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SavageMan Triathlon 70.0 - Triathlon

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Swanton, Maryland
United States
"Win-The-Fight" Events
48F / 9C
Total Time = 6h 48m 44s
Overall Rank = 130/363
Age Group = 50-54M
Age Group Rank = 6/23
Pre-race routine:

This is lengthy, I always write novels...

Made the loooong trek down from CT with a stop in Philly to pick my son from Villanova (a freshman 3 wks into college), slept in a local motel, and then continued for a total of 10+hs in the car. My lower back was sore from the ride and pretty stiff overall.

Prerode of some of the bike and run course around the lake thanks to the guys in the house who had done the race before. Had a fantastic dinner and slept well. My usual light breakfast-bananna, Ensure, English muffin (instead of bagel), Rice Krispies treat and sports beans.

Our house was very close so the plan was to leave around 7am for the transition area just a few miles down the road. Transition was open at 6 and the race was to start at 8:30am. Made quick work of setting up transition, but it was notably cool. You could see your breath with the temps in the high 40's in striking contrast as it had been in the 90's just a few days prior. Fog was covering the lake and it was scenic and serene with a mild buzz from the athlete's. I am always amazed at the sight of so many fit people all walking around.
Event warmup:

Put on wetsuit and strolled over the the swim start. Got in the 68 degree water (temp was announced on a sign in transition) and did a couple of minutes of swimming to get everything loose. The water was cool but not too bad at all. The fog was wicked and you could not see any buoys other than the white 'start' buoy. Everyone knew the turtle and swan were out there somewhere, but no one in the first wave could see them.

The start line was straight out from the jetty where Kyle Yost stood, directly out into the lake where the white buoy was. I was in the first wave and stood on a rock behind the crowd with a plan to let the pros go first. Everyone seemed relaxed despite all knowing what was coming.

I did not get out of the water, but some people said once they were in the water, it was warmer to stay in.
  • 39m 32s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 52s / 100 yards

I'm much better about staying in control in the beginning of the swim. I've wigged out several times and have the OWS under better control. For me, it is critical to remain calm and swim very easily and just know there will be some jostling and bumping but don't let it get in your head.

A bit of contact as swimmers behind me grabbed and bumped people, probably due to the difficulty sighting. I had stayed far left to avoid as much of the crowd as possible. Still a very good swim--except for the part where I decided to draft off someone on the back stretch and he swam 50+M off course. Sigh...

At the end, I again commented to the crowd as I got out of the water 'I'm alive!' It's like a tradition now for me.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I took in the moment and it's forever embedded in my memory.

Transition 1
  • 05m 5s

Well, I knew I was going to be a snail in transition, as I still wasn't sure what I was going to wear, so I had it all there to choose depending on how I felt after getting out of the water. My spot was at the far end of the transition area so I was able to do most of my walking without the bike.

I dried off. Stepped out of my wetsuit, which got stuck on the timing chip and onto my hand warmers that I had put in my shoes to keep them warm. Then put on long red socks (come on, I'm a Red Sox fan!), an extra pair of short socks (also red), an extra pair of bike shorts for warmth, and because i was still cold, a long sleeved black sweatshirt. My gloves were in the pockets and also had hand warmers in them.

Dressed, walked the bike out the back and up the small hill to the mount line, which is on a hill. A bit challenging to mount on a hill...My time was 8th in my AG, which was surprising to me.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really. The extra clothes were the right choice for me and I was most worried about being cold, not doing well.
  • 3h 49m 24s
  • 55.7 miles
  • 14.57 mile/hr

Let me start off by saying I did not make it over the wall.

There was enough power and I thought I had given the 3 riders enough room, but I caught them too quickly and didn't look up early enough. Caught them, tried to go left and when I turned and applied power to the left side to pass them, my right shoe unclipped. I accidently heeled out, was startled standing there in air, 10 feet from the top, looked down and stepped off as I began to roll and slide backwards standing on one leg. A volunteer quickly caught me and my bike as I unclipped the other foot. I may have swore at that point and walked up the left side out of everyone's way, but there was a big gap as I went up quickly and no one was behind me for quite a ways.

It only takes 2 1/2 minutes to ascend the 4 blocks and I paperboyed my way up the first 3 blocks. My HR did not even go above 135. it did spike on the final ascent and I popped a wheelie at one point, but it is certainly doable. Most people actually make it up. I've checked back 3 years, and it's about 2/3 that make it. I was warned that getting cut off or having someone fall into can be an unavoidable reason, but I did not think I would unclip.

I will replace my mountain bike cleats with speed clips in the very near future.

I like the fact that average cyclists can make it up the wall, with strong 45 second power and a good line with no people cutting you off or falling into you. Even strong cyclists can fail and that brings some parity to the challenge.

My son was at the top of the Wall and watched for a few hours. He noted that the very first 2 up the wall both fell this year. He said it was very fun to watch but he was extremely nervous when he was dropped off and walked up the road and could not get his breath at all.

This course has brutal climbs, often with a few false flats to give a sense of security, and then very swift descents into shaded areas and turns where you cannot see road very far ahead of you. Each dangerous spot was well marked but I was never sure of how much to brake and I even misjudged one turn slowing from 40 to 30, but needed to get to 20 pretty quickly of I'd have drifted off the side of the road. Need to work on bike handling skills, but the Tri bike was the better choice, IMO.

The scenery was breathtaking! That was, by far, the prettiest bike course that I have ever ridden. It also was brutal...I was convinced that I was having a bad day, but it is just that hard. It was also quite windy over the second half of the course. The headwind seemed to get stronger, but that may have been my imagination.

I loved the volunteers on the course. Seeing devils on the wall and out on Miller. So many costumes and people genuinely wanting everyone to make it up each hill. It was great! I tried to thank as many people as I could along the way, but at times, I had no breath to get the words out...No, really, I didn't.
What would you do differently?:

Not...fall...on the wall.
Transition 2
  • 02m 29s

Came down the hill to T2 and stepped off the bike and slid a few inches down the hill. Yeah, that's tricky. There were a lot of people having trouble at the bike in/out area...Couldn't do anything about it, really. Just go slow and try to stay on your feet.

Walked the bike over to the rack and changed quickly chatting with my son the entire time. Grabbed my nutrition and then jogged slowly out the back to the run exit.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really. I could have gone faster but I just wanted to stay steady, not speedy. My time was 4th in my AG, so that's pretty good.
  • 2h 12m 16s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 06s  min/mile

Everyone seemed to hate one more hill than the other. For me, it was the firetower road. I walked minimally up the campground but walked both times up the firetower road, for significant stretches. It was bad, and people on the course told me it was 'in much, much better shape than last year'. What??

I cramped up in my right arm from swinging it too aggressively up the hills. The right quad locked into a knot the second time I bounded down the firetower road and I had to stop and walk a bit down that hill to unlock my leg, after rubbing it out.

Q:What's 1700 feet of running?
A: More pain...

Plenty of volunteers and aid stations, complete with awful tasting Heed and delicious cola. Water was available to fall back on when necessary.
What would you do differently?:

Um, train a bit more.
Post race
Warm down:

Pretty much exhausted at the finish line. Heard my son scream to me as I came down the chute and he took a pic with my camera that I'll cherish.

We chatted about the race and I vented about my failure at the wall. Cheered the last of our clan down the stretch, Dan had cramped up badly and gutted it out.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Training certainly.
Weather partially.

I was severely undertrained on the bike and run for distance. Did solid short, steep hill prep, but a long run of 10 miles and long ride of 40 miles is inadequate for this distance and I knew that going in.

Event comments:

This course chewed me up and spit me out. I'm already looking forward to coming back. I'm just not sure when. Kyle Yost has enlightened the triathlete world about the magnificient cycling in the Appalachian Mts and for that I am grateful.

Deep Creek is stunningly beautiful and quite savage!

Last updated: 2013-08-04 12:00 AM
00:39:32 | 2112 yards | 01m 52s / 100yards
Age Group: 8/23
Overall: 178/363
Performance: Good
to the Turtle to the Swan to the finish
Suit: Blue 70- Helix, Full Wetsuit
Course: Clockwise, flat rectangle. Begin in deep water and head left into the sun and fog. Blinding and dark tint was the correct choice for goggles. Back side from turtle to swan offered better sighting but still some fog. At least the buoys were visible. Turn at the swan and back into the sun. Had to keep all buoys on your right except at the end when heading back into shore, the last ones had to stay on your left-to avoid the rocks.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Bad
Waves: Average Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
Time: 05:05
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Below average
03:49:24 | 55.7 miles | 14.57 mile/hr
Age Group: 9/23
Overall: 144/363
Performance: Good
First 5 miles in about 19 minutes, next 13 miles in 34 minutes. so at ~mile 18, just prior to the Westernport Wall, I was up to over 20mph average speed to that point. THAT changed pretty quickly after that...
Wind: Strong
Course: In the immortal words of Mr. T regarding what his prediction was... "Pain..." Yeah, savage is appropriate. After the pseudo 18 mile long transition, the pain started and the hills were relentless. Big Savage is longer and steeper than the longest hills I've ever climbed-including Quassy Park in CT which has a 7 mile climb. Killer Miller was remarkable, with all remarks needing to be bleeped out. Even the last named climb, Maynerdier's Ridge, was quite the challenge. Ooooof. Name Location "Savage" Category Length Avg Grade Max Grade Toothpick 0.5 mi 4th Savagery 0.25 mi 9% 16% Westernport 18.5 mi Hors Savage 1.2 mi 12% 31% Big Savage Mtn 23.4 mi 1st Savagery 2.4 mi 6% 21% Elk Lick 30.0 mi 4th Savagery 2.8 mi 4% 7% McAndrews Hill 32.8 mi 2nd Savagery 0.6 mi 9% 19% Otto Lane 35.1 mi 2nd Savagery 0.6 mi 8% 17% Killer Miller 38.1 mi Hors Savage 1.3 mi 8% 22% Maynardier Ridge 43.8 mi 3rd Savagery 0.25 mi 12% 23%
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: ?
Turns: Below average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:29
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Below average
Running with bike Below average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
02:12:16 | 13.1 miles | 10m 06s  min/mile
Age Group: 9/23
Overall: 143/363
Performance: Good
HR stayed pretty steady but was much closer to red-lining than I thought. I really didn't look at it, I just wanted to keep my legs moving and keep it easy.
Course: Double loop course with 2 significant hills and one stretch of a slow, grind up out of transition. The hills are: the campground and the firetower road. Mostly shaded and it didn't get too hot, but you could tell it was warming up.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
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: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2013-09-17 11:31 AM

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South Windsor, CT
Subject: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0

2013-09-17 12:04 PM
in reply to: #4857683

Northern IL
Subject: RE: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0
Nice going Dale! Too bad on the wall, but sounds like a good day overall.
2013-09-17 1:55 PM
in reply to: #4857683

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Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0

Wow - that just sounds... well... SAVAGE.  Surprised

Bummer on unclipping - especially as it sounds like you were almost home free.

That said, great job on EVERYTHING else!

Congrats on being a savage. 


2013-09-17 3:03 PM
in reply to: #4857683

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New user
Subject: RE: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0
Excellent report, as usual. Sounds like quite the challenge; you are a beast to take that on somewhat under-trained. I would most certainly be a casualty on those hills.
2013-09-17 4:42 PM
in reply to: #4857683

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Lakeville, Minnesota
Subject: RE: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0
Nice race Dale. The positive aspect about the wall is now you know you can do it with the right circumstances. I have no doubt there will be a brick in that road with your name on it on of these days. With the time you had to train, I think the outcome is pretty impressive. Nice work my friend. Now on to IMAZ,,,?
2013-09-17 9:30 PM
in reply to: #4857683

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University Park, MD
Subject: RE: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0
Great job - and I'm glad that you enjoyed the twisted pleasure that is Savageman. I missed it this year, but want to be back in the future.

2013-09-20 3:12 PM
in reply to: colinphillips

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Subject: RE: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0

Dale, you are SAVAGE.

It was great to meet you and I'm glad we were able to pass a few times on the course.  I can usually recognize people out there but not always get the words to form in time to encourage people on the other side of the road.

You swam the foggy lake, climbed some beastly inclines, measured your energy on the descents and the modest inclines and were able to get through the run without significant problems.  That is a good, good day considering the competition and terrain.

Congratulations.  I'm glad you were able to get this marked off your bucket list.  Now...when you are ready to go do Wildflower let me know and I'll take it up with my wife.  We can split costs.  It is also a remarkable scenic and difficult course with a race that is only part of the "triathlon festival" of a weekend.

Way to go!  (By the way, I write this five days after the race and I haven't touched my bike since Sunday.  I haven't gone that long without a ride since October or November 2012.  Those mountains beat me down.)


2013-09-20 3:36 PM
in reply to: klassman

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Subject: RE: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0

This sounds ... yeah... savage is pretty much the best word.

Pretty awesome.


Now you know how to prepare for next year! Smile

2013-09-21 8:34 PM
in reply to: Asalzwed

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NOVA - Ironic for an Endurance Athlete
Subject: RE: SavageMan Triathlon 70.0
Congrats on a great race. A 2:10 on that run course is awesome! See you next year?
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