Monday, June 20, 2011

Dual Race Reports: Bath County Tri and Men's 4-Miler -- 6/18-19/2011

Summary: A busy Father's Day weekend.

Saturday -- Bath County Tri -- 1:17:58. 2/8 AG, 20/131 OA male.
Sunday -- Men's 4-Miler -- 26:41. 4/48 AG, 53/449 OA

Bath County Sprint Tri:

A small field, beautiful scenery, and a course with a few tough wrinkles summed up the Bath County Tri. Bath County is located in the Allegheny foothills of western Virginia, and is notable for bed-and-breakfasts, The Homestead Resort, and miles of beautiful and wild rivers favored by anglers. A scenic but long drive deposited me at Lake Moomaw, a small reservoir with clear mountain water in the George Washington National Forest.

Packet pickup and setup was uneventful. I chatted it up with a 50-year old on my rack who saw my Boston hat. "2010, huh? I've got the same hat. It was windy this year..." We chatted a bit more as we sized each other up. Nice guy, but probably my competition. A short jog, a little practice with my shoes on the pedals mount/dismount, and a little swim and it was time to race.

Second wave for the swim, a long rectangle in nice mountain water. 76 degrees, so I wore my wetsuit. Thought I sighted well, and moved up through the first wave as I went along. Stopped my watch at 15:24 for the swim, which seemed slow. Based on other times, I think the course was a bit long.

Swim -- 15:24. 3/8 AG, 32/131 OA male.

Wetsuit off in a jiffy at T1 -- plenty of BodyGlide this time around. Helmet, glasses on, grabbed the bike and ran. Smooth shoes on the pedal mount and off to the bike.

T1 -- 1:03. 1/8 AG, 20/130 OA male.

The bike was an out and back on closed roads with pretty smooth asphalt. There was a steep climb about 1/2 mile in that caught me by surprise and in the wrong gear while I was grabbing a drink. Weaved embarrassingly across the road while I got into the right gear. I hammered down the other side of the hill and then into the false flats and small climbs of the outward leg. There weren't many on the course around me, but I overhauled a few riders. 21 minutes and change for the first 6.2 miles.

At the turn-around it was hammer time and I really got rolling. This was fun! Payback came on the return of the course's first hill, but at least I was ready this time. A nifty barefoot flying dismount and it was into T2.

Bike -- 37:00. 1/8 AG, 21/131 OA male.

I noticed that my rival's bike wasn't into transition yet as I racked. Maybe I could hold him off, since I figured he'd have a strong run leg. Shoes on, grab my hat, belt and gel and go.

T2 -- 0:36. 1/8 AG, 9/131 OA male.

Not a good start to the run -- there was a nice hill right out of the gate, and I couldn't get my legs on track right away. After about a mile in the course leveled off and I got into a good rhythm.

Then my shoe came untied. I ran with it for a while, but finally decided it had to be tied. The second I knelt down I saw a figure with a "50" on his calf zoom by me. C***!

I took chase, but he had too much speed for me on this day. Nonetheless I made up for a disappointing start for the run with a strong finish over the last mile. Not a good run though, even factoring in a hilly run course.

Run -- 23:56. 3/8 AG, 32/130 OA male

Overall, I thought my run let me down a bit. I'd done everything I'd needed to win my AG until that point. Anything near what I think I'm capable of would have sealed the deal. But hey, I won an insulated lunch bag!

Overall -- 1:17:58. 2/8 AG, 20/130 OA male.

Men's 4-Miler

This race, which benefits prostate cancer research has always been the junior partner to the Women's 4-Miler. This year, with the date changed to Father's Day, and the location changed to UVA, there was a much bigger field. I think a lot of us looked forward to the on-field finish projected onto the stadium scoreboard video screen. Pretty cool.

I started towards the front, near Mark Robbins. As we got onto the course he pulled about 5 seconds ahead. In our last race together that was the end of it, and he crushed me by over a minute at the MJH 8K. Today I didn't let the string snap and kept him in sight, but couldn't quite find the speed I needed to overhaul him.

Had a good finishing 1/2 mile or so, and came in strong. Really fun to emerge out of the stadium onto the field. Overall a good run on a warm and humid morning.

26:41 (just off my 2008 PR). 4/48 AG, 53/450 OA.