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SavageMan Triathlon 70.0 - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Swanton, Maryland
United States
Tri-to-Win Events
53F / 12C
Total Time = 7h 04m 23s
Overall Rank = 227/390
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 28/45
Pre-race routine:

The four of us stayed at this cute little Bed and Breakfast a couple miles from the race start. The owner said that breakfast was at 9 and we kinda laughed and said we would be gone by then. He asked when we would like breakfast. Stunned, we told him 5:45am and he said it would be ready. Sure enough, we come downstairs and he's got the whole spread of french toast, eggs, giant sausage patties and more. I've never had this heavy of a breakfast before a race but since I had no goal other than stay on the bike, I dug in!
We all went together to the race site and I got things organized in transition. As I was laying everything out, I realized I didn't have socks. And since there were no vendors to be seen, the best girlfriend in the world took off back to the B&B and got them for me. She came back in record time and I finished laying everything out. I had more stuff at this transition than I have at any other and was taking this whole 'relax, enjoy and don't worry about your time' approach in stride.
I put on the wetsuit and tried the aquaphor stuff (that came in our goody bag)on the back of my neck instead of the body glide.
Said goodbye to everybody as they got on the Westernport Wall buses and headed down to the lake.
Event warmup:

This was a fairly small number of racers (maybe 400) so we split into 4 waves. I was in the 3rd and had about 30mins to kill. I sat down on the grass for a bit trying to get out of the wind. Then, I just went out into the water to swim a little before my start. It was cold and I didn't really feel like warming up so I just stood in the water and watched the other waves leave. In the wave before me, there was a quadrapalegic man. That's right: no arms... no legs... swimming! He had a little flipper attached to his longest leg (which was still well above the knee). Another man carrier him into the water. Simply amazing. And sometimes we need reminders of how good we really do have it to put things in perspective.
  • 36m 10s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 43s / 100 yards

It has been nearly a year since I raced this distance before so I was still somehow intimidated by the length. When the horn went off, I waited a few seconds, took a couple deep breaths, relaxed and slowly started swimming. I started in the middle of the group but the group was pretty spread out so it wasn't as bad as some races. I did get hit with flailing arms and legs but just on my arms and legs.
I was probably drafting half the course. I was just excited I was keeping up with other people. My swims have been in the bottom 25% for a while. But this swim just felt good. I knew I was moving fast and I still felt relaxed. The swells were probably the biggest I've swam in and even those didn't bother me. I breathed every 3rd stroke and I sighted after every 2 or 3 breaths. I never got off course and I never got out of breath. This calm and relaxing swim also turned out to be my fastest swim regardless of distance. I had a really big grin on my face when I saw the time was only 36min :)
What would you do differently?:

I picked up the pace in the last 100m or so and felt like I could've done that sooner and still been ok.
Still, my favorite swim ever!

All those OWS's have really paid off.
Transition 1
  • 03m 58s

I typically rush through transitions and feel stressed the whole time. Taking the opposite approach, I got my wetsuit off (struggled a little to get it over the garmin), dried off a little and even sat down to put my socks on. I also put on a jacket, gloves and ear warmers (all 3 were a first in a transition). It was in the 50s and I had a 4 mile decent ahead of me so I wanted to make sure I didn't freeze.
What would you do differently?:

The gloves took longer than expected with wet hands so I would use a bigger pair.
  • 3h 59m 22s
  • 55.7 miles
  • 13.96 mile/hr

The bike course is what Savageman is known for. It's the toughest triathlon course ever. But also the most fun.
It starts out with a cat4 climb (within the 1st mile). And that's when you know it's going to be a long day.

Next is a 4mile descent. Sounds great but it was still in the 50s and not pedaling for that long, it gets real cold. I had planned for that with the extra gear but I didn't realize how technical the descent would be. I was on the drops so I could get a better grip on the breaks more so than trying to get aero.

We drove the first 20 miles of the route so I'd at least know what to expect. As we came out of the woods and into town, I knew what was coming: the most intimidating, tore up, steepest, most brutal, soul crushing climb up what can barely be considered a road. Everyone else was preparing themselves as well. We all slowed down and everybody grew quiet. Crumbling asphalt, pot holes and cracks are everywhere ready to grab hold of your tire and not let go until you're on the ground. As if navigating that wasn't hard enough, the course is constantly littered with the fallen. The proud men and women who attempted this nearly impossible climb that scare most away. The volunteers were great though and cleared people off as fast as possible. They even had a grass path because it is impossible to walk up a 31% hill in bike cleats. The volunteers would run the bike up for them.

So I rounded the corner and started the 4block climb before the wall. I switched to the easiest gear and slowly started up; trying to keep my breathing and HR down while staying in the saddle. I'm smiling as I make it to the landing with little trouble. I take a few more deep breaths before standing up and crossing the line where the road maintenance ends. There's only one person in front of me so I'm watching him as we go very very slowly up this ridiculous climb. He slows more and breaks left [he didn't make it]. I knew this was my shot so I gave it everything I had. Inching forward and trying to find the cleanest path, I finally make it to the bricks of all the people who made this climb in past years, knowing my name would be there next year. It's pretty emotional.

Now, we're done, right?
Unfortunately, this was only the beginning. We still had to go up for another 6 miles! My favorite sign here: "What goes up, must... go up MORE!" We did have an aid station and a clothes drop after the wall. I got rid of my jacket and gloves though I'm not sure that was the best decision. It was still pretty cold out there and we had plenty of descents to do.
The climbs were tough but everything after Westernport seems easy. Everything but Killer Miller. At 40miles into the course, there's a sign that reads "Don't Look Left" with big arrows pointing left. It's a winding road but to the left you can see the start of the next climb across the field. A 1.3mile beast that peaks at 22%. There was another sign telling us that fact and in parenthesis "but it's really pretty!" They did a good job distracting us from the torture we're putting ourselves through. But THIS is the toughest climb of Savageman. The streets were lined with people just like the wall. The good thing about this one is that it's actually a road so it wasn't as torn up. I don't think I wobbled much but I was using every bit of that road going side to side just to keep the tires moving.
After that climb I was trying to remember how many more climbs we had. I couldn't remember but it turns out there was only one more. Maynardier Ridge was a 23% climb but only a quarter mile so it was over with quickly enough. Some signs here reminded us that there was no drafting and one gave us the phone # of the race course designer, just in case we wanted to give him some constructive criticism.
The last 10miles overwhelmed everybody with one simple thought: "How the HELL am I supposed to run after this?"

What would you do differently?:

What CAN you do differently?!?
Transition 2
  • 01m 5s

After one hell of a bike leg, I thought I did pretty well in T2. Pretty uneventful except someone had put their wetsuit on the rack where my bike was supposed to go.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really.
  • 2h 23m 50s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 59s  min/mile

Well, I don't much care for running. I was pretty damn excited to get off the bike! There was some soggy sections of trails, there were a few good hills and there was the fire tower road that just hurts to look at. Nothing but loose rocks and gravel and roots and big rocks and uneven footing and oh yea, it's beyond steep. Some people walked it (I did), some people ran it but it seemed everybody's pace was about the same up this thing. Volunteers were everywhere and my own cheering section seemed to pop up around every corner. Unless you race, you don't know how much it helps to keep you moving and in good spirits.
The first lap was a little slow because I walked a fair bit. The second lap was faster because I didn't walk nearly as much. Also picked up the pace pretty good in the last mile or two.
Coming into the finish chute never felt to good. Somebody was playing leapfrog with his kids over the finish line. I felt kinda bad but I was not going to stop 20ft before I could collapse in Shelly's arms! Ran around them and I'm sure they'll be in my finish line pic. Oh well. I'm great with photoshop!
What would you do differently?:

I could've trained more for the run.
Post race
Warm down:

I took everything they handed me and stumbled toward my girlfriend. Sat down for the next 30min watching others finish. NOW it was finally warming up. Unfortunately, we left the race site too soon. Took a shower at the B&B and then had to drive 8hrs back to Fayetteville. This gave me about 3hrs of unload the car, sleep and then then get up for work. That was a tough day.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I felt I did great and couldn't be prouder.

Event comments:

Savageman is without a doubt, the toughest triathlon I've ever done. It's also one of the most beautiful. This fact gets overshadowed too often. I would love to come back (race or not) and just camp at some of the places we biked through. Luckily, I was often going about 3mph so I got a good long look at some of the views. But not being able to stay longer is my biggest regret.
The volunteers are simply unmatched. I was impressed with the ones at B2B.... these were better! Everybody was rooting for you and everybody was in such good spirits. The whole atmosphere was great. And because of the slow speeds, it often felt more like a charity ride than a race. We were all suffering together which just brings people closer.

I am, most definitely, doing this race again next year!

Last updated: 2011-06-01 12:00 AM
00:36:10 | 2112 yards | 01m 43s / 100yards
Age Group: 27/45
Overall: 235/390
Performance: Good
Suit: BlueSeventy Reaction
Course: A single lap around a giant duck and giant swan :-P
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 64F / 18C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:58
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
03:59:22 | 55.7 miles | 13.96 mile/hr
Age Group: 26/45
Overall: 226/390
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: 1 loop of the most brutal, unforgiving, relentless, and savage riding you can think of. It is also the most beautiful and scenic ride I've ever been on.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:05
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:23:50 | 13.1 miles | 10m 59s  min/mile
Age Group: 36/45
Overall: 279/390
Performance: Average
Course: 2lap course around Deep Creek Lake. One good hill and one death march up the fire tower road (done 2x).
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2011-09-22 4:45 PM

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Subject: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0

2011-09-22 5:48 PM
in reply to: #3696998

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Extreme Veteran
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Subject: RE: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0
Great report.  Congrats Savageman!
2011-09-22 7:11 PM
in reply to: #3696998

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Subject: RE: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0
Great report and race! We were probably within 5 minutes of each other most of the day out on course.
2011-09-22 8:00 PM
in reply to: #3696998

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0
Great job out there and very nicely done race report!  I was the enormously pregnant chick who offered you my "cotton girl socks" before your girlfriend headed out to get yours.  :-)
2011-09-22 9:05 PM
in reply to: #3696998

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Fulton, MD
Subject: RE: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0
Nice job, and congrats on the brick!  I can confirm that my pregnant wife above heard about your sock dilemma...
2011-09-23 9:14 AM
in reply to: #3696998

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Extreme Veteran
In front of computer when typing this.
Subject: RE: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0

Dude, I loved your race report. Very funny! Nice job. Congrats.

Love this: At 40miles into the course, there's a sign that reads "Don't Look Left" with big arrows pointing left.




2011-09-23 2:48 PM
in reply to: #3696998

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Fairfax, VA
Subject: RE: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0
great report!  After reading this and seeing youtube video of "The Wall" I want to do this one next year!!!
2011-09-25 11:58 AM
in reply to: #3696998

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Subject: RE: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0
Nice report.  You were able to capture what many people comment upon, but don't do justice.  The friends, family and volunteers are all there, everywhere...and rooting for each of us.

Congratulations on a big day. 
2011-09-25 12:05 PM
in reply to: #3696998

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Tyrone, Georgia
Subject: RE: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0
Nice report and congratulations!
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