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Race Result

Racer: Brady DeHoust
Race: Eagleman
Date: Sunday, June 13, 2004
Location: Cambridge, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - Half Ironman
Age Group: Male 25 - 29
Time: 4:36:49
Overall Place: 126 / 1387
Age Group Place: 14 / 97
Comment: I guess it's bound to happen...

Race Report:

The fact that I was even in the Choptank River with wave 5 at 7:25am on Sunday was an unexpected. Eagleman was supposed to be the race I missed this year due to the birth of our first son. But Kyle decided, instead, to make an early entrance during the Columbia triathlon just 3-weeks ago
(see: http://www.trirats.net/view_result.php?racerid=245). Sunday also happened to be my birthday, so surely I was due to have a flawless race --- birthday luck, right?

I headed up to Cambridge, MD on Saturday afternoon with Marc Nester. Cambridge is roughly a 2-hour drive from Northern VA parts, and a straight shot on Rt. 50. We met up at registration with some other friends (Howard Curtis and Dan Lader). The Big Horse (Mike Guzek) was en route, running a few hours behind after making a game-time decision to race after a mishap earlier in the week that had caused injury and a bit of uncertainty if racing was an option. Around 6:30pm, we headed out to a local Pizzeria in Easton for some “fine dining”. After some pizza, pasta, and plenty of water, we sat around and talked about the normal stuff --- race goals, who’d have the fastest bike split, if Guzek would have a race-ending mechanical, etc. No one seemed to want to take claim to posting the fastest bike split...we’d wait ‘til race day to let the results decide. Howard, Guzek and I headed back to the Comfort Inn to get things ready and settle in for some relax time and some good sleep. Sunday morning, Howard jetted out early, as his wave would begin 15-minutes prior to mine. I had to convince the Big Horse to leave early enough to get me to the race, even though his wave was due to start 40-minutes after mine. All I had to do is offer up some bails of hay and he was on-board. So, at 5:45am Sunday, we were en route.

The weather looked spectacular for racing…especially for this race. It was in the low 60s in the early morning, with a very thin cloud cover to block the blazing sun. I got to transition and set things up quick, went out for a quick 10-minute warm-up jog, and made my way down to the swim start for the 7:29am wave 5 start.

The bright sun was shining right into the sight line for the outbound leg of the swim. The swim was an out-and-back, with a turn about 50-meters beyond a sail boat. The swim was set-up nicely for my normal navigational techniques for the outbound leg. I tend to pull right, and with the current moving from right to left, I was able to swim without consciously trying to swim left in order to stay straight. I felt really good for the first 500 meters or so…better than I normally feel for sure. About half-way out, the Choptank began to represent its name. A couple breaths resulted in a huge gulp of salty water. Sighting became a bit tougher, and with my wave all wearing bright yellow caps, the bright yellow sighting buoys were sometimes hard to identify. I made the turn just beyond the sailboat. Knowing that the current would now work against my normal swim stroke, I made sure to “play my slice” and consciously swim left to stay straight, otherwise I would’ve wound up in the Atlantic somewhere. I got of course a little, but nothing too bad and managed to swim with a group of four to the finish. I felt good about my swim. I seemed to be less exhausted than I usually am in an open water swim. I exited the water in 35:54 --- slightly slower than my goal, but pleased with my effort nonetheless.

I love the hose down you get on the T1 transition run. My heart rate seemed to skyrocket during the run to the bike rack. Last year, I made the wrong choice to run without socks, and ran the last 5-miles with a huge blister, ultimately resulting in plantar fascia and a few weeks of no running. So, I took a few more seconds to put on the socks before heading out on the bike. The weather was still perfect, and I felt solid.

I began the bike with a double-dose of Accelerade in one bottle and some Gatorade in another. I also had a soggy cliff bar that I chose to swim with out of the wrapper, and a gel flask filled with 4-gels. After about 10-minutes, I settled in and was riding strong, passing a lot of the stronger swimmers early on. I remembered that the first 20-miles were very fast last year. This year, the wind seemed to be blowing slightly in all directions, so I was unsure whether the first 20 would be as fast this year. The bike course is flat, has some wind, and turns a lot. I use the turns to take a second to get out of the saddle and stretch things out. With the flat course, you can easily get caught pushing one massive gear the entire way, which, most likely, will leave your legs toasted for the run.

So, things were going well. I felt good, the weather was great, and I was riding strong --- I mean, it was my birthday. I had some thoughts about how much I loved racing --- I was simply having fun. You learn a lot when racing…at least I do. I always come out of a race with something new learned. Unfortunately, this race, my lesson would be how to change a tubular. Roughly 10-miles into the bike, and 28:12 of riding, I had my first flat in a race. I was distraught for a moment. “How can this be”, I thought, “it’s my birthday --- what happened to birthday luck?!” I pulled over, and after removing my wheel, chose to try and just inflate the existing tire. Certainly it would flat again, especially so early on in the bike, so I’m not quite sure why I made this choice. I think I was just trying to avoid, at all costs, having to actually change the tire. So, my first maintenance split was 1:13, and I was back riding, thinking how stupid I was for wasting CO2 on a tire I’d have to shortly change anyway. I rode for 4-minutes until I had to stop again and get things fixed. I was frustrated, but not nearly as frustrated as I’d soon be. I popped the wheel off again and started the arduous process of a tubular tire change. The first line of business was removing the current glued tire, which wasn’t too bad at all, and probably took about 1-minute. Then, 13-minutes and 30-seconds of absolute, boiling point frustration ensued. I had my spare pre-stretched about a year ago. Over the course of the year, I think the tire may have reverted back to an “unstretched” state. I fought and battled with it. My heart rate escalated…my veins were popping out of my head and arms. My fingers and finger nails were taking a beating with the constant pulling to try and stretch the last bit of tire over the rim. At one point, I thought I had it on there, only to look down at the other end and see the tire and slipped off the rim. Losing your water bottles on the wood bridges of the W&OD is frustrating. A constant noise or click in your drivetrain over a 5-hour ride can be annoying. Multiply that frustration and annoyance by 1000 and that’s about where I was. For a moment, I thought I wouldn’t be able to continue --- I just didn’t think it was physically possible to get the tire on the rim. I started to consider bagging it; waiting for sag and spending the rest of the afternoon with Deidre and Kyle and cheering on friends and other racers. Finally, in a last ditch effort, I put a little bit of air in the tire, which seemed to help the tire sit in on the rim better. I used a tire iron and, with enough force to probably break my wheels, finally slid the last bit of tire over the rim (maybe this was my birthday luck). I heard the choir in my head start singing “Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallel-u-jaaaaah”. After 13:30 total pit stop time, I would now be able to continue my race.

My biggest struggle at this point was finding the motivation to “race”. My “official” time would not really represent the effort I had put forth racing. I was no longer riding with fellow age groupers. This was a very difficult thing to overcome, but I made sure to keep things together until I could find reason to race hard again --- certainly there was one out there. Part of the reason I rode hard in the beginning was out of anger. I still had a little under 2-hours of riding left, which was a long time to be angry. I convinced myself to just let the time make the anger subside and to concentrate on performing to my potential…officially or unofficially, it shouldn’t matter as long as I know what I did this day. I still had 46-miles to ride and 13.1 to run.

I never really had any physical difficulties on the bike. A position change here and there helped alleviate minor back pain from the constant effort on the flat roads. I was cautious around any turns, as I was unsure how well my pre-glued spare had been mounted. It was very noticeable that the tire was not on center all the way around. My wheel looked out of true as it rotated, so I had to open my front breaks to avoid the tire hitting the brake pads. Getting close to the end, I noticed that I had regrouped with some age-groupers and passed quite a few in the last 10-miles. This certainly helped my motivation, and I knew that once I got to T2, the bike issues would be behind me and I’d be able to concentrate all my energy on a the run.

I hit T2 feeling good, and glad to still be racing. I had that “race high” feeling back and quickly racked the bike and got things moving for the final leg.

The one constant I normally have in a race that gives me a little extra boost on the run is “Guzek on the pond”. It’s always great incentive to run hard and try to catch the Big Horse. But this year, they started the Clydes way behind everyone else, so there was no bulls-eye on the course. As I ran out of the finish chute section, I noticed that I still had my CO2 cartridge attached to the filler in my jersey. I ditched it to the side of the road and got going. After a few minutes, I saw Deidre, Kyle, and Guzek’s girlfriend Melanie. Kyle had a custom outfit from one of his sponsors that read “Go Daddy” with a picture of me from a previous race [I tried to enter Kyle for the Reston Tri in 2020, but it was already full].

The two times I’ve done this race, I’ve run the same run split. My goal was to come in under that time. My strategy was to be consistent and find a comfortable pace that can be sustained the entire run; something that would sometimes allow me to run faster, but never any slower. So, I ran based on feel, and would use the average pace of the first 2-miles as a benchmark. I felt excellent early on. In the past, I’d struggle through some quad cramps and back pain early on --- I had neither. I felt very steady and controlled. I made sure to get something down through each aid station, even if it was only a sip of water or Gatorade. At the run turn, I had a small piece of banana that was quite tasty. I saw lots of friends out on the run, and tried to muster up a hand or a “stay strong” to each. Around mile-9, I started to feel the pain of 4-hours of racing, but still felt I could keep it together to the finish. I told myself to get to mile-11, then struggle to mile-12, and use the sight of the finish and the sound of the announcer bringing people home to get me to mile 13.1 and the finish line. I maintained the same pace to mile-11, dropped a tad to mile-12, and had my 4th fastest mile over the course of the run for the final mile. I finished with a 1:22.40 run split, a 5-minute improvement from the previous two-years. I had started the run in 40th place in my AG, and moved up 26 spots to 14th.

Post race was great, aside from some stomach issues (not sure if it was the race or the food). We hung around for the awards, mainly to watch The Big Horse and Lindsey pick up their respective overall Clydesdale/Athena awards. Congratulations to all the RATs and RATs-friends who put in solid efforts and dealt with all the obstacles racing has to offer: Steve Smith, Dan “Frosty” Frost, Mike “Big Horse” Guzek, Marc Nester, Brad Paine, Tony Panizza, Neil Medoff, Bill “OFB” Goodrum, Lindsey Fitzgerald, Hope Hall, Gary, Pete Gaaserud, Dan “Danimal” Lader, Howard “X-Factor” Curtis, and Blake Selzer.