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Race Result

Racer: Brady DeHoust
Race: Eagleman
Date: Sunday, June 8, 2003
Location: Cambridge, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - Half Ironman
Age Group: Male 25 - 29
Time: 4:40:55

Race Report:

You certainly won’t find any tales of struggling up huge climbs, powering through rollers, or even dropping gears to get up an overpass. I’ve eaten pancakes that had more grade than the Blackwater Eagleman.

I drove to Cambridge Saturday with Mike Guzek and Marc Nester. The weather was horrid, but the forecast was calling for a much more pleasant day for Sunday. We arrived in Cambridge around 2pm. With the pro forum beginning at 2:30, we figured we’d run by a Subway, grab a foot long, and bring it back and listen to the pro’s give up all their nuggets on how they go so fast. Well, to our surprise, the customers ordering subs a few people in front of us were none other than Tim DeBoom and Lori Bowden -- two of the world’s best, right there in our line. When it was finally time for us to place our order, it was an easy decision.. “I’ll have what he’s having”. Considering the race results, I don’t think DeBoom will be ordering a foot long turkey on white for his pre race meal anymore.

Race morning was the first time in many hours that I didn’t hear rain. The temperatures stayed fairly warm through the night; I was pretty happy that I’d finally have a race where I wouldn’t have to worry about gloves, arm warmers, toe covers, etc. We planned to arrive at 6am, allowing 1.5 hours to set-up, warm-up, and take care of any last minute business. It was clear as soon as we were directed into the park that transitions were going to be muddy -- I had to use 4-wheel drive just to park my truck. When I located my spot in transition, it was clear that, on this day, I, along with the guy on the opposite side, would be doing more distance than any other athlete. I was the last spot, on the last rack, all the way in the back. We literally had to walk through puddles to get to our spots. This raised a few concerns. Normally, I don’t have my cycling shoes already clipped into my pedals. I prefer to put them on in transition and run out with them. I didn’t want to risk getting all kinds of mud in my cleats and not be able to clip in, so I decided to clip the shoes on the pedals and give it a try. The only other choice I had was to carry the shoes out and put them on outside transition, or, so I thought. After the race, Bill Davis told me how a few “muddy transition area experienced folk” had stuck a piece of duct tape over their cleats, and just ripped it off before mounting their bikes…. genius!

This is my third RR this year, and I could probably just cut and paste the swim section from the other reports, although, there were some noticeable differences. The water was warmer, but also much more choppy. The pro’s were exiting right before our wave start. It was evident that their times were a few minutes slower than the previous year. So, a few minutes extra for the pros…multiply that times two…oh man, probably in for a long swim. For the first two buoys, I felt great. I was swimming close to the buoy line and not drifting too much off course. After the second buoy, the chop really seemed to get bad and I started to lose sight of the turn around boat. Then, I started to drift right and get all out of wack. Frustrated, I continued on to the turn around boat. On the way back in, it was difficult to navigate. I had trouble sighting the first buoy after the turn, so relied on the navigation of those around me ‘til I could spot it. Finally arriving at the boat ramp exit, I was 5 minutes off my 2002 time. Not what I was hoping for, but somewhat expected due to the conditions.

Into T1, I heard lots of shouts from some RATs who had made the trip -- they were loud, and it was great! I ran hard through transition, still a little bitter that my bike was at the furthest possible spot. Everything went smooth, until I mounted my bike and tried to get my feet into my shoes. I made 3-4 failed attempts, then just decided to lay down the bike, take the shoes off the pedals, and put them on as I normally would. No biggie…maybe 30-45 seconds lost, and I wouldn’t have any problems clipping in.

I settled into a decent pace pretty quick. The first 25 miles were fast, or at least, it seemed to take less effort to maintain high speed for the first hour. I was moving through and passing many athletes – remember, I get out of the water in the back. Early on, I was passed by what seemed to be a rocket. This guy was on a Trek and riding a disc, and cruised by me so fast, I couldn’t even get his race number to see what kind of bike split he would post. I settled into a steady pace with steady effort. Eventually, I came up on a guy who was riding my pace. I had spent most of the bike, at this point, riding on the left, close to the center line. I rode side-by-side with this guy for 10-12 miles. I wasn’t sure if this was illegal or not, but I really didn’t know what to do otherwise. No one was passing, so I didn’t feel I was in a blocking position. With about ten miles to go, I lost this rider and rode in strong, but wondering if the evil motorcycle marshals had cited me for some rule I certainly had no intentions breaking. Half irons are tough to judge pace -- you can’t just go easy, but you don’t necessarily want to hammer, hammer, hammer either. With the flat course, it was the same position, same gearing, for almost 2.5 hours. I was passed by only two cyclists the entire bike, and was very happy to come in faster than my 2002 bike split -- on a day where conditions resulted in most times being slower.

Once again, I ran hard through transition. I decided somewhere in the last few miles of the bike that I wasn’t going to bother with socks for the run. The first few steps in transition would’ve soaked everything anyway. Every race I’ve done this year, I’ve learned something new…the hard way. This race, I’d learn to never do the run of a ½ iron w/out socks and wet feet!
I ran hard out of the gates. Immediately, I had some lower back pain and very tight lower quads. The back pain was very uncomfortable, but not excruciating. I made sure I got plenty of Gatorade down at the first aid station to avoid cramping. My first mile split came much faster than I had anticipated, and I knew the pace would not be kept. Soon after, I saw Tim DeB….no, wait, that’s not DeBoom…it was Luke Bell hammering home for the win. I thought that DeBoom must have had some bike problems or something. A couple minutes after, DeBoom came through with his normal stone face of concentration. After 15-20 minutes, the back and quad pain seemed to subside. Now, it was just “race pain”. I was tired…whooped. I kept a solid pace, but was really looking forward to the turn around. Shortly after the 6-mile marker, I saw Guzek running strong on his return -- a quick high-five near the center line for some encouragement and it was back to business. My split at the turn was better than expected, but I felt the fade coming. Shortly after the turn, another high-five from Marc Nester who seemed to be running strong and was close to hitting the turn. It’s funny how those two seconds of seeing someone you know take your mind away from the pain for thirty seconds. At this point, I had a huge blister that had formed on the bottom of my right foot, which I thought was a rock in my shoe. This is where the “no sock” decision killed me. It wasn’t terrible, but very annoying. The last few miles were a real gut check. They hurt, and ticked by ever so slowly. The flat course offers no time for reprieve. My legs were toast from the constant effort on the bike and the demands of a 13.1-mile run. I was pleased with the run, and was only passed by one athlete. Coming down the finish shoot, more loud cheers from many RATs in attendance (thanks to all who showed!). I bettered my 2002 run split by one second, but in a completely different manner. Last year, a negative split…this year, a positive split by 2 minutes, 30 seconds.

I was given a 4-minute penalty on the bike for blocking. Strange, given that only two cyclists passed me the entire bike. At any rate, I still probably should have received in illegal position penalty, as I rode to the left of another rider for quite some time, and we often passed other riders simultaneously. My time put me 13th in my age group, a big improvement from 2002.

Also, the guy who blew by on the Trek posted the second fastest overall bike split of the day…then, completely blew up on the run…

Congrats to all the Eagleman finishers!

--Brady DeHoust