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Race Result

Racer: Mike Guzek
Race: American Cancer Society (Salisbury) Sprint
Date: Sunday, May 2, 2004
Location: Salisbury, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - Sprint
Age Group: Male 25 - 29
Time: 1:13:08
Overall Place: 10 / 305
Age Group Place: 3 / 30

Race Report:


I was excited about this race because every time I have done this race it has signaled the start of the triathlon season. This was my 5th trip to Salisbury and I’ve been there so many times that I recognize which ladies are the ones who will get you through registration the quickest. I was also excited because this would be the first time I would get to put my new stallion to the test. I had spent the past month at Bonzai getting the new bike just right….and now it was race ready. I had no excuses about bike times anymore…except…..well, except a weak engine.

Melanie and I drove down there on Saturday and met up at the Olive Garden with Brady and Deidre for dinner. Triathlon or not, it was Saturday night so a pint of Bud Light was had. After a brief showing of the new bike back at the hotel room, we all went our separate ways and I think I was in bed by 10:30.

The 9 o’clock start time means you can sleep in later than for most races. In year’s past I have stayed at a friend’s house in Ocean City about 30 minutes away. This year, we stayed at a hotel about 5 minutes away so I found myself at the race site about an hour and half before the race start without even trying. I think my alarm went off at 6:45….I get up earlier than that for work. Rain was in the forecast, and whilst no one likes to race in rain, I absolutely hate setting up for a race in the rain. On our way to the race, conditions were dry so I was pumped.

At the race I met up with Brado, Howard (a.k.a. “X”) and Brian. With hawk eyes, I kept one eye on the port-a-potty line. Now in my 5th year of racing triathlons, the one skill I have honed above all others is the ability to get into the bathroom line before it explodes. Like a weathered hunter in the wild, peering through a snow white beard at a 12 point buck 300 yards away, I surveyed the line….sensing the attitude of the racers around me….and making a determination of when was the moment to make my move. At 8:26 a.m., after a short warm up jog, I made my move. It was a great move and I was standing back at my transition area by 8:41 a.m.

I awkwardly set up my transition….trying to dust off that part of my brain and see if it still works after a long layoff from the 2003 season. “Where does the body glide go?? “What do I do with my bike shoes” [EEK! Cobweb!] “What’s the best way to rack my bike?” For the most part setting up went fine. The one pre-race routine that I botched is one that I have botched before (see Lake Place 2002). I started the process of getting the wetsuit on…..first one leg, then the other. I did some hopping around, but I finally got my legs in there and started to pull the suit up when I realized I was still wearing my warm up shorts. [more cobwebs….dust…..].

The water was cool but it felt good. Someone said it was 68 degrees, but it varied greatly depending on where in the lake you were. After a short warm up I lined up for the first wave of the day containing all dudes 29 and under. I thought I recognized local legend Otho Keller beside me….I knew he was fast so I told him that I’d try to hitch a ride with him as long as I could. He seemed to nod at me the same way a metro bus driver nods approvingly when I pay my money and board the bus so I figure I was welcome on the Otho Train! 15 seconds to go before race time! All Aboard!! The gun went off and we darted out on the .5 mile rectangle swim. A few hundred yards went by and I was still on the train! Hoo! Hoo!! After another hundred yards or so I started to feel like the train was getting ready to leave the station without me. About that time I was unceremoniously granted acceptance into the distinguished club of those who have had their goggles knocked off in a triathlon swim. KIZOWI! [think of the animated batman fight scenes when batman punches one of the Joker’s goons…..] “POW!” The Seal Mask flew over to my ear. Fortunately, it was under my swim cap so I didn’t lose it. I readjusted it and started swimming again, but now I was alone. My ticket was no longer valid on the train. I swam most of the rest of the swim that way until the last few hundred yards when someone showed up and finished just behind me.

Transition 1 went very fast for me. The wetsuit came right off and I was gone in a flash. Once on board the new steed I quickly tried to get my feet into my shoes. I immediately regretted my decision not to put on my shoes in T-1. After a bit of swerving and readjusting I got the shoes on and set sail. There was a guy ahead of me about 100 yards and a guy behind me about 100 yards. I didn’t know it at the time but I was in 4th position. I quickly passed the guy in front of me and then a few minutes later the guy that started behind me passed me. He got about 50 yards out and we stayed like that until the turn around. I was riding my new Cervelo (a.k.a. Cerverlzek) and I was loving it. I felt great….I felt fast….and most importantly, I felt cool! As we got to the turn around I realized I was not that far back at all from the first couple guys. I was in no danger of contending with them on the run, but I’d consider it a tremendous accomplishment to stay within a minute…..or less :0 of them by the start of the run. As I made my turn around the lone orange cone in the middle of the road something funny happened. I started to skid sideways. Flat tire? I jumped of the bike….I wasn’t sure what was wrong, but my wheel wasn’t rolling anywhere. After a few seconds I realized the rear wheel had slid out of the drop outs. Oh my!! A volunteer ran over and I loosened the skewers and jammed it back in there. I tighten things up and I was off! Wait…still not going anywhere, the brake is rubbing. Off the bike, adjust the brake and I was off!! Wait, still not going anywhere [the dude I past earlier comes passing by]. Off the bike one last time, adjust the brake and I am gone. I was frustrated, but I am the one who put the wheel on there, so I owe myself a good talking to when I get home! It was totally my fault and it’s now a lesson learned.

In a rage, I mashed on the pedals and no sooner had I reached cruising speed again then I heard a short but clear “BIG HORSE!” coming from the other direction….Brady , my friend….my nemesis….was right on my tail as he approached the turn around that I just left. His much improved swim was now confirmed in a race….and he was now nipping at my heels. He was ready to show me what the back of a race jersey looks like.

I was a little dejected on the ride back, but I think I road well. I saw “X” on his way out to the bike turn around. This guy looks good no matter what he does. At first I thought it was Brad Pitt down in the aero bars, but then I realized it was just my buddy Howard. I swear I saw a compact mirror attached to he aero bars and a hair brush in his tri jersey…but I could be wrong. A couple miles before the finish, I repassed the fellow that I had originally past at the beginning of the ride. I made it into Transition 2 in the 4th position and set out for the run.

I was immediately passed by the guy I had recently over taken on the bike. He became a speck in the distance in pretty short order. A little after the 1 mile marker a guy from the previous wave came past me looking pretty smooth. I did not feel so good…my stomach felt bloated, but there was no time to start feeling sorry for myself. At about 1.5 miles I looked back and saw it….Brado…he was going to overtake me. A few moments later he came past and we touched fists and he moved ahead. I picked up the pace and stayed with him….about…I’d say 4-5 feet maybe?? And then settled back down. I was running about 6:40s ish at the time…he went on to finish running 5:47 min miles (holy bajoli!). After the run turn around I saw “X” again. I am not sure if he was running with a bottle of Gatorade in his hand or a bottle of mousse, but one thing I do know is that his hair looked damn good! There was no more action the rest of the way. I was the 7th person across the line, and after factoring in the other waves I came in 10th overall, the same place as last year.

I met up with Brady after the race, Howard came in a few minutes later and then Brian finished up after that. Brian ran right through the finishing shoot, straight to his bike rack and packed his gear and headed out. That was the fastest transition of the day by far. Brady scored the 2nd place spot in our age group and I snuck in for 3rd which is reversed from last year. I was a little bummed by the bike issue, but I was really please with how I raced and happy that my little problem was fixable and didn’t prevent me from finishing. Unfortunately I got a good look at the back Brady’s jersey on the run, but at least that meant he was hammering his 5:47s straight to Pummelsville and an overall 7th place. “X” just missed getting some hardware, placing 4th in the 30-34 AG, however I think he was a awarded the coveted Bronzed Blow Dryer Trophy given to the competitor with best hair at the finish. Congrats!

Next stop, Columbia. Peter Reid, if you are reading this (and I know you are) fear the Cervelzek!

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