Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Park City Mossman Olympic Race Report

Two years ago I had competed in the Best of the US (one man, one woman from each state qualify) Olympic distance triathlon for the first time. I had a lot of reservations about the race leading into it. However, once I arrived at the race and met some of the other participants, I quickly changed my perception. There were some super nice people and there were quite a few really fast competitors. I got my butt kicked. It was a very positive eye opening experience. I had such a great all around experience in 2007 that I’ve tried to qualify for this race each year.

My Connecticut qualifier was this past weekend, the Park City Mossman. It is billed as the fastest Olympic distance race in New England. The race takes place completely within Seaside park in Bridgeport, CT. The swim is one loop, while the bike is a five loop pancake flat course with a few turns, and finally the run is a two loop completely flat track. I guess I’m trying to say that this race is pretty FLAT.

I’ve had a game plan for every race I’ve done this year and I find that it helps to focus on different aspects while racing. Paul, my coach, wanted me to try to be aggressive for the swim and the bike, then back off on the run if possible. I’m scheduled to race 70.3 Timberman this weekend and he wanted to keep my legs as fresh as possible. While I was lining up for the swim start, I looked out at the water. It was smooth and FLAT, nice. I scanned over to my right and I saw, friend and Timex teammate, Ian Ray just putting on his swim attire. Ian hates to be early to races and this one was probably one of his latest arrivals. It doesn't seem to really effect him though as about 2 minutes later, the gun goes off and Ian is rocking to the swim lead. It’s a beach start with a shallow section of water for about 50 meters. I watched a lot of competitors actually running through the water. I’m a bit vertically challenged, so I just attempted to do a few dolphin dives, then I tried to get into my own rhythm. I focused on trying to maintain the straightest route to the buoys and it paid off this time as Ian and another competitor managed to swing way out right. The remainder of the swim was a comical array of Ian doing his best impression of swimming like a snake, first off to the right, then off to the left. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining as it allowed me to catch up to him by the last turn buoy. At this point, I think he realized it was me. We both were wearing our sweet Aquasphere wetsuits with the golden soldier trademarks. I tried to take a different route into shore in hopes that Ian might continue his wayward swimming techniques. However, it did not pan out and Ian clocked the fastest swim from our 1st wave at 19:02. I climbed out of the water at 19:04 and focused on a smooth transition so I could get out on the FLAT bike course.
I was a little nervous about the logistics of a 5-loop bike course. I feared that it would become very congested and potentially dangerous. I was pleasantly surprised at the space on the course and I was able to just focus on my own effort. My Trek TTX was rolling smoothly and I was able to see my family on each loop , which is always a huge lift. I was not quite capable of riding the effort prescribed, but I gave it all I had on the day and exited the bike in 55:38 (distance was a little short @ 24.4 miles).

I came off the bike as the first body heading out onto the run course. However, with a 3 wave swim start and the under 35 crowd in the 2nd wave, I still was not exactly sure where I stood overall. I wasn’t able to fully adapt to Paul’s plan until I was heading back on the first loop and I was able to get some splits on the other racers. The run course was entirely along the water. There was ample room on the course even with the two loop format and narrow sidewalks. I crossed the finish line with a total time of 1:52:05 and I was able to solidify my spot for the Best of the US competition out in Mission Viejo, CA on September 27th.
I thoroughly enjoyed this race. It was a true privilege to be able to see my family and friends several times out on the race course.
Thanks for reading.

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