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Race Result

Racer: David Glover
Race: Vineman Full
Date: Saturday, August 12, 2006
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Race Type: Triathlon - Ironman
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 9:31:01
Overall Place: 2
Age Group Place: 1
Comment: I thought I had this one in the bag...

Race Report:

“Since 1990,” states the t-shirts from the 2006 Vineman iron-distance event. This was the 17th year of one of the oldest Iron-distance events in the country – a classic. Vineman took place on August 12 in Santa Rosa, California in the heart of California’s wine country - Sonoma County and the Russian River Valley.

The race for me began at mile 90 on the bike.

Although I swam almost the entire 2.4-mile swim by myself with no one around me to draft off of, I came out of the water in a little more than 58 minutes in about tenth or twelfth pace. There was a pack a few minutes in front of me that I could see at each turn around so I knew I was near the front of the race.

“You’re ten minutes back!” shouted a spectator as I launched out of the transition area up the hill to make the turn onto the road.

“What the heck!?!” I thought. My transitions are not that slow. It slowly dawned on me that I had simply not noticed the loan swimmer minutes ahead of everyone else.

I pedaled hard to quickly overtake the athletes ahead of me. At about mile 20, I passed race favorite Peter Kotland who was pulling his bike off the side of the road.

“Need help?” I asked as I slowed.

“I’m good,” he quickly replied. I quickly accelerated and wondered what the issue was. I would find out later that Peter had flatted and was unable to get air into his tire until the SAG vehicle showed up about twenty-five minutes later. Being Peter, he then decided to try to make up for lost time and aggressively attacked the bike, which would hurt him later on the run.

Once I passed Peter, I was riding by myself in second place still about ten minutes back on Brad Gale, who had beaten me out of the water by ten minutes. This was Brad’s first iron distance event.

When I passed the halfway point – also the finish of the two-loop course – I was still ten minutes behind Brad – neither gaining nor losing time. During the second loop I caught and overtook many triathletes in the other races that were being run simultaneously with the full Vineman – Barb’s Race (women’s only half), Half Aquabike (swim/bike), Full Aquabike, Half Relay and Full Relay.

Vineman is a destination race. During the bike segment, I passed approximately twenty wineries – I want to get a more accurate count, but I lose track at some point and never have. The infamous Chalk Hill – a long climb about mile 46 and mile 102 – has its own Chalk Hill winery. It’s a great way to sell the venue to friends and family to come watch – “Hey, I’ll do the race on Saturday then we can go visit the wineries on Sunday.”

At mile 90, I looked back and thought I saw another rider who might be gaining me. This should not be happening – the ten or so riders that I had passed in the first twenty miles were quickly passed and dropped.

A few minutes later, local triathlete, Bob Shebest, came flying past me without a glance in my direction. I shrugged to myself then quickly matched his tempo to keep him within sight. I stayed with him until the base of Chalk Hill then let him fade from sight on the winding roads. I would lose a few minutes that I would (I believed) quickly recover on the run.

Off the bike and now only 2.5 minutes behind Brad (he had slowed down at the end of the bike) and 1.5 minutes behind Bob. It was my race to win – or so I optimistically thought.

I set a sub-seven minute pace. I felt comfortable and in control – “I should be able to maintain this,” I told myself then later told my bicycle escort.

A few miles into the run, I caught and passed a walking Brad. Bob, now in the lead, was in sight a few hundred meters ahead. I remembered that when I had finished second here in 2004, Bob had finished 3rd but in a time of just over ten hours. He was a ten-hour guy so I patiently waited for him to crack.

I passed friends Brady Dehoust and Dan Frost multiple times as we exchanged slaps and words of encouragement. Both looked comfortable. The three out and backs made for a very spectator friendly and athlete friendly course. Every time I went by the transition area, I saw my mom, Brady’s wife, Deidre, and son, Kyle, as well as Steve Smith who had flown out from his new home in Wyoming to watch the race. I also knew exactly where I stood relative to the athlete ahead of me and the athletes behind me.

To my surprise, the pass came much later than expected. It was not until the first half of the second out and back that I caught and passed Bob to take the lead. He held on for a few minutes but slowed down and by the halfway point, he was more than a minute back. I smiled to myself. My race.

It’s funny how a race, like life, can change in a race suddenly and dramatically – one minute you’re on top of the world and nothing can go wrong then the next moment reality strikes and you’re struggling to even move forward.

When Bob re-passed me at the start of the third out and back, I could not answer. We talked for a few minutes but I could only watch in low blood sugar haze as he moved to the top of the world and I fell off the cliff. My focus shifted from winning the race to winning a piece of the $2,000 prize purse that would be split by any male finishing under 9:35 and any female finishing under 10:35.

Three miles to go and my left hamstring seized up. Bob was out of sight. I stopped, stretched and wondered if I would be destined to walk to the rest of the race.

“Are you OK?” inquired a passing runner.

“Cramp. Do you have any salt tablets?” I replied. With his generous donation, a few minutes of walking and stretching, I was once again moving forward toward the prize money.

I ran eggshells for the last few miles – my hamstrings and quads always on the verge of cramping.

When the finish line came into sight, I breathed a sigh of relief. I made it.

The next day, I collected two bottles of wine and a check.

My congratulations to Bob Shebest for an outstanding race – he set a PR of almost 30 minutes. It’s nice to see the local guy wins the race – when he and I were together, spectators would say, “Good job, Bob! Looking good number 2 [me].” I was simply another number. <Grin>

I look forward to racing Vineman again next year.

David Glover