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Race Result

Racer: Mike Guzek
Race: Columbia Triathlon
Date: Sunday, May 23, 2004
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - International Distance
Age Group: Male 25 - 29
Time: 2:44:18
Age Group Place: 6 / 34
Comment: Had a bike glitch but I still made it.

Race Report:


First, I want to tip my hat to some fantastic performances. I met Buddy Blanke while heading into the water who ended up 4th in the military division. Stv came out as second amature male…the Frostinator, Dan Frost, turned in a blistering 2:11:53 to take second in the highly competitive 35-39 AG. I got the chance to meet famed RATs board poster Keith Bohnenberger who finished his first Olympic distance race. I can’t recall whether he calls himself a BOPer or MOPer, but his results put him squarely in the MOPer section of his age group…so Keith go forth into the land of MOPers. I also met the little baby Keiths and mama Keith who also appeared to be pretty solid MOPers as well (despite being stroller bound). There were other RATs who were there and did well, but as best I can recall, this was all I saw at the race. Brady had a great swim and should have an interesting race report if he gets around to writing it up. Big shouts to my boyz fellow clyde Mcnally and not a clyde but still pretty decent Huffman for representing. Huffman ended up in the medical tent for 45 minutes after some pretty funky behavior at the finish. Big ups to Yost and his Mark Spitz impression.

My race, unfortunately, unfolded like all too many races of mine have unfolded in the past—with a crazy problem. I had a race where I cracked both Zipp wheels at the same time, a different race with 2 flats on tubulars, a race with a broken shifting cable, a race where my rear brake came unattached from my frame, a race where my wheel slid out of the rear drop outs causing my wheel to lock up in the frame…..heck, during the Reston century 2 years ago my pedal snapped in half. Fortunately, I only have 1 DNF though. The mishap de jour for Columbia 2004, my crank arm came right off the frame. It’s a bit of a mystery at this point as to what happened. Everything seemed to be snug and tight, but nevertheless I had to sit at the side of the road for nearly 25 minutes holding my crank arm in my hand watching Cicadas fly by. I take partial responsibility for some of these problems, but I think a lot of it has just been bad luck.

I started the day in the last wave with a swim just a hair over 20 minutes. I was a little disappointed in the time. I have been swimming very well in the pool and certainly better than at this time last year, but for whatever reason I couldn’t get going and posted a comparable split to 2003.

T-1 was uneventful and I got going with no problems. I was riding the new Cervelzek and it felt fast. I am still trying to get comfy on the new bike, but one thing is for certain…..it’s fast. I came out riding hard and feeling good. I had two gels and a 200 calorie bottle of Accellerade with me. At about the 3.5 mile mark going up a climb, my foot just popped out. I looked down and the whole crank arm was hanging from my foot. I walked my bike about a quarter mile up to a race official who radioed for the mechanical van. Nearly 25 minutes later I shoved off and began riding again…at this point, after starting in the last wave of the day, I was one of the last people on the course. If there is one thing I have learned from getting my ass handed to me a number of times at IM races is that you have to be flexible with your goals. If success is rigidly pegged to a time goal or a placing then you are bound to have plenty of failures. When the circumstances change…your goals may need to change with them. Of course, I wasn’t nearly as calm about it or as happy with it while sitting on the side of the road as it might appear to you while reading this…so after a string of expletives I set back out to ride again. My goals now were focused on riding as hard as I could to really test the bike and see how I felt. I could also use my bike computer to get an idea as to how fast I could ride the course so that even if the official results show one thing, I would at least know something closer to what I could do. I also tried to refocus simply on finishing as fast as I could regardless of what the time would be.

Minus the time I was sitting on the side of the road my bike split was fantastic for me. I headed into T-1 at least feeling good about that. I saw stv hanging out near my bike—he had been done long ago. He looked so rested that I didn’t think he had raced. I set out on the run and was immediately floored by the searing heat. My run was pretty poor. I am not sure if it was because I pushed to hard on the bike, the heat, the fact that my mind/heart was not totally into because of the mechanical or because I was just not as fit as I thought, but the net result was a run 4 minutes slower than last year. I just never felt fast out there even though I went into the run with the intent to run as hard as possible as if I was still chasing some personal best time. I felt a little weak and suspected that I might be light on calories and/or water in part to the fact I was on the bike course longer than expected. I took a gel midway through the run and Gatorade at most aid stations. The one positive to getting hung up on the bike course was that I had the chance to pass other people in my division. I am a much better swimmer/biker than runner so I always finish the run in no better position than when I started it…quite often worse. It’s rare that I pass people from my wave on the run. On this day I started the run in 17th position and finished 6th. It was refreshing to run as more of a hunter than hunted…granted I was racing Clydesdales who are not known for being the fleetest of foot…but we don’t have talk about that.

My race was quirky, but I am so happy I was still able to finish and didn’t have to bag the race at mile 3.5 of the bike. In retrospect, I am also grateful that I got the chance to stop and enjoy the race for a while which was a pretty unique experience for me. When you race (at least when I race), I filter out most things around me. When I sat on the side of the road and watched people climb the hill, I really got into it. Fat, old, skinny, tall, short…..even ugly and weird looking fellows…all sorts of folks up at the crack of dawn to test their limits. I could hear each rider panting as they worked the hill and I could see sweat rolling down their faces. This was the back of the race so most of these people had one goal and that was merely to finish. At one point I considered just calling it a day right there on the side of the road, but these people were all the motivation I needed take my mishap in stride and get back to racing.

Congratulations once again to all the RATs finishers. Also, I know that Peter Reid is wiping his brow right now, lucky that a mechanical slowed me down. You should thank your lucky stars Peter!

Mike Guzek