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Musselman Half-Iron Triathlon - Triathlon

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Geneva, New York
United States
Musselman Triathlon
90F / 32C
Total Time = 5h 39m 32s
Overall Rank = 165/718
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 19/77
Pre-race routine:

I woke up about 4:15. Took care of necessities. Heated up my oatmeal in the microwave and made some coffee. I got my wife moving while I loaded the Jeep for the 5 minute drive to the race.

Once we arrived, my wife set off to decide where to set up the team tent while I got body marked and set up transition. As I was finishing setting up, I tried to shift into a low gear so I'd be prepared coming out of T1. This is when I noticed that the slight crack in the rear derailleur cable housing between where it exited the aero bars and entered the top tube had now opened up and the cable had kinked, preventing it from shifting more than between two gears. Uh oh!

I pulled my bike off the rack, and set off to find where Geneva Bicycle Center was set up to see if they could help. They took one look at it, and said it didn't look good, because the only way to fix it was to replace the whole cable, which involved removing and replacing the rear brake housing and pulling the new cable through the frame. In the shop, this takes about 30 minutes. By now, it was 6:00, and transition was scheduled to close at 6:40. They got to work, while I went to the first volunteer I saw in transition to talk about how strict they were going to be on that 6:40 cutoff. Fortunately, the first guy I talked to was the Transition Captain, and he said because of the situation with my bike, I didn't need to worry about it, and we would get my bike in whenever it was fixed. This made me feel better, but I was still concerned that it wouldn't be done in time for my wave start at 7:12.

I went off to find my wife and friends to see if I could help with the tent and get my mind off my broken bike. I helped unload some more things from the Jeep, finished putting on my race kit, grabbed my wetsuit, goggles, and cap, and ate a gel with some water, then went back to check on the bike between 6:35 and 6:40. The guy from Geneva Bicycle Center, Mark, said it was done, and they had already taken it back into transition and racked it at my spot! Woo hoo! Race on!

I thanked him and asked him how much. He said $7 for parts, and nothing for labor, because the shop was volunteering it as a race sponsor. I gave him about $35 and said the difference was for him, saying again how much I appreciated them saving my race.

I went into transition with about one minute to spare before it closed to adjust my bike racking and set up my helmet and glasses on my seat before making my way over to the coral for the swim start.
Event warmup:

Because of the problems with my bike, I hadn't had a chance to do the swimming warm up that I prefer. Instead, I was only able to do some arm circles before starting.
  • 34m 19s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 37s / 100 yards

The start of the swim was a little physical. I lined up in the front row about 5 from the inside. When the horn blew, I took off fairly hard to try to separate from the majority of the wave as quickly as possible. I bounced off a few people, and got hit in the head once or twice. Sighting ahead, I spotted the in-line navigation buoy, and decided to pass it on the left instead of the right to get clear of some of the other swimmers. This definitely helped.
I felt a little tight in my chest with some trouble breathing the first 200 yds or so. I suspect it was because I haven't done a single ows training this year, and hadn't worn my wetsuit in over a year. I tried to relax and stretch out my strokes in the smooth water while looking for someone suitable to draft. I didn't have too much luck, with only the occasional short draft before the person either veered off course, or I decided they were too fast or too slow to help me.

My shoulders loosened up and the tightness of the suit around my chest relaxed within about 500 yds, and I was able to get into a decent rhythm.

The water in the lake was cool and comfortable, but once we entered the canal, it started warming up. By the time I'd made the turn off the main canal into the side one, it was really getting warm. I found myself starting to overheat, and looking forward to the swim exit when I could pull off the suit and get onto the bike to cool down.

In the last 100 yds, I saw my wife and friends running along the shore cheering for me whenever I breathed to the left. My wife always claims that she can pick me out of the pack just by my stroke. I guess she isn't lying. This is a unique opportunity, as I've never done another race where spectators are able to be right there within 50 feet of you for a chunk of the swim. It makes for a great experience for both them and the participants.

I finally exited the warm water up the boat ramp feeling pretty good.
Transition 1
  • 02m 10s

T1 went ok, but I can't say it was great, as it was only 23rd in my AG and 184 overall. I did have some problems getting out of the transition area due to people walking with their bikes instead of running. I finally said "coming through" and squeezed past them, but I don't think I can blame the mediocre time entirely on that. I'll need to give it some more thought to determine where I lost some seconds.
  • 2h 56m 13s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.99 mile/hr

This was an interesting ride almost immediately out of T1. My bottle in the cage zip tied between my aero bars launched when my front wheel hit the edge of the asphalt coming off the carpet that bridges the gap between the park road and the public road. It went straight across the lane that was closed for the race and the lane where cars were still driving. It finally came to rest on the other side of the guide rail in the median. I quickly veered off the road onto the grass to the right, laid my bike down, and waited for a safe opportunity to retrieve it.
Once I got back on the road, I quickly settled into a comfortable pace, monitoring my power, pace, HR, and RPE. This is the first HIM I've raced with power, and most of my riding has been on the trainer the last few months where it can be more difficult to get the power up, so I was slightly surprised to see about 30 W higher than I expected relative to HR and RPE. As the ride wore on, I wrestled with whether I should back off to bring my power back down closer to my planned 170-175 W, or risk holding the roughly 205 I was riding at. By about 25 miles, I decided to shoot for somewhere in between based on my low HR and RPE plus how fast I've ridden this course in the past and was still able to run. This proved to be a good decision.
I managed to drop my chain at about 38 miles, but was able to replace it and get back on the road in about 30 seconds.
I hit T2 about 5 minutes slower than I rode last year in the thunderstorm, so I knew I had some time to make up on the run if I wanted to post a decent time overall.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe consider riding the hills a little harder to save some more time.
Transition 2
  • 01m 25s

This transition went smoother than the first. 4th in my age group, and 33rd overall. Not too shabby.
Later my wife and friends said they were blown away how fast it was, because they were in the chute into T2 cheering for me as I dismounted, and by the time they crossed over and got around the other side of transition, I was already running out.
What would you do differently?:

  • 2h 05m 25s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 33s  min/mile

I felt pretty good coming off the bike, and knew that I had legs left for a decent run, but wasn't sure if I had enough left for my goal of two hours on this course in the heat and humidity.
Out of T2 I was running 8:00 - 8:30, and had to force myself to keep slowing down to about a 9:00 pace for the flat portion along the lake front. I made a decision to walk all the steeper hills to save it for the flatter sections and downhills where I hoped to make up the lost time and try to avoid overheating. At my current weight of 185 lbs (about 10 lbs heavier than this time last year), staying cool can be a serious challenge, so I grabbed water and ice at every aid station except the last one. I kept dumping ice down the front and back of my top and putting it under my hat.
I watched my average pace throughout the run, and with the hills and heat, it gradually crept up until it was close to 9:40. I knew a sub-2 run was going to be tough, but if I hung in there, it could still be a PR for me on this course.
With about 2 1/2 miles to go, I hit the downhill from the street to the lake front. My quads were protesting loudly at this point, and I groaned with every stride down the hill. When I hit the bottom, I tried to pick the pace back up. Within a few minutes, I felt like I was struggling to get enough air, and knew I had to back off and try to recover if I wanted to avoid being reduced to a walk with less than two miles to go. I settled into about a 9:30 pace for the next 1 1/2 miles, and tried to push the pain out of my head and just focus on putting one foot in front of the other.
The finish of this race can be a bit cruel. As you run along the lake with more than a mile to go, you can see the tents and the finish line across the water teasing you. When you're within 1/2 to 3/4 mile of the finish, you can hear the announcer and crowd cheering for the finishers.
With 1/2 mile to the finish, I had to work hard to keep moving and squeeze out just a little quicker pace, because I knew I was going to be close to beating last year's PR.
I rounded the last curve before the team tents, and there was the Steel City Endurance and Reach Multisport & Personal Training tent with my wife and friends cheering like crazy and ringing cow bells! This spurred me on to a slightly faster pace through the finish chute to cross the finish line with my arms in the air!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. This is a HIM run PR.
Post race
Warm down:

I sat in the awesome kiddie pools with ice water that the race provides.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Fitness and carrying an extra 10 pounds over last year's race weight.

Event comments:

Musselman is still one of the best races anywhere!

One last HUGE thank you to Geneva Bicycle Center!

Last updated: 2012-12-14 12:00 AM
00:34:19 | 2112 yards | 01m 37s / 100yards
Age Group: 17/77
Overall: 182/718
Performance: Good
Suit: Full
Course: Counter-clockwise rectangle in the lake, then down two canals to the exit up a carpeted boat ramp.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 74F / 23C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 02:10
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
02:56:13 | 56 miles | 18.99 mile/hr
Age Group: 38/77
Overall: 212/718
Performance: Below average
The distance for this race is wrong. Every year I race it, I consistently get a distance closer to 57 miles than 56 regardless of the device I use to measure it. Actual Average Speed 19.4 mph leaving in the two stops for the launched water bottle and the dropped chain. Average Power 197 W Normalized Power 200 W Average HR 147 bpm
Wind: Some
Course: The course if mostly flat with some false flats and small hills mixed in. The scenery is beautiful, and most of the course is on smooth asphalt with minimal traffic.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 92
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:25
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Average
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:05:25 | 13.1 miles | 09m 33s  min/mile
Age Group: 23/77
Overall: 196/718
Performance: Good
Average HR 162
Course: Out and back "oddball lollipop". Flat for the first and last 2+ miles with mostly rolling hills between. Mostly on asphalt and concrete with about 1/2 mile on a stone farm lane. Combination of exposed and shaded.
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

2013-07-18 11:07 AM

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Harrisburg, PA
Subject: Musselman Half-Iron Triathlon

Edited by TriMyBest 2013-07-18 11:33 AM

2013-07-18 3:45 PM
in reply to: #4807817

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Subject: RE: Musselman Half-Iron Triathlon
Great job Don.  I can't imagine what it would be like to have a mechanical like that so close to the start of the race.  Nice work on the run PR.
2013-07-18 5:59 PM
in reply to: #4807817

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PEI, Canada
Subject: RE: Musselman Half-Iron Triathlon
Great job Don!  I would be some nervous with bike trouble like that right before the race!  Glad it worked out and you were able to race.
2013-07-20 6:01 AM
in reply to: axteraa

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Harrisburg, PA
Subject: RE: Musselman Half-Iron Triathlon
Thanks guys. Honestly, I played down the amount of anxiety I was having over the mechanical. I had to keep reminding myself about the recent article in Triathlete Magazine by Jesse Thomas about having a "Get Screwed Fund". Here's a link to it:
2013-07-21 9:22 AM
in reply to: TriMyBest

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
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