7/24 NJ State Triathlon

Cycling

I’d like to start off by thanking Brian Manners for being the only one of my friends to come cheer me on. After missing our pre-planned 7 AM meeting in transition, his smiling face .2 away from the finish line was just what I needed to bring it home.

Nobody came with me today, not my photographuncle, brother or any other family members – you don’t realize how much of a crutch having them in your corner is until they’re not there. It’s something to draw on when the going gets tough. But when Brian screamed my name (What the…is somebody calling me?) there, he gave me just the kick I needed.

I woke at 3:45, like usual, and got out of the house a bit early (4:15). The whole thing was supposed to begin operating around 5:45. I pull in at 5:30, walk over to packet pick up, back to the car, then back to the rack with my bike, wetsuit, et al. in hand.

Upon reaching transition, the dreaded news was delivered – wetsuits weren’t allowed. The water was a bathtub at 88*…which meant it was time to break out the new speedskin I bought for global warming. Unfortunately, my skills weren’t quite there yet. I’ve got a lot of work to do to get my swim up…as it seems like my swim splits are getting worse from race to race. On the bright side, I got to test out my swim skin…but to no avail.

After 40:00 of switching between breaststroke and front crawl, drafting off some dude without goggles (can you call swimming a 2:25/100m drafting?) I get out and run up to transition. Finally, it’s over.

"No goggles" and I exiting swim.

Throughout the duration of the swim, water kept leaking into my left eye, and I kept stopping to fix it, but the problem persisted. Therefore, the first five or ten minutes of the bike were done out of one eye. My left eye had a cloud over it. Weird.

Out of the water in 739th…wow. 2:25/100m pace. I tried not to let it get me down but it was tough. I think I kept a positive attitude throughout the majority of the race (don’t include the swim).

The transition was large and I had to un through the entire thing to get to my bike parked on the first rack. I was in and out in 1:38 or 109th place. OK, I moved up 630 positions in speed since the swim. Now we’re getting somewhere!

On the bike it was flat and easy. I went out too fast and I knew it. I wouldn’t be able to keep up a 25 mph pace so I backed it off. The rare potholes were well marked on the 2 loop course and where the streets were open to the public, there were cones separating us. I only made one wrong turn which probably cost me a minute. I was only passed by one pace line and a few guys who were really killing it. Although one of them I passed a little while later with a flat…feel bad for him.

My power and cadence were right on the money: 165, or 2.2 w/kg, and 91, respectively. My Power plan was basically just stay below 200. I was well below it and felt good throughout.

Power: 165 (2.2 w/kg). Cadence: 91.

Bike took me 1:12.26 for a 21.2 mph avg. speed and good for 197th place.

Trying to keep aero.

T2 was nice and quick, 1:04, good for 46th place. Again, I had to run through the entire thing to get out of there, and I was probably running for 30 seconds before I crossed the mat. Or what felt like it…

The run was nice and shaded with an abundant amount of water stations, 2 misting stations, a woman with a hose, heed, gels, wet towels…and maybe that’s why I didn’t feel that hot!

I started off nice and slow, my Timex Global Trainer told me it was around a 9:xx pace. As I got my legs back, I began weeding through the runners. I was dropped only a few times on the run as well. The first time I was dropped, I matched his pace but realized he was more runner than I was and I couldn’t hold on to the ~6:xx pace. The next time, I reach some dude walking and yell at him it’s only the 3 mile point, he can’t walk yet! He tells me I’m right, runs with me for 3 steps, then he’s off again.

I did get one cramp. Luckily, brightroom was there: 

I catch up to him with a mile and a half to go, run up behind him, grab his arm, and scream something to the effect of: Come on! Didn’t we say no walking?! If you stick with me this time maybe you won’t be so winded!

I turn around as I pass him…and it’s not him. It’s some other 25-29’er without a shirt and with blue/red sneakers. BUT the guy I WAS looking for was just up ahead. Also walking. So the same scene goes down, and this time he tucks into my slipstream (no slipstream on the run, drag efficient too low, I know…) and we run together the last mile and a half.

About 6 miles into the run, I see none other than Brian Manners standing off to the side in his sling, looking as pathetic as any injured triathlete would. I wouldn’t have recognized him, but then he screams at me, “Pick up the pace, Eli! Let’s go!” And I’m thinking to myself, “Myself, MY name’s Eli…he’s talking to me!” So I run over, give him a high 5 (with his good hand) and feel a fire in my stomach begin to burn. It would have been a bit better to hit and hold my 6 min. pace a little earlier in the race, but it was still awesome nonetheless.

Thanks for coming out Brian.

We took down several 25-29’ers but I didn’t see any 20-24’ers throughout the entire race once I got out of the water. We came down the finishing chute together and, like Atilla (the hun) in Connecticut, my new running partner grabs my hand just before the finish line.

Luckily, he lets go of it just in time:

For my cartwheel fail!

My run split was a cool 49:21 for a 7:58 min/mi. pace good for 133rd in the race. 6 minutes off my best time, but I was happy with it on such a hot day. Thankfully, he let go just in time for me to do my cartwheel and land square on my seat. And cut my hands a bit.

But I didn’t even feel it.

2:44.29 good for 13th in my age group and 230th Overall.

Some thoughts:

I need to swim. Plain and simple. I just need to spend more time in the pool. I couldn’t hold a front crawl for more than 20 or 30 breaths at a time. More practice will increase my endurance.

The volunteers were amazing.

The water/ice/mist on the run was simply fantastic – it made 90* feel like nothing.

The bike course was well marked and flat. Not too much pacing, just one line, as far as I could see.

The swim’s current kept changing to against whichever direction I was swimming 😉

RD was awesome. Very concise, instructions were very clear.

Couldn’t have asked for a better day. Besides for the swim.

*All pictures were taken from Brightroom, I do not own them.*

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