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Race Result

Racer: Brady DeHoust
Race: Make-A-Wish Sea Colony Triathlon
Date: Saturday, September 20, 2003
Location: Bethany Beach, DE
Race Type: Triathlon - International Distance
Age Group: Male 25 - 29
Time: 2:10:12
Overall Place: 11
Age Group Place: 1

Race Report:

I have a soft spot for the Make-A-Wish triathlon. It was the reason I bought my first road bike (an entry level GT Force) in 1999, and the reason I bought my first pair of goggles. Leading up to this race in 1999, my “race resume” was quite empty, with only the Defender’s 10-mile road race held in May of that year. During a post Defender’s breakfast at a nearby diner, my friend hinted at the idea of participating in the Make-A-Wish Olympic distance triathlon to support his son’s classmate, friend, and neighbor who was losing a battle with a tumor on his brain. It took me about sixty seconds to think it through…I was in.

So, this year would be my fifth straight Make-A-Wish triathlon It’s held in Bethany Beach, Delaware on a very fair course -- ocean swim, and a pancake flat out-and-back bike and run. This year’s race was postponed three weeks due to Isabel, so it was only fair to have almost perfect race day conditions. There was a little concern the couple days leading up to the race, as the temperatures had really dropped during the week. We (Deidre and myself) drove up Friday afternoon to allow enough time to check-in, find a place to crash for the night, and get a good meal. We lucked out on a cancellation at the Holiday Inn Express – approximately 100 yards from the transition area…so far, so good.

Met up with Matt Taylor and Dan Lader (and wives) in Fenwick Island -- place is called Mancini’s and we sat at the same exact table I sat the year before…”good sign”, I thought.

Race morning, the sky was blue and the weather more mild than any of the days leading up. Without the need to drive anywhere, I was able to sleep later than normal, and was up at 6am. I had the normal: yogurt w/ grape nuts and a piece of bread with peanut butter. I was in wave two (M20-34), scheduled to go off at 8:15. I arrived at transition at 6:45 and was set-up by 7. I had enough time to stretch and do a short warm-up run, before starting the one-mile trek down the beach to the swim start.

I started off the swim hard to try and get out of the thrash. I felt good through the first 500 meters, but noticed it seemed like a lot of time to get to the halfway buoys. I initially thought the swim would be fast, with the ocean current noticeably heading north. So, on the surface it looked fast, but below the surface was the undertow, which occasionally felt like it rocked me back and out of “rhythm”. I noticed a decent amount of swimmers about ahead, and really wasn’t swimming with many others. I felt like I was in a “the gap”, between the fast group and the back of the pack. Swim times compared to last year were definitely slower. The 2nd and 3rd ranked swims would have been good for 16th and 17th last year. I rounded the final buoy to head into shore. In the past, I have had problems with calf cramps as soon as I put my feet down, but luckily, did not encounter this problem.

T1, I felt totally wiped. It’s a decent jog from the beach, through the Sea Colony parking lot to the transition area. My HR was blasting out of my chest, and I was barely moving. The temperatures were mild, but I stayed with my plan to wear arm warmers and keep the toes warm with neoprene toe covers. I had my arm warmers rolled up like doughnuts so I could slip them on easy and roll them up after my arms had dried from the swim…this worked like a charm.

“Sail up”. Oh yeah, there was a nice tail wind on the way out. I was able to ride in either my 11 or 12 cog, with the bike computer hovering between 27-30mph. The bike is 36k, and I was at the turn in Dewey Beach right at 24 minutes. I passed a handful of others in my wave, and felt great. About five minutes before I hit the turn around, I saw Troy Jacobson battling the headwind on his return…I wasn’t excited about the work to come. I hit the turn and BAM…26, 25, 24, 22… 20mph and about 4 easier gears later, I was fighting the headwind…”Sail down, and prepare to start paddling”. I found it best to sustain steady effort in an easier gear with the head tucked down, staying as aero as possible. There were moments when I’d reach back to take a drink, with one arm on the aero bars, and almost lose control with a strong gust of wind. I was still catching others in my wave, so I felt my efforts were solid. About seven miles from the finish, I was passed by a bigger, stronger rider who was able to turn a bigger gear. I kept within 25 meters of him and when we hit the one area of grade (a small bridge), I passed him back. About two miles later he got me again, still pushing his big gear and this time holding me off. I just couldn’t sustain the effort necessary to stay with him. The return trip took 8 minutes longer, but it was only fair after the rocket fast first half. I ran into a little glitch into T2 when removing my feet from my cycling shoes. I had not undone the velcro enough, so when I pulled my foot out, the entire shoe came off the pedal and…buh bunk, I ran right over it. People starting yelling, “your shoe, your shoe”. Luckily, Deidre was right there and yelled, “I’ll get it…keep going!”. Outside assistance?…not sure, and didn’t really care at the time.

I entered transition feeling pretty strong. I was in and out quick, and hit the run hard, with hopes of picking off a few more before crossing the finish line. Immediately out of transition, I could only see two others in front of me. One was a young kid (15 yrs. old) from the first wave and the other was from my wave. It took a few miles, but I was able to reel them both in, and one other on the way. Somewhere between mile two and three, Troy Jacobson passed me on his way back in, looking like he was in different race. I had some minor cramping in my shoulders and side that subsided by the 5k mark. We had the battle the same headwind for the first 5k, but obviously did not have the same impact running as it did on the bike. After the turn and the wind at our backs, I really ran hard the second 5k, pulling in two more and crossing the line 3rd in my wave, 1st in my AG, and 11th overall. I was only 17 measly minutes off of Troy’s winning time, so I already have my goals set for 2004 :-\.

I was really stoked that in my wave of 20-34, I was third to cross the line. I was looking at a pretty solid overall place. But on this day, the older age groups would prevail – they smoked me. Other than Troy and one kid from the 20-24 AG, the rest of the top 9 ranged from 36-48 in age. In that, I’m not real excited about getting older in this sport, as the competition only gets harder -- then again, getting older means getting better.

I don’t think there exists a better post race party -- bbq pork, chicken, pasta, cookies, brownies, ice cream, beer, and 80’s music. I highly recommend this race, especially for those looking to tackle their first Olympic distance tri. It’s a very friendly atmosphere, the weather is normally very good, and the race is run very well (Bob Vigorito from CTA).

Swim: 89th 31:38
Bike: 8th 56:48
Run: 5th 37:47

Take Aways:
1. Roll your arm warmers, slip them on, and wait ‘til your arms are dry to pull them up.
2. At times when Mother Nature makes things more difficult (headwinds, etc.), stay focused on your race -- everyone has to endure the same conditions. I found it best to just maintain a steady effort with my head down.

Next stop, the Duke Blue Devil. Thanks for reading.

-- Brady DeHoust