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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Greenville Triathlon Race Report

My wife, son and I drove up to Greenville on Saturday afternoon, leaving the girls behind with the grannies. We left with enough time to go to packet pickup, check into the hotel, change our clothes and get to a dinner meeting for the SC leadership of FCA-E. My son was very well behaved at dinner. He was very quiet (but also quite entertaining) for 2 hours while we met and ate dinner. He really made the trip a lot of fun for us. After about two hours at the restaurant he was ready to move on but the meeting was not over yet so he and my wife walked over to Barnes and Noble to buy some books and magazines. We made it back to the hotel around 8:30 and headed to the lobby for some cookies and then to the pool to let him swim for a while before bed. After that he insisted on a quick game of Sorry before bed, to which we obliged.

So finally around 10:00 PM we were off to bed. That’s we when noticed that our mattress had a dip the size of the Grand Canyon in the middle of it. My wife tried to sleep on the sofa bed with my son which gave me a chance to move into the bottom of the valley which was better than trying to lie on the slope of the side. She didn’t last very long on the sofa bed so we were both back on the slopes for the night. Needless to say, we didn’t sleep too well. I thought Hampton Inns were supposed to be at least decent among the chain hotels?! Guess not. Also, the room had a funky odor.

We woke up around 4:45 AM to the sound of thunder and rain. It was a full-on storm that was pouring down rain. Not good. We decided to go ahead and pack all our stuff and check-out in case the race was delayed and we couldn’t make it back by noon. We got it all done and managed to eat breakfast by 6:00 am and headed to the race site. Thankfully the race had an indoor pool swim so my wife and son could get out of the rain. They went inside while I setup transition and got body marked. It was still raining but the lightning had stopped by 7:00 am so the race was able to start on time.

This swim was a little awkward for me since I’m not used to racing in a pool, much less a 50 meter one. I think I seeded myself fairly well as I was able to pass 3 people and didn’t get passed by anyone, nor did I catch Donna Douglass or Chris Anderson who both went off 10 seconds ahead of me. The 3 people I passed must have grossly misestimated their swim pace because they had to start at least 20 seconds ahead of me (and one of them had to start at least 30 seconds ahead). Anyway, I had an okay swim. I think the newness of it all had me a little preoccupied and kept me from swimming at the intensity level that I should have been. The swim distance was supposed to be 400 meters but was more like 385 since we exited using a ladder that was about a quarter of the length from the end. The swim time also includes a run out of the building and down a sidewalk to the transition area. Swim time: 6:38. Overall rank: 30 Age group rank: 4

T1 was standard fare for me. I always give up about 20 seconds here to the Elite guys. This is something that I will work on and change before next season. Time: 0:55

Heading out on the bike it was still raining pretty steadily. It was a typical bike start for me where I pass quite a few people in the first 5 miles. About mile 5 I came past Chris Anderson and we cheered each other on. He had started 10 seconds ahead of me and had a phenomenal 6:06 swim. The course was wet, fairly hilly, and totally unfamiliar. In talking with David before the start, he mentioned a downhill section that makes a sharp turn that could potentially have washed out dirt on the road and the propensity to overshoot the turn. I instantly recognized that section when we came to it and slowed way down but still managed to overshoot the turn and cross into the opposing lane, mainly because I didn’t want to lean the bike too much on the mud and risk loosing traction. Thankfully there were no cars coming. At about mile 7.5 I realized that I didn’t know the distance of the bike leg. I decided that I would ask the next person I passed. I got the chance about a quarter of a mile later and he said it was 15 miles. In return he asked how far we’d gone. I thought that was kind of funny since we both had information that the other needed. I yelled “7.75” as I headed up a climb. The rest of the time I spent reeling people in, climbing, descending, going easy through the many turns, and hammering the straight-aways. At some point it stopped raining. No one passed me, which is a good sign, although not all that meaningful in a time-trial type start. Bike Time: 37:41 Overall rank: 14. Age group rank: 1

T2 was pretty typical for me. Time: 0:53

This was a challenging little run course. It was here that I realized the theme of the Greenville Triathlon is “Turns”. Being a pool swim there’s like 7 of them, the bike had about 10 of them and the run had a bunch of them also. Anyway, once you weave your way around and out of the parking lots you take a sharp turn onto a washed out dirt road/trail that leads you over a hill and into another parking lot where you take a near 180 degree turn to begin a square (more turns) loop. You do this twice, which means 4 trips along the washed out dirt road, two uphill and two downhill. On the last trip down this section of the course, which is close to the finish I could hear someone catching me. Then I heard someone say, “He’s coming Nick”. It was Chris Anderson that said it and I’m not sure to whom he was referring (other than himself) (it was Jeff Brandenburg who was seeded behind me and beat me overall) because when he said it I opened up and began my sprint to the finish. Neither of them caught me. Chris crossed the line 3 seconds behind me. After I passed him at mile 5 of the bike I had totally written him off, but he was hunting me down. He ran an amazing 18:20 and I barely held him off. Thankfully I had 10 seconds in the bank on him from the swim start. Run time: 19:43. Overall rank: 29. Age group rank: 6.

Total time: 1:05:49. Overall place: 11. Age group place: 1

This is the state’s largest triathlon with about 550 people racing. It was a great atmosphere despite the bad weather. By the time the post race activities had begun, the sun had come out and a beautiful day emerged. I was the first one to get a massage and didn’t have to wait in line. That was a welcomed first. We were all pretty tired by lunch time and ready to get on the road home. We packed it up, ate lunch on the way, and my wife and son passed out on the ride back. I took a short nap when we got home and then my wife and I enjoyed the bottle of Chardonnay with the Greenville Triathlon label that was given as our award while the kids ate ice cream and played with their neighborhood friends in the cul-de-sac. It was a nice end to a great weekend. Cheers!


Kranky C Dale said...

even with the rainy start it turned out to be an awesome race... it was nice meeting your wife and son...

Tri*22 said...

Hey, congrats on another great race!! Thanks for sharing :)

David said...

Glad you enjoyed "my" race, and great job! It's an interesting course, for sure. You really killed it on the bike and the run!

Sorry I missed the SC Half. Maybe next time... ;-)

Mendy said...

Wow, what conditions we had! I'm glad we still came out too to do it after we heard the storms as well. You guys must have ate at Brixx or Red robin. Yummy!

Great race report and as always - you did GREAT!!!!

Good seeing you there!!