The speed suit goes over top your race kit and makes everything seamless like a traditional wetsuit would. So for all that time you spend in the pool do yourself a favor and grab one of these. As an added bonus I will say that these speed suits are also great to use for the summer months when lake/ocean temperatures are pleasant. Instead of putting on a full sleeved wetsuit every time, you can use slip easily into a speed suit and off you go. You will easily look the best of all your buddies at the Monday morning open water swim club. Remember to use “MattC10” for 10% off all Kiwami purchases.
I will leave you all with possibly the biggest secret of them all. A secret training tip that will make you faster, stronger and go longer. It’s a secret that “they” don’t want you to know. This secret can be summed up in two words: BEET JUICE
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve finally settled back down here in the Finger Lakes. Now that I’ve finally made my base here its been a bit easier to fall into a good rhythm. Pool swimming has been firmly replaced with OWS in the lake and I am starting to put my assault on all the Strava KOM’s around the area!
The past two weekends have ben very productive with both long rides taking place in Syracuse. Last weekend the group, consisting of NWT athletes getting reading for IMLP and Louisville, pictured above took off from Mike’s house and put in rides varying from 4-6 hours. The following day Mike and I ventured over to the Cuse 70.3 course for our long runs. I didn’t get a chance to see the new course yet so doing a big loop on it was cool and definitely had me wishing a little bit that the race has fallen better on my race calendar. It was a very fun run course with some nice hills to break things up!
Yesterday, I again got my long ride done in Syracuse. This time with Eric Hinman whose getting primed for IMLP in two weeks. We started out by covering the 56 mile loop in bright sun and ended up finishing the second 56 in pouring rain. The rain did cool things off a bit so it wasn’t a complete bummer. It was nice to have a buddy eager to keep going in the rain as sometimes morale can be lost when the weather takes a turn for the worse. Once the rides and runs were done we both rewarded ourselves with a nice meal from the world-famous Dinosaur Barbecue in downtown Syracuse.
It’s not Sunday morning and my long run is looming. Now that I’ve caught up on yesterday’s tour I suppose I should get on with my day.