Race Recap triathlons, 15k road race

07/15/2014 » Geneva and Utica, NY » www.score-this.com, www.leonetiming.com

Weekend Musselman event results:
Mini Musselman:
Women: Amanda Hatfield, 3rd Female Overall, 1:20:07 (5 minutes faster than last year!!!!!!), Joan Kane, 3rd in her age-group, 1:34:16 (very fast bike)
Men: Tyler Evans, 2nd overall, 1:12:35 (second fastest swim split), Matt Migonis, overall champion, 1:05:12 (bike and overall course record)
Aqua-bike: Jamie Campbell, second overall, 3:24:05 (fastest bike split),
Musselman Half-ironman:
Women: Amanda Hatfield, 3rd in her age-group, 10th overall, 5:16:13 (2nd fastest bike split)
Men: Matt Migonis, 2nd overall, 4:24:04 (fastest bike split)
Boilermaker 15k:
Tim Leonard: 1:17:20
Tyler Evans: 57:00

My Experience:

It was a very eventful weekend at the Musselman in Geneva. I went into the weekend with three main goals:
1. Win the Mini-Mussel
2. Win the Double-Mussel
3. Top three in The Musselman
I came away accomplishing all of these and then some. I was second in the Musselman and set a bike and overall course record in the Mini-Musselman. I had the course record at one point several years ago, but it was broken in 2010 and I wanted it back. My bike split of 35:15 was over three minutes faster than the previous record and was my fastest speed held for any distance over 10 miles (27.5 mph). My swim was very good too, 3rd fastest on the day, just 7 seconds behind my teammate Tyler. The run was ok. Not the best I’ve ever done, but when I realized running back into the park that I was 10 minutes ahead of the second place guy on the road I let up a little saving what I could for the next day’s half-iornman. In all it was arguably from top to bottom the best triathlon race I’ve ever had.

The Musselman race on Sunday was a little harder. The day started off with a flat tire in transition. I guess I must have ran over something either after the race on Saturday or on the way to transition to rack my bike that night. I didn’t panic and just took it to the free bike service that was set-up next to the transition area. So that scrapped any warm-up I planned on doing.

Then I went to the beach to try and get in some swim time prior to the race. As soon as I put my feet in the water they told us to get out. Indicator number two that the day was going to be very interesting. As we were standing on the beach listening to the pre-race announcements I noticed the wind was strong and that the water looked rough. I didn’t realize how rough until we started to try and swim. It was easily the hardest swim I’ve ever done. I felt as if I had never swum before. I just kept saying to myself “get to the next buoy and it will be better.” I actually stopped 4-5 times and did a few seconds of breaststroke because I needed to get my barring back and calm my nerves. Every time I tried to breath I got a wave in the face. Finally when we reached the last buoy before heading in to the canal I felt normal and let it rip passing 10 of the 12 guys who were in front of me at that point. My swim time ended-up being about 5-6 minutes slower than normal.

Once I got on the bike I got into my rhythm pretty quick and got in the lead by the second mile. Then it was just me and my thoughts the whole ride. The wind sucked for the first 13 miles, but I turned to head the opposite way I went from 21mph to 34 mph with ease. I loved it except for the realization that I was going to have to go back into the wind again later on. I got through it though and even had the unusual experience of catching a bee in my jersey and allowing it to sting me six times on my left ribs. I was pounding my side with all my might while riding 30 mph just trying to kill the darn thing. The lead motorcycle was wondering what the heck was going on. After that whole ordeal I got back to business the final 10 miles and looking at my Garmin realized that I was going to ride a good time if I kept the tempo up. I finished up with a time that was 7 minutes faster than my split from last year. I felt good and ready to run. Fastest bike split of the day 2:16 (24.7 mph).

The run was tough, very tough. I was depleted and tired, but I had the legs to run right around 6:15-6:30 pace with stops for drinks. It’s key for me to walk a few water stops and get in all my fluids to help with my sweat problem. One thing I was scared of the whole race and what really kept me from running has hard as I felt I could was hamstring cramps. They were there right off the bike. I could feel them and it was only a matter of time until they would come out and play. I held them off as long as possible walking a few times for 20-30 seconds and making sure I drank water, heed and coke each aid station. After taking the fluids in I felt great for two miles, but I could feel those hammy’s getting tight. It wasn’t so much the uphill’s that hurt, it was the downhill’s that made the hamstrings engage and cramp. Of course this course was designed to have an easier finish than start which meant running some good downhill the final four miles. With less than three miles to go the first major cramp hit. It stopped me dead in my tracks and I was yelling in pain. I couldn’t move at all. Finally after a minute or two they eased off a little and I got going again. I held them off for another mile before getting some major pain again. I stopped at the final aid station and drank my three cups one more time. It didn’t work this time. The cramps forced me to stop twice in the final mile and the worst came right at the 13 mile mark where I could see the finish line. I almost fell backwards. The pain was so great. People were cheering me on telling me I could make it and I just had to shake my head and pray that I could get going again. I couldn’t even shuffle. Finally after 90 second or so I got moving again and finished. I was disappointed when I saw my time because I knew it wasn’t going to be fast enough to win the day. There was a very fast young pro who started a few waves behind me and I knew he would go faster than that. I did a quick calculation and figured I lost roughly 8 minutes on the run with all the stopping for fluids and cramps. I finished second by seven minutes. So if I didn’t have the issues I may have gotten the win.

I’ve always had issues with dehydration on the long distance races and I think that got me again in this race. However, I also felt that riding in a more aggressive bike position may have been part of the issue. My bike is set-up to race sprints and race hard and fast for 30-60 minutes. That doesn’t work quite as well for long distance races. I figure those two variables and the fact that steep downhill’s were very prevalent on the second half of the course lead to my hammy’s going nuts.

Looking back at the race Sunday I have no regrets. I don’t train for half-ironmans yet I was still able to race well and ride very well. I was proud of myself for sticking out the swim and making it through. I was proud of my bike effort and I was proud of myself for getting through the run despite all the issues. If I hadn’t have road so well I wouldn’t have been able to hold anyone off on the run. I was proud of myself for not giving in to the pain and freaking out when bad things happened. I just tried to keep a smile on my face and telling myself that I can get through this crap.

Afterwards I realized I won the Double Musselman competition by over 45 minutes. That was sweet redemption from last year when I had it in my hands and a rolled ankle ended my day. I also got redemption by finishing the half-ironman and winning the Mini-Musselman taking back my course record. This weekend was labeled as my “A” race weekend and to do well means I was training properly all season. I don’t know if I’ll be back at this event next year, but if I am I will approach it very similar to how I did this year, but with a little more emphasis on long bricks.