Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A game...

The A game was brought out for my A race. All three legs of the EX2 off road triathlon were solid. The swim, the ride and the run. The decision to scale back the number of races was the right one to make earlier this year. I have had enough racing in my legs to build me up for this race, but never felt overtrained. The great training plan from Jeff at Allez Training Systems had me at peak performance for this race.

I lined up in the second row at the start and was right in the thick of the scrum at the start. Just like Frazz says, it's Australian Rules football in a washing machine. About 50 meters in, I took a foot to my face and my left goggle filled with water. I swam a few hundred meters with one eye closed, but was in the pack so I didn't worry about sighting. After clearing my goggles, I was back in the pack, feeling great which is a completely novel experience for me in the swim after 3 years of tris. This swim is a two lapper and as I was running over the peninsula to start the second lap, Rich a racer I met here last year complimented me on my swimming. He said that I must have been swimming a lot, yep I have, Thanks Connie. Out of the water after the second lap, it was a short sprint to the bike and the fun trails of Rocky Gap State Park.

The bike leg starts with a short section of road and then the rocky trail. The bike was solid, I never went into the red zone, consciously thinking that I needed to be steady and not go into the pain cave. Only a few people came around me on the bike, and I passed a bunch of people on the trails. On the back side of the second lap I came up on John, who I've raced with in a bunch of races. He's always fun to race with, as we are closely matched. He came around me on the road section but I made it around him shortly after that. I did have some trouble with lapped traffic on the end of the second lap. I was caught behind a girl and a guy on the narrow single track and told them I would like to get around them. A little ways down the trail the girl bobbles and stops off of the trail and the guy stops right in front of me. "God Damn", and he says he would appreciate it if I wouldn't cuss. I shrug it off and motor on to transition 2. Coming out of T2, John and I are together and we pass a few guys. I tell him about the easily offended chap and he said he heard it and laughed. I told him that the guy got off easy, because as an ex-Marine I could've dropped a bunch of F-bombs. John then lets me know he's also a former Marine, yeah that's why we get along. Ooh Rah Devil Dog.

So we shuffle along the run leg, just pacing each other. John fell back a bit after the drink station at the camp ground. After Evitt's Revenge the course drops you down into a rocky technical trail. This was the section that caused me a host of trouble last year with leg cramps. I backed off a bit here, watching my foot placement and before long I was at the bottom. Up the other side to the bouldering section, it has to be seen to be appreciated. Climbing up through the rocks, I hear John behind me. Shawn T is at the top and I asked him where Denelle was and he said she's a few minutes behind. I wanted to stay in front of her so she wouldn't get trash talking rights after this race. Shawn was all over the course and gave me a bunch of encouragement, Thanks bro. John came around me right before the road section and gave me a great pace to finish the race with. I finished 5 minutes better than last year. If I keep this up, I may win this race in 12 or 13 years. :-)

After the race, I cleaned up and stowed my gear. When I checked the results, I had to do a double take. My name was in fourth place in the competitive 35-39 age group. Huh, wow. I found Holly and Parker and told her we would have to hang around for a while because I had made the podium. And to add the icing to the cake, John came in 3rd in the 40-44 age group and Denelle won her age group, Great Job.

After this race last year, I knew this one would be the one I would focus on this year. I also wanted to make this trip a family race and have Holly and Parker there with me. It was awesome to hear them cheering for me and Parker was spreading the IF Love in his Independent Fabrication jersey. He was on the podium with me. He is my training partner. Every time a hill looks steep to me in a race, I always think to myself that it's easier than pushing Parker in the BOB up Staunton's hills.

Thanks to Jeff at Allez Training Systems, Independent Fabrication and IFRacing.org for the best bikes and support, Connie for all the swim help, Jon with The North Face, the guys from the Thursday Night Augusta County World Championship ride for pushing me and the encouragment and mostly I couldn't have done this without all the love and support of my wife and son. Thank you Holly and Parker.

I'll try to find some photos, sorry we left the camera at home.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.


Blogger fatmarc said...

very well done.
great report, a pleasure to read.

best to you, congrats on your result.


5:58 AM  
Blogger joe york said...

Great job Mark! We need to ride sometime. If I can ever make it out with you guys it would be a miracle! Joe

3:41 PM  
Blogger joe york said...

Great job Mark!! I need to ride with you if I can ever get out with you guys it would be a miracle. Congrats..Joe

3:46 PM  
Blogger Jeffro Herriachi said...

nice work russell

7:13 PM  

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