The Kona Post – Part 1 of maybe a few

What a memorable week this has been. At times it is hard for me to be fully appreciative because I feel like I underperformed here on the island but the truth is that this first time, it was a reward. A reward and a learning experience that I hope to build upon next time.

All in all there were so many amazing experiences here.  Many included meeting and chatting with my idols in the sport like Chris Lieto, Craig Alexander, Chrissie Wellington and Dirk Bockel just to name a few.  Check out all my photos on Facebook here to see all the people I met, places I went and how I was looking during the race. Additionally Craig Alexander deserves a tremendous shout out for stepping up and helping Mary Eggers with her Teens Living with Cancer initiative.  Craig just two days post Ironman took time out of his busy day to stop by the Kona Aquatic Center to “kick off” versus Mary.  In just one hour Craig and Mary were able to generate over $1,500 dollars to the cause (as of this morning it is up past $2k).  My hat goes off to you Craig.  To donate to the cause click the following link –> http://www.imathlete.com/donate/Campaign.aspx?fCID=1600

Mary Eggers and Craig Alexander at the Duel in The Pool Part II

In keeping with the charitable theme I am also proud to say that I helped out another true professional in every sense of the word, Chris Lieto, in donating to his Do More Than Sport campaign which had a Kona focus of raising enough money to put 141 children (the miles covered in an ironman are 140.6) through a mentoring program.  I was able to meet and speak with Chris about his initiative and what the program was all about.  It was a pretty amazing experience to be able chat with Chris here on the big island as he was the first “big triathlon guy” I ever followed when I found the sport and also the first professional I ever met and talked to way back in 2010 at the Texas 70.3  A picture of Chris and I has hung on my wall ever since.  And this one will go next to it now.

Almost three years later and here is Chris and I in Kona, HI for the 2012 Ironman World Championships.

So those were a couple awesome experiences I wanted to share with you all.  In addition there have been countless other encounters that I could talk at length about but I won’t bore you all, you’ll just have to ask me in person. Well alright I’ll just give you some bullet points:

-Meeting Dirk Bockel and talking shop with him and the TorHans guys, who actually set up my front aero 20 bottle for me..just like Dirk’s (we have the same bikes…) Check out the TorHans product line, they have some great stuff.  Especially when you need both hands on your bike because of the wind, makes it so you can still be drinking while ensuring you aren’t falling over from the wind (LIKE GOING UP AND DOWN HAWI)

-Seeing “star sightings” (the pro’s) everywhere I turned

-Using the Normatec Recovery Boots at the QT2 house and meeting the CEO of Normatech “G”.  Big thanks to him for letting us use all the boots for the week!

-Seeing my family on Ali’i during the run portion of the race

-Experiencing what all the hype about Lava Java was

-Experiencing what all the hype about the Race Course was like (hahaha…thats a bit of humor there)

-Pre-riding the Hawi ascent and descent on Wednesday morning before the race in the early morning when it was just me and the course and nobody else

…and I could go on for a long time.

This post is already long enough so I am going to save an in-depth race report for later if I can work myself up for it.  In the mean time here is a brief summary:

Swim – truly like none other.  Arms flying, feet kicking….every man/woman for themselves. I came out in 1:03 and was super pleased with my effort.  I now know that I can put together a respectable swim here in Kona.  Other than leaving my swim skin pulled down to my knees everything went great.  I figured out the swim skin was still on me right as I got to my bike, luckily I ripped it off and didn’t leave it on..that would have been bad.

Bike – First half was awesome.  Then about a quarter of the way up the Hawi climb the winds kicked up and it made for a much harder day.  My strength and power never wavered but the force of the wind made everything slower and probably used up more energy than I felt I was actually using.  None the less I am satisfied with my effort, riding on that day a 5:07 (yes, I had a 4 min drafting penalty..kinda BS in my opinion, I can explain further if you would like but not here).  So going forward with more training and the experience of having ridden the course I am confident my time will keep decreasing.  Good experience on the bike to build on.

Run – started the first couple of miles bloated, got it together on Ali’i and ran well through about mile 12.  Was still at a 7:26 pace at mile 17 but the decline had already begun around mile 12 and it was already to late.  Ended up struggling over the last ~14 miles with a lack of energy..just couldn’t seem to get the engine going.  The section of the course that goes on the Queen K and turns around in the Energy Lab truly humbled me.  I thought I was going to go out there and conquer it the first time but it got the best of me…like I am sure it does to a lot of worthy competitors.  But it taught me a lot and I hope to use that education to my advantage next time!

-Click here for the Official Ironman Results Page (Swim – 1:03, Bike – 5:11 & Run – 3:29 – Total Time of 9:51)

Nice picture Dad! This is me giving a shrug to my dad in regards to my lackluster run effort…it just so happens that he captured it in such a way that..well you can draw your own conclusions, but I find it hysterical!

Coming Full Circle on The Big Island

Aloha from Kailua, Kona! As you all have probably noticed I have been pretty quite on the social media front and blog posting lately (Excluding the last couple of days since I’ve been in Kona, lots of pics on facebook so check them out!).  I raced the Vegas 70.3 world at the beginning of September and coming off that race I went right into the biggest weeks of training for the World Ironman Championships here in Hawaii.  So since then I have been focusing all my time and energy on trying to prepare myself both physically and mentally as best as I can.  Overall I have to say the training block went very well.  A couple nasty weather days made the mental part of the training a bit hard but that’s to be expected at this time of the year.  I mean a 7 hour bike ride is just not hard enough already.

I’ve struggled with letting myself get excited about being here in Kona for a while.  It just seemed weird to me as the date got closer and closer.  Most likely because it has been on the horizon for so long.  If you don’t already know, I qualified to race here in Kona last November at Ironman Florida by winning my age group.  My result was not a world beating effort but it was enough to get me here on that day and that is what matters.  I executed my race and my plan on that day and that is what you need to do at this sport.  This qualification was supposed to be a conclusion to a big goal of mine. Honestly, it was an amazing feeling to check that box but maybe it came to quick in my triathlon career.  It was my 2nd full season of training/racing and when I started the sport it seemed like getting to Kona was the most important thing in the world.  However, life changes and you start seeing things differently.  I began to want to see how far I could take it in this sport and as selfish as it may sound I felt like yeah I qualified for Kona…well I should have because if I am serious about the sport this is where I need to be.  So I don’t know, I don’t want to say I was unthankful but I just felt like if I was serious about making something of myself in this sport I needed to start having some results.

Well, over the last 11 months I did get serious.  I left my comfy sustaining job as a CPA, moved west to work at a bike shop and train and essentially put all my efforts towards bettering myself as a triathlete AND giving myself a much needed break from the corporate business world to figure out what I really wanted out of this sport, and more importantly LIFE.  I must say that one of the BEST things about finding this sport of triathlon is that it has given me such an amazing perspective on life.  I was in a pretty big hole while working in the Public sector.  I made myself sick…I had lost my “ID”, that thing that makes you, YOU!  That is a sad thing when what makes you unique is lost because of something beating you down.  Well this sport has refocused me and given me a reason to wake up every morning before dawn ready to take on the world.  For that single reason I am soo happy that I found this sport.  I am happy that Kona was my singular goal in the beginning and I am equally happy that I’ve sort of moved beyond that searching for the next challenge…because if there is nothing else on the horizon to challenge you than what is going to keep motivating you?

With all that said I want to express how amazing it is to be here in Kona, HI.  Yes, I said above that once I qualified it was like, “What’s Next?” But that’s just my nature, always looking for the next thing to dive into head first.  100% all the time, every time.  Being here in Kona is an absolute REWARD and HONOR.  Something that is the product of by my estimate over 1,200 days of focus.  My big tip of the day for all those who would like to race in Kona and compete at a high level in the AG race is to structure your life around triathlon.  Train or do something to better yourself in the sport (ie rest when you need to, eat right, do at least some sort of workout every day) and do that for 3 years strait…about 1,200 days in a row.  This is essentially what I did and how I got here.  No special tricks or gimmicks and not a whole lot of natural ability.  When I started swimming I was in the lane with a 70 year woman who kicked my butt.  But perseverance pays off.

And so now I am here in Hawaii and experiencing this amazing spectacle.  Scratch that, its not just amazing.  It’s magical.  This is my first time here and I am going to cherish it forever.  Hopefully I will be back again to race and spectate, but that is in the future and all I can focus on now is the present.

I guess my final thoughts for the day focus on the title of this post and how its come full circle.  It has done so in a couple ways.  I competed in my first Ironman 70.3 in Galveston, TX back in April of 2010.  It was here I had my first immersion into the Ironman world and was absolutely taken fully and completely.  I won a trophy for my race and was even able to meet my idol in the sport, Chris Lieto.

Chris and I at the 2010 Texas 70.3. My first experience with Ironman.

Meeting Chris was absolutely amazing.  He chatted with me about the race, gave me tips and added to the growing desire to be somebody in this sport.  To be somebody good that is.

Now here in Kona it truly has come full circle as I met Chris once again and had another great conversation.  Chris is not racing this year but still is a huge presence as he is promoting his extremely worthy cause “Do More Than Sport” which focuses on doing good for those in need.  Specifically in Kona this year it is raising enough money to sponsor 141 kids in a mentoring program.  In order to reach this goal Do More Than Sport is looking to get enough people to donate at least $250 which fully sponsors a child through the mentoring program.  I am proud to say that I have sponsored a child this year and am very excited to possibly meet them or at least learn about their story at the post race brunch that will be held on Sunday.  Chris has done amazing things on the course but also off the playing field and this is a great example.  I am very glad that I could be a part of his cause. He has inspired me in many ways, so call it my way of saying Thank You!  And here’s the full circle part…another awesome picture!

Almost three years later and here is Chris and I in Kona, HI for the 2012 Ironman World Championships.

I’d also be leaving a large part of my triathlon experience out if I did not mention the lady who started me on this journey.  Mary Eggers was my first coach and the woman who took me through my first two Ironman and led me to the QT2 group from whom I have been coached by for the past year, although I have been extracting knowledge from them since the beginning!  (QT2 Systems is world class and if you are serious about triathlon you should look into what they offer!) Mary was the person who I first told on a very cold morning way back in November of 2009 (my second month of training for triathlon) that I wanted to race in Kona.  A lot of people would have told me I was crazy, because I meant that I wanted to be racing in Kona the very next year.  Why wait right?  Well it took me a year longer than originally thought but I am here now and it is truly amazing to reflect back on all the experiences I have had and all the amazing relationships I have formed because of this sport.  Mary had a lot to do with those relationships and she deserves a huge Thank You from me.  Again everything has seemed to come full circle here as Mary is on the Big Island this weekend too.  So once again the triathlon Gods have worked their magic.

The QT2 group at Lava Java. Mary, Charlie, myself and a complete random stranger who just wanted to be in our picture! You gotta love it Kona!!

This place is special…even magical and I am honored to have the chance to race on this course.  This first time here is A ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE and I wouldn’t be here  if it weren’t for people like Mary, my good friend Mike Corona who has been a training partner since the very beginning, Travis who I aspired to be like from the moment I met him, Wheeler who has been a measuring stick since I first saw his name as the AG Champ at IMLP IN 2009, Don for letting me into your home and treating me as family, RAMS swimming for teaching me how to swim, Scott Likly and Towpath Bike for dealing with me all these years and seriously 100 other people.  It would take me 2 hours to even attempt to list them all out.  So don’t think I forgot you, I remember each and every person who has crossed my path.  So to all you guys and of course my amazing parents.  THANK YOU FOR GETTING ME HERE AND LETTING ME HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPERIENCE THIS!  I WILL NEVER EVERY FORGET IT AND I HOPE TO MAKE YOU ALL PROUD ON SATURDAY.  WIN LOSE OR DRAW I WILL LEAVE IT ALL OUT THERE LAVA FIELDS!

“Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.” ~ Confucius

I did something last year that was totally uncharacteristic of myself up until that point.  I decided to put aside certainty, comfort and stability to instead go out on a limb and chase something that made me wake up every morning excited to get up.  To me, that is what it all comes down to.
Does what you have in your life make you wake up every morning excited, with a smile on your face and eager to get going?  If the answer is yes, then you’re doing it right…whatever “it” is.  “It” doesn’t have to be some athletic or crazy endeavor; “it” can be a wife, a family or a fulfilling job.  What matters is that it’s getting you out of bed every morning with excitement coursing through your veins and a big smile on your face.  Sometimes you can’t even get a good night’s sleep because you’re so excited about the next day.  Well my “It” was this sport I have chosen to dedicate myself to.  I am glad I decided to go outside of my comfort zone.  I am glad I did something I usually don’t do.  Up until last year I would usually strategically choose the option in life that I was certain I was able to attain.  This can be seen all the way through my primary education to my college years.  Don’t get me wrong, I worked hard and excelled in these areas, but it was always with a careful eye on making sure I didn’t extend myself too much.  I always wanted some certainty to what I did.  (I like having a plan!)
It was almost that I wanted assurance that yeah, it might be tough, but in the end I would get where I wanted.  Well, when I decided to leave my career in public accounting, I left with a big unknown ahead of me.  I left not knowing if it was the right move.  It hasn’t been easy since I left my job… my life…. but I can tell you one thing that it has done, it has opened my eyes and freed me.  It has freed me to succeed at things I previously thought unattainable, and given me the confidence to chase things that feel right and make me happy.  I am also learning that life is about balance, and without having balance you can never truly be happy. (So go and have that drink with your friends tonight, your long run tomorrow isn’t really that important…)  I am truly grateful for this awakening.
“The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you. Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

~ William Jennings Bryan

I am doing things in my life both within sport and outside sport that excite me, scare me and inspire me.  Sometimes I go to bed absolutely exhausted, floored, sad and with doubts.  However, all the while each morning brings a new opportunity to stick my neck out and see what happens…and that excites me.  So every morning I am waking up excited.  I don’t need an alarm clock and I never want to just keep lying under my covers…there is just too much to do.

 

2012 Timberman 70.3 Race Report

This race has been 3 years in the making and more specifically the product of what can happen when you put yourself in a position to succeed.  Over the past 3 years I have changed many things in my life with the main purpose being to allow myself to become a better triathlete.  This started with simply buying a bike and learning how to ride for more than 45 minutes.  That progressed to signing up for my first two Ironman races in 2010 and then finally to putting a career on hold to chase a dream.  That dream was to simply strive for something that I thought bigger than myself.  It is not that I think myself to be a future Kona Champion, that simply is not in my cards.   However, the GOAL is to be competitive and go head to head with some of the best in the sport.  With each season, each race and each training session I am building towards being able to hold my own.  (It is not easy and I still have an extremely long way to go, lets face it I had a great race on Sunday and was still 28 minutes behind the winner, Joe Gambles).  Contrary to what you might think, at 5’8” 152 lbs, I am no physical specimen.  Every accomplishment is earned through what I feel is hard work and determination.  Luckily triathlon is a sport that rewards those attributes. Miracles simply don’t happen in triathlon.  No one is making a one-handed grab in the corner of the endzone from a Doug Flutie hail mary, the band is NOT coming on the field and you are not going to hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth down 1 run with 2 outs and 2 strikes against you.  In triathlon you are pretty much going to perform at the level that you trained yourself to be at.

The Race

The alarm in my head went off around 4:02.  Breakfast, as shown below was consumed by 5 AM and by 5:50 I was headed down to transition.

Breakfast of Champions

After my spot was taken care of in transition I headed down to the beach and got comfortable as my wave was going off a full 50 minutes after the Pro Men.

The Calm before the Storm

The Swim:

Swimming has not been as much of a focus as in the past for me.  I’ve been doing more open water work lately and frankly just put more time in the bike and run department.  Which is why coming out of the water under 30 minutes made me very happy.  The swim as usual is typically a boring part of the race to talk about so I will just say that it was a very crowded swim with all the waves in front of me still in the water which made for a lot of weaving and additional sighting.  BUT, when I was about 50 yards from shore I saw the clock just clicking over to 29:xx so I went as hard as I could and ran as fast as I could into transition and was rewarded with a sub 30 minute swim.

Swim Time: 29:58, 5th AG, 57th OA

The Bike:

A brain fart while in transition cost me about 45 seconds I would guess.  I simply could not locate my bike, I thought it was by a tree but it turns out there were about 25 trees in transition.  Whoops!  Anyway, once I found my bike I was on my way.

The first section of the bike before you make a left and get off the highway is a little hilly right at the start and my legs really weren’t happy.  I think the kicking at the end of the swim exhausted them a little bit.  So it took a few miles before I felt comfortable on the bike.  Once I did it was time to start climbing as the first section of the course is mostly uphill.  Nothing to notable happened here other than the fact that I exploded a Powerbar Gel on myself and bike, which meant that I was A. Sticky and B. In need of a fuel replacement at the next aid station.  Otherwise things went smoothly over the first 30 miles.  After the initial hills its flattens out and even has a net elevation loss for a pretty long way, enough so that my average speed over that section was around 28 mph.  Somewhere around 30 miles into the race a 27 year old who, coached by my buddy Chad Holderbaum came by me in Chad fashion pushing a big gear.  He said hello and continued on his way.  In a full Ironman distance race I probably would have just let him go but this was a 70.3 and I wanted to race!  Plus finding out my limits is always a good excuse.  Needless to say I pushed a bit harder than I had and actually maintained a manageable gap between us until I dropped my chain at an aid station and had to stop and fix it.  Luckily when I did that 3 other guys in my AG came by me and so I had some more motivation.  I used them as targets for a little while and ended up going ahead of them with a couple miles left.

Bike: 2:20, 2nd AG, 16th OA

(Garmin File–> http://connect.garmin.com/activity/212623071)

The Run:

Coming off the bike I could kind of tell that I was in second in my AG and probably 3rd out of the 29 and unders.  I figured that there would probably be 2-3 people in the earlier waves that would be challenging for the overall amateur podium so given that I knew I would need a good run to have a chance at top 5.  Out of the gate I was a little slower than planned at around 6:25 – 6:30.  I really had to pee and it was uncomfortable.   None the less I managed to pass a couple people my age and knew I basically had one 29 and under guy to pass by the end of the race and that would give me a good shot at being top 5 or top 3 in the amateur race.  Since I passed a couple guys by mile 1.5 I decided to make a porta potty stop and it was the best decision I made all day. After that I felt a ton better.  After the stop I passed the couple guys back and settled into a pretty steady pace over the first 6 miles.  At the beginning of the second loop I felt really good and started to lift the HR.  When I hit the turn around at mile 9.5 I saw that I had closed the gap to my buddy Fredric (Shown in the finish line pic with me below) who had been running ahead of me these first 9 miles.  After the turn around you get back on the lake road by climbing a slight incline and I could tell that I was gaining.  With about 1.5 miles to go there is a downhill and it was here I decided that I was just going to run right on by and not look back.  I closed with a good effort and stayed ahead, crossing the line in 4:16 with a 1:22 run split.  Regardless of the overall placement I am very pleased to have run close to 1:20 off what was my best bike effort in terms of power and speed.

Run: 1:22, 1st in 25-29 AG

(Garmin Run File –> http://connect.garmin.com/activity/212607222)

Overall Results: 1st AG 25-29, 3rd Amateur and 14th Overall

Bringing it back to the finish line
Post Race jibber-jabber with my buddy Fredric
Taking home 1st Place in 25-29AG got me a big jug of Maple Syrup!

Checking in from the Lake

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while since I put something together on here.  The past couple of months since getting back to the East coast have flown by.  During this time a lot has happened for me.  A lot of really good things, opportunities and people.  I expected my home town to be much the same as I knew it when I was in high school and college…but things have changed, people have changed, yet the beauty hasn’t.  I can’t explain why because I was really only gone from the area for about 8 months during the winter and spring months but that time away has really shown me how great the Finger Lakes area and in specific the Keuka Lake area is.

Paddle Boarding on the Lake

It’s a place that I took for granted for a long time and now i’ve come to realize that I am happy here.  My family is nearby and fresh faces can be found in town, along with many familiar ones of course.  When living in a small town there can be stagnant periods of time where it feels as if nothing is changing.  The people are all the same ones you grew up with and it feels stale.  However, I am not getting that feeling here anymore.  Maybe it is the fact that my perspective on things has changed…as recently as the last few months.  Either way, I’ve come to the realization that I need to keep moving forward in my life.  I have poured myself into my interests like triathlon over the last few years as a way to block out the negatives in life and avoid the reality, which is that things change and there are different paths to be taken and different ways to achieve happiness.

My niece Ellie, my co-pilot

The next couple of months will see the culmination of almost 3 years hard work.  Triathlon has been central to my life since the fall of 2009.  Since that fall I can’t remember a single day when I haven’t trained (or not trained because it was a “recovery day”).  All those days were accounted for and if you went to my garmin connect site or training peaks you would see that something was accomplished each and every day.  I am lucky in the sense that good things came quick for me.  Some people spend many many years trying to attain what they want.  Well what I wanted out of this sport at the very beginning was to race in Hawaii at the World Championships because that meant “you did it” and provided some validation to all the hours I spent training and separating myself from a social life (I am not the type of person who is good at or wants to expend the energy juggling the two, for me in everything I have ever done it is all or nothing and all my energy is directed at a sole purpose.  100% all the time, every time; that mentality is changing as I come to realize what I really want in life)…the ironman in Hawaii was this thing that only the really good people got to do and that along with the fact that I only knew 2-3 people who had ever done it meant that I must achieve this.  This is the mind set you have when with a one track mind.  Well from day one before I had any business thinking this way…my mind was set on going to Kona.  It was as simple as that.  I eagerly thought it would happen in the first year at IMFL.  However, I was simply not ready.  I needed more time.  So after that race I committed myself to triathlon and the lifestyle it took to be a racer that qualified for Kona.  So 365 days later I went back to IMFL and won my AG, taking my slot to Kona.  Since this was last November and the race is this coming October I have had a lot of time to train…and think about the race.  During this time I left my job as a CPA, moved to Portland, OR and subsequently moved back East again.  It can be summed up that simply A LOT HAS CHANGED in a year.  If nothing else when I left for Portland it put into motion change. That change is continuing to evolve and I feel like I am getting closer to finding the next endeavor.

So the next two months will be my reward.  I will enjoy the opportunity because it is all I can do.  Without the help and support of my family this wouldn’t be possible.  My parents are simply the two best people in my world.  I don’t know why they love to see me play sports (they always have) but they do…enough so that they without hesitation gave the full speed ahead on Hawaii after I qualified.  I can’t foot that bill and most likely won’t be able to for a little while.  So this is my year…this is my one shot to enjoy the sport at a place where the world comes to celebrate it.  I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and won’t take it for granted.  With that said, I am not going to Kona to “just enjoy the experience”.  While I hope I enjoy my time on the island, I am still going into the race with a goal of performing at my peak.  Having known I was going to race in Hawaii since last November, it has given me the chance to build my whole season around it and put in the required training to race at my full capability.  With that said things happen…things change, but what really matters is that I will be physically and mentally ready for whatever is thrown at me.  Now the trick is to translate that into the rest of my life.

Next Up: Timberman 70.3 (8/19), Vegas 70.3 (9/9) and IM Hawaii (10/13)

“Seven Seconds” – My Musselman 2012 Race Report

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.

Mike and I right before the swim start

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.

Bike: 2:32, 22mph, 22nd Place Overall
I made it back to transition and after taking a few extra seconds to gather myself and get my head in the game I headed out on the run.  I went a bit faster than I intended on for the first mile and then backed off a bit into a more steady pace for the first half of the run.  Once I crested the climb up barracks road which dumps you out on pre-emption I made the right hand turn and started really getting to work.  The back half of the run course has a lot of downhill sections so I tried my best to go as fast as possible down them.  After navigation the descents I returned to the lakeshore for the final 2 miles.  I closed with a 6 minute mile and ended up with a 1:25 run which got back in the top 10 overall.
Run – 1:25, 6:24/mi, 4th Fastest Run of the day
Final Time: 4:32, 9th Overall

A Post in Pictures

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

Zoom Zoom
Facing and Uphill Battle
“Turbeau” Powered

Practicing my Tour de France Victory Celebration

Occupy Musselman: The 2012 Race Preview

 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!

-Turbeau

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