Lis and I competed in a great local race this weekend, the Patriot Half in it’s 3rd year. We also did this race 2 years ago. See Lis’ comments – this is a great half to add to your calendar.
Once again Lis crushed everyone but a handful of men, and was within 1.5 mins of the best men’s bike split over the 58 mile rolling course. Don’t look for my race report or results – there weren’t any – results that is. After a great swim and a great first 2/3 of the bike which had me on schedule to come off the bike with the overall winner (i.e., I was having a good race and felt great), my old nemesis (cramping) returned costing me about 5 mins in the last 3rd of the bike and preventing any and all running attempts. Note to self: remember to carbo and sodium load leading up to the race, and take salt during the race – especially if you’re eating like a caveman (more on this later). I guess a diet of fast food, chips, cookies and pizza has its advantages…
While some FuelBelters were battling it out at the 147 miles Harpoon B2B over the mountain from Boston to Vermont, Chip, Todd and I raced Patriot Triathlon. I wasn’t going to write a race report this time but this half iron in our own back yard deserves praise. Put it on your calendars. They plan to have it on a different weekend than the Harpoon B2B next year so we can do both. I raced the inaugural two years ago and came and watched it last year only to regret not being in on the action. Very well organized, course well marked, tons of highly visible volunteers at intersections, cops were not only stopping cars but also showing you the way, aid station staff every mile on the run calling ahead to make sure you got what you needed. It has the longest finisher’s chute in the history of triathlon which calls for great spectating. Some nice swag (really cool looking long sleeve tech shirt, custom socks), live band, buffet lunch with chicken, meatballs, pasta, salad, dessert. I don’t consider myself much of a tree hugger but I loved the finer details of going green in this race; very clean aid stations (big trash buckets to aim for after the fact), dinner plates and utensils made of corn compost material, separation system recycle bins throughout (trash, plastic, food/compost), even the ribbon on the finisher’s medal is made of biodegradable material.
If you ever do a race and our one and only Vic with my favorite last name Leon de la Barra Parris is there to watch, you are golden; she takes her Sherpa duties very seriously; it was a luxury having her there. She made me put sun screen on my nose, helped me with my bike, affixed my race numbers, went through a mental check list, zipped my wet suit, took pictures, cheered the loudest, reminded me (gently) that this is not Norway when I wanted to change my clothes in the transition after the race. And she also had Chip and Todd duties (she really came to my aid when I turned into a human knot – thanks Vic! – TK)
I signed up as an Elite this year since age groups can’t go for the cash. The speedster Psychos were doing B2B so I had a shot at the money if all went well. Flat lake swim; short by 7-8 minutes. The bike is long but net net the course was 3-4 minutes fast this year. Need to learn how to find some feet to draft; I always end up way to the left of everyone. At least I get to touch every buoy on a counterclockwise swim course. They don’t call me GPS Kenyon for nothing. Running up to my bike I heard a loud spectacle; last year’s pro male winner was either screaming in agony or disappointment (both); he had apparently slipped on the grass and cut open his foot (it had rained for the past week so everything was obviously slick) – I felt badly for him as his race was over.
The bike course is 2 loops, 58 miles of rolling terrain; you can manage these hills by standing up in the big chain ring and accelerating over the top; it is a fast course even though it’s not flat. I saw biker buddies Newell and Dennis and thought I was hallucinating but it wasn’t a bad dream – they had taken their 75 mile training ride via the race; it was really cool to see them there shouting and waving. They biked the loop backwards so I got to see them again – great support! This was a lonely ride so it was important for me that the course was so well marked and manned.
I was expecting Todd to catch up to me by the end of the ride… He started 5 minutes behind and put one minute on me during the swim and another minute during first lap on the bike – I was having the ride of my life so Todd was set up to have a super day – he is running better than me these days so I was looking forward to seeing what he could do. Nopes – during the first steep climb he stood up and felt a twinge in his quad; pushed through it but at mile 35 his leg locked straight when he stood up, and he shot to the left across the road as the left leg would not come over the top of the pedal – now he was unable to stand on climbs. He lost maybe 4-5mins on 2nd lap; he was able to bike ok in aero position but couldn’t push hard sitting up or standing on the hills. On the dismount things locked again and he had to hobble into transition, sat down and took a long time putting things on and trying to relax. Slow stiff run out; he then got a complete debilitating quad lock where he was afraid a muscle would tear. Volunteers wanted to call the medics. Took several minutes trying to work it out. He ate some s-caps and took care of hydration (apparently way too late). Ran again, locked up again. Walked some. Ran again and felt good. Then left ham locked and he almost fell down (again). And that was it for him – back to the drawing table to figure out what this was. Vastus cramping has always been a limiter for Todd but this was worse than normal.
Unaware of the drama, I started the run looking back hoping I would see him – I was thinking I would try to hang during the run and maybe we could hold hands across the finish; Todd might not like that plan. Run: not the love I felt off the bike at Rev3. Maybe I biked too hard – I looked at my time at the half iron 56 mile mark; 2:26 (23mph) and a personal best – yes I rode too hard – maybe I need a power meter. The run is pretty darn hilly, not steep, but long gradual hills. Relatively cool temps (70ies F) but 100% humidity. The eventual 3rd place elite guy flew past me at one point and within 4 minutes I couldn’t see him anymore – why can’t I run like that!? 1:37. I have some work to do before Providence 70.3 in 3 weeks.
Total time 4:30:57; with the course being about 4 minutes fast that is still a super time for me! Nutrition: exactly the same as Rev3 but it was cooler and less demanding, so perfect. Still no blisters – thanks K-Swiss!
Special thanks to Vic, Newell and Dennis and also Carmen Monks of Team Psycho who was very funny on his bike during the run. And big congrats to Chip – he does this race every year on zero tri training; in fact he hasn’t ridden his bike since last August. That’s nuts.