Thursday, June 07, 2007

2007 Mooseman International Triathlon Report

The plan was to head up the NH early on Friday to check out the bike course, check-in at the cottage, pick up my packet and relax for the rest of the evening. Things didn’t exactly go as planned. We got a late start and didn’t get on the road until 3pm which caused us to run directly into Boston traffic that lasted until the New Hampshire tolls.

The kids handled the delays just fine, they watched DVD’s and played video games, but I was starting to stress a little. Packet pickup was from 5 to7 pm and it was looking like we would be cutting it close. We arrived at the Welling State Park at 6:30 and I picked up my packet as they were still setting up for the event. We took a quick look around the park and transition area then headed for the cottage.

After checking in and unloading the gear, we headed out to an Italian restaurant that we had passed on the ride in. Dinner was good but it was getting late and all I could think about was getting back to the cottage because I still needed to get my gear ready for the morning. As Kate got the kids ready for bed I started to go through my packet. I placed my number on my bike and my helmet and then noticed something. My number was 5172, but the numbers in the packet read 172. What happened to my 5, did I get the wrong packet. I checked my chip number and found that it was correct. Registration would be there in the morning so I figured I could double check it then. I took a shower set the alarm… two alarms… and went to bed at 11pm.

Race morning!

Kate’s watch alarm went off at 4:30 am. Thankfully we set two alarms because the cottage alarm never went off… actually I forgot to turn it on. I had some oatmeal and a cliff bar, I wasn’t feeling very hungry. As I double checked my gear and checked my tire pressure, Kate got the kids up and ready to go!

We arrived before 6am so we could get a good parking spot and walked over to the registration tent so I could confirm my numbers. The registration guy said that I wasn’t the only one asking that question and maybe they should let people know when the pick up their packets… good idea!

I grabbed my bike and transition bag and we headed to body marking. It’s funny… once you get body marked the excitement of the race really starts. I racked my bike, dropped my transition bag and we headed for the lake to check out the water. The water wasn’t as cold as I thought it was going to be. I felt like the last hour before the race was spent going form porta-potty to porta-potty.

It was now 7:30 and time to get ready for the race. I kissed my wife and kids goodbye and headed to the transition area to get ready. The transition area was jammed with people getting ready. I looked around for my fellow bloggers with no luck, it was way too crazy. It was funny listening to all the different conversations going on around me. There was a group of 4 or 5 guys talking about how they just decided to do the race on a drunken bet. They hadn’t even trained that much and were joking about who was going to pass out first. I put on my wetsuit and after the pre-race meeting headed to the swim start…It was time!

The Swim 30:15

As we all headed out to the swim start, with bagpipes in the background, all I could do was look out at the orange triangle buoy. The fog was still coming off the water which made that buoy look so far away. The next thing I heard was 4…3…2…1…GO! The first wave of blue caps took off. Then it was our turn the green caps to head to the start line. In my first triathlon I lined up as far left and back as I could, I didn’t want my first time to be rough! This time I wanted to be in the mix so I headed for the middle of the pack. The announcer gave us the countdown 5…4…3…2…1…GO!

We were off… there were feet and hand flying all over the place. I managed not to get kicked or punched as I started my swim. I was about four or five strokes into my swim when I came up to take my first breath. That’s when it happened, I tilted my head took a deep breath… nothing happened… there was no air! I put my head back in the water took another stroke so I wouldn’t get swum over and tried again with the same results… I wasn’t getting any air. I had no choice, stop swimming or stop breathing. Apparently my wetsuit was preventing me from taking a deep enough breath. I reached back and removed the Velcro flap around my neck but it wasn’t enough. I then grabbed my zipper lead and pulled it all the way down. I could breathe again, but now my group was gone. I started swimming as hard as I could trying to make up lost ground… or water. I got into a comfortable rhythm and started to feel better as I was moving up the pack. Soon with every breathe I could hear music… the finish was getting closer. As I exited the water I could see my family on the shore… that was so cool! They were yelling “You’re doing great!”

I headed up the path and decided to bypass the wetsuit strippers into T1. I was able to pull off my wetsuit on the run, I put on my helmet and shoes took a gel and headed to the bike start.

The Bike 1:22:25 19.8 mph

I was feeling pretty good on the bike until my right calf started cramping up. I’ve felt this before on training rides and a little electrolyte drink usually takes care of it. I have a bad habit of not drinking enough during workouts and I wanted this cramp gone before “Devils Hill”. I’ve been training on hills at home, but not hills like this. As I approached the little devil dancing on the side of the road I could see riders walking their bike up. I shifted down stood up and climbed that Devil! As I passed people crawling up the hill I thought to myself… I’m going to pay for that later! From then on the ride went well and I continued to pass and get passed by the same group of riders. On one downhill point I looked at my computer… 40mph! We even got stuck behind a pontoon boat going way to slow. I looked at the woman next to me and said… can we get a penalty for drafting a pontoon boat! I didn’t expect to see anyone from blog land during the bike, maybe on the run since it was an out and back, but not on the bike. As I approached one rider I took a double look… it was Jamie. We said hello and asked how it was going… then it was time to go. Soon the fun was over and it was time for the run.

The Run 50:58 pace 8:13

Leaving T2 my legs were feeling like I had lead shoes on. I had a gel in my shirt pocket but for some reason I never used it. I need to work on my fueling during longer races. I took water and Gatorade at every stop. I would dump the water on my head and the Gatorade down my chin. I think more made it into my shirt than into my mouth. The run course went along the lake for a few miles… it was beautiful.

Side note: As I was running along the lake I saw this guy taking pictures. He looked so familiar to me I had to look twice. It was a guy from work that I see at the gym all the time. He started waving at me and took my picture. He was there with his son who was in the race… small world!

The turn around point on the run was a cruel joke. My fellow athletes know what I’m talking about. There was a turnaround at the halfway point of the run. Volunteers were directing you to take this little side road. You turned the corner all happy thinking you just run around the corner, but No… you then head straight down this steep hill to hell turn around and head back up hill. Not very nice!
The rest of the run felt good, my legs were coming back and people were starting to say two more miles… one more mile your almost there! I could see the finish and tried to pick up the pace a little and finish strong. I was done… I finished my first international distance triathlon.

The 2007 Mooseman was complete! Final 2:49:10


Jamie said...

Nice Report. I think I'm going to have to get to races much earlier from now on. I was way too rushed getting there.

Hopefully you and the fam had as much fun as I did. I know I'll be heading back up there next year.

Anonymous said...

You did awesome! It was just a year ago that you said "I want to do a triathlon"! I am so...proud of you and so are the kids. We had a great weekend! Love Kate

Kim said...

john, what a great race report! you whooped some butt! i feel like i saw you on the tail end of your run, but i'm not positive. anyway, you did great, and i look forward to reading more about your training and races!

Matt said...

Hey great post. Loved the detail. Good luck with training.

Chris said...

Great writeup! And even better race! Hopefully I'll meet you at another one soon.

Robin said...

hey -- love the pics with the Race report! Your "official photogrpaher" did a good job taking pics along the whole way!! Nice job on completing your 1st Intl/Oly distance!!! I'm in Atlanta now but when I get back, ny RR is on its way. Not as interesting as yours, or as my 1st triathlon RR, though. I'm in for this race for next year. I liked it a lot!

Robin said...

btw----wow! sub 3 hour time. way to go!

and....I was heading out on the run and some guy passed me in the opposite direction, having turned around so heading towards the finish....i thought it was you....I shouted "hey are you John?" I couldn't hear his reply....was that you?

we all need to do a much better coordinated meet up next time....

Tri-John said...


No... that wasn't me... I don't think! I agree with you on the coordination thing next time!