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Race Result

Racer: Steve Giorgis
Race: Columbia Triathlon
Date: Sunday, May 22, 2005
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - International Distance
Age Group: Male 50 - 54
Time: 2:22:38
Overall Place: 74
Age Group Place: 1 / 37
Comment: First race of the season, and it showed!

Race Report:

I was really looking forward to this race, especially since it was my first tri of the season. I had completed several swim and run races so far, but hadn’t competed on the bike yet. But I felt pretty confident based on a couple good hard rides over the past two weeks. I was so confident that I even practiced my transitions on Saturday before heading up for packet pickup. I didn’t want to run in my new bike shoes, so I was practicing getting in and out of my shoes while on the bike. It worked better than expected.

I purposely went to Princeton Sports for the inspection because I wasn’t so sure of my rear race wheel, and wanted to get it checked out by a mechanic. The wheel was pretty wobbly and loose. There was no line at all at the shop, and they were able to put in some spacers and tighten up the bearings, as well as adjust the shifting to perfection, or at least better than I could. Racked and headed home.

Woke up at 4:15 and left by 4:40 for the drive to Columbia (again), eating only half my bagel with peanut butter on the way. I got there in less than an hour, leaving me 2 hours to get ready for my 7:39 wave start. Race morning was cool, but looking to be a beautiful day. Did a short run to warm up, wiggled into my wetsuit, and headed over to wait for my wave.

Swim - As soon as us orange caps were allowed in the water, I took advantage of the 8 minute gap between waves to get in a little warm up (good idea from Coach Debi). At 68 degrees, it was hard to put my face in the water. I finally did and maybe got in a 200 of back and forth in the corral. My wave is the 45-54 year old men…what an easy going group. We were all spread out; no one was pushing or crowding to get “on the line.” So I picked the ideal spot and took off at the horn. I think I was touched by one guy, and was off the front within a minute. One guy tucked in for a little but I soon dropped him and was off on my own. I passed several orange buoys and then spotted the yellow triangle buoy. I make the turn, more open water ahead, kept my head down and pushed on. Then I hear some yelling, some whistling, pull my head up and there is a boat approaching with arms waving wildly. From the RRs I’ve seen so far, I’m not the only one who thought this was the turn. So I look back and see the rest of my wave, spot the real turn buoy, and proceed to converge on both. I figured I lost 15 secs or so. Now I’m with my wave leaders, and a little winded after sprinting to catch them. Plus, we are now weaving through the earlier waves. I spot one orange cap ahead of me and off to my left. As we weave through the masses, he doesn’t seem to be dropping back. Hmmm...looks like a free ride to me. So I sprint on over and latch on. Aaahhh...that trip back to the beach was a breeze…pull, glide, glide, glide, pull, glide again…sweet! With the exception of almost beaching us on the island, he was a great engine...big kick, lots of bubbles. I thought about passing him at the end to get first in the wave, but, why bother...let him have the glory since he did the work. 21:13

T1 - The long run up to the racks, and I was passing people left and right, while stripping off the wetsuit. I reached my rack, did the dance, socks on, helmet and sunglasses on, grabbed the bike and was up the hill over the mats and ready to hop on and go. But “No” said the officials, “you have to put your shoes on first”! What!?!? Why?!? Evidently, several had already crashed using this method. So I am now out of T1, but still fumbling with my shoes, trying to get them off the pedals, and on my feet, all while holding my bike up with one hand. So much for practicing my transitions. There’s another 60 or so seconds lost. 2:13 for T1

Bike - Finally. As expected, one guy from my wave passed me right away. I felt good and tried to go with him, but it was too hard. The wet jersey was cold on my back and didn’t dry as quickly as I had hoped. However, once we got to the uphills, I was getting warm enough that it no longer mattered. My gearing was working well and I couldn’t detect any wobble in my rear wheel. The ride was going smoothly; even the strange new roundabouts didn’t bother me. A few more from my wave passed me, mostly from the younger 45-49 AG. Shortly after the bottle exchange on the way back, I started feeling like the bike was not as responsive, not quite rolling along like it should. Sure enough, I had a slow leak in my front tire. I didn’t have a spare or any air. For these shorter races, I take my chances. So what are my options now? Stop and walk? Look for a Princton Sports van (didn’t see one)? Or keep on going? I kept on riding. The uphills weren’t too bad; I was still passing people. But the downhills…shake, rattle, and roll. All while trying to brake, avoid even the slightest bump or hole, and keep from crashing. It got pretty hairy at times. At one point, someone recognized my RATS jersey and yelled “Go RAT”. I replied that it’s a “Flat RAT” today. It turns out it was Keith (of the famous RATs MOPers), and he offered me his pump. My savior!! Here we are riding up this hill, both trying to get the pump out of his zipped rear pocket, without crashing. Finally did it, and I stopped, and promised to meet up with him and return his pump at the RATs tent. It was a tiny pump. I tied but in order to get air in, I had to push so hard to get a seal that the valve went into the rim. I needed three hands: 2 to pump and one to hold the valve. Oh well, back on the bike and I limped on in. Who knows how many had passed me at this point? I came into the dismount area wondering what kind of new rule they were going to enforce here. I was expecting something like “Sorry, no dismounting with flat tires!” Looking on the bright side, the ride wasn’t terribly taxing at the end, so I was looking forward to a good run on relatively fresh legs. 1:17:50, 19.6 MPH

T2 - In my socks, I came screaming down that hill all the way to my rack spot, only to find that one of my rack partners had very neatly hung his wetsuit up to dry on my rack spot!! Jeez, what next? I politely shoved it aside, racked, gulped some gel down, pulled on my shoes and was off. 1:07

Run - Ah, the run. I was looking forward to this as I had a good race at Cherry Blossom and Coach Debi had me running some fast intervals all spring. The ‘hairpin hill from hell’ still hurt, but passing so many so quickly made it bearable. Now I was flying, trying to pass back all those that had passed me on the bike. This was fun. Hit the first mile in 6:31, second mile in 6:32. Then someone passed me. I tucked in and tried to hold on to this 36-year old, but he was too fast. I hit the 5K in 20:11, and began thinking I might get under 40: for the run, assuming the first mile was slower while my legs were adjusting. Passing people on the narrow uphill trails became challenging, as many of them were staggering and I couldn’t tell which way they were going to stagger next. I had to back off a little at the end as the hills were starting to get to my quads. Finally, I get to the dam and looked at my watch – 37:11. I can see the finish but can I get there in less than 3 mins? I tried, and actually had a kick at the end. 40:17 for a 6:29 pace. I’ll take it.

I had no idea how I finished in my AG. After the wrong turn in the swim, time spent “dorking” with my shoes, and the flat, I didn’t have much hope for an AG win. It was my slowest Columbia time ever, but good enough! It turns out I did win it, passing 5 on the run.

I didn’t have much time after the race to hang out with fellow RATs but did talk with a few. Stv tells me that Keith got his pump back….thanks again Keith!! I missed the awards ceremony, so they gave my award to Todd Wiley, the 2nd place pro. I’m sure he’s got it front and center on his mantel. I’ll get one eventually.

Overall, it was a beautiful day. Congrats to all those who raced, and all those that read this far!