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Race Result

Racer: Reid Kiser
Race: Triple-T
Date: Friday, May 23, 2008
Location: Portsmouth, OH
Race Type: Triathlon - Other
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Comment: Four races within 48 hours

Race Report:

Once again this was to be an epic weekend of training for Shawn and I with a strong focus on IM pacing regardless of race distance and opportunity to have lots of open water swim practice. It was also one of the most social events I have participated in for triathlon. Everyone was in the battle to survive together. We were able to bunk with Scott Baldwin at a cabin in the park with Danny Brienza and Craig Ellis. The energy and support of these elites was incredible, encouraging and learned a lot from my cabin mates.

I'll save all the details leading up to the race but it was a tough work week including me calling into conference calls going through the hills of Maryland and West Virginia. At 5 p.m. I had Shawn pull off the highway so I could "borrow" someone's WiFi signal to send emails and deliverables. Never the less, we made it to Shawnee State Park around 10:30 and blessed the house and had a few drinks before bed. We had four guys in bunk beds in one room. It was like summer camp and fortunately Danny brough ear plugs for the group as a few of us like to talk in our sleep (me) and snore loudly. By sunrise the room was like a sauna and smelt like, well, use your imagination.

We went out and previewed a few sections of the course Friday morning point out the death traps and big climbs. We found a lot of construction of culverts through one major section of two of the races which would be problematic for flatting and bottle launching. Scott point out a treacherous downhill with a 110 degree turn and warned us to be cautious.

We returned to the cabin and ate lots of peanut butter and honey sandwiches after we checked in and took naps prior to the 5 p.m. start.

Prologue (Friday 5p)
Overall Rank - 135
Total Time - 00:28:10
Swim - 219 00:06:35
T1 - 01:04
Bike - 134 00:12:58 (23.2mph)
T2 - 00:39
Run - 119 00:06:54 (06:54/mile)

There was lots of nervous tension in the air and trying to determine what we had gotten into. On top of seeing all the hills of the weekend realizing we would just do them ad nauseum, the water would 55 degrees cold! I had my neoprene cap in my hand when I rushed to pack at home, but decided it was going to be warm and beautiful weekend. Next time think about what the weather has been before you get there and not after. I was a little stressed but figured I just have to get over it because there's going to be over 3 miles of swimming to do this weekend. For the first race, I went with my training wheels given it was a straight up climb and then back down (5 mile roundtrip - really more like 3.6 miles). I could have gone with a disc for consistency but didn't feel like changing wheels.

On to setting up transition and going to the swim waiting for the cold and wondering how my body would react. I decided to not do a warm up for any of the races given the time trial starts and not wanting to be cold. The cool thing about Triple-T is that you are ranked based on USAT rank from prior year or your race resume. This put me at 106 and about 5 minutes behind the start. It also puts you in a group of people of similar caliber which makes the swimming more managable but also can make the bike rack more congested (unless you nail the swim and the bike).

On to the 250 meter swim. I got out to the first buoy and just can't get my face to stay in the water, so I tarzaned my way around the course. I felt like a little kid, which was kind of fun, plus I really didn't care given this was all about getting to Sunday and TCoB on the half. It did begin to rain, so the pressure to ride super fast was also off. I figured I just needed to do something under 30 minutes and get to dinner and bed. I had my shoes clipped in to my pedals before the rain started and I really knew how cold the water was going to be especially with no sun out. This was a lesson learned but no harm really done since this was such a miniscal part of the weekend. So, my toes were frozen from the swim and I couldn't wiggle my left foot into my shoe and had to stop in the first 200 meters of the bike. I was pretty much just mailing this race in and going through the motions trying to just survive and save energy. I made it to the big climb and passed about twenty people which made me feel a little bit leveled after those who passed me with my equipment issues. The ride back down the hill was wicked and wet. I still came down the hill over 35mph and was pretty scared. I pull out my feet for T2 and headed in for the one mile run. This was quick and fun. It was a half mile out and back and I haven't run a mile race in a long time, so it made it interesting. I got to the finish and was ready to get up and race again the next morning.

Off to a delicious and hearty dinner served by Scott's mom at her RV. The other challenging thing about this race is you are doing one of four things: racing, eating, sleeping or setting up for the next race. The routine quickly became race, eat, prep gear for next race and sleep (nap). You always worried about what you forgot to do, but it makes you better at setting up and minimizing transition gear.

Race #2 - standard Oly (Sat am)
Overall Rank - 118
Total Time - 02:41:09
Swim - 125 00:23:17
T1 - 01:50
Bike - 98 01:21:17 (18.3mph)
T2 - 00:43
Run - 169 00:54:02 (08:19/mile)

It was roll out of the top bunk in a room of four grown men. We left the windows and doors shut the first night which lead to a very muggy and stale room (probably what it's like on the space station). I am being very tactful with how well the smell of the room was. After that it was door open and windows open for the rest of the weekend.

Since everything was packed and ready to go we headed off to the start with plenty of time to get set up and mentally prepare as you would a normal race. By Sunday HIM, we'd get to the start when we got to the start (no one was in a hurry come Sunday). It was so much better this way as it took the edge off of rushing and stressing. It's definitely a lesson in how to be a laid back racer in many respects. I'd like to see some high tension people do this race to sober up and learn to just relax and have fun.

I put on my full wetsuit for the morning race and decided to double bag my head this time with a nice ProfileDesign thick cap under my race hat for added warmth. It really did the trick at least mentally as once I got out in the water. We went sans warmups given the water temp and waiting to start in a TT format. It was my turn to go, so ran out (more like sauntered) and started to swim at waist deep level. I said to myself you are going to have to do this for another 3 miles so get over the fact that it feels like swimming a bucket of ice and just find a nice rhythm and breath. Quickly I was off passing people and having what was the begining of the best swims of my career. The TT format really helped until you hit the second lap and caught the slower swimmers, but it still was very manageable and made it a better opportunity to learn to navigate, pass and draft. I became very comfortable bumping into people and swimming over a couple accidently.

Note to others with swim anxiety, Triple-T is the best opportunity you will ever get to work on open water swimming skills. You have four opportunities in a weekend and the time trial gives you a little bit of room to settle in and get comfortable. Besides learning a lot from my cabin mates about triathlon and racing, this was the biggest take away for me this weekend.

The bike was the bike. It was a slow and easy day at the office for me once again. Thus far this year, I am holding back on the bike for the run, but for this weekend it was hold everything back until the last lap of the run on Sunday. The course is pretty tough and technical as is seen in other reports. My only issue was the recent draining work done to the road creating the equivalent of speed bumps through the earlu miles of this race and the middle miles of HIM. I got to experience dual bottle ejection on one of the wood bridges (which had gaps big enough to eat a wheel as seen in our preview). I thought I hit the bridge in the best spot at a reasonable speed, but the bottle left me. I decided to stop and not litter, plus it was my nutrition. You may say, who needs fluids on an Oly, but I'll tell you it's an "Ironman" split out over four events and every nutrient counts. I ran back picked up my bottle as Craig and others blew by me. Hay wait a second, usually I am the guy behind after the swims. Once situated I continued on and saw Dave Cascio on the side of the road needing a tubular. He flatted on one of the bridges or the construction, but I was of no help as I didn't race with a spare (irony). Chris Broering would come by and get Dave back on track for a top 5 finish overall. I grinded up Thompson Hill on a disc and 25t cog while trying to keep the watts down under 300, but really just rode by feel and got out of the saddle a few times when RPM would drop below 65. I had some numbers in the back of my mind to keep within, but I really didn't focus on much besides how I felt at the time and did it feel easy. If it didn't feel easy in the first few races, then I was going "too hard". I laughed a few times when I did see my heart rate at 110 bpm and said come on that's just lazy.

Coming down off the big hill was a nice decent with lots of warnings. A pack of eight of us had flocked together riding our breaks down to the 100 degree switch back as two guys came screaming "ON YOUR LEFT". I was like WHAT THE..? Do you know what's ahead? The first guy made the turn skidding with his rear wheel getting squirely. The second, never saw the turn and hit the ditch, flipped his bike and cracked his frame at 30+ mph. This all happened right in front of me. I saw his face when it was over. His eyes bulged with a look of having no clue of what had just happened. I was shocked and felt somewhat guilty, but what else could I have done. I notified the first volunteer and cop (within 30 seconds) that a man was down on the turn and to send help. For the next 5 minutes I was in a strange world wondering if he was okay, could that have been me, what just happened. It was hard to swallow, but the race needed to move on and once I saw the ambulance racing in that direction, my mind cleared and I started to ride again. I later found out from Chris that the guy was standing there waiting for support holding a cracked bike. So, onward to the red barn indicating the begining of the final climb back to camp on headed in. I cruised into transition, moved my nutrtion to my short's pocket and slid my feet out for dismount and thinking about the run. I pretty much consumed Perpetum Mandarin, Hammer Gel Espresso w/ caffeine and water as I felt like it.

The run was brutal and I would end up with a huge blood blister on my right big toe within the first 2 miles of the rock scrambles up the hill. I can't recall a tougher run for me in recent memory. It was an up the hill 3.5 miles and back down the hill with a couple of rollers in between. The course was a washed out fire road in the state park in which you had to be careful not to twist an ankle or take a face plant. Fortunately, you run so slow it's not too bad after you adjust to it. The downhills were always a gamble since you wanted to get the free speed. The aid stations and mile markers made for good mental checkpoints to get through the run. All I could think about was that I had to do this twice on Sunday when the sun will be directly overhead and we will all be exhausted. I cruised through the run intentionally holding back and letting others pass. I made sure to compliment and encourage everyone around my and say hi to my friends and get home for lunch, packing for the next race, a shower and a nap. My IT band was very tight after this race, so I made sure to get back and stretch it out.