Friday, June 29, 2012

Week in Review: June 29, 2012

by Brenda Chroniak

Happy Friday! I can't believe this is the last week in June. Where does the time go? It's certainly been a busy and successful month of racing. Did you know we had THIRTY podium finishes in June? GO BTT!

This past weekend was no exception, with the BTT ladies dominating Webster. Congrats to Meg MacSwan for her overall win, to Laura Miyakawa for winning her age group, and to me/Brenda Chroniak (is it weird when I talk about myself in the third person?) for my/her third place AG finish. Lucy Herzog also had a top-10 AG finish, and if there had been a podium for the team sherpa/photographer/cheering category that day, Doug Sherwood would have surely been at the top of it.

BTT had a great showing on the podium in Cohasset, too, with Jamie Strain, Erica Allen, and Trish Henwood all making an appearance (age group wins for Jamie and Erica, third place AG for Trish), with Grace Tkach taking second female overall in the wetsuit division in the Swim Off portion of the day.

Ed Galante had a great weekend of racing, placing second in his AG Friday at the RACE Summer Series and third in his AG Sunday at the Wayland 3-mile swim (which I heard was actually 3.5 miles), and in races here, there, and everywhere, we had quite a few top-10 AG finishes--way to go Bryan Canterbury, Maggie O'Toole, Laurie Damianos, Nancy Arena, Mary Beth Begley, Kim Kaltreider, Mary Lou Tierney, and Audrey Perlow.

I also must give a shout-out to Eric Lambi and Jeff Daily for killing it at the BAA 10K, to Noah Manacas for his strong finish at the Wells Ave. Crit, and to Matt Coarr for a great race at the Syracuse 70.3 (please tell me the swim wasn't in Lake Onondaga...).

No one has any race goals posted for this weekend, so I must assume you're all gearing up for the holiday week and getting your cookout on. If you DO happen to race, please post your results so we can celebrate them next week, along with America's independence.

Stay Cool.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Week in Review: June 21, 2012

by Brenda Chroniak

Happy Summer, BTT! I hope everyone is training safely in this heat wave and making sure to hydrate.

We had lots of BTT-ers racing last weekend at the Ashland Lions Sprint and Olympic Triathlons, the Warhill 5K, the Patriot Half, and the Quad City Triathlon and, as usual, there were quite a few podium finishes. 

Congrats to Jason and Carolyn Soules, Lauren Bonaca, Audrey Perlow, Jamie Strain, Ira Sills, and Tom Christofili for ALL TAKING FIRST IN THEIR AGE GROUP AT THEIR RESPECTIVE RACES!   BTT? #winning!  

Kudos are also due to Jeff Aronis, Mark Vautour, and Laurie Damianos for their top-10 age group finishes, and to Tim Dewland and Mark Pelletier for their strong results. 

Also this past weekend, six lovely BTT ladies (Maggie and Regina O'Toole, Katie O'Dair, Rachel Aronis, Juli Davenport, and Karen Ghiron) participated in the MOPO which, after a little Google searching, I learned is a mile or half-mile open water swim in Wellesley at Morse's Pond. I was wondering why all their results are listed as "0," and after a little more Google searching I found this article from last year's MOPO which explains that the swim is non-competitive and, thus, not timed ...although a little bird told me that Katie O'Dair was first out of the water. I must give credit where credit is due!

And did anyone look at the results page and notice that Matt Pokress, Joe Kurtz, and Austin Whitman didn't race this weekend? Here's what they were up to, with the help of Chris Borges - read Matt's report

This coming weekend, you'll see teammates blazing the courses of the Challenge Cup Marathon Relay, the Wayland One and Three-Mile Swims, the BAA 10K, the Cohasset Swim-Off, the Cohasset triathlon, the Buffalo Springs 70.3, the Webster Lake Tri, and the Syracuse 70.3. Good luck to Audrey Perlow, Bryan Canterbury, Jeff Aronis, Jess Douglas, Eric Lambi, Mary Beth Begley, Maggie O'Toole, Grace Tkach, Ed Galante, Sean McCormick, Erica Allen, Kyle Geiselman, Kim Kaltreider, Pat Dwyer, Matt Coarr, Sasha Dass, Lucy Herzog, Meg MacSwan, Laurie Damianos, and Laura Miyakawa!

Last but certainly not least, a special shout out to Trish Kelly, wishing her a speedy recovery. We're all thinking of you and wishing you well!

6 States Ride 2012

One ride, one day, touching all six New England states.

The seed was planted when Bill Reeves suggested it as a personal goal last fall. I relayed this idea to Austin and Joe over breakfast at Helen’s. We felt it to be the logical evolution of the Friday HP ride at Training Weekend.

Party to this conversation was the man destined to become our savior, Chris Borges (formerly known as “Joe’s Apprentice”). Chris immediately volunteered to drive the SAG wagon. Just like that, we had everything we needed: the huge Kurtzmobile to ferry us and our gear out to the start and a driver/soigneur to move along the route to resupply us..

This was one case where we were not looking for extra mileage, so route optimization left one logical path:

Start in the SE corner of VT (near Satan’s Kingdom)
Ride SW across MA
Cross into the NE part of CT
Ride E into RI
Ride NE across MA
Cross into the SE corner of NH
Ride N into ME

As late as Friday night we were still debating whether to ride up the NH seacoast or move inland a little bit. Both routes would end in Kittery after crossing in Portsmouth. Unbeknownst to us, the pedestrian/bike bridge in Portsmouth was dismantled in February. Bill sent me a message about that late Friday night. The only other options in Portsmouth are not open to bikes (I95 and Rt 1 bridges). A swim to Kittery was out. Best case: Joe would be at the outlet stores while Austin and I got swept out to sea.

I scrolled up in Google maps and found the first available Piscataqua crossing. It was in Dover. We would avoid the seacoast entirely but the reroute would still add around five miles. We were looking at a 211 mile ride, assuming we did not get lost along the way.

Due to work and travel schedules several of us were in no mood to wake up super early. That was a mistake that caught up with us, but we were too naive to realize it until much later. At one point during planning Austin had floated the idea that we could stop for a “real” lunch along the ride (no doubt influenced by Victoria’s track record of mid-ride four-course meals). Joe agreed that might be nice. That would soon prove to be very wishful thinking.

"I hope my seat tube doesn't crack"

"I hope my handcrafted woonden bottle brackets don't crack"

At 6:00 we blitzed the breakfast bar at the Hampton Inn. Then we lubed up our bike shorts and got in the car for the short drive into VT. I cannot explain why we did not have a sense of urgency to get started. The odometers did not click over until 7:50. That was ridiculous.

Not much time was spent in VT
The weather was spectacular all day. It just could not have been better. This ride has nearly 8000’ of climbing, yet only drops 200 feet from start to finish. The biggest climb of the day came early (mile 8). It ascends around 900 feet in three miles. We knew about this ahead of time, and had vowed to reign it in. I have video footage to confirm this (you can hear us talking in full sentences instead of the monosyllabic grunts we usually emit while climbing). There was a nice rollout down to Orange after that.

We sailed smoothly around the Eastern edge of the Quabbin Reservoir and continued down to Sturbridge where we met Chris for the first stop (just short of 70 miles). Gatorade, water, reload of gels and bars for me, homemade energy bars for Austin and Joe. We decided to go another 60 before meeting Chris, which put our next stop in Marlborough.
More homemade energy bars please

We were shortly in CT, and there was actually a “Welcome” sign to prove it. Our route bounced back into MA, and then we exited again in Douglas. The second trip into CT was short, although we do not actually know when we crossed into RI. State boundaries just are not well marked down there. For me, this was the hardest part of the ride. It was the hottest part of the day, the terrain around there is very undulating, and the roads were not as smooth. We chose (with no regrets) to ride our tri-bikes, but we could not find a rhythm in the aero bars on those roads.

It was weird to cross the century mark and know the ride was not even half over. Having exhausted our fluids we made a convenience store raid in Sutton. I was still leery of pulling the trigger on Rocket Fuel (Coke + Gatorade). Austin, deep in the glucose ditch, ate a nice helping of vanilla soft serve (try that in special needs). A short while on, a solo roadie coasted up next to us at a stop sign as we debated our route. With more than a hint of arrogance he asked if we needed directions. With only a hint of arrogance, we smiled and said “no thanks,” quite pleased to know that we had already gone farther than he’d probably ride that day, and we were only halfway done.

As we raced up towards Marlborough I made the biggest bonehead navigational error of the day. It ended up adding around three miles to our ride. I had printed cue sheets from - but I HATE cue sheets. The simpler the route, the happier I am. Cue sheets inevitably devolve into “0.3 mi, then left onto <improperly labeled> road, 0.2 mi, right at the bush, etc.” We also did not have proper GPS bike computers, and this ride was too big too fit in the memory of my 310XT. What we did have was a GMap course overlay on our phones. That is ultimately what kept us on (or returned us to) the course, but we had to stop for those position fixes. Those stops probably added around 45’ over the course of the day.

130mi down and I am tired of dealing with cue sheets
We got into Marlborough without any further detours but it was clear that we were going to run out of daylight. It was approaching 5:00, and we still had 80mi to go. We told Chris to try and get some lights for us and we would meet in Amesbury. I pulled the ripcord and started in on the Coke.

The next segment took us up through Stow, Acton, and Carlisle. It was weird to finally be riding on roads we know so well after spending all day in the saddle. On 225 in Carlisle we were less than 15mi from Arlington! Navigation got easier, although we missed a turn in Billerica that set us back a little bit. We blew through Andover. My parents promised to come downtown and ring cow bells if I gave them 30’ warning, but we did not have time for cow bells. The sun was setting.

In North Andover we decided to simplify the route by staying on Rt 125 to Haverhill. Before we got there I started wondering if we could earn some time by skipping Amesbury and just going straight up to Exeter, NH. A quick check on the phones confirmed that. We called Chris and told him to meet us there. Exeter was 18mi up Rt 108.

We would make it to Exeter before sundown, but Dover was another 18mi beyond that. I was hammering and frustrated. We were probably going to fail not because our bodies were not up to the task but because we had foolishly misjudged the time required for this ride. My cloud of self-pity was blown out shortly thereafter. Joe yelled out: “Just to be clear - We are finishing this.” Even if Chris drove behind us to light the road, we were going to ME.

The arrival in Exeter coincided with the onset of dusk. My odometer was at 195mi, and we were feeling fine. That was amazing. What was more amazing was that Chris had all of Austin’s bike lights delivered by “Pony Express”. He had met up with Victoria somewhere on Rt 2 after we left Marlborough. That team effort saved the ride. I will never forget the look of amazement and tone of voice when Austin saw the gear: “You have my lights!”

HFCS + Caffeine, what else do you need?
I have never mounted lights on my tri bike, but a bunch of electrical tape solved that problem. Austin finally decided to drink some Coke. That plus the lights and OMG - it was GO TIME! If you have seen him riding full speed out to a Battle Road run, in the dark, in February, you know that he has been preparing for this very moment. It was like those lights gave him super-human powers. That last segment was probably the fastest of the whole day. It would be a lie to deny how exhilarating it was to rip along at 25mph in the dark. We were so fast Austin almost hit a raccoon.

Chris leapfrogged us over those last miles, and we were joined by another chase vehicle in Dover. As we turned East towards ME I heard the distinctive electric whine of a Prius. Shay pulled up and shouted something about “crazy bastards”. Joe thought she was just another “friendly” bike loving local at first. As planned, FP and the kids had been waiting for me at the Dover Days Inn. (The older kids were swimming in a meet hosted by the team Bill coaches. The circle is complete.)

We really needed Chris out front to chase off the raccoons

Over the last couple of miles Joe noted that he has been swimming, running, and now biking under the stars with Austin and me. Those dark sessions in Concord were much colder and much less pleasant than this clear Summer night at the NH/ME border.

6SR Directeur Sportif Borges and us - somewhere in ME
There was no sign as we crossed into ME, and we ended up riding an extra mile before Chris and Shay convinced us that we were actually done. It was profoundly sudden and anti-climactic. No Mike Reilly, no medals, just the shocking realization that we had ridden 218 miles and our bodies were not destroyed. I hurt more after the HP ride than I did that day. The new Sugoi team kit left neither saddle sores nor chafing. We averaged 19.2mph, and looking at my own power data I rode above my Ironman bike intensity - for almost twice the distance. It is funny what you can do without the specter of a marathon hanging over your shoulder.

I will not pretend that we are ultracycling studs. Day 2 of RAAM started before we finished. What we did is a joke compared to what those people are doing as I write this. Starting a ride at 8AM and finishing at 10PM means we did not miss any sleep. That being said, we laid out a path to push beyond our normal riding boundaries. I had never ridden more than 138mi in a day. Joe’s longest rides have been the B2B. Austin has ridden across the country, but he had never gone that far in a single day.

This was one of the top days of my athletic life and I am fortunate to have notched another EPIC ride with such good friends. We are lucky to have tolerant and supportive wives. We are lucky to have Chris commit so selflessly to this endeavor.

What will we do differently next time? Probably leave earlier, although using the lights added a certain excitement to the end of the ride. We will definitely have the lights available. I think we will upgrade our navigational tools. If the pedestrian bridge in Portsmouth is rebuilt then we will go up the coast and finish in Kittery. I will encourage the group to revert to a high-fructose corn syrup and caffeine fueling plan earlier.

The three of us are completely predictable. Two Walden loops gave way to three (and sometimes four). Conversational Battle Road runs almost immediately became weekly nine mile races. The HP ride is now a teaser for the 6SR. The 6SR is no longer an unknown that we will approach with caution. I have no doubt it will be assaulted next time.

200 is the new 100.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Week in Review: June 13, 2012

by Brenda Chroniak

Happy Hump Day, BTT! We've got a big weekend coming up, with many team members riding and volunteering at the Harpoon B2B, and a number of others racing the Patriot Half and the Ashland Sprint or Olympic. I hope everyone is getting excited!

Team members who raced this past weekend had some beautiful sunshine to swim, bike, and run in, and it certainly showed in the results: Brett Johnston and Sue Bruce had top ten age group finishes at Marlborough, and Beth Edwards was on the podium with an age group win at the Holliston Lions Tri! Grace Tkach, Maggie O'Toole and Bethany Edwards also had great races in Marlborough, and Elaine Metcalf rocked the Newton 10K. Meanwhile, on the left coast, Pat Dwyer and Matt Pawa took on the challenging and unique Escape from Alcatraz, with Pat finishing fourth in his age group.

Curious what it takes to escape from The Rock? Read Pat's race report to find out.

Good luck this weekend to Laurie Damianos, Tim Dewland, Trish Kelly, Ira Sills, Lauren Bonaca, Jeff Aronis, Carolyn and Jason Soules, Mark Vautour, and Mary Beth Begley, and thank you to everyone who is supporting our sponsor Harpoon at the B2B.

Please remember to post your race results, and send me a race report if you'd like to be featured next week! 

Race Report: Escape from Alcatraz

by Pat Dwyer

I have been racing triathlon for over 20 years.   I did my first in NJ (an Olympic distance race) when I was 17.  There are only a few races that have been around as long as I have been racing, and only fewer that I would put on my “bucket list” of races I want to do before it is all said and done.  Number one is Kona…which has been accomplished.  The others, in no particular order, Wildflower, Roth….and Alcatraz.  

Well, Alcatraz was accomplished this past weekend.  Originally, I was scheduled to do this last year.  But, following my surgery, I was able to defer to this year.   Originally, Jenn and I had planned to hit wine country after this race. But, since I am racing Buffalo Springs 70.3 in two weeks, we decided to keep this trip short.  

We arrived on Thursday night (late).  We checked in and, after about 4 hours of sleep, woke up early on Friday and started to get acclimated.  We did some walking around and sightseeing during the first day, knowing that Saturday would be more of a race-prep day.  We had an early dinner and got to sleep early on Friday.  On Saturday morning, I got up and headed out on the bike for a 40 minute warmup.  I rode part of the course….and realized just how difficult and technical this course was.  There were many steep climbs and hard turns…most coming off screaming downhills.  Definitely not to my advantage.  Oh well.  I also got in the water for a short swim….holy crap….55 degree water is COLD.   

I woke up at 4am on Sunday and got my nutrition in and headed down to transition.  One thing that surprised me about Alcatraz….a race that has been around for 32 years is that for one, registration was a mess.  With 2000+ people racing…there should be two days for packet pickup, not one.  The line was ridiculous.  Two, the transition area on race morning was mostly dark….and no bike pumps.  You would think that with people coming from all over the country (and world) for this race, there would be pumps throughout transition…..there was one.  I wound up grabbing a CO2 and guestimating air pressure in my tubulars.  Not something I would do for an “A” race.  Anyway, after setting up transition, I headed to the shuttle to the Hornblower boat to take us out to the Rock.   There are two levels on the boat.  Joe Kurtz had given me some good tips on what to do and not to do.  One thing he told me to do is make sure I was in a position to get off the boat quick.  Well, as I boarded, the race official directed me (my age group) to the second level….so I did….and proceeded to walk to the back of the boat…and down the stairs and seeded myself “properly”.  I started asking the people around me to make sure I was in good position….and apparently I was.  Joe had also told me that he spent some time talking with pro Andy Potts while he was on the boat.  So, I thought it was only fitting (maybe even ironic) that Andy sat down right next to me.   

After about 40 minutes of sitting on the boat, the pros got ready to start.  The adrenaline kicked up a notch with everyone on the boat.  Once the pros went off, the age groupers pretty much went off as a free for all…..over the timing mat and off the boat. You really have to get off quick and out of the way, or risk being landed on by another athlete.  I positioned myself well and was off the boat about 15-20th in my area (two exit areas).  The swim was very interesting.  Joe had mentioned that with 2000 people in the water, there’s never anyone directly around you.  Well, I know what he meant….but I always had a few people around me…which helped.  But, other than my small pod of swimmers, it was few and far between.  There were buoys out on the course….at least a couple.  But, what always amazed me is that while I could always see the buoys way in front of me….. I don’t think I ever actually passed one….if that makes sense.  I just swam…and figured I’d hit the finish at some point.  Finally, I could see the swim finish.  

Out of the water…and into T1.  T1 is different than all normal T1s.  There are actually 3 transitions at Alcatraz. The first transition is actually a place where you can grab a pair of shoes for the ¾ mile run to the bike transition.   Although I left shoes at T1, I wasn’t sure I was going to use them….I figured I might run barefoot…ala the pros.  BIG MISTAKE! After about 200 yards of running, all I could say was ”ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch….F me, ouch, ouch” (my feet hurt for 2 days!).  

Finally, onto the bike.  The first 2 miles are flat and fast.  After that, it’s a lot of climbing….not exactly my strength.   I realized on the first big downhill that I was not into this ride.  I just wasn’t aggressive.  I just didn’t have enough invested in this race to let it all hang out and take risks.  That’s not to say I didn’t ride hard….but I just didn’t ride hard enough on the downhills.  There were some really, really hairy turns on the course….some coming off of scary downhills.  This is a course that you should know before riding, which I didn’t.  Again, not my “A” race….and I rode like it.  

Off the bike and into the run.  Funny thing happened while I was in San Francisco.  I found my run, which had been lost for some time.  For me, I just haven’t been my normal self on the run.  Also, I have been doing some hardcore track workouts with teammate Sean Sullivan…and my legs have been a bit dead lately.   Well, as soon as I started the run, I could tell immediately that my legs were there.  The Alcatraz course is a bit funky.  You think…..Alcatraz….long swim (1.5 miles), short bike (18 miles), long run (8 miles).  But, that’s deceiving.  The run is 2 miles of flat….4 miles of technical, climbing, beach, single track running…and 2 miles of flat.  So, it’s not a runner’s course.  I took the first 2 miles fairly controlled.  What I had failed to mention is that my Timex Global Trainer (gps/hr) stopped working during the swim….so I was working without HR, pace or distance….only perceived effort.  However, I was running well and reeling people in…so I just made sure I didn’t blow up.  I hit the infamous sand stairs about 4.5 miles in and ran right up them.  I had the fastest sand stair time in my AG.  I was feeling good….but it was hard to get going with such a technical course.  Finally, I reached the end of the technical part….with two miles to go.  I turned on the burners and was passing anyone in sight.  I hammered home and finished down the finish chute solo.  It’s a great finish line.  

I wound up finishing 40th overall, 17 amateur, and 4th in my Age Group.  I went into the race hoping to place in my AG and I missed it by 1 spot….but in actuality, about 4 minutes.  The three guys in front of me in my AG smoked me in the swim.  As I mentioned, this is a swimmer’s race.  The swimmers get out front and never look back.  If the run course wasn’t so technical, it might be a different story….but, that’s Alcatraz.  

Jenn asked me if I would race it again….probably not.  At least, not anytime soon.  Don’t get me wrong.  I loved the race and San Fran.  There’s nothing like it.  But, I don’t normally travel across the country for a race this short…..especially one that puts me at a competitive disadvantage.  I did it more for the experience…which I got.  What this race did for me was get me pumped for Buffalo Springs 70.3.  I liked how the bike felt (when I was actually in the aero bars)…and really liked how my run felt.   So, I’m hoping for bigger and better things in two weeks.  Next stop…Lubbock, Texas.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Week in Review: June 7, 2012

by Brenda Chroniak

I don't know about you, but I've had enough of this gloomy weather!

Rain or shine, BTT had a phenomenal weekend of results, with plenty of teammates on the podium, including:
- Erica Allen - 1st in her age group and 3rd overall at the Charles River One Mile Swim
- Mary Beth Begley - 1st in her age group at Mooseman International
- Lauren Bonaca - 2nd in her age group at the Iron Horse Half Marathon
- Joe Kurtz - 3rd in his age group at the Ludlow Boys and Girls Club Tri
- Meg MacSwan - 1st in her age group and 3rd overall at Escape the Cape
- Matt Pokress - 1st in his age group and 4th overall at Rev 3 Quassy 70.3 (even if he did get chicked by Mirinda Carfrae)
- Jamie Strain - 2nd in his age group and 6th overall at Rev 3 Quassy Olympic

Other top-ten age group finishes include:
- Victoria Arrigoni and Braden Larmon - 5th and 10th in their respective age groups at Quassy Olympic
- Tim Daley - 4th in his age group at Mooseman International
- Ed Galante - 8th in his age group at the RACE Friday 5K Summer Series race #1
- Carrie Mosher - 10th in her age group in the aquabike at Quassy 70.3
- Paul Newman and Kayle Shapiro - 9th and 6th in their respective age groups at Quassy 70.3
- Grace Tkach - 5th in her age group in the Charles River swim

About a dozen other teammates raced and had solid finishes, too! Congrats to everyone, and kudos to those who got it done in some nasty weather. Speaking of which, read how Tim Daley braved the elements at Mooseman International, to finish with a smile.

This weekend brings Escape from Alcatraz, the Hyannis Sprint, and the Marlborough Triathlon. Good luck to Matt Bergin, Kelwin Conroy, Bethany Edwards, Brett Johnston, Sue Bruce, Maggie O'Toole, Mark Pelletier, Grace Tkach, Pat Dwyer, and Matt Pawa!  

Race Report: Mooseman International

by Tim Daley

Now that my teeth have stopped chattering, I can compile my thoughts on a race that challenged both a competitors’ mental and physical toughness.  If only the Mooseman Int’l Triathlon (.93 mi. swim, 27 mi. bike, 6.2 mi. run) had been Friday, June 1st on what was a picture perfect day up on Newfound Lake! Unfortunately, the race was Saturday, which proved to be one of the coldest, wettest days I’ve seen up there. The morning started out promising as I drove to the race with no rain and dry roads.  Thirty seconds after arrival the skies opened up, and didn’t slow down until the end of the run. 

I got into transition, racked my bike, and set up my gear.  I thought I was ahead of the game by bringing my plastic bike coat to lay over my gear and keep them from getting wet.  This was about the only proactive thing I did when it came to keeping things dry, as I did not think about having a dry set of clothes post-race! This was a valuable lesson learned from the day. I put my wetsuit on early and spent some time in the warming tent to try and stay warm before heading to the Swim Start.

It was a huge relief when they called my wave to the swim start since it was warmer in the water than on the beach! Finally, its GO TIME! I had a strong swim, rather uneventful.  My positioning was pretty solid, so had a clear lane throughout the swim exiting the water warmed back up and with a time of 29:05 (2 minutes faster than last year!).

Before I knew it I was through T1, and onto the bike, which would prove to be very WET! Luckily, I have ridden the bike course multiple times, and knew where the steepest descents were that would be the scariest on this day.  I took caution on these hills and hoped to make up time in the flat sections of the course as well as on descents that were more gradual.  This proved to work well as I knocked 2 minutes off my bike split from 2011!  Apparently that was 2 minutes too many as Ali and my parents never made it in time to see me finish the bike… I actually thought they had enough of the rain and left! My only regret on the bike was leaving my arm warmers in T1, as the rain can really hurt when it pelts down on your skin at 10 mph!!

After struggling to get my dry running shoes over my soaking wet feet, I was off onto the run.  The run course is great as it goes along the lake and the West Side Ledges.  You have great views out over the lake and mountains that help the time go by quickly! I felt great getting off the bike, and probably the best I have in my short triathlon career.  Having an out and back was nice, as I was able to see fellow BTTers Matt Mead, and Mary Beth Begley on the way back tearing up the course! Matt and I had a complete fail on a knuckle bump as we passed each other, which was obviously a result of us each traveling at Mach 1 speed! In the last mile I was able to reel in and pass another guy in my age group, which moved me up to 5th! I kicked it into gear, and finished in 49:01, 3.5 minutes faster than last year!

I grabbed my finisher’s medal, a mylar blanket and found my family, who apparently did NOT leave like I originally thought! I watched Matt come across the line in a great time, and chatted with him for a few minutes.  Unfortunately, the conditions were proving too much, and I was quickly cooling back down.  I decided to go pack up and get going as quickly as possible, so I missed Mary Beth finish.  I could not wait to get back to the car and crank the heat… But first I checked out the Ironman store, which worked out nicely since they had a nice DRY t-shirt on sale for $4.99… which I quickly purchased and put on to have 1 article of dry clothing!

Despite the chills pre and post-race, I had a blast on Saturday.  The rain and cold just added other variables to the race that EVERYONE had to deal with, not just me.  I went in with the goal of taking 5 minutes off my 2011 time, and ended up with an approximate 9 min. course PR! With the roll down from the Overall, I snuck into 4th place AG.  I have been checking my mailbox every day in hopes the bottles of syrup went to the top 5 in each AG! One can only hope!!!