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Race Result

Racer: Brady DeHoust
Race: Columbia Triathlon
Date: Sunday, May 18, 2003
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - International Distance
Age Group: Male 25 - 29
Time: 2:28:00
Overall Place: 90
Age Group Place: 12
Comment: Classic Columbia tri weather.

Race Report:

I went to sleep Saturday night to the sound of the rain hitting my house -- I woke up race morning to the same sound. Doing Columbia for the past couple years, Iíve grown to expect not-so-great weather. Cold but dry isnít so bad. Rain but warm isnít the worst. Cold and rainy sucks! Fortunately, the rain seemed to dissipate around 6:30am, and it was time to decide what to wear. Initially, I was going to go with the gloves and possibly throw on a long sleeve top. After getting my transition area set-up, I walked over to the Clydesdale rack to get Guzekís (The Big Horse) opinion on the weather and what to wear. After thinking about it, he probably wasnít the best to consult about this. On a day that Iíd wear tights, an ear warmer, two long sleeve shirts, and a vest, he might wear a long sleeve shirt and shorts. I told him that the air actually seemed a bit warmer than last year, and that I was bailing on the gloves and long sleeve. I mean, who wouldnít bail on the gloves and the long sleeve top to save 45 seconds? (insert: mistake #1). For some reason, even though Iím a wuss when it comes to cold weather training -- I always have the extra layer -- I decided to race as though it was a 75-degree day with sunny skies.

ď5, 4, 3, 2, 1ÖĒ I got off to my normal swim start; somewhere in the middle of the pack trying to find some open water. Itís usually pretty crowded to the first buoy. I made much more contact with other swimmers than usual, making it difficult to find that open space. I was looking to cut two minutes off my previous yearís swim time. At times, I really felt good and relaxed. But there were many times I felt slow and sloppy. I exited the water, and my time depicted more of slow and sloppy than relaxed.

It didnít take long to realize that it was a mistake to leave the gloves and long sleeve behind. Being wet from the swim and going 20+ mph made for an uncomfortable, cold ride. I welcomed any uphill grade -- something that would slow you down and possibly get a window of warmth. I still felt as if I was riding fairly well. I was only passed by one other the entire bike, and managed to pick off 25 age groupers who earlier had pummeled me in the water. But again, my body was cold. Strangely, I couldnít feel much muscle fatigue in my legs, where normally Iíd push to that point. I wondered if it was a result of the cold weather. At times, I had to call out ďpassingĒ and felt like I had just left a dentist appointment. My mouth was numb, and my words slurred. I was anxious to get off the bike to begin the much slower paced, warmer run. The bike dismount was far from graceful.

Going through transition was like doing an X-Terra race (although, Iíve never actually done one, so Iím just making a point here). Slop, slop, slop through the mud and puddles. Problem one was the helmet -- I couldnít squeeze the buckle to get the helmet strap undone. This was frustrating, and the same problem was encountered with the shoes. It was very difficult to get the shoes on without having any feeling in the fingers. It was almost as if I had taken all the good points recently written on the board regarding transition and done the opposite. I was very rushed and not relaxed. Finally, helmet off, and shoes onÖ

ďHmmm, I had feet when I started this race. Where are they now?Ē It took about 2 miles to get full feeling back in the feet. There werenít many runners ahead of me (that I could see), so it was tough to judge pace. I didnít want to check the watch -- I just wanted to run comfortably, but hard. Getting out of the park and into the neighborhoods always seems to be the toughest part. At mile 1, I went against my plan and checked the watch. The 1st mile pace wasnít what I was looking for, but I really didnít feel like I had the juice to pick it up. This was a little discouraging, but there wasnít time to be discouraged. I didnít feel terrible -- I actually felt pretty solid. I just wasnít moving as fast as I thought my potential held. At any rate, there were 5.2 miles left of this miserable day. I would normally hope to make up a few age group positions on the run, but this day, itíd be three. Making the climb up the last hill out of the neighborhoods, I passed a strong running Michael Smith, who shouted out a couple encouraging words. I really tried to pick it up for the last couple miles, back into the park. At that point, I actually felt thawed and warm. I bettered my time marginally from last years. Given the conditions, I was content to have gotten through the tough day.

I had a pretty poor swim, but was happy to move from 41st out of the water, to 16th after the bike, to 13th after the run, in my age group. Columbia is a humbling race, with talent from all ages showing their stuff.

Post Race:
After the race, I quickly wrapped up in the space blanket to warm up. Steve Smith and Aaron Schwartzbard were there to cheer on many RATís and other friends who raced that day. Thankfully, Aaron had also brought along some hot tea, and filled my cup twice -- I really wanted to dump it directly on my head. Soon after, Steve, Aaron, Mark Lambrides and myself were discussing the race. Mark commented how he took his time in transitionÖput on the proper clothing to ensure some level of comfort on the bike...lessoned learned!

Congratulations to all who raced and finished on Sunday! The weather definitely made an already challenging course much tougher!