A Battle at Delta Lake, How the Coach and the Protégé Went Head to Head in an Epic Day of Racing Sprint and Olympic Tri
07/29/2014 » Rome, NY » www.score-this.com
The past two weekends were wild, crazy and simply amazing for the Migonis Multisport team. There were race winners, huge PR’s and five Ironman finishers. In all it was the most impressive two weeks of performances for the team in 2014.
The fun started at the Delta Lake Triathlon on July 20. This event offered something different that I haven’t seen in all of my 10 years involved with the sport. You could race two triathlons in the same day with anywhere from 5-35 minutes recovery time in-between. They call it the Delta Double and from being one of the first participants to try it I must say it’s harder than it sounds.
Up first was the Sprint Triathlon. My teammate Tyler Evans was racing with me in the Double and somehow we drew numbers one and two respectively. Those numbers would hold true in the Sprint. We came out of the water together and caught the one individual ahead of us just a few miles into the bike. After taking the lead on the bike I stretched it to about four minutes by mile eight when I heard the noise that no bike racer ever wants to here. The sound of a tire popping. I pulled over to the side of the road and luckily the great people at Bike Loft East were nearby on the support motorcycle. He quickly got to me and we put a spare on. I tried not to ride too hard knowing fully well that if I pushed it too much in this race I wouldn’t have anything left for the second. I got to T1 with a 1:45 lead and stretched it to 2:30 at the end breaking the course record and being the first individual to finish the Delta Lake Sprint under one hour. Tyler flew in the finish line in second with a much smaller gap than we saw at the Mini-Musselman the week before.
Mission number one was accomplished, Matt and Tyler finish 1-2 in the Sprint and take the lead into the second race. It was our goal to finish 1-2 in both races and overall for the double. We didn’t care which order, well we may have let on that we didn’t care.
The Olympic Triathlon was a much similar, yet very different story. Tyler and I swam one two the whole swim coming out of the water over a minute ahead of third. Watching my protégé fly out of the water and in-and-out of transition made me realize he had a lot of gas left in the tank and that this race was going to hurt a lot more than the previous one. I also felt really old because it really hurt my heel trying to run on the beach and to ask it to run hard after racing 30 minute prior may have been too much.
Out on the bike it took me three mile to catch Tyler. He was moving well and I told him to keep things steady and in control. We had a big lead and we didn’t need to push too much too early and blowup. I had a feeling he had the goods to have a break through race just by watching how steady he was riding. Much better than I saw last year at this time. I was also riding well, but lady luck wasn’t on my side today. When I reached mile eight I once again heard to noise of death for a bike racer. It was another flat on the same wheel and in the same area of the race. Later on I found out that they were two very different flats. One was a hole by the valve and the other was from running over a staple. Tyler flew by me with a smile as I waited for Bike Loft East to come save the day again.
When I got back to riding with the same wheel they had given me before I found it a little harder to push the pace to catch Tyler again. I did however get back by him around my 13. We had 12 miles to go and I had to make a decision, ride harder than planned to get some space on my superstar pupil and risk blowing up on the run or ride conservative so that if I did get in a running race with him I would have the energy to make it interesting. If it was 5-6 years earlier I would have chosen the second option, but because I’m a much stronger cyclist now and a much weaker runner I had to use my strength. I had again built a two minute lead just to have it taken away by another flat tire at mile 21. This time it was too much to overcome. I road hard to try and catch Tyler or at least minimize the damage, but the closest I could get was 50 seconds at the start of the run. I realized quickly on the run that baring a major disaster, I wasn’t catching him. I took a risk and it blew up in my face. I road way too hard and the physical and metal toll that the two flats caused was too much to handle. I started throwing up while running and just decided to jog easily trying to save myself from a possible DNF. Meanwhile Tyler was turning himself inside out up front and his effort won him his second Olympic Triathlon of the summer. I crossed the line in third.
Mission two was accomplished: Tyler wins the Olympic
Mission three wasn’t accomplished: Matt didn’t finish in second
Mission four was accomplished: Tyler won the Double
Mission five was accomplished: Matt finished second in the Double
After this race the CNY triathlon world realized there is a new superstar on the block, and without sharing too much info as his coach I will say that anyone watching has only seen the beginning. This kid is going to be very, very fast. This was a breakthrough performance for Tyler Evans and hopefully he can carry this momentum in the two big weekends of racing he has later this season, Nationals and Worlds.