Chuck Alt - 2nd Men 45-49
This is my 7th entry into this race so I should know it by now. Over the years it has been totally canceled once (2011) and had a swim canceled (2007). Apart from these the race has been pretty consistent – same pothole ridden bike course (might consider a cyclocross set up next year) and same run course. The new management that started in 2012 shortened the swim from 1000m down to 750.
This year I went into it not so motivated. I’ve lacked motivation to really train hard since the Shamrock marathon. The crappy bike weather and heavy travel schedule also contributed to low bike training miles so I didn’t have that high of an expectation for the race.
Jerry and I rode in together and arrived in plenty of time to get set up and chat with some friends. I was in wave 6 so I was especially relaxed at the beginning and in fact was still at the port-a-potti when the 3rd horn went off. Oh well –time to swim.
I head to the swim start and the water is fairly chilly for this time of year. I was in the farmer john suit and felt the cold on my arms waiting for the start. This year the tide was very low and the barnicles on the ramp were right up to the water line. Mental note – swim as far up the ramp as possible or risk foot damage. When the horn goes off I try to follow Jason, but it is hard to tell who is who so I just end up swimming toward buoy #1. After the turn I made a bigger effort to stay straight. For some reason on this course I usually get too far out to the right and try to make a big circle. I did better this time and ended up with a 12 minute swim. Looking at the results I came out right with Dudley but a minute behind Jason (and 2 minutes behind his son!).
T1 went surprisingly easy with a close bike exit to my rack and the right application of pam on my legs – the wetsuit slides right off! I’m off on the ride and very few people are around. I passed most of the women on the swim and caught a few slow males throughout the course but didn’t get passed or see any fast people at all. Either I’m way behind or way ahead. No clue which one as my computer sensor got knocked out and I have no pace information. On the back leg of the race I finally see a familiar face – but what is going on? Jerry is performing some voodoo on his bike and it doesn’t seem to be working. At least he had moved on when I came back the other way. My bike split turns out to be the slowest in all 6 runs of this race.
T2 goes well and I start the run. It wasn’t sweltering, but this was definitely some of the hotter running weather I have experienced this year. I tried to keep an even pace but was not able to and kept pacing down to catch my breath. It seems that the lack of bike miles has a big effect on running as well. I see two people that I think are in the 6th wave pass me so I am not thinking I will place at this point.
At the end of the race I don’t even bother to look for results. The new management is very slow to produce results so we just head for the beer and Beach Bully party. Finally after a beer and some food the race results are posted on the beer truck. I look at the results and see 2nd place. What? Second place? The two guys who passed me had aged up to 50+ so I was lucky there – only Jason was ahead. So with my slowest bike time on record and a mediocre run I was able to score second. I guess all the fast guys went to Jamestown.
Jerry Berman - Bad Luck
Like Larry said, I always cringe when I see some dude on the side of the road taking his bike apart or changing a flat. Well, that was finally me on Sunday.
It was a pretty routine race morning...some sleep, normal breakfast, drive with Chuck. We rolled up on transition, never waited and got marked and got bike checked. Oddly, the bike check girl darn near disassembled and reassembled my bike. Perhaps that's an exaggeration, but it took an awful long time and she even unlocked and locked both quick release skewers. If she spent this much time with everyone, the race would have been delayed. Yes, I'm married. No, I didn't get her number. Everything checks out and I find a spot to hang my bike.
Finally, we're wetsuited up and in the water. I need a good pacer (like Chuck at Sandman) or I will country club the swim. I spot the Chesapeake Pirate, take the inside pole position and BANG, I take off quick. I kept him on my right and continued to buy some time on the field. If the swim was eight miles, I might have had enough of a lead for a respectable finish. At about 500 meters, the Pirate pulls a Jimmy Johnson NASCAR move and sneaks ahead on the inside lane as we headed home. I stopped sighting the finish ramp and followed his feet to the finish. He had a couple seconds on me across the mat, but I felt great. I run to my bike, unsuit, shoes and helmet on.....and then the fun begins........
My bike didn't seem to roll out of transition very well. I carry/roll it over the timing mat and move to the side for pit stop number one. Where was safety check girl now?? I monkey around with the brakes and wheels like I know what I'm doing and satisfy myself that it's good to go. After a drink and few deep breaths I make the turn onto the main road. Headed straight into the wind, I put my head down and try to ride hard. Not even a mile down the road, I am crawling along at about 15.5mph. I just chalked it up to a heck of a headwind and only watched a couple guys go by me. More and more start to ride by me and finally the headwind becomes a crosswind and then a tailwind. I can barely hit 19mph and a good friend flies by me with a WTF laugh and I start to get worried that something is actually wrong with me. I stand up out of my saddle and give myself the once over looking for major bleeding or protruding bones. I checked my breathing, checked my pulse, and seemed to be ok. I pushed on at a slugs pace only passing Team Hoyt with a bike trailer around mile 6. That's uplifting. At about mile 8-9 another friend passed (quickly) and asks if I'm ok. I can't take it anymore so I pull into pit row for stop number two. I seem ok so I unlock and reseat both wheels and check the brakes. I took a couple swigs of fuel, put on my blinker and pulled out into traffic. Surprisingly, I still had a little fight in me. That lasted about a quarter mile...clank clank. My chain came off!!! I loudly dropped the F-bomb (probably grounds for a USAT penalty) and pulled into pit row AGAIN. Without a care in the world of finishing at this point, I make sure everything works before I head in. It does. I managed to speed up to 24 with a little tailwind, I smiled and dialed it back for the last mile into T2. I took my time and debated DNF but ultimately decided to jog the 5k and earn my cold beer....one of the only redeeming qualities left at Breezy Point.
I'm picking up my bike from the shop today. See you all at Jamestown.