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Race Result

Racer: Brady DeHoust
Race: New Jersey Devilman
Date: Sunday, May 15, 2005
Location: Cumberland, NJ
Race Type: Triathlon - Half Ironman
Age Group: Male 25 - 29
Time: 4:32:47
Overall Place: 3
Age Group Place: 1
Comment: 3 strikes and your out?



Race Report:



Since this was the first running of the New Jersey Devilman, I thought I'd do my best to give a good description of the course and venue. I'll also include this in the Comments section for this particular race. If you don't care much about the course, the actual race report follows...

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The Venue
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Shaw Mills Pond Ė about 8 miles south of Millville, NJ. The drive is about 3hrs 15min from the Reston area, mostly on I-95. I would not recommend this as a "morning of" race, unless you plan to leave around 4am. There were quite of few people picking up race packets on Sunday morning. Itís worth it to drive up Saturday evening and get to packet pick-up as it opens so youíre not waiting in lines and stressing about time and feeling rushed. The nearest hotels are in Vineland, NJ Ė approximately a 15-minute drive to the race site.

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Transition
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The transition area is in a big, bumpy (for lack of a better word) field. The Boy Scouts did a really good job the day before fixing the transition area. They put down quite a bit of hay on the paths athletes would be taking in and out of transition. There were quite a bit of annoying bugs early in the morning. There was plenty of space on the racks and in transition in general. Entering T1 goes around to the back of the T-area, and exits for the bike towards the front. You enter T2 the same way you exited T1, and leave for the run the same way you entered T1 from the swim (out the back). It's best to be racked towards the front of the transition area to minimize distance to run with your bike. They allowed folks to keep shoes down by the swim exit to wear heading into T1, but I found it unnecessary and was not bothered at all by the surface with bare feet. Like I said, the hay made it very bearable. Itís also good to note that there's a ~30-yard stretch after exiting transition before mounting your bike. This stretch is hard packed dirt, and if it rains, could be muddy. If you donít keep your cycling shoes clipped into your pedals, itís a good idea to bring along duct tape (especially for speed play riders), and put the tape on the cleat so not to get dirt/mud in the springs.

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Swim Course
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The swim is "flat" and in a fairly shallow pond. Itís an in water start, beginning on one side of the pond and exiting on the other. It's a two-loop, clockwise swim, but you never exit/re-enter the water. The course is well marked with big orange buoys and bigger yellow buoys at the turns, so siting is not an issue. The water is pretty mucky and there were some weeds encountered throughout part of the swim.

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Bike Course
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Best described as flat and fast. I'd say this course is comparable to Eagleman, with the wind being the variable (on either course). So, on the same day, and same conditions, I'd say the splits would be close to even. The course is 2-loops on fairly good road surface. There are two sections that are pretty bumpy; the first immediately after transition for ~2 miles, and the second around mile ~16/44 for another couple miles. On the second bumpy section, you really need to be cautious. It's not an ideal time to reach down and take a sip of drink, or decide to reach back and open a bar or gel. There were two aid stations at mile 14/42 as well as coming through on the first loop. Each station had water, Gatorade, and hammer gel.

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Run Course
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The course is entirely run on hard, packed dirt Ė probably 1.5 times the width of the W&OD trail. It's a flat run, but the surface type makes it a little slower than an all road surface. There are times when you need to watch your step for crevices/holes. The run is two out-and-backs. Some of the earlier parts are shaded by tree line, and the later parts are open to scorching heat. Some zig-zagging is necessary later in the run when the course is crowded with a better part of the competitors, although, this was not too much of a hindrance. There were aid stations each mile (or 1.5 miles?) with water, Gatorade, and hammer gel.

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The Race
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I needed this race to go well. The last few years, my race schedule has been pretty much an exact copy from one year to the next. This year, however, I decided to forgo some of the staple races (Columbia, Eagleman, Lake Placid) and try some new ones. In previous years, my schedule was always: Salisbury sprint, Columbia Oly, Eagleman half, then Lake Placid (last year, I tossed in Diamond in the Rough). Anyway, my point being I was always very "warmed" up by the time Lake Placid rolled around. Racing in Idaho a month earlier this year, I planned to do the White Lake half ironman down in NC as my warm-up race. A big training week down in SC the days leading up to White Lake caused me to rethink the schedule, and instead, race the inaugural Kinetic half ironman, which was the week prior to the big training week. The days leading up to Kinetic, I got hammered with a head cold. I was on the fence the night before the race. I really wanted to race, but I wasn't sure if I'd feel worse, get worse, feel okay, or possibly DNF had I started. At any rate, I drove down the morning of ready to go. I got my packet, got body marked...then turned in my chip -- I never even pulled the bike out of the car. I stuck around to watch the Big Horse and Glover swim and start the bike, then headed on back home, being 0-1 on the season with a DNS (maybe more like 0-0, like a walk in baseball?)...No? Ok, 0-1 then. The following weekend was TdS, which precluded the big training week down in SC. I was over the head cold, and ready to get in some good, hard miles. What I wasn't ready to do is get in some good, hard, cold, and wet miles. I convinced Glover to turn around after 27 miles of riding. Season record: 0-2. The week in SC was awesome, and I had regained some confidence with the volume put in over 5-days of solid training. Sitting on the couch after the last big ride, feeling healthy and not injured, I signed up for Devilman for another attempt to at least "get on base".

My goal was simple: start, race, finish. I was in the first wave for the half-iron race (5th wave of the morning, but the sprint race waves went off first). Three-minutes behind in wave 6 would be those fast thirty-somethings. In my wave were the 20-29 yr olds, elites, and the old dudes.

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Swim
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I started off pretty hard to try and get away from the mayhem. This wasn't Guzek hard, but Brady hard, which meant that the real fast guys still pulled away fairly quickly. I hung tight with a group for the entirety of the swim. It's harder to draft and find feet when you swim with the crew I swim with. I think the stronger swimmers keep a steadier pace and straighter line. If you jump on some feet in my crowd and take 20 hard strokes, there's no telling where this guy you're following just led you. Plus, I think paces vary much more throughout the swim. Anyway, I swam fairly straight and steady, other than just two misdirections. Coming down the final stretch, one of the previous wave swimmers came to a complete halt just as I was looking up to site. I slammed directly into him, forcing me to a complete stop. I readjusted and got goin' to exit in 31:18, and one step closer to getting on base.

The run to transition was along some hay to save our feet from some of the rocks in the dirt -- the Boy Scouts did a great job of making this a non-issue for race day. This is normally where the cob-webs surface in the first race of the year. "Okay, remove the wetsuit, put on the helmet...no, wait... put on the shoes, then the helmet. Oh crap, I forgot to throw on socks since this is a half ironman." In reality, it went smooth. I chose to tape the cleats of my cycling shoes to lessen the chance of getting dirt in the cleat and not being able to clip in. After 2:15, I was pedaling with the count at 2-0 and in my favor.

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Bike
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I had two in site starting the bike. I caught one within the first 2-miles, and the other somewhere in the first ten. I passed a couple others before the 15-mile mark, then, was pretty much riding solo for the remainder of the ride. The only other encounter I'd have on the bike was finishing up the first loop. As I headed through the race start area, one of those fast thirty-somethings cruised on by me pretty effortlessly. We had battled some decent headwind for the final 10-miles of the first loop, so I was a little exhausted from the effort. When this guy went by me, it was almost like his massive quad looked at my ďtad-bigger-than-a-twigĒ quad and just laughed. He pressed on, pushing a huge gear and was out of site after 10-minutes. I still felt good at this point. I was a little tired from the effort into the wind, but I still felt good. There were no signs of physical problems and I felt I had the means to ride the second loop the same as the first. The effort to maintain 20mph on the final section of each loop seemed much harder than the effort to maintain 27mph on earlier sections...tail wind is good. The final miles, I really started to feel the fatigue from hammering on a flat course and wondered whether the running legs would be alive, or if I had left them in the toaster a little too long. Nutrition went well with one cliff bar, one gel flask, and about 4-bottles of different stuff all down and settled. Bike time was 2:29, and the count is now 3-1. Iíve got this pitcher sized-up and Iím seeing the ball well.

:59 for T2. I love the feeling in T2. Itís almost like youíre numb. You feel no pain for that brief moment from any of the previous legs. There were just a couple bikes racked, so I know I was in good position.

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Run
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As I wrote in the course description, the run course was 4-quarters (2 out-and-backs), so it wouldn't take too long to determine position and if any of the front-runners could be caught. The first guy I saw was none other than Dr. My-Quads-Can-Eat-You-For-Lunch. I ran hard and steady, and caught him just as we rounded the first turn just over 3-miles in. Assuming he wasnít in the elite wave, he was still ahead of me by 3-minutes, but clearly suffering a bit. At that point, I was running in 5th place, but only from the guys in front of me. If any thirty-somethings were less than 3-minutes behind me, technically, they were ahead of me. Heading back on quarter 2, I saw Ted Waugh (Ted and I rode up together, and have had pretty comparable race results in the past). I guessed that he was inside that 3-minute buffer -- not by much -- and he seemed to be running really strong. This was tough. Here I have a guy who, from a timing perspective is right on my heels (or, I'm on his), but we were unable to run together for that extra motivational push. I just had to keep running hard and steady. There didnít seem to be any others from the wave behind mine threatening. Sometime towards the end of the second quarter, I moved into 4th place...still feeling pretty good, and actually a little better than when I started. I ran really hard for the 3rd quarter. Seeing Ted again, I had increased my lead and moved out of the 3-minute buffer, so I knew I was officially running in 4th place. Soon after, I moved into 3rd, as one of the earlier front-runners was having a really tough run and was resorted to a walk. I pressed on, but the two in front were really in front. The leader was clearly going to hold, and the second place dude was running really strong -- and looked to get stronger as the race progressed. I felt that I just needed to sustain a steady, hard effort and the standings would fall as they were...and that, they did. I had just made solid connection with that 3-1 pitch and crossed the finish in 3rd place OA with a 1:29:10 run.

Ted came through a few minutes later with a solid performance for 4th OA, so RATs represented well. I was relieved to not have suffered any mechanical or physical problems that would've left me 0-3 on the season and lacking that bit of confidence you can only get from racing. It was a hard effort, and I felt it...it felt good. The post race food was excellent, although they only allowed you through line one time (what?!). The rain held off, the humidity decreased, and I finally connected with a pitch.

Thanks for reading.