Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Race Report: Iroquois 100 by Mat Davenport

So my body has been recovering quite well, but my brain was put into a world of dysfunction – so I will try my best to recap the race (peanut gallery can feel free to bite their tongues – I know I just set myself up there).

Pre-race: I DNF’d my first race ever last year at my first 100 mile attempt, that has stung worse than any injury I have sustained to this point. The only solace I had was that race became know as the funeral race, and is no longer being held as NO one wants to even try it. This has been stuck in my head for a long time.

My training had been going well for most of the year – my legs got trashed in the mud at the Finger Lakes Fifties, then I followed that up by pacing a great runner at the VT100. I had hoped to use this opportunity to practice the late night running while tired and on trails. Unfortunately my runner was too fast and we got him home in 7th, I only saw about 1.5h of dark. So that didn’t work – I started to suffer from some overuse injuries the following weeks in my knee and foot, neither was good, and both seriously hampered my running. Long story short, I saw my dream of going sub-24 and getting a coveted buckle go out the window. When registering I had put my estimated finish time at 23:59:59 (while it was a lofty goal, I personally think those are more fun to chase). As the race approached I had to swallow some pride and email the RD to let him know that wasn’t going to happen, my goal was simply to finish and avoid another DNF.

The race weekend came around, I was excited. The pre-race meeting happened just after the caloric loading session, and included all kinds of fun info like: there are 2 sections of the course that are full of nasty yellow jackets (one section was apparently ‘taken care of’ by a local – don’t know what that means); that apparently during the week leading up to the race, a logging operation had begun on part of the course and no one was sure if operation was to be active during the race; then the always pleasant, ‘so earlier this week we had a lot of rain… so you are going to get wet and muddy’. Sweet. After this, Christopher McDougal (author of Born to Run) gave a brief talk and did a book signing; that was a nice addition.

Race morning: I was really excited. No stress, or anxiety, or anything else I typically feel before a race, just really excited. Maybe because I had convinced myself that I was going to finish no matter what, neither pain nor injury was an acceptable reason to quit this time. 6 am rolls around and the RD blows on his fancy new ram’s horn – we are off.

The course was two loops of a three pronged course. We start by running a half mile down the road to the base of the back of Greek Peak ski resort, proceeded to then go up to the top of the main peak, over the top, then down the front side to where to main lodge and ski condos were located, ran around a few ski lifts, then back up and over the mountain again, and back to the S/F area. Awesome, 6 miles down and my legs are already shot. The next section was shaped like a lollipop, I ended up running most this portion with Kelly Wilson (female defending champ) and Greg Loomis – I took this as a good sign of my progress as they are both accomplished and very well respected ultrarunners. The stick portion of this loop was probably some of the most beautiful trails I have ever seen! It was hard to not trip over roots or crash into trees when I found myself just looking around admiring nature in all its beauty. Unfortunately, during the first loop, this section was also spent wondering if I would need to try to keep from being crushed by logging trucks or falling trees – fortunately they weren’t working on the weekend J The actual lollipop portion of this section was my least favorite of the race, mostly logging roads of packed dirt and exposed rocks – while these conditions help make up some time over the rooty single track, they hurt – my ITB was screaming at me on the long downhills, but I really wanted to stay with Kelly as long as possible b/c I knew her goal, and knew that she knew how to get there (she had just missed 24h last year). The plan was stay with her as long as possible, then stumble the rest of the way. Fortunately I managed to stay with her almost back to the S/F aid station without feeling too over-exerted. But then she took off and was gone, I knew my limits – and the pace she started to run at this stage of the race wasn’t possible if I was to finish this thing.

I changed my shoes for some sturdier trail shoes and headed out for the third out and back arm of the course at 33.8mi, basically consisted of a long steep, slippery climb to the trail, then a 13mi out and back section of fairly brutal single track (including a half dozen climbs that had safety ropes to hang onto for both up and down). After getting up the climb, I really started to have trouble, I was slogging along, my ITB felt like it was going to snap, and a lateral plantar muscle had really decided to spend a lot of energy sending pain signals to the brain. It was actually a bit devastating how much I was slowed down. I tried to stay positive, but I was having a bit of an issue with tripping over every single freaking root on the freaking course!!! It truly is amazing how much that can weigh on you psychologically. At that point, I was on the - aid station to aid station mini-goal thing. My support crew chief (Juli) and co-chief (miss Puna), were at every aid station except Rock Pile, which was in the middle of no-where and crews were not allowed. She knew what I wanted or needed before I even made it to the aid station (except advil, I didn’t get that until about 20 miles later than I probably needed, but then again that was okay b/c I took so many of them the last 40 miles that she nearly had to cut me off towards the end of the race). My Parents made the trip out too, but Juli was too organized and I am not sure they were able to help as much as they wanted, though my dad was able to grab some photos since Juli was busy caring for me. S-caps, shot bloks, liquid, everything was laid out and easily accessible when I came into an AS. Crossing a few streams and tripping over more roots, I finally made it to Daisy Hollow AS at the end of the 13mi out and back- then they made the runners go thru the AS down a 30 foot hill, touch the road and then came back to get aid – really really not cool! I was already having a bit of trouble with the Gatorade at this point because it was too sweet, unfortunately the race beverage was GU brew, which is nasty, so I dealt with it. By this point there were all kinds of people, runners, volunteers and spectators making fun of the bionic looking leg of mine with all the kinesiotape and ITB strap. Whatever, I was going to finish, how I looked really wasn’t as important on this day. Stumbling out of Daisy hollow was tough as I was hurting pretty bad and knew I wouldn’t see Juli at the Rock Pile AS so I had to have enough liquid to get me 10 miles (3ish hours if all goes well) go over the roots and hills and streams, all of which were doing their best to put me on my butt. This stretch was probably one of the toughest parts of the day. I finally made it to Juli again and eventually down the steep slippery hill to the half way point… Awesome! I broke out the coconut water to take a break from all of the sweet stuff, changed into lighter shoes and then, well crap – back to the up and over and up and over the ski mountain section!

This section was the worst of the entire race, My legs were 80% non-functional, and my foot was still screaming. It took me almost 25 minutes longer this loop than the first time (I think), and I finally hobbled back to the S/F aid station. I was kinda happy that I made it of the ski slopes before dark, but was really really concerned that my race was going to come to an early conclusion, again- I was spent… I was desperately trying to stay positive. I had to change socks because I had grown a blister the size of a small person on my heel. Downed a coconut water, a cheese quesadilla, and a beer. The beer thing probably would have worked better if I didn’t basically shotgun the thing – it took my belly a couple minutes to work through that. This is also where I picked up my pacer, Tom, a smaller guy, retired army man – did the race last year in 29h. After warming back up to the course I actually started to move, not sure if it was just because I had someone with me to chat with, but I didn’t care. He stayed right behind me most of the time we spent running together. We came moving out of the woods to the aid station near the logging road loop, grabbed a quick snack and were on our way. In retrospect I have a really hard time piecing certain things together – I think now, that the pain continued to get worse and worse throughout the night, but at the same time, it actually affected me less and less throughout the night. When we were leaving the aid station at mile 67ish, at the end of the lollipop loop, I looked at my watch and noticed it was only 9:30, I actually questioned my pacer b/c this didn’t seem right – I was having a terrible day and it should have been much later in the night??? He confirmed – the dozen or so brain cells that had survived the first 67mi and the beer apparently put down their books and picked up calculators for what, at the time, seemed like extremely complicated math. If I can run this section in about 1hour, I would leave myself with 7.5hours for the last 26miles. That just didn’t seem right, but I didn’t have sufficient brain cells to get into an argument with the ones who just did all of the math, so I started to run a bit harder. It was a huge adrenaline rush – I knew I had to pace myself since I still had 33ish mile to run, but you will take any life you can get at this point in the race. We ran well back to the S/F, I grabbed some chips, M&Ms, some coke, a coconut water, swapped my shoes and split for the last leg of the race – with slightly more than 7 hours to go. I remembered it took me 3:15ish for the 13mi out on the first loop, and maybe 3:30 to get back… so if by the grace of something holy I could manage to move the same pace I just might be able to break 24h! I knew I walked a good chunk of sections the first loop, I was actually moving well now- is it possible?
There aren’t many thing s that can take the wind out of you sails like a steep slippery long hill! Which is how this section started- I survived to the top, had a bunch of coke and various other junk food type stuff and started off again. By now I was focused, I think the pains from my injuries and first loop were still there, but they were no longer a factor, both Juli and I have missed race goals by seconds – there was no way in hell I was going to run a 100 miles and ‘just miss’ a sub-24h buckle, no way. I was either going to break 24, or absolutely explode trying to. Having seen the course during the first loop, and the distances between aid stations, I started to set time goals, and running hard (what felt like hard)- we pulled into Rock Pile basically on schedule, but my pacer needed to sit down, something he ate at an earlier aid station wasn’t working with him. I think he saw the urgency in my eyes, I desperately wanted to get to Daisy Hollow with at least 4h to go, since it took me 3:30-45 to get home on the first loop, I had to guess it was going to take longer this loop, I wouldn’t have a chance to break 24 if I didn’t get there by 2am. He got up and we continued, about 3 miles into this section he was having all kinds of problems from his stomach, which in turn gave him issues with his footing. We stopped for a moment, decided I will push forward, and will have Juli wait for him at the turn around and we would meet up again with 3.5 to go as the slippery downhill was a bit too dangerous to do solo at night. He agreed, I took off running getting to Daisy hollow on schedule- they had freakin salty pierogies there- holy crap they hit the spot. I had a little time to catch my breath chat with the RD and Juli while I ensured I had everything I needed to get me through Rock Pile and back to Greek Peak AS and Juli 10 miles up the hill. Pulled out of Daisy Hollow with 4:03 to go… Holy Schnikys I may pull this off, I actually felt pretty good at this point – Without my pacer (pacers aren’t really pacers so much as fresher eyes to keep you on course and fresher legs to find help in case you get into trouble), I managed to go off course 7-8 times, but each time I noticed something was up relatively quickly and was able to back track without loosing too much time. The only incident which caused me to loose time involved a very large (40-50 poundish) white fuzzy thing, that was just off the trail and moved away from me when I got close, I was fascinated by this, and since both headlamp and flashlight were focused on trying to figure out what the hell it could be – I went off course. I still do not know if there is a fluffy white monster living in the woods or if I was hallucinating, but I can still picture that thing exactly as I saw it that night… re-focus… I was moving as fast as I thought I could under the circumstances, running hard, but yet still pacing to ensure I make it to the finish. I was making good time, when I bit it fairly hard on the nasty switchbacks of a steep section of the course. Fortunately when I went down, I happened to fall into the hill… had I gone the other way – I may still be out there. My handheld flashlight showed me just how lucky I was, it fell the wrong way. Conveniently, the switchbacks made it easy to retrieve the light.

Anyway, I was running and running, then checked my watch to see what my time was, since I couldn’t remember the details of the course approaching the aid stations, I was trying to use my goal times as a feel for how long I had to get to Rock Pile, My watch says I should have been there 20 minutes ago!!! Crap, I am going to miss 24h, damn, I knew I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up!!! – I still pressed on hoping it was around the corner and that maybe I could make up time at the end? What felt like 15-20 minutes later I stumbled into Rock Pile – looked at my watch and I was there exactly when I wanted to be??? Why did my watch say I was loosing time back there. As I write this, I am starting to think that I was loosing my mind during the later stages of the race, none of these things actually caused me to think twice? Happy I was on schedule again, I had a couple cups of Mtn Dew, some gummy bears, some Reese’s peanut butter cups and was on my way. I thought now that I was moving pretty good, I think I had 2.5 hours to go 4.5 miles from Rock Pile to Greek Peak AS, then 3.7mi to the finish… I can do this. This section seemed really long this time though, it just kept going and going… but the thought of the buckle made me force myself to push through any pain and fatigue – it simply was not an acceptable excuse to walk or slow down, not now, not after 90 miles. After running for about an hour, a runner passed me in the other direction heading out towards Daisy Hollow, I knew I had to be getting close to the aid station and needed some sign of hope, I was struggling as bad as any time during the race, it had been pitch black for some 7 hours now, I had been solo for the last 3-4 hours, and was in need of nutrition- I was starting to fade (going through extreme ups and downs now), Iasked him how far it was – he paused for about 10 seconds then said ‘its less than 4.5 miles’ … um, no-shit Sherlock, the aid stations are only 4.5 miles apart and I have been running for an hour. Damn that was frustrating, turns out the aid station was only fifteen minutes away up a long hill. That means he had just left that aid station and had no idea that he did so – poor guy.

I finally got to Greek Peak aid station – only 3.7 miles to go!!! I started getting really excited, I had a good 1.5 hours to go, but was trying not to get too excited before I reached the finish- I neglected to mention earlier that this very steep, slippery and long hill, had a good 50ft cliff straight into a shallow river immediately next to the trail, no barrier, no safety anything – kinda nerve racking, especially in the middle of the night, I took my time getting through this section as getting hurt now would have been rather stinky, having Tom there with me helped me feel a little bit safer so I was able to move faster than I would have if I was solo. We finally made it down the hill and off the trail, all I had left was a half mile on roads and 50 minutes to run for a buckle. Coming around that final corner I picked up my pace like I was starting a track workout with a 150yrd sprint – So freakin Happy!

Hi: mid-60sLow: mid 30sElevation change: ~18,000 feetDistance: 100.2 milesTime 23:13
This report completely understates the roll that my support crew had during the race – the fact that Juli, 7+ months pregnant, stayed up the entire race waiting to help take care of me at aid stations is honestly more special to me than my accomplishment. THEN taking care of me after the race – she is a remarkable woman!

I am very happy to join Krista and Sean as a BTT 100 mile finisher:)

Race Report: Ironman 70.3 Cancun by Brett Johnston

Looking for a late season half to carry on my training as I plan to do Ironman South Africa next year April, I was faced with 2 options…PumpkinMan Half in Maine, or IronMan 70.3 in Cancun….need I say more…This was truly a great experience. We arrived in Cancun on Friday, and got my bike unpacked and setup on Friday night. I went for a quick cycle on Saturday morning to make sure everything was working and then headed off to registration. Registration was held at one of the hotels and was pretty seamless. Apparently IM Cancun is known for providing Fleece jackets as part of their goodie bag, and this year was no different. By far the best goodie bag that I have received. Bikes needed to be racked on Saturday, so I cycled down to the transition area (5 miles) which was set up at the Wet n Wild water park. Strange thing was that they body marked you the night before (which I am sure our hotel did not like very much as all the beautiful white sheets now had black permanent marker all over them by Sunday morning). On Sunday I was up around 4.30 in order to get a cab by 5.15 to get to transition. I was able to share a cab with a few athletes who were at our hotel, including an Elite female (Julianna Morley) who finished 4th overall woman for the day. When you get to transition and its 5.45 am and it is still dark, and the sweat is literally pouring off of you, you have an idea that it is going to be a very long day! The temperature for the day ranged from 86 to 94 with humidity between 90% and 100%...It was HOT! ( I think that I have been in Boston far too long and all the African in me has been lost). The swim is an ocean swim with no wetsuits…thankfully…with the water temperature being about 82 degrees. It was pretty uneventful but I just took it really slow (that’s my excuse) as I knew I would need everything for the bike and run. When you finish the swim, you have about a ½ km run along the beach and then through the water park to the transition area. The bike course is pretty flat, but very open so you are in the direct sun and wind for the entire bike course. The bike course goes out from transition for about 4 miles , until you get onto a highway, and then it’s pretty much do 2 * 24-mile loops and then head back. I must say that the roads were in really great shape. Going out on my first loop, watching the earlier starters coming back, I thought I was in the Tour De France. I have never seen so many pelotons in my life. It was kind of disappointing seeing this, and I can’t really blame the officials as they tried to penalize who they could, but it was crazy. The return leg of the loop is a little more of a downhill flat so I could get into a decent pace and rhythm. I was looking forward to that return stretch on the 2nd loop as I felt I could really push it…oh but I was so wrong, as the wind had picked up and was now a direct head wind all the way back. I made it into transition and was off onto the run. The run course is a 2-loop (mostly flat) course along the main hotel zone road. There were a lot of people walking this run straight out of the gate, and I was able to pass a lot of people who had passed me on the bike which was great. I walked through every water stop (both sides) and would grab a Gatorade to drink and 2 bottles of water to pour over myself. The first 3 miles were really tough but eventually I find my rhythm which seemed to help. About halfway through my run, we got a little downpour and all that this did was create a huge amount of steam to come off the hot road so that certainly did not help. One of the craziest things that I saw was that they had messed up the mile markers, There was no Mile 12 marker but instead it went form 11 to 13, so people who thought they were .1 miles from the finish had a rude awakening when the end was actually 1.1 miles away…not a very funny joke at the time. I eventually finished the race and decided to get the massage afterwards. I stood in line for about ½ an hour but eventually got my turn which was well worth it and highly recommended (Full body massage for about 15 minutes). I finished the race in 6h12 which was my worst time for the year…although I PR’d on the bike it was the run that just took everything out of everyone. I was still very happy with my performance and will definitely be planning my return trip next year! (Going to a place where it is highly encouraged to have Tequila in your body by 10am…you bet I’ll be back!).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Week in Review (September 12-20)

Lots to report over the past couple of weeks. We've had a ton of people racing late season tris and road races (mostly to get ready for a fall marathon).

We'll start with September 12 and 13. September 12th saw Steve Sian and Mark Pelletier race half marathons, Maple Leaf Half Marathon (VT) and Plymouth Run to the Rock Half Marathon, respectively. Both put in solid races. September 13th had a few BTTers head up to Maine for the Pumpkinman Triathlon Festival. Pete Jensen and Mary Beth Begley both raced the half ironman distance event. The quiet man, Jamie Strain, continued his 2009 tear with a top five overall finish at the Mighty Hamptions Olympic distance race (he also won his AG). Great job Jamie! And, lastly, taking her skillz offroad, Jess Douglas raced the Hale Offroad Triathlon in Westwood where she finished 6 woman overall and won her AG. Never at a loss for words:), Jess gives us her report:

I entered this race last year on a whim. Thought it might be fun to try mountain biking in a tri, despite the fact that I don’t do any offroad training. Ended up winning, despite crashing and breaking/spraining a few ribs and my big toe.

Then comes this summer, where I had a full race schedule planned, and it did not include this race. But with injuries, etc, my plans changed and I figured I should at least try to defend my title.

Then it poured buckets on Saturday. Maybe I would bag it, but couldn’t be that wimpy. Got to the race really early and set up transition. Got on my bike, and played on the trails a little. What was I thinking?? The last time I was on a trail was the race last year (when I crashed!!)! Anyways, I ran a little, then got in water – very metallic and brown. And a lot more chilly than Walden had been last week, darn rain.

This is a very small race, and all the proceeds are used for a scholarship fund they use for the summer camp they run at the reservation. Pretty cool.

Swim was good. Got smacked in the face right out of the gate, knocking my goggles a little and letting a little water in. So, I stopped, fixed them and tried to find a rhythm. Felt good after the 1/4 mile swim, got in and out of transition fairly well. I did miss the crowd of blue and green cheering me on at Timberman, though!

The bike course was different that last year, more technical and a little longer, I think. VERY wet, muddy, slippery and generally yucky. I am proud that I did not crash again, but was worried that I would. About halfway through, my left shoelace came untied and wrapped itself around the crank. OW. Stopped to fix that, and 2 women and a few men passed me. NOT happy about that. I do not like being passed. But it was hard to get back around the people in front of me on the narrow trails. There were many times that I had to get off the bike, mostly on the uphills, but also one nasty downhill, and one wooden plank over a creek/giant mud puddle.

The run was also longer than last year. Really nice trails, nothing too big as far as climbs or descents. Still really muddy and rocky. About 1/4 mile in, my right shoelace came undone, but I had just passed one of the aforementioned ladies who passed me, and didn’t want to lose ground to her again. So I ran the rest of the race with that shoe untied. Needless to say, this is the last race I will ever do with regular laces in my sneakers. Caught the other woman who passed me as well! Finished the run feeling pretty strong, but was disappointed to hear that I was only the 3rd female finisher. I hadn’t even seen the other 2! Anyways, it was a fun day. They also have 2 kids tri’s for ages 9 & under and 10-15.

Plans for next year:
1) Take advantage of the training rides the offer on the course and actually get out on the trails other than the day of the race.
2) Recruiting some more BTTer’s to participate in this “Alternate BTT” event.
3) NEVER racing without yankz on my sneakers…

On September 19, we had BTTers at both the Lobsterman Triathlon and the TDD Triathlon. After a lot of pre-race smack talk between Brian Quigley and Jorge Martinez on Facebook, only BPQ toed the line at Lobsterman, along with his better half, Michelle. BPQ finished second in his AG (Jorge is still trying to figure out a way to redeem himself:)). Meredith Harjes and Ira Sills (making up for lost time) trekked out to the edge of Western Mass for the TDD triathlon, where both had AG podium finishes.....Meredith 1st and Ira 3rd. Great job guys!

September 20th brought us our last tent series race...Buzzards Bay. Being a late season race, we didn't have a strong showing, but we still had a couple of diehards race....Stephen Wall and Elaine Metcalf. Both finished on the podium (2nd and 3rd) in their respective age groups. Way to represent! And Scott Stavely entered the elite wave at the Dover Sherborn Triathlon and finished with a 5th overall placing. Way to step up!

Lastly....we have Mat Davenport. For those new to the team....Mat is Juli's ornary husband:) You may remember him from the pub run. Then again, you may just choose to forget! He actually used to do triathlons...seriously! Now, Mat is an ultradistance runner. Mat recently completed the Iroquois 100 Trail Race in New York in under 24 hours. Yes, people, that's 100 miles!!! Maybe Mat will grace us with a race report. At the very least, we'll hear him mumbling about it on December 5th! I'll be the guy next to him, mumbling about Kona!

Speaking of Kona, this is my last posting until after the big race. As I mentioned in a early report, I'll be posting daily updates and pics from the Big Island on my blog:

I'm also going to try to use twitter while I'm there....but I can't make any promises!

I know we still have some races left, I just wanted to congratulate everyone of a very successful 2009 season!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sponsor Newsletters

Hi Everyone,
I just wanted to share the latest sponsor newsletter with the team (click HERE). These go out quarterly to all sponsors, so if you have any news you'd like to include in the next one please let me know.

The two news letters from earlier this year are linked below, and they also live on the member page of the BTT website.

(Click HERE for newsletter #1/January 2009 and HERE for Newsletter #2/April 2009)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Week in Review (August 29-September 7)

Hey folks....lots to report with Labor Day weekend in this review.

August 29-30. Only one race to report here (following Timberman). But it was a big one....The Cranberry County Triathlon. This olympic distance race is always heavily attended by BTT and this year was no different. We had at least 6 BTTers race (at least those who registered results!), with long time member Scott Stavely placing 2nd in the male 40-44 AG, and Brett Johnston's relay team finishing 3 relay team overall and 2nd in its division. Nice job everyone!

September 5-7 (Labor Day Weekend). There was lots of racing going on over this extended weekend. The big race(s) of the weekend was the Plymouth Rock Triathlon Festival, which included the Mayflower International Distance on Saturday, and the Plymouth Ironman Distance and Iron Aquabike on Sunday. On Saturday, as par for the course, Rachel Saks dominated her AG and finished 41st overall. On Sunday, Krista Schepanovsky tackled the full iron distance race...trying to exorcise some demons from the previous year. Also, Elaine Metcalf, Nicole Kimborowicz and Pat Dwyer (me) competed in the iron Aquabike. Kudos to all those that raced the iron or aquabike. As a veteran ironman racer, I will say that Plymouth was definitely one of (if not the most) difficult iron bike I've ever done. The wind was blowing at a sustained 20mph....and it wasn't a warm wind. And, the roads were terrible...with bumps and ice heaves everywhere. In fact, I broke my aero arm rest 60 miles into it. That being said, it's a nice race...they do a good job. At the end of the day, Krista did exorcise her demons and podiumed with a 3rd place AG finish and a time of 13:47.

However, Plymouth wasn't the only race of the weekend. Austin Whitman went to the far reaches of the New England region to do some early leaf peeping and cherry picking...I mean racing! Kidding Austin! Austin dominated the field at the Circle Triathlon in Ashland, New Hampshire. And Dave Marinofsky started his Boston Marathon build by competing the Laborious 10 Miler in Marlborough, Mass. Lastly, our old friend Mike Williams, who left us shortly after IMLP, continued to fly the BTT colors in Austin, Texas. Mike raced the Austin Sprint Triathlon and made his first podium appearance with a 3rd place AG finish. Mike gives us his report:

Bringing it BTT-style to Austin

I came out of post-IMLP semi-retirement to mix it up in my new town of Austin! After six weeks of unpacking boxes, building baby furniture, and starting a new job, I dusted off the BTT kit for my first Sprint(!) distance race in over two years. Long story short, I was finally able to put the BTT "podium" shirt to good use. I placed third in my age group! Yes, Austin, that's how we roll in beantown. Here's my summary: Austin, as you can imagine, is a great town for triathlon. Good people, lots of positive energy, year-round training. What I missed, however, was the cheering section that I've become spoiled with in New England. I didn't hear a single "go BTT." So... the upside of being a little lonely out there was the absence of any distractions... and I found a fast (enough) gear to make the blue and green noticed. Ok, small secret... there was also an Olympic distance option so I have to believe that's where the real players were racing. Richie Cunningham ran away with the men's and Desiree Ficker came from behind on the run to win. I miss all of you and hope you're having a great New England fall. Please look me up if you come through Austin. I'm thinking BTT "WINTER" Training Weekend!

Lastly, I'll leave you guys with a couple of pictures of some pretty cool bikes....Woody Bikes. A buddy of mine from Cape May, NJ makes these. I saw them up close in August and they're very cool. However, I don't think you'll see them at any triathlons any time soon!