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SavageMan International - TriathlonOlympic

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Deep Creek, Maryland
United States
65F / 18C
Total Time = 2h 57m 53s
Overall Rank = 73/230
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 7/25
Pre-race routine:

Luckily this week the race had a later start of 9:30, so I got to sleep until 5:00, take the dogs out, then drive the 2 hours down to Deep Creek. I was hungry, but held off from eating until 6:30 and had my cereal, apple, banana, coffee and water. Very nice and relaxing drive down with an excellent sunrise!

Got in to transition to find that the two bikes on either side of me were pointing out the other side, which was fine, but their equipment was on my side, which made no sense. It was very crowded, so I gently suggested for them to go to the other side to make it easier, and they did!

It also turned out that the rack collapsed the night before with the bikes on it. Everything seemed good with the bike, so I kept that out of my mind. Now the time was crawling and I just wanted to start! I was fidgeting too much with my set up, my bike, my wetsuit, everything…

Met up with Tracy (tahrens) and got to see the bright pink bike highlights first hand!

Had a gel with 15 mins to go.
Event warmup:

Headed down to the beach, and saw I didn’t have my timing chip on! So I warmed up by quickly getting back to T1 to retrieve it!
  • 26m 16s
  • 1640 yards
  • 01m 36s / 100 yards

Finally time to start, so went into the water and saw a big crowd at the starting area. The swim went parallel to the beach, and a few other guys and I said, “can’t we just start here?” Sure enough, that’s what we did, and it was awesome! Had a completely clear shot to the Turtle turnaround marker. I was able to draft for a bit, and felt like I was going pretty good.

Rounded the bend, and I was surprised that it still wasn’t very crowded. Now I was able to draft for a good while on a guy’s hip, but I kept rotating to breathe in his wake, so that was messing me up, and I was taking water in. I went in behind him, and then I realized I was behind him and another to his side. This went on for a while and I felt very good throughout the swim.

Water was crystal clear, and I even got a view of some fish below!

Finally rounded the bend, and started up the hill up to transition.

By far my best swim in a race – first wave, and no congestion even though the wave was almost 100 strong and felt like I had a good stroke throughout, so I was pretty satisfied getting out of the water. I felt that it must have been pretty good because no women in the next wave passed me!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing in particular for this swim, but more training would have certainly helped my time.
Transition 1
  • 04m 16s

Did a combination walk/run to get up to the transition area. I got there and was extremely surprised to see so many bikes.

Started to get my suit off, but sat down this time. Had major trouble getting it off. Just to make up for my swim and to not get a big head, this was by far my worst T1!

As bad as the wetsuit was, now my watch wouldn’t get the satellites. Usually I turn it on before the race, turn it off, then turn it back on again and it picks up coverage right away. Not here in the valley in the woods! Headed out with it still trying to get coverage…
What would you do differently?:

Work on getting that suit off. :(
  • 1h 23m 48s
  • 23 miles
  • 16.47 mile/hr

I drove the course the night before, so I felt pretty prepared for what to expect. What I didn’t drive though was the exit from T1. I was ready for the 200 foot uphill out of T1, but didn’t see what happened after that. I’m already in aero and motoring and suddenly see a sharp turn around the parking booth. I was sure I was headed for a wipeout! Luckily I got back up and on the brake and ended up okay.

The first major hill is within ½ mile. If I remember the sign right, it’s a 7%, ¼ mile uphill with a turn in it. Someone passed me at the base, but once we were standing, I went by him pretty quickly. I was happy about that at the time, but since then I’ve realized that it was because I have a 12-23 cassette, which probably isn’t right for this course.

Anyway, made it up, caught my breath and watched Tracy’s husband, Doug, go by. So I hung behind him for a bit, but no way could I keep up. The watch also finally picked up the satellites, so I was happy about that.

I had my first gel. I ran out of Accelerade gels, which I really like, so I had a Hammer Gel for here, then my last Accelerade for later. The gel was much thicker than I’m used to, so had half and a few minutes later had the other half.

The 2nd big-ish hill came, and handled this one alright. I was preparing for the next one which is the biggest on the course – a 10%, 0.7 miler. I thought I remembered that there was a downhill leading to it, a left turn then up the hill. So I’m going up this one gradual hill, and further up the hill I see the turn! “Wait a minute!!! What happened to the downhill leading to it???” Crap.

Started up, and sure enough went by someone else again while we were both standing, but my legs were burning. Got up halfway and had to stop. There was a group there taking pictures, and they gave me good encouragement, by basically saying wait until I see what happens at the top when I pass everyone who passes me.

Don’t you know, only one person went by me, and two others got close. I got to the top, hopped on, and felt great! I went by the guy who passed me pretty quickly, and never saw him or the other two again.

This was before mile 10, and the rest of the course was either rolling hills or hills! Most of the downhills were fairly steep with either bends, or sharp turns, so good brakes are vital. Plenty more standing, and lots of gear changes. This was all pretty similar to what I normally ride on, so I was pretty comfortable now.

Other than the water I had with the gel, I was sipping on Accelerade. But close to mile 15, my stomach was feeling terrible. I’m not sure why this was since that’s what I normally use. It might have been a reaction from the effort so far, or the Hammer gel. So I laid off the Accelerade, and just sat up and had water whenever I was thirsty. By mile 20, I felt good again, so had a little more Accelerade before the end.

One interesting thing showed me the value of a tri-bike. One fairly tall guy went by me on a road bike, but soon there was a good downhill that you could just go on. He was way up ahead and we were both pedaling all out, and I was catching up quickly. Pretty soon I was up around 35 mph and had slack in my chain so I just coasted. Even while I was coasting, I passed him while he was pedaling. I wondered if he noticed that!

Got back into the park and made an error. I saw the turn to go down the hill, so I unclipped, but that turn wasn’t the final one. It turned out I rode about ½ mile unclipped. Live and learn!

Throughout the ride I was surprised how empty the course was. With over 200 on course I expected to see more bikes. I guess being in the first wave helped me have a wide open course. So I looked at the scenery, tried to smile for the cameras and just enjoyed the ride. I even started mooing at the cows - I then wondered if I was getting delirious! About 10 or so people passed me throughout the ride, and I passed some back and some others.

Got in and saw lots of empty bike racks!
What would you do differently?:

Hill training. Kind of silly that there's virtually nowhere in Pgh with a level road and I struggled on the steep one. I even live on a 7% grade road!

Also need to look into possibly changing the rear cassette for this race.
Transition 2
  • 01m 53s

Tricky to stop on the downhill, but probably better than rounding the bend and then stopping. I had a long run with the bike both in and out, and pretty much just walked quickly!

I was tired, but got moving okay and ready to try to take it easy on the run. I never did have that Accelerade gel, so I ripped it off the bike and put it in my pocket. My nutrition was probably messed up, but I couldn’t do anything about that now.
What would you do differently?:

I think I had a drink, so I could have done without that since there was an aid station right outside of T2. Could have run more with the bike, but I was kind of tired. :P
  • 1h 01m 42s
  • 6.21 miles
  • 09m 56s  min/mile

During all my training for this race, I concentrated on the bike and worked on the hills for that. My thought always was this would be a rolling hills type run and I should be fine.

I can’t count the number of ways that statement is so wrong!

Started off okay and I followed another guy for the first mile and a half as a pacer around 8:30/mile. Then the first hill hit that I was completely unprepared for. I just said to myself, “pick up your knees, pick up your knees.” I made it up, and felt much better coming back down!

I had water at the stations, and kept on following the guy. I got myself in a good mood and started to feel even better by cheering on the bikers coming in and the runners that were ahead of me that already passed the 2nd turn around.

Then I hit the 2nd hill I was unprepared for. This was an uphill up a rocky trail somewhere after the 4 mile mark. I ended up walking up at about the halfway point, but I tried to go quick with big, long strides. But I was very disappointed because I knew my goal of under 1 hour on the run was out the window.

Finally got to the top, took a drink, and headed down – watching my footing! The rest of the run continued the rolling hills. People kept passing me, but at this point I wasn’t thinking about that because I figured I was pretty far down in my age group, and just thought about running my race and finishing.

Got to the end, and was at least able to pick it up to look decent going into the finish area. I couldn’t believe the clock was under 3 hours!
What would you do differently?:

Concentrate more on the hills. Where have I heard that before? Get in longer runs.
Post race
Warm down:

Got my finisher’s shirt and had some food and stretched. Excellent food and a great atmosphere with music and people cheering for the finishers.

I know Tracy wrote about this also, but I saw her come in with her daughters all holding hands which was very cool! Everyone cheered them on, and the announcer called them “Team Ahrens” Great moment!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Tough course, but manageable. Obviously more training, and concentrating on the hills around home will help immensely.

When I left I was pretty down about the run. I had too much time to think as I drove back home. To tell you the truth, I was very surprised to see my place, so that picked me up again on Monday. I couldn’t believe I got 7th in the age group, but don’t you know I was only 30” out of 5th! I was actually in 4th after the bike, and about 6 minutes ahead of 5th, so I really blew that.

Happy enough with the placement, but also see that I could have done quite a bit better, so it's time to get to work for next time!

Event comments:

This is an excellent race, and I highly recommend it for everyone. They do it right with many volunteers, great park and police support, and an excellent setting.

Last updated: 2009-07-28 12:00 AM
00:26:16 | 1640 yards | 01m 36s / 100yards
Age Group: 4/25
Overall: 52/230
Performance: Good
Suit: Full Wetsuit
Course: Clockwise out and back parallel to the shore. Lake was as clear as could be which made it easy to draft by following bubbles without needing to sight. Well marked with channel markers and buoys. Turnaround was a giant floating turtle!
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 69F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 04:16
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Bad Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
01:23:48 | 23 miles | 16.47 mile/hr
Age Group: 5/25
Overall: 52/230
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: Cat 1 and Cat 4 hills, sandwiched between hills and rolling hills. Technical downhills with bends and turns, often with an uphill at the bottom! Mostly very good roads.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Below average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 01:53
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Below average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal
01:01:42 | 06.21 miles | 09m 56s  min/mile
Age Group: 10/25
Overall: 105/230
Performance: Below average
Course: Mainly rolling hills on the road through the park. Some gravel and grass exiting T2. Two major hills - one around 1 1/2 miles, and the other up a dirt and rock trail after 4 miles. 100% shaded - very nice!
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2009-09-22 8:39 PM

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Subject: SavageMan International

2009-09-23 9:38 AM
in reply to: #2421157

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Apex, north carolina
Subject: RE: SavageMan International
The bike rack next to mine tipped over as well, too much of a slant on the parking lot I guess.  You did that course on a 12-23?!!?  Holy CRAP MAN!!   What you said about the tri bike is funny.  I was thinking the exact opposite - my tri bike would have been great on the rollers and straight aways, but I couldn't have made the turns and climbs on it.  I like my road bike for that course.

I moo at the cows too

Just think how much better you'll feel next year now that you know the course.  I was amazed how much better that knowledge made me feel.  I'll be looking for you on the podium next to Doug in 2010!  What a battle that will be!   Great job! 
2009-09-23 12:44 PM
in reply to: #2421157


Subject: RE: SavageMan International
Great report!! I hear ya on the tri bike thing as I was getting smoked on the downhills with my road bike, that wont happen again.

Congratulations!!! We will be tackling this event next year with you!!!
2009-09-23 7:03 PM
in reply to: #2421157

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Subject: RE: SavageMan International
BOB.  what a great report.  what an amazing journey.

you're a ROCKSTAR.

because of you (and sharing your experience) i cant WAIT until i do my first OLY.

cant wait to meet you in person at some PTC function.

2009-09-24 6:38 AM
in reply to: #2421157

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Subject: RE: SavageMan International

I'm going to be asking you for swim tips!  Helluva swim.  I've also experienced passing roadies pedalling while I just coast in an aggressive aero position on my tri bike.  Talk about saving your legs!  Nice job all around Bob.  Sub 3 is a SOLID Olympic time for a tough course like that.

2009-09-24 7:40 PM
in reply to: #2423552

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Charlottesville, Virginia
Subject: RE: SavageMan International
Great race Bob!

Awesome swim.

2009-09-24 7:55 PM
in reply to: #2421157

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Frisco, TX
Subject: RE: SavageMan International

Nice race on a tough, tough course!  Good job!

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