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Finger Lakes Triathlon - Olympic Distance - TriathlonOlympic

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Canandaigua, New York
United States
Mary M Gooley Hemophilia Center
55F / 13C
Total Time = 3h 45m 15s
Overall Rank = 245/250
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 28/28
Pre-race routine:

This race would be a series of Firsts for me. Most importantly if I could cross the finish line it would be my first Olympic Tri and the longest event I've ever finished. I had seen previous race reports when I signed up for this event in the early summer of this year, and noticed lots of comments about the bike course, so on Friday my wingman Bill and I drove to packet pickup in Rochester where we encountered the race director who warned us the water was "unseasonably cold" and approximately 60 degrees, yikes!!! After hearing this we took a trip down to Canandaigua to scope out the bike and run. This race would also be Bill's first Oly, so we both had some pre-race jitters. From the car ride, the bike looked very manageable, the first several miles looked like a steady incline, then some nice rollers. I remember we turned right at Rushville and that's where the longest climb on the course resides. I am a flat course bike rider looking to improve on the hills, so I knew this would be a test, the longest hill in my short triathlon "career". After mile 16 or so the course has some nice descents back into town. We decided after scoping out some of the run course it was flat as a pancake but appeared to be scenic and a good setup for spectators as the Oly racers hit the same 3.1 mile loop twice including an out and back to a pier.
Saturday before the race was filled with any and all household activity not related to Tri, and consequently by the time I was able to get out to buy gels, my main bike shop had closed early and I was forced to go to the only place open that sold Gu. Between Finger Lakes and Ironman Syracuse they were nearly sold out on gels!! The only flavors left were Lemon Sublime, and the twice the price Roctane Blueberry and Pineapple. Not wanting to put all my eggs in one flavor basket I bought several of each and prayed they didn't elicit a regurg response on race day. The biggest game changer here was the person helping me recommended Gatorade Prime drink for race day morning. I had never tried it but at nearly 340 calories I thought I'd try it incase I had nausea and couldn't eat on race morning due to the early wakeup time and nerves. Got my son to bed at 9, then got my bag packed up and was off to bed by 11. Could I sleep? Nope. Too many pre-race nerves I guess. I think I was finally out around midnight. With a wakeup set for 3:45 and an out the door time of 4:15AM it was gonna be a tough morning drive to the race.
Event warmup:

Awoke at 345 as planned, and was out the door by 415AM. The drive was close to an hour and a half, so I decided to eat in the car. I choked down a Clif Bar, Espresso Gel and 2 bananas in the first few minutes but every bite was a chore. I had that terrible night of sleep nausea until I got off the Thruway. It rained most of the ride, so I knew we were going to be riding on wet roads. Got to the parking area at 545, met Bill and we got ourselves over to Transition by about 615. This race was much larger than ones I've done before, with over 1000 entrants and 2 race distances, even getting body marking and waiting to enter transition took longer than expected. We finally got to our racks at 630 or so, and had half an hour until we had to clear transition. At the race meeting I could feel the jitters starting. The transition area took up most of a parking lot next to the dock for a local river boat tour company. With the rain that morning, I recall walking around in transition once my wetsuit was on and shoes were set up on my towel, and I noticed how much grit was sticking to my feet. Started getting concerned my strategy to bike and run without socks would backfire. We had about a 10 minute walk over to the swim start. As we looked out to the water, I could see a boat setting the Olympic distance buoys. I was in Wave 1 and would be facing some cold but very calm water. The course was a rectangle with 2 counterclockwise turns so I finally got buoys on my breathing side! When we were called to get into the water I could see the crowds that had assembled behind the racers to cheer us on, and they were massive compared to previous races. THe first 15-20 feet wading into the water was a mix of slippery and sharp stones, the water was definitely cold but not as bad as I had thought it would be. As we were wading out I hear this noise to my right and it sounded like a guy was about to blow chunks. I looked over and, yup, he lost all his pre-race nutrition right into the lake. Needless to say I lined up way left to avoid the yuke. The swim waves were much smaller in size and we were more spread out compared to other races so I felt positive it would be a swim free of many of the bumps and collisions I had experienced before. The race director yelled 30 seconds and then all the jitters went away. It was finally go time.
  • 36m 14s
  • 1500 meters
  • 02m 25s / 100 meters

As soon as the race started most of the guys around me started to aqua-jog, while others did some dolphin diving or just straight swimming. Truthfully the water was so shallow for the first 100 yards or so I mixed in plenty of aqua-jogging with swim strokes, part of me didn't want to get fully in the water, as when I did my head got cold. After the first 100 it was all swim, and I noticed how spread out everybody was, a nice change from Skinnyman and all of the contact. I got into a nice groove in the water, and after a short time I didn't notice the cold water any longer. I did ok on the outbound, until I started to veer off course rright about the first turn buoy for the sprint course, and a kayak came over and told me to get back on course. Turns out I along with some other guys were swimming towards the second turn buoy by mistake, they all looked the same anyway. Finally got to the first turn, this was a counterclockwise course, and the left turn got pretty crowded with swimmers whose heads were up and going slow, argh. The second turn was not even 100 yards and before I knew it I was up on it and turning for home. The lake was so shallow the bottom was in sight for the entire swim and even out at this deepest part of the course I still felt like I could almost stand up, maybe an optical illusion but a good boost for confidence to swim in clear water with visible objects so you know you are moving fast. Sighting for the swim finish was drop dead awful. They did not have buoys at the finish, but had 2 small flags, and a blow-up square shaped finish line just out of the water where they were taking photos. Try sighting that from .46 miles away with slightly foggy goggles and brain freeze. Needless to say I probably zig-zagged a lot on the last leg. At one point I heard a guy yelling in the water, and turns out it was another guy in my wave screaming at his 2 buddies who looked like they were way way off course. What finally helped was I started to get passed by some white caps from the next wave, and I got to draft/follow a few of them which helped a ton. With about 50 yards or so left I started to mix standing and a few steps then swim a few strokes then stand, I guess had had enough struggling with sighting and just wanted to get my head out of the water. The sandy bottom of the lake turned to slippery/sharp small pebbles with 10-15 feet from shore and a looked completely intoxicate trying to get out of the water, I'll be curious how my pictures look! I felt like I had a solid swim effort and hadn't burned myself out.
What would you do differently?:

Sighting hurt me on the outbound really bad, I should have popped up a little more to check location on the course.
Transition 1
  • 04m 42s

After exiting the water the racers had to run roughly 1/8 mile back to transition over a mix of trail gravel, grass, and pavement. My swim time includes this run apparently, as the timing chip receiver didn't beep until we entered the transition area. My bike was located in the far rack so I had to run on quite a bit of pavement, all the while I was trying to get my wetsuit top section off and struggling with that, another zipper malfunction with the Q-Roo. Turns out it was my fault, once I got to my bike I was finally able to get it off, get my composure, slammed a gel and a sip of Gato, helmet on, no sunglasses today (too foggy and wet to wear them), then I was off. my bike was right next to the bike-out so I was able to get to the mount line pretty quick. Not supposed to try new gels on race day but I had no choice, and the blueberry pomegranite GU Roctane didn't let me down here, tasted really good.
What would you do differently?:

I gotta make sure I practice wetsuit strip, it kills my T1 time.
  • 1h 49m 22s
  • 24 miles
  • 13.17 mile/hr

Got on my bike and got off to a great start out of transition. I left my sunglasses back in T1 and hoping that wouldn't backfire as bikes were throwing water off their back tires. The course seemed so flat on Friday's drive, but after mile 1 it started turning steadily uphill. Nothing steep, just a gradual incline for what seemed like an eternity but was about 5 or so miles. The ride follows Route 5/20 toward Gorham, and I need to admit I got passed by a lot of riders in the first 5 miles of the course. I kept checking my HR monitor to keep myself in check but I later ditched that strategy as trying to control HR just slowed me down compared to RPE. The steady incline of the first 5 miles gave way to a nice steady and fast downhill at mile 6, then some rolling hills in miles 7-14. This is where I started to get my legs under me and start passing some folks. My strategy was to get a gel in every 6 miles and a decent amount of liquid within 1 mile of each gel. I only brought 1 large water bottle with me and it was plenty for this bike course. Spread throughout this bike course were several riders on the side of the road with flat tires, we'll come back to that topic. My first gel at mile 6 was another new flavor, Pineapple Gu Roctane, also a good one! I started to notice how small the shoulder was on these roads, and they did not close them to traffic so you had to be really mindful when passing, but at the same time not yield too far right for riders passing or else you'd end up in poor pavement or a ditch. Before coming into the town of Gorham there's a couple decent hills that had me in my last gear and trying to spin as much as possible, I handled them without a problem. Turning right toward Rushville and the road flattens out for a while, here's where I was able to see lots of Amish buggies riding the opposite direction that must have been coming from church or maybe going to church who knows, but several of them had little babies up against the glass of the carriage watching the riders, it was pretty surreal. Also saw 3 amish kids on small bikes riding the opposite direction and they were watching us intently as well.
There's a nice downhill as you make your way into the town of Rushville and I knew the toughest hill was right after this, but the problem is you can't carry any speed into it because there's a sharp and soaking wet right turn in town. I made the turn ok, BUT I forgot to get into my small ring up front so once I made the turn there wasn't any flat terrain to make the change. I almost had to stop or turn down a side street as my chain didn't want to switch over, as I was about to run out of speed it finally swapped to the small ring and I started to climb. I'm only about 3 years into Triathlons and cycling, so this hill was steeper and longer than anything I had done in training. Just got in my spinning gear and played a mental game where I tried to pace myself up to the next landmark on the side of the road. I never payed this much attention to small signs, guardrails, etc. but they became a means to break up the hill into small segments. No one passed me up this hill so I was probably doing ok, I think at one point I saw 5mph on my computer and was thinking how I could get off and walk so I pushed harder. Having the road bike really helped me here. I crested the hill and grabbed a decent amount of water, and my last gel a few minutes later, a lemon sublime which also tasted good. These folks at Gu get the medal for best tasting gels! No more details really about the course, there was a couple of hills but nothing major on the way back to town, and there was a wicked downhill before making the turn on East Lake Road, I think I hit 40mph here then had to jam on the brakes to make the right turn. Ironically enough, the pavement on East lake road seemed better to me, and definitely had a wider shoulder but with 22.3 miles showing on my computer I could fee my bikes handling change, then over small bumps in the pavement I could tell there was no air in the tire, I looked down to confirm what I already knew, yup a friggin flat. I clipped out of the left pedal just fine, but the bike shifted to the left and I fell over as I scrambled to unclip the right foot. I got my right foot under me in time to avoid a major crash thankfully. I got the tire off ok, took me a few minutes to get the tube replaced but man my tire was really hard to get seated again. Damn you Conti!!! FInally got it close to seated again but the last couple inches refused to get over the edge of the rim, as a race volunteer came over to see if I was ok and she mentioned if I needed the support vehicle. Not knowing if I could get the tire to seat I said yes so she made the call. Turns out the support vehicle had 6 people's bikes in tow and was on it's way to service a 7th on the exact opposite side of the course so she suggested if I couldn't get the tire to seat that I walk the bike in. I finally got the tire seated and started to ride. I got about 100 yards down the road when the 2nd and final tube in my possession popped, and then I knew I was going to have to hoof it back. I spent the next several minutes trying to fast walk with my bike shoes on back to transition. I didn't dare take my shoes off to run with the bike, I saw pieces of glass and other stuff on the road that would ensure my failure to run!! It was pretty embarrassing walking with the bike, I passed a lot of spectators on the way in, and I even saw 3 bikers coming in with flats to transition. I didn't dare do that because the lanes were narrow and I had zero handling capability at that point. Sometime on the run I decided to turn off my HR monitor and reset it. I didn't want to be thinking about how long the bike leg took me while out on the run. FInally got into transition and saw lots of the Sprint course athletes at the same time. It was a tough finish to an otherwise great bike leg for me. Based on my bike computer I was 1:24:04 into the course and I had 1.7 miles left which I walked. If I didn't flat here I would have been right around 1:30.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, except bring a 2nd tube! I was really happy with the bike leg otherwise. I was also happy with the way I didn't let the flat ruin my race, in years past this may have been the case but I'm mentally in a better place.
Transition 2
  • 02m 19s

Nothing special here, shoes off, run shoes on, hat on, the only thing that held me up was a few sips of gatorade and getting my fuel belt on. The fuel belt gets heavy when there's 4 full bottles on it so it was a little clumsy. The Run-out was at the exact opposite end of the transition area and I had to get through what was now a pretty crowded area as there was gear all over the aisle and sprint athletes coming in from the swim.
What would you do differently?:

  • 1h 12m 38s
  • 6.21 miles
  • 11m 42s  min/mile

I could have rolled over mentally after the bike issues, but I kept my composure and ran strong from transition area all the way to mile 6. The course starts out on grass and goes right b y the swim exit we all came out of, then up and over a bridge, the only hill on the course, over to a park which routes around a small pond. This part of the run was all compacted gravel, and there were no spectators. I was able to start getting fluids and a gel early in the run and it paid off. After lapping the pond, the course turns back over the route 5/20 bridge and through the main street in town. There were spectators the entire length of the road, and lots of volunteers cheering us on. I passed my family once coming out of transition and they said I looked like I was in rough shape. But they said when I passed them again after coming back over the bridge and out towards the pier I looked like I had wings. I agreed with them, after the first 1/2 mile or so I settled in nice, and never really struggled again. I did get passed a lot on this run, but I would say 99% of the people had a "S" on their calf so they were Sprint athletes, I think only 2 or 3 people passed me from the Oly race. I ran out to the pier and back and it was very scenic the whole way. The town itself has some interesting small businesses, kinda reminds me of Back to the Future's 50's town setting. Saw my family again at the end of lap 1 and told them I was doing fine and would see them again in a few minutes. My dad, Brady, Des and My sister's kids were all cheering me on, it was great. The second lap around the park went well. I had a brief conversation with a lady who was in her first Sprint Tri, we exchanged words of encouragement, and the next thing you know I was heading back over the bridge on route 5/20 to see my family again. By this time I had finished 3 of 4 bottles on my fuel belt, and had 2 gels. The threat of dehydration never came into play here. As I passed my fam, Brady was holding up 1 finger, turns out they kept telling him that daddy has "1 more lap". I got out to the pier the 2nd time and that's about where I finished my last bottle of powerade. That stuff was like a godsend, not as sugary tasting as Gato, and plenty salty so I didn't cramp up. I will definitely use it again for all my races. As I saw my family the last time I was probably 1/2 mile from the finish and I started to drop the hammer. There was a lady next to me that wanted to keep up with me so we raced back and forth all the way to the finish, it was really cool. SHe ended up getting the better of me the last 50 yards or so, but I didn't even care. I could feel blisters on both of my arches as I did end up running without socks. They didn't slow me down, but in the future anything over a sprint I will wear socks. I crossed the finish line and I could hear them announcing my name along with my little trivia blurb that I'm going to be a dad again in November so the crowd cheered for me which was great. I didn't smile when I crossed the finish but I felt so good inside that I had finished an Olympic!!!!
What would you do differently?:

Wear socks for Oly or longer events. I got blisters but didn't notice them until the last few hundred miles. Otherwise I was happy with my run, good hydration plan, good pace, etc.
Post race
Warm down:

I stood around for a few minutes looking for Bill. I had passed him going opposite directions on the run twice so I figured he had already finished. We caught up and all we could do was smile, it was a great feeling for both of us. DId some recapping of the race with Bill then it was time to find my family and head home.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Training. Just need more training to get faster at next year's race. Oh, and not flat out twice!

Event comments:

What will be the next challenge? Half Marathon? Aquabike? Half Ironman? Last year an Olympic seemed like a challenge, but now I know I can do it. I will definitely do this race again next year, but will seek out the next big challenge to keep improving!!

Last updated: 2010-09-20 12:00 AM
00:36:14 | 1500 meters | 02m 25s / 100meters
Age Group: 28/28
Overall: 165/250
Performance: Good
Suit: Full Sleeve QR
Course: Rectangular Out and Back
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 64F / 18C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Time: 04:42
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Bad Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
01:49:22 | 24 miles | 13.17 mile/hr
Age Group: 28/28
Overall: 247/250
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: Rides Southeast out of Transition on the Eastern side of Canandaigua Lake towards the Town of Gorham, NY, then turns West towards Rushville, and back to Canandaigua. Lots of farmland, rolling hills, a long climb and a couple of fast descents.
Road: Rough Wet Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:19
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:12:38 | 06.21 miles | 11m 42s  min/mile
Age Group: 28/28
Overall: 244/250
Performance: Good
Course: 2 laps of the 3.2 mile sprint course which routed around a large pond, then out onto the main road in town and along the Lake, an out and back on a long pier, then back towards transition. RInse and Repeat for the Olympic distance.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2010-09-25 10:01 PM

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New user

Liverpool (Syracuse), New York
Subject: Finger Lakes Triathlon - Olympic Distance

2010-09-28 1:06 AM
in reply to: #3117824

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Subject: RE: Finger Lakes Triathlon - Olympic Distance
Way to fight through adversity Jay.  My favorite line was, "As I passed my fam, Brady was holding up 1 finger..." that cracked me up.  I sure hope it wasn't a middle finger!  

Jay, that was awesome...keep up the great work.  You are doing an awesome job!
2010-09-28 4:37 PM
in reply to: #3117824

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Rochester, NY
Subject: RE: Finger Lakes Triathlon - Olympic Distance

Good job persevering!

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