It was a beautiful day for the Greater Cleveland Triathlon this year. The courses were laid out perfect, lots of volunteers, minimal windage to start off with and sunny skies. After making the mile long walk to the East end of Headlands State Park from transition wearing wetsuits, we were all more than ready to hit the water. As soon as everyone was present Mickey was quick to get the Olympic race rolling. We all went off in 3 minute intervals and my age group (40+) was the third to wave to go. As soon as the siren sounded I sprinted into Lake Erie and was quickly at the first turn buoy. By now there was about a 2' chop rolling in, nothing major, but you had to really concentrate on sighting the buoys or you would end up too far out in the lake or too far inside the buoys and that meant you would have to get back on line and make up time and use more energy than what you would have had to. Once I got past the first turn buoy I was settled into a pretty fast rhythm and was pulling hard. I caught and mingled in with some from the first two groups that started ahead of us and was out of the water in just over 22 minutes. The long beach run up to T-1 was hard but my breathing wasn't too labored, I thought this might be a good day....
My transition rack was the 2nd rack from entering from the swim so I had a long run with the bike out of T-1 after stripping the wetsuit off and cramming Clif Gels into my jersey pocket. I mounted and got a good jump and was soon climbing up and out onto the bike course. As soon as I hit Rt. 44 I felt the headwind. I was at about 22-22.5 mph and working hard, harder than I wanted to at that point and my legs were not feeling good. Kevin passed me at about mile two and was flying and was soon out of sight, (nice job by the way) I tried to keep the speed at or around 22 on the way out into the wind and it's all uphill into Kirtland Hills and beyond. At some places I dropped below 20 but just couldn't help it, my legs were not responding today! I know the course well and where to hit the gas and where to conserve a little so I just tried to limit my losses till basically the half way point and give it the gas on the way back in. As soon as I crested the climb past Mentor rd. I was able to pick the speed up to around 25 mph and hit almost 45 mph on the downhill past Little Mountain CC. It was all smooth sailing from there and once back on Rt.44 back to the Park I was steady at 28-29 mph. Not that bad of a bike but had my legs been better I know I could have gone a few minutes faster. I was thinking while I was on the bike that I sure hope my running legs feel better or else I'm in serious trouble.
Came back into T-2, feet out of my shoes, dismounted fast and lost a shoe. I didn't even bother to look back to get it, I thought someone would kick it off to the side for me and sure enough Sean Gilbert picked it up and had it under the Bike Authority tent (Thanks Sean) and gave it back to me at the end. Racked my bike next to Tony's, pulled on the shoes and was off on the run. The run course is an out and back 10k with 5 small hills/rollers that seem to kick the life out of your legs at least they do mine and even more so when it's hot. By now the wind picked up quite a bit and it was quite a bit hotter than at the start. The wind felt good but I was working hard into it. I felt decent for the first half then made the turn and didn't feel anymore wind even with my tri jersey wide open. My core temp was high and I don't run well in the heat. It wasn't that humid but there's hardly any shade on this course, especially on the first and last 2 1/2 miles which only leaves about 1.2 miles with any type of shade, if that. I tried to keep the pace steady and I actually picked up the pace slightly on the flat past the industrial section of the course which is always the hottest. I knew my heart rate was high but I was at mile 5 and knew I could hold a high hr for another 1.2 mi. I finished with a time of 2:19:30 which was good for an age group win and 11th overall but I know for sure I could have gone at least 2:15 had my legs been better. Oh well, it is what it is. This race wasn't an "A" race for me so it was some good hard training and there isn't any better training than racing.
This course is hard. The swim is wide open with no breakwalls to shield the wind, so it's either fight the wind and waves or sign up for the duathlon. The bike is hilly and hard for the first 15 or so miles then it's flatter and usually pretty windy on Blackbrook rd back to Rt.44. The run has the five rollers that zap the legs when your trying to run a fast 10k. But overall I love it. It makes you work hard and after your finished you know you raced on a good course.
Tony did well and finished 1st in his age group and 9th overall and said his legs didn't respond well either...Maybe it was something we ate the night before, I don't know. He did a 2:13 and change. Carrie and Scott did the Sprint race and both won their age groups and Carrie was 10 overall and Scott was 4th. overall, sweet!
Mickey did another amazing job with this race (as usual) and so did all of the volunteers. Congratulations to all of my Bike Authority/Fleet Feet team mates that raced this weekend in different events, way to represent our sponsors, you guys and gals rock!
Also, congratulations to all of my Lake Effect Racing team mates and good friends that raced this weekend at Masters Nationals and John Bryan Mountain Bike Race, see you guy's very soon at Cross!