Monday, August 16, 2010

My new lucky number

When I showed up on a cool morning at Bear Creek Ski Area for the Bald Bear Triathlon, I was excited to see how I could do in a sprint triathlon with a short .25mi swim. Now that being said, the rest of the race was to be no walk in the park. The bike course was 14.7 hilly miles (hilly enough that I brough my road bike) and the run course was 2.2 miles of guess what, more hills! I guess that's what you get when you enter a race that starts at a ski area. I was prepared though, I had pre ridden the course and our triathlon club Endurance Multisport has bi-weekly training triathlons at the same venue (different run and bike courses...but with the same hills).

So when I walked up to registration and was handed #61 I was feeling some good vibes coming my way, like the rays of sun peaking through the early AM clouds were coming from God above, smiling down on me and filling my mind with excitement. See, #61 was the same number I had worn last week at the Steelman triathlon which I feel was one of my better tri performances...and the odds of sporting #61 two weeks in a row? Just coincidence, certainly, but I'll take whatever I can from it!!
So this was my third sprint tri, ever. My first tri was a sprint, I did a sprint last year in Killington. While I was counting...this was my 7th tri....3rd sprint plus three olympics plus two half's. Anyway, swimming was never my strong part, but thanks to coach Erica from Endurance Multisport it's getting slightly better. The water at Bald Bear wasn't the most pristine that I've ever swam in and it was 80 degrees so no wetsuits (the swim was short enough that I probably wouldn't have worn one anyway).
I lined myself up about half way through the pack (official results aren't posted, I was told +/-120 participants, 60-70 men). It was divided into two waves, a men's and a women's. I felt like I had a good swim, did some drafting, sighted very well and pushed myself like I don't typically do in the swim leg of a tri.
Well, to my surprise I came out of the water in 7th! I managed to pass a few people on the long run to T1. I had a great transition and came out in charging. I wasn't sure how many people were in front of me, but I managed to pass one guy on the steep climb out of the resort. At the first turn before the first big climb I asked the fire police gentleman that was there how many people were in front of me? "You're the first" he said. Holy cow!
I was really glad to have the road bike. I don't feel that I was at a serious disadvantage on the few flatter areas but I could get out of the saddle easily and climb. When we got to the first flatter area about 4 miles in, I heard someone behind me...a guy on a TT bike passed me. I put a strong charge on and passed him back on the next downhill. As we hit another flatter area he passed me back, but we stayed pretty close for the first 11-12 miles. He put a little bit of time on me as we headed back to the resort on a flat section, but I was hopeful that I'd be able to catch him on the run.

It was great to hear all of the people cheering as we dropped back down into the resort. I had a good T2 and was on the run in no time. As I exited the run, the volunteers directed me the wrong way...I shouted to them that it was the wrong way, ran for about 10 seconds and turned around. The old "it's your responsibility to know the course" saying was ringing in my head. I was confident I knew the course, I had ridden the first mile or so before the race. I was out on the run course all by myself...and luckily the arrows were all pointing in the direction I was going! I did nearly miss one turn, but got back on track. I had no idea where the guy that was in front of me was, but I could tell that I was now in the lead. Once I got my legs back and my Saucony Tangent 4's turning over, I had a great last mile or so and came across the line in about 1:06:10.
I was happy for my race, but bummed for the guy that went the wrong way. I'm very anal about knowing the course before the race and I guess it paid off for me for the second time this year. I talked to Daryl after the race, he admitted that he went the wrong way, he said there were no volunteers at all directing him out of T2 and he ran until he saw the arrows going the opposite way. So I was "lucky" enough to score another overall win and bring #61 some glory! I was going to leave the body marking on until the next race, but Lauren didn't think it was a good idea, said I would look silly when we go to the beach in two weeks?? Imagine that, I thought I looked silly all the time....a big #61 on my arm wouldn't change that would it?
So as the tri season winds down, Lauren is in full swing training for the Hershey Half Marathon that she's running with her sister and the Nike Women's Marathon which she's pacing. I'm starting to shift my focus toward Cyclocross which starts in less than a month. Got my first good cross workout in yesterday at Lehigh University on their cross country course, two 20 minute intervals which cooked my legs. I forget how much cross hurts, it is an awesome workout and a ton of fun though. It was also cool riding at Lehigh yesterday because it was Philadelphia Eagles training camp! Green jerseys were everywhere.
Other than that, we had a good weekend. Our niece spent the night on Saturday and yesterday my brother and his family came over along with my step father. It was great to have everyone together and talk about old times! Next up is Autumn's soccer practice...first one is next week and first game is 9/12!


  1. Congrats on your win! I completely get the number thing. I always find some kind of meaning in my race number. :)

  2. Holy cow! Another win! And a great story to go with it. Congratulations, Superman!

  3. Awesome win, Chris, sounds like an exciting race. You've got some great form coming into the new 'cross season.

  4. 61 is a lucky number! Maybe you should just get it tattooed on your arm! :) I'm sure the wife would love that!