Nationals and Sodus Point Recap. Sprint Triathlon, Olympic Triathlon

08/12/2015 » Milwaukee, WI, Sodus Point, NY » Event Website

This past weekend was an amazing one for Migonis Multisport.  Four team members traveled from Central New York to Milwaukee, WI to race in two of the most competitive races in the world, USAT Age-group Nationals and Sprint Nationals.  Ryan Meek, Matt Ryan and Matt Migonis raced in both races, while Joan Kane competed in the Olympic distance race on Saturday.  While everyone had their own personal goals, for three of these athletes the number one goal from their coach was survival.  As in survive the swim and you’ll be in good shape for the rest of the race.

The age-group race on Saturday is one of the most intense, intriguing and gut wrenching experiences a triathlete can have during their career.  The wide range of emotions before, during and after the race are truly incredible.  The swim is especially hard at this race.  It seemed like each wave had too many athletes for the allotted space at the swim start, which meant pure chaos in the first 500 meters.  Everyone described the experience in the water as a slug fest and harder than they ever expected.  While long course swims are difficult, swimming 1,500 meters all-out with 160+ other athletes in your age-group all with similar abilities can prove to be as hard as or harder than swimming 4,000 meters non-stop.  Nonetheless, everyone fought their way through the swim and into transition with the relief of knowing that they made it through the hardest part of the day.

The bike course wasn’t a difficult one and everyone on the team saw speeds that they normal don’t see in most of their races throughout the season.  There were several long gradual hills, but nothing too steep and nothing that they couldn’t handle.  There was also a very fast out and back section which was a place they everyone could really hammer.  The hardest part of this ride may very-well have been the final downhill off the bridge before turning towards the transition area.  It got a little crazy down there, and a little congested.

The run was deceiving.  The course was very flat and looked very fast, however, it somehow took the energy from your legs faster than one would expect.  There were plenty of water-stations and a lot of crowd support, which really helped.  The final stretch was really cool too as you ran down the red carpet in front of the grandstand with the announcer saying your name.  Something you don’t get at the majority of the races you do.

In the end everyone raced very well and their times showed that for sure.  Joan Kane finished in the top third of her age-group coming in 44th with a time of 2:47:10.  This was an excellent race for Joan who really showed her poise and determination on the course.  Ryan Meek set a new personal record (PR) for this distance crossing the line in a time of 2:24:52.  Ryan used a well-rounded race, with an especially strong bike leg to set his new PR for the Olympic distance.  Matt Ryan also set a new PR flying across the finish-line in a time of 2:22:30.  Matt had a very good swim and a super bike to go along with a solid run leg, which was enough to blow his best time for the distance out of the water.  Both he and Ryan proved that racing hard less than two weeks after racing an Ironman can be done, and done very well.  Matt Migonis was making his second trip to Milwaukee. His 2013 experience in the Olympic race was less than ideal and his main goal was to race better than the dismal performance two years ago.  By better I mean, a performance good enough to push the race in 2013 out of his mind.  The race stared off pretty well with a good swim and a very good bike in which he averaged 26.5 mphs.  The first two miles of the run were solid, but then the wheels stared to come off a bit.  He still finished with a good performance taking home fourth place in the very competitive 35-39 age-group in a time of 1:59:06.  More importantly, it was a much better day overall than 2013.  All-around it was a magnificent day for the team.

The second day of racing was much like the day before, except with a much smaller field.  For some reason that didn’t seem evident in the swim as it was again by far the hardest and most nerve-racking part of the race for everyone.  Matt, Ryan and Matt were all racing on tired legs, but Coach Matt knew that the other two and he were going to feel much better than expected during the race.

Once again, the swim, bike and run were on the same course that they raced yesterday, however each distance was cut in half.  Unfortunately for a Championship race, the swim measured a bit long, which showed in the results.  The bike included all the hills from the prior day and not the fast out and back section where speeds really took off.  The run was all on the same bike paths, but seemed to feel much faster for everyone that day.

Matt R. crossed the line in a time of 1:12:10 once again after starting with a good swim, he used a very impressive bike leg to set himself up for a good run.  He was 46th in his age-group.  Ryan also surprised himself by having a great day too.  He broke the tape in a time of 1:14:56 which was good enough for 27th in his age-group.  Ryan survived the swim and then had a great bike and run to finish with a time faster than his goal.  Matt M. also raced well finishing in a time of 1:00:54.  The was a little slower than his winning time in 2013, but with the swim being longer than 750 meters it worked out to roughly the same.  He was second in his age-group.  He was given a two minute drafting penalty, which was later reversed, but not before the results came out.

Again, the day was a successful one for everyone and while we were reminiscing about the weekend on the long drive home yesterday, everyone agreed that although this experience was hard, stressful and humbling, it was also just what we all needed.  For Joan it was the culmination of a long journey she started nearly five years ago.  She was finally able to race in one of the largest and easily one to the top three most competitive triathlons at the Olympic distance in the whole world.  She met the challenge head on and took care of business.  And her coach couldn’t be more proud of her.  For Matt R. and Ryan it was a weekend that was used as a learning experience and also a confidence booster.  Training for Ironman for so many months was not ideal for this short course racing, but it didn’t seem to affect their performance the way it does most others.  They both took “the bull by the horns” and raced their asses off.  Oh, and they enjoyed every minute of it.  For Matt M. it was a little different experience.  When he came in 2013 he had no real expectations.  He followed one of the worse races of his 11 years in the sport with one of the best and came home with an overall and age-group National Championship in the sprint distance.  Last year he capped off his short course goals with a World Championship in the sprint distance.  This year’s Nationals was more about being with a team and trying to enjoy one last hooray at this event.  The focus shifts to 70.3 next year and with his heel being as bad as it is, short course racing will mostly likely be a thing of the past at the end of the season.  The intensity is just too much for the injury that will never heal.

Yes it will be a weekend to remember, but with the race moving to a different venue in 2016, everyone who did race and those who plan on racing next year from the team, are really excited to return to this event in just under 365 days.  Next year will be in Omaha, NE and it is coach Matt’s hope that most team members will be highlighting that weekend as the premier weekend of their seasons.

Joan, Matt, Ryan and Matt weren’t the only athletes racing last weekend for Migonis Multisport. Travis Glazier raced at the Sodus Point Triathlon on Sunday morning.  Travis had a strong swim before having to deal with a bike mechanical issue that could have easily ended his day early.  But true to Travis’ “fight to the finish” nature, he battled back and made it through the bike before finishing his day off with a super run leg.  He crossed the line 27th overall and 5th in his age-group in a time of 1:17:15.  Yet another performance that shows just how far he has come in the past 10 months.  Excellent job Travis!