Rev3 Cedar Point Race Report
This past weekend I was in Cedar Point completing my first full distance triathlon. The 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run took me just over 8 hours and 50 minutes to complete. The time was good enough for 8th place for the day and was over double the time of my longest race date! Despite a few nasty blisters, I survived in one piece and actually had a great time in the process! Since the race was longer than usual, this will be a bit long as well… Enjoy!
The weekend started out with the drive up to Sandusky on Thursday and meeting up with my fantastic homestay Tap Knupke and her kids. Friday morning, I attended the practice swim and decided to try it without a wetsuit…Bad idea. The water was just below 70 degrees and pretty choppy. Add to that 15 mph winds and I spent the rest of the day trying to warm up after just a 20 minute swim! Saturday, I was back at the beach with my BlueSeventy wetsuit and thermal cap ready. The waves were huge again and the wind was fierce, but I had a comfortable swim before checking in and attending the mandatory pre-race meeting. Afterwards, I spent an hour or so getting all of my race gear in order, which included way more planning than my normal races! It hit me that I would be out on the race course for a LONG TIME! I calmed myself down, met up with my Mom, Mike, and Tap for dinner, and got to bed early in anticipation for the pain to come.
The morning started early with a 4am wakeup. I ate as much breakfast as I could stomach and headed off to transition by 5:30. I checked in my bike, transition bags, and special needs bags and headed to the swim start to see just how rough the water would be… The official water temp was 64 degrees, but the waves from the last few days were nowhere to be seen! The lake was as flat as glass and I knew it would be a fast swim. The 2.4 miles were split into two loops and I started nice and easy over the first mile. A little bit to my surprise, I opened up a lead coming out of the first loop. I really don’t think my heart rate was over 100! I could get used to this Ironman stuff. The second loop, I put in a bit more time and came out of the water a bit over a minute in front of the next competitor. After a quick transition, I headed out onto the bike feeling pretty good.
I settled into a steady pace and tried to warm up in the sub 60 degree air. About 10 minutes into the bike, I was passed by Bjorn Andersson on his way to a crazy 4:19 bike split. He quickly disappeared, or so I thought… Suddenly, the USAT official told me to pull over and stop for a 4 minute stagger penalty! Apparently, Bjorn was still visible way in the distance and I was directly behind him! The stagger rule has no distance limit, so I had to stand down for 4 agonizing minutes! I couldn’t believe it! During the time penalty, I went from 2nd to 12th and watched the main group fly by in perfect legal drafting formation. I was cold and frustrated as I started up again on the bike. It was not the way I envisioned starting my first 112 mile bike leg! Over the next four hours I worked to close the gap and came into T2 with a 4:50 bike split (including the penalty time). The ride seemed like ages and made me realize how much work I have to do on my cycling! I was in 11th place with the marathon looming in front of me.
I had never ran over 20 miles before this and knew I needed to pace myself. I took off hoping to pass a few people and work my way up to a top 10 finish. My first mile was 6:10…Oops. The second was 6:20 and I knew I needed to slow down. I finally settled into a steady 6:50 pace for the next few miles. By the ½ way point, I had moved up to 9th with a 1:25 split. I was starting to really feel the previous 7 hours as I headed out for the second half, but knew if I could keep it up I would be able to move up a few more spots. I passed Bjorn at mile 16 and another racer dropped out to put me into 7th place by mile 21. I was really hurting over the last few miles and a quick-running Kirk Nelson passed me easily as I was out of gas. With Cedar Point in sight, I survived the last two miles for an 8th place finish. I crossed the line with a Blazeman roll and a great sense of relief!
Looking back, I believe I got a few things right: My swim was great, my nutrition was dead-on (First Endurance gets better and better as you go longer…), and my mental focus was great. I really need to work on my cycling endurance and perhaps a bit more long runs if I want to excel at this distance. Pacing was way off, but I know there is a bit of a learning curve. I fell short of my 8:30 goal time, but I think with this race in the books, I am capable of achieving it next time. Aside from a few blisters, I’m feeling pretty good and getting ready for Westchester in two weeks. We’ll see how much of an effect this race has on me!!!
Thank you to everyone for the great support for this race. Andre at Kiwami was able to send me a long course suit at the last minute and I was able to meet Robert from First Endurance at the expo. I’m lucky to be associated with these great companies! Of course the BlueSeventy wetsuit worked like a charm as did my ISM Breakaway saddle which me comfortable all day long. My Newton held up better than I did on the run! Also thanks to Dave and Denise from Dixie Chiropractic for keeping me healthy leading up to the race and coming out to support me all day long! Thanks to Tap for sharing her home with me and to all of the Rev3 staff for putting on a first class event. If you haven’t attended one of their races, you’re missing out!! As always, please support the Blazeman foundation through my website. If you don’t know why I rolled across the finish line, please find out!