"Have Fun Storming the Castl.......er Fort!" - Me.
Race Report: Storm the Fort Sprint
Coming off of my XTERRA Season which ended last week in Auburn (...that I still need to write a report on) I was sort of looking forward to getting back on the road. Being a team race, Storm the Fort was going to be a great opportunity to come out and race with my Podium teammates which I haven't gotten to do for a while. It would also be a good time racing with my other local tri friends. While I've enjoyed racing on the XTERRA circuit, it would be nice to race at home. That being said, when my alarm went off at 4:30 this morning, it was all I could do to get up and get ready to race. I was just not in the mood today. I drug myself from my nice, warm bed and got dressed. I lumbered downstairs, let the dog out and sat down for breakfast. I kept with what has worked for me all season. 2 cherry Pop-Tarts and a bottle of my Infinit "preload" mix. After some post-breakfast, pre-race "paperwork" I loaded up the car. By this time, the wife had made her way downstairs and we headed toward Kingston.
As we arrived at the race, we opted to park at the finish around .5 mile away from transition. In hind sight, this wasn't the best plan... more on that later. After checking my tire pressures and kissing my wife goodbye, I rode down to transition. Not going to lie it felt strange being on the Speed Concept. She'd been sitting idle all summer whilst I played in the dirt but it was nice to have her back out. I did a few workouts on her in the last few weeks and she was feeling fast. I had a great ride on Tuesday and was hopeful we could put up a solid bike split together today.
I racked next to my teammate Mike Dotson. We spent a few minutes discussing whether or not we'd be wearing our wetsuits for the swim. The water temp was 77.9. Barely legal. Normally, I say if it's legal I wear a suit if I have it. I had it with me so I decided to go wetsuit. As start time approached I started the process of installing my wetsuit. I got it most of the way over my lower extremities before realizing it was backward. It has been a while. After that, I got mad and said to hell with it. I threw the wetsuit back in my bag, put on my speedsuit, grabbed my goggles and headed to swim start. The race was supposed to start at 7:25 but we all were straggling getting to start. As we got to the dock, the starter ushered us into the water and after a (rediculously long) reading of the rules by the ref, they lit the cannon and we were off.
There were a bazillion buoys on the water but they told us to aim for the far yellow one and the blinking blue light of the police boat. Swim straight. Alright then. That's all well and good but my goggles fogged almost instantly and I couldn't see anything. I could make out the blinking blue light so that's where I aimed. After a few hundred, I was out in front with the lead pack. Only a couple guys ahead of me and around me. Then I suddenly swam right into the guy next to me. At that point I realized the blinking light was moving... not good. I reset my trajectory and continued forward. The rest of the swim went fine. Eventually, I found the boat launch and swim exit. I hauled myself out of the water and headed to T1.
By my Garmin the swim measured short at around 560 yds. Time by Garmin was 9:49 (1:45/100). Not bad but not good either.
T1 didn't seem too smooth but eventually I had all my ducks in a row and was out on the bike. I had been told by my good buddy Steve Dittner that the first part of the bike had a lot of climbing so I was prepared to climb. I felt strong. Power numbers were looking good and legs were cooperating. I was a bit concerned that they would complain after a couple of tough workouts this week but they held their peace. I wondered, though, for how long.
I knew there were couple guys out ahead of me on the bike but I didn't know how many. My teammate Mike was just up the road out of T1 and I came up on him quickly on the first climb. We shouted some words of encouragment at each other and I made the pass. A bit further up I saw another guy. I gradually reeled him in also. Seeing his calf, he was in my age group. I didn't recognize his kit though. I knew I would need to keep the screws turned and put some time into him because he looked like he was going to be good on the run. Before I knew it, I was at the turn and I realized I hadn't passed anyone going the other way. I asked the volunteer how many ahead just to confirm. Sure enough, "you're in first" was the answer. This just made me push more. I knew there were some fast people coming I had no idea how the run was going to go for me. Head down, keep the pedals turning. I was holding over 300 watts for a lot of the ride which made me happy. I rolled back into T2 with the overall lead. Garmin time on bike was 46:54 (avg speed of 21.9mph).
T2 was a breeze. Bike on the rack. Shoes on my feet. Grabbed race belt and headed out. After a few minutes of finding my rhythm I checked my watch. Avg pace was holding steady around 7 min/mile. I doubted I was going to hold that but my target was 7:30 or under. The run was just over 4 miles so I had a pretty good ways to go. I settled in nicely. At the turn, I saw Justin Cazana coming on strong. He had started behind me in the second wave so I knew he was making time quickly and he's much stronger on the run than me. I thought the overall win was outside chance but knew I could hold on that an overall podium spot was almost certain. As we came back past transition I had to refocus. I'm so used to finishing at transition that I kind of forgot there was around a mile left... and it was most all up hill. I buckled down and kept the legs going. My pace was doing ok. I was slowing a little on the rolling sections but holding steady on the flatter sectors. Coming around by the fort the hills really came in to play. Cazana was hot on my heels and at this point it was just about not letting him pass me on the course. I all but knew he had passed me on time but I had to save some face! On the final climb I looked back at him and asked him to slow down... he didn't. I put in a last kick up the hill to the fort and crossed the line with a 20 or seconds (maybe) on him. I had a great run. Probably one of my best runs all season. Garmin time on the run was 30:30 (7:23/mile avg pace).
After the proverbial dust cleared, Justin beat me by around 3 minutes. I finished in a time of 1:29:28 by the Garmin. Good enough for 2nd place overall. I had a fun race even though this morning I was definitely not in the mood for it. Maybe I should try to start all my races not in the mood if it makes me race that well!! Again, I would be remiss if I didn't send out my love to my support crew. My team and sponsors, my coach and, of course, my wife and family. I love you all.
Once again, I need to send a special shout out to my chiropractor Chris Talley at Healthsource Chiropractic. As usual he got me tuned up and adjusted before the race and taped my calf. I've also been having some shoulder soreness on the swim so I had him tape my left shoulder. Not a wince of pain did I have. It's great to have someone like him in my corner to keep me on top of my game. Thanks Doc!!!