Savageman HIM - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Deep Creek Lake, Maryland
United States
"Tri-to-Win" Melanoma Foundation
80F / 27C
Total Time = 5h 57m 43s
Overall Rank = 74/373
Age Group = M 40-44
Age Group Rank = 10/68
Pre-race routine:

I have entitled this race report as “An Ode to Pink Floyd”.

This was my second go at the SM Half after being absolutely crushed by the toughness of the course two years ago. I had a score to settle with the race/RD after it left me in tears at the finish line in 2008 (all captured by my wife with her camera much to my chagrin).

The weekend started with volunteering at a run aid station for the Oly race on Saturday, followed by check in, bike racking, and then attending the carbo-loading dinner at night. The key note speaker was to be Dave “The Man” Scott, but a late family emergency negated the chance of meeting him. The back-up speaker was Jef Mallet, comic strip creator of Frazz, an often tri oriented funny. Jef did the Oly on Saturday and was also doing the half on Sunday as well. Since he had done SM before he gave his impressions of the race and said that the half was much harder than the two IM’s he has completed. After he mentioned this I glanced around the room and noticed a collective butt clenching from all of the newbies participating in the race the next day.
  • 32m 47s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 33s / 100 yards

Race day had perfect weather with calm winds and no morning fog to deal with for the swim. Went out in the last wave and had a delightful swim. Water temp was 64 degrees so I went with the full sleeve and took advantage of other faster swimmers by drafting behind them for most of the swim. Got out of the water in 32:47. Wore my Garmin 310 under my swim cap and the distance it indicated after the race was 1.27 miles.

Transition 1
  • 03m 10s
  • 3h 26m 18s
  • 55.7 miles
  • 16.20 mile/hr

The bike starts with a short climb out of the Deep Creek State Park and along some rolling areas before descending 10-12 miles into the town of Westernport. At the start of the climb in Westernport the town again was out in force at “The Wall”, a short stretch of abandoned roadway that has a 25% average grade climb with a 31% maximum grade at the steepest part. A couple of people in devil costumes were out offering encouragement to the riders to get up the hill, just like a TDF stage. Made it up without much problem and then on to the real test…7+ miles of climbing over Savage mountain, followed by a descent, and then even harder climbing.

In my opinion the toughest climbs in order of difficulty are as follows: Killer Miller, Maynardier Ridge (because its late in the ride), Bid Savage Mountain, Otto Lane (step-sister of Killer Miller but still a brute), Westernport Wall (steepest but early in ride so you are fresh), McAndrews Hill, Savage River State Park, and Toothpick. The climbs had some great signs throughout…my favorite was “carbon fiber disc wheel - $2,000, aero helmet - $400, having a triple chainring – priceless”. Finished the bike in 3:26, about 49 minutes faster than my time in 2008. Guess all that time in the saddle has paid off.
Transition 2
  • 01m 46s
  • 1h 53m 44s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 41s  min/mile

The run is two loops and is essentially a trail run for the first one-half mile and then through the campground of the park which includes some long stretches of hills. After coming down from the park the route traverses along some rolling areas before sending the runners up a fire tower road. In my estimation about 90% of the people had to walk some stretch of this route which is essentially a stone path with a wicked steep climb before sending the runner back down. Saw one runner on the course in bare feet…can’t believe anyone could run up the fire tower road with absolutely no protection on their feet but the dude did it. On the second loop I saw my buddy's wife and she gave me some good intel about where he was on the course. She yells out “He’s two minutes ahead and he’s walking”. Ha-ha, funny stuff, thanks for the info. Caught him around mile 9 and continued home with a run of 1:53:44.
Post race
Event comments:

Overall time was 5:57:43, a good 90+ minutes faster than my 2008 time of 7:29+. Plus no tears…finished like a man. I consider the score settled at this point. Time was good for 10th place AG (out of 68). Interestingly enough, in 2008 I also finished 10th AG (albeit out of only 18 in AG) and my time this year would have been good for second place in AG in 2008. This tells me that since receiving the distinction as being the hardest triathlon in the world from Triathlete magazine a lot more studs are coming out to race it. On top of it all I will be receiving my second brick for making it up The Wall without falling or unclipping.

So “another brick in the wall” will be bearing my name in Westernport.

Last updated: 2010-09-23 12:00 AM
00:32:47 | 2112 yards | 01m 33s / 100yards
Age Group: 24/68
Overall: 0/373
Performance: Good
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 64F / 18C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 03:10
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:26:18 | 55.7 miles | 16.20 mile/hr
Age Group: 18/68
Overall: 0/373
Performance: Good
Course: Hilly and HARD
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 01:46
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:53:44 | 13.1 miles | 08m 41s  min/mile
Age Group: 6/68
Overall: 0/373
Performance: Average
Course: Hilly and HARD
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5