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Race Result

Racer: David Glover
Race: Triple-T
Date: Friday, May 30, 2003
Location: Portsmouth, OH
Race Type: Triathlon - Other
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 15:13:06
Comment: An awesome race in a very unique format!

Race Report:

DATT: Desoto American Triple-T, May 30-June 1

To summarize, the DATT was an Ironman-distance triathlon (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run) broken into four smaller triathlons over a 3-day period. Mark, Steve and I entered as a four person team. Each of us had to finish all four triathlons. The first two races were scored as cumulative individual times and the last scored as the slowest individual time. At the end of the weekend, the team with the lowest overall time would win.

We stayed in a cabin with 3 other triathletes from Virginia (Carter, John and Brian) who turned out to be pretty cool guys. Dinner was provided and was actually good relative to most race meals (although nothing beats the pre-race meal at Duke).

Race #1: Prologue 0.3M Swim / 4M Bike / 1M Run (Friday 5pm)

The prologue was a time trial start (5-seconds between each person) based off of each team's initial seeding. The top 5 finisher's overall would each receive a 30 second time bonus for their team. Our team, RATS [Reston Area TriathleteS], was seeded 3rd overall and I started in position #7, 30 seconds behind the first athlete, Bruce Gennari.

Like most athletes, I opted for my wetsuit in spite of short distance as the water temperature was in the low 60's. The swim was over quickly and I passed and was passed several times.

I slammed the bike from the start, catching a few riders. When I hit the mile long hill, I tried to keep a fast spin. My lungs burned, feeling like I had literally ripped a hole in them, and I was spitting up stomach bile over my right shoulder every few minutes. At the top of the climb I turned around, headed down, losing a couple positions as I was passed by two more aggressive riders (the road was wet from rain earlier in the day).

The run was fast and I started right on the heels of the two riders who passed me on the downhill including the race director and HFP President, Shannon Kurek. The pace hurt but I hoped that I could recover enough to pick up some speed. The mile felt like an eternity and I was unable to kick it in at the end.

After the race, my lungs still hurt and I was hacking for a while. As a team, we finished 6th overall.

Lessons learned:
- Racing hurts, no matter how short.
- Pace myself better even if it's only a very short sprint.
- Still need faster transitions...every second counts (always!!!!)
- A few more sessions of high intensity bike and run intervals would have helped.

Race #2: Olympic 0.5M Swim / 25.5M Bike / 6.5M Run (Saturday 7:30am)

Like the first race, the morning Olympic was a time trial start. Thinking about my experiences last night, I decided to pace myself a little better, especially on the swim. I opted to carry 2 bottles (1 was half empty) on the bike plus a couple of gels since there were no aid stations which turned out to be just right.

Swim was non-eventful, although I was cold in my sleeveless suit (the zipper broke on my full suit a few weeks back).

The bike was a tough course. I would have preferred to have been seeded a little lower as that would have meant more people to sight off of, catch and pass. I managed to consistently keep my heart rate on the flats while keeping it under control on some of the steeper hills. I felt strong throughout and was able to gain position, coming off the bike on the heels of the 2nd bike finisher, Bob Fink (he passed me in the last ˝ mile coming into transition area [TA] which seemed kind of crazy to me at the time given that we were both about to start running). We both were confused coming into the transition area and almost collided because the dismount area had moved from the previous night.

The run was out and back, primarily along a dirt fire road. After a brief conversation with Bob Fink at the start of the run where he told me that he was about to turn 44, I picked it up a little to try to catch Bruce who was still in the lead. After an initial flat section of about half a mile, the next 2 miles or so were mostly up hill followed by a relatively steep descent to the turnaround at mile 3.25. I pushed the run but felt I paced myself fairly well, maintaining a consistent heart rate. I passed Bruce already on his way back from the turnaround and was unable to catch him.

RATS moved into second place overall after the second event following strong races by all three of us.

Lessons learned
- Need to practice descents on winding roads. I was giving up unnecessary time to more aggressive riders in both of the first two events.
- Hills continue to be the differentiator on the bike. Train more hills and stay away from flat bike courses!!!

Race #3: Olympic 0.5M Swim / 25.5M Bike / 6.5M Run (Saturday 3pm)

This race was the same distance as the morning with a twist. The bike was a mass start from a neutral moving peloton (out and back course) followed by the swim then the run. I tried to take a nap after eating a light lunch but could not fall sleep. I was really starting to notice the soreness creeping in from the first two races.

The peloton (pack of cyclists) left the TA following a pick-up truck which served as the official race vehicle. The group maintained a relatively slow pace for the first mile or so until we got through the construction area (road closed in one direction). The pace picked up quite a bit although it felt relatively easy given the drafting benefit. Steve, Mark and I positioned ourselves near each other and relatively close to the front. We had discussed not trying to break away given the relative strength of the other racers but we also planned to go with any complete team that tried to breakaway. There were a few single riders who rode to the front and tried to pull away from the peloton which just let them go tire themselves out while keeping them relatively close.

At some point on the way out, Steve rode up next to me and told me he could not find Mark. Steve had ridden up and down the main group several times. Steve and I dropped back from the peloton by two straggling groups to find Mark in order to work together to bring him back to the peloton. When we did not see Mark, we realized that he was probably out of the race due to a mechanical failure. We decided to chase the peloton and hopefully sight Mark on the way back. As we passed the peloton going the other direction after the turnaround, one of the riders said, "Come catch us". At that pointed, I figured we should have some fun and burn some quads. Steve and I started hammering, rotating positions about every 45 seconds to take advantage of each other’s draft. We caught the tail end of the peloton the at bottom of the long climb, sat at the back for a few minutes to recover, then methodically moved up to the front, still looking for Mark.

When we got to the front, one rider (Adam Zucco) was off by himself. We caught him but he quickly jumped on. He commented that he saw someone hop into the pick-up truck with a bike and a disk wheel so I figured it was Mark.

Now the real fun began as we continued to push the pace, with a few of us breaking away from the larger group to finish at the front.

Back in the TA, we met up with Mark who had been riding in the truck. His rear disk wheel had literally come apart (i.e. aluminum rim separating from carbon disk) while descending at 40 mph from the long climb. Thankfully, he was able to stop safely without crashing or taking out other riders. We were now officially “unofficial.”

After messing around in the transition area, we decided to finish the race. The swim was interesting because we were sweating after hammering on the bike then jumped into cold water. I cooled down very quickly in the water and both my quads almost seized up several times.

The run was relatively fast and uneventful. Having two friends to run with made the time go by quickly. If our time had been official, we would have stayed in 2nd place, picking up about 5 more minutes over the 3rd place team.

Lessons learned:
- Luck is always factor: it’s really hard to put together 12 perfect races. Luckily, no one was hurt. In our case, there was nothing we could have done to prevent what happened. Such is life.
- Hills break up packs very nicely.

Race #4: Half Ironman 1.3M Swim / 54M Bike / 13.1M Run (Sunday 7am)

By now the muscle soreness had really set in. I did not sleep very well the night before and had a tough time rolling out of bed a little after 5am. This morning was much cooler (high 40’s?) as it had stormed through the night.

Because we were now “unofficial,” we started at the back of the pack, about 21 minutes after the race leaders.

The swim course was long and very cold after rain storm during the night plus the sun was not yet up over the trees (no radiant heat). While swimming, I had flashbacks to the Reston 1-mile and 2-mile swims as I started shivering and my fingers went numb in the water. Sleeveless wetsuits really don’t do much to keep you warm. The three of us managed to swim close to each other given we wanted to take advantage of the ability to draft on the bike which means it did not make sense for us to finish separately on the swim.

After the first loop, we exited the water to the sight of hundreds of people lined up on the beach ready to begin the Little Smokies Half-Ironman. This race was put on separately from DATT but followed the same course. As we were wading up to the start chute, I heard “20 seconds” then yelled at Mark and Steve to hurry as were about to be swarmed by fresh triathletes (i.e. had not already done 3 races the last two days). We raced back into the water just as the horn sounded for the other race start. We were quickly surrounded and lost track of each other.

The air temperature was still cool and I was freezing as we entered the TA, so I put on tights, a dry jersey and arm warmers. It took time, but we since were “unofficial” anyway, it was better to be warm than freezing while trying to save 60 seconds.

The first 15-20 minutes of the bike were cold. Because the race was draft legal, we worked together by trading places every 40-60 seconds. Three people are a perfect number to draft (2:1 rest to work ratio). Interestingly, my average heart rate was 20 beats lower across the board than Saturday AM for the same level of perceived effort.

The run was uneventful although long. We ran a fairly consistent pace, taking time to stop at the aid stations to drink and fuel up. We caught a few groups and were passed by one group at the very end.

Ironically, as we walked our bikes out of transition, one of my rear spokes snapped and started rubbing against my frame.

Post-race: Time to recover

I felt like I had just finished an Ironman (same distance, duh!). My appetite has accelerated as well which is OK as long as the weight does not pile on. Overall, I feel very good about my races and enjoyed the competition and the camaraderie of the event. Next year is definitely a consideration!