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Savageman HIM - Triathlon1/2 Ironman


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Deep Creek Lake, Maryland
United States
"Tri-to-Win" Melanoma Foundation
Sunny
Total Time = 7h 11m 27s
Overall Rank = 61/101
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 9/13
Swim
  • 43m 23s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 03s / 100 yards
Transition 1
  • 05m 40s
Bike
  • 3h 38m 27s
  • 56 miles
  • 15.38 mile/hr
Transition 2
  • 11m 1s
Run
  • 2h 32m 56s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 11m 40s  min/mile
Post race
Event comments:

Every year for the last few years I've resolved to do something stupid to commemorate my birthday. Last year it was Six Gap. This year I looked around and hey..I heard talk about this "Savageman" race that was supposed to have the toughest course ever for a half ironman. That sounded like just the sort of masochistic foolishness I was after. For the curious, take a look at www.savagemantri.org: Wet suit swim in a rapidly cooling lake in fall. Bike course with 6,000 feet of climbing and the 25% grade Westernport Wall (videos of people falling over are on the web site...). Run course up and down rocky, boulder strewn trails.

Even better, I had a work conference in Baltimore that would pay for my travel. I signed up.

I arrived the night before the race to hear the mandatory pre-race briefing. The park and surroundings were gorgeous. The race director told us that the morning weather forecast called for a clear day...and 37 degree air temps at the start. I started to wonder if I was going to survive the swim in my $50 shorty wet suit. We got lots of warnings about the dangerous bike course and tales of crashes during pre-rides. The only part of the race I figured wasn't dangerous was the run, mostly because I'd be moving too slowly to be in trouble.

Race day dawned clear and cold. I scraped ice off of the windshield, shivering, and went to Denny's for breakfast. Arrived at the park, set up transition and underwent the most thorough bike inspection ever. They were serious about making sure your bike would stop and that parts weren't about to fly off. Sat in the car shivering some more with the heater on.

The swim:

The swim start was surreal; steam rising off the water, fog obscuring the opposite shore, boat lights and kayakers just visible as they set out to patrol. I was encouraged when the first two waves waded into the water and I didn't hear any high pitched screaming. When it was my turn, the water actually felt warm in comparison to the air. I swam out to the dock end, the horn sounded, and we were off!

I couldn't see a buoy anywhere, but I knew that the course went along the shoreline and that a kayaker would be at the turn around point. I did hit a buoy with my head, and a returning swimmer from the elite wave hit me going back in the other direction. Eventually, I saw the kayaker and he pointed me to the last buoy. Repeated this process heading back, and came out of the water in 43 and change, respectable for me.

I stopped and got my windbreaker I'd stashed at the swim exit, ran up the steps to the transition area, and took my time stripping the wet suit, toweling off, and putting a bike jersey on.

Bike course:

This was the centerpiece of the race, and rightly so. The volunteers were plentiful, cheerful, and the scenery was gorgeous. Rural mountain roads, farms, forest, and some great views. Some short climbs in the first few miles led to a twisty, technical descent at about mile six. I blew down this at warp speed, knowing that I should slow down but loving the feeling too much to do so.

At about 18 miles, the town of Westernport came into view. It's a small town, basically built into the side of a mountain. We crossed a special timing mat to clock our "climb split". Left turn into town, and look up, and up...the road steepened and you could see what looked like half the town out to spectate on the short 25% grade section known as the "Westernport Wall". I was riding my road bike with an 11-32 mountain bike cogset and derailleur, just for this, and I needed every bit of it. I was popping 6" wheelies with every pedal stroke. I made it up the wall, wheezing, and headed up toward the top of the Eastern Continental Divide. This climb is 6.5 miles long with 1730 net feet of elevation gain, and has a short descent in the middle so that the total climbing is probably more like 2k+ feet. It took me 48:39 to climb this, for an average speed of 8.02 mph. :) The fastest climb was done by duathlete Josh Beck, who averaged nearly 12 mph. Studly!

I can't forget the descent from Big Savage mountain, as well. We were given all sorts of warnings and I knew that I should be careful. The descent was basically a series of switchbacks through forest, impossible to see the next corner ahead of time. I made it most of the way down, and took a couple of corners riding the brakes behind a guy who was riding the middle of the road. On one corner, he went wide, and after telling him I was coming through, I passed him. I looked back before the next corner to make sure I wasn't in his line, and as luck would have it, it was probably the worst one, an off camber, steep hairpin. I braked hard, almost made it, and skidded the front wheel off the road and into the ditch. Slow motion endo and I'm on my back on the side of the road. I got up, dusted myself off, checked the bike over, and kept going.

OK, fine, the big climb's over, can I lay down now? Ha...it never let up. In fact, I think some of the shorter, steeper climbs later in the race were worse. I remember standing up in my easiest gear at about mile 51, going 4 mph and mumbling "You have got to be kidding me...".

I came in from the bike course feeling pretty decent, all things considered. It was almost impossible to go really easy on this bike course, but I had tried. I have run very, very little in the last month or two due to some calf issues, and this race was going to double my run mileage for the month. :)

The results say I spent 11 minutes in T2. I have no idea how. I remember rinsing off the road rash on my shoulder, digging into my bag to see if I had another shirt, and trying to get the gel glop out of my jersey pocket.

I set off to run, with the not so lofty goal of ten minute mile pace; I'd looked at my watch and knew that's what it would take to break 7 hours (ha!). No real drama to report here; this was a two lap run that featured a steep climb up a rocky trail, and I walked a section of this each lap. The downhills on gravel were actually harder on me, as my knees are feeling the pounding today. I kept running till the finish, a few minutes short of my goal at 7:11.

General observations:

The race atmosphere was awesome. Friendly people, tons of volunteers. Special thanks to the Tri Z ladies with the devil's horns on Big Savage who told me "you're in Hell!" when I inquired about the costume. One even gave me a beer on the sly after the race. :)

The area's gorgeous, and since it's off season there, room rates were excellent; I stayed at the Wisp Resort (ski lodge) for $89/night.

Strange post-race sighting: I'm sitting in the jacuzzi about 9:00 last night. The pool room is 3 stories high and has glass windows everywhere, including a glass door to the hall. Suddenly a man saunters into view, totally naked. He puts his money in the Coke machine in the hall, bends over to get his drink, giving me an unwanted view of his hairy behind, and then goes back the way he came. What in the hell was he thinking? Does he do this regularly in hotels? I didn't follow him to find out more.

OK, enough rambling. I had a great time and I'll probably be back to do it again next year.

21 Sep. edit: There are lots of cool pictures and videos online from the race now; you can find most of them from the www.savagemantri.org site. There's a great set from Dan Hicok of people falling over on the wall. Kyle Yost, the sadistic bastard who designed the bike course :), has posted YouTube video of most of us going up the wall also. Here's one of me going up; I'm in the second half of the vid wearing the black jacket and shorts, red bike (at least the rear). Fun stuff!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zvYr3Uundw


Profile Album


Last updated: 2007-09-17 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:43:23 | 2112 yards | 02m 03s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/13
Overall: 0/101
Performance:
Suit:
Course:
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Rounding:
T1
Time: 05:40
Performance:
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
Biking
03:38:27 | 56 miles | 15.38 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/13
Overall: 0/101
Performance:
Wind:
Course: F'in hard!
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
T2
Time: 11:01
Overall:
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
02:32:56 | 13.1 miles | 11m 40s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/13
Overall: 0/101
Performance:
Course:
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall:
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Evaluation
Course challenge
Organized?
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

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2007-09-17 8:55 PM

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Extreme Veteran
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Subject: Savageman HIM


2007-09-17 9:03 PM
in reply to: #968610

, Alabama
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM

Kendall, if I told you that you're a total lunatic, would you believe me?!???    HOLY COW!  I thought my half IM was hilly...your's was just plain nuts!  And to cap it off with a hairy sideways smile?!??  Quite a memorable experience to be sure. You really know how to punish yourself.  Great job overall though, to conquer that (and HAPPY BIRTHDAY too)!

Sharon

2007-09-17 10:02 PM
in reply to: #968610

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Extreme Veteran
333
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Bend, OR
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM
Glad to hear you made it through Savageman.  Congrats!  I was waiting to hear about this race course.  Great race report.  Sorry to hear about the hairy sasquatch that visited you while you were trying to enjoy the jacuzzi
2007-09-17 11:29 PM
in reply to: #968610

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Melon Presser
52110
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Subject: RE: Savageman HIM
Super giant kudos for finishing, and mostly so for crushing the Westernport Wall!  WOW!!!!!
2007-09-18 5:28 AM
in reply to: #968610

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Master
2385
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Atlanta, Georgia
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM
Holy Cow! Huge tip of the hat for completing this one. . Great RR from an epic day.

c
2007-09-18 8:48 AM
in reply to: #968610

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Master
2314
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Gulf Shores, AL
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM
Great race and race report. You really know how to challenge yourself.


2007-09-18 9:21 AM
in reply to: #968610

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Master
1728
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Pulaski TN
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM
Awesome job out there!!
2007-09-18 9:43 AM
in reply to: #968610

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Expert
856
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Pittsburgh
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM
Congratulations on finishing and getting through all those hills! Excellent job!
2007-09-18 10:20 AM
in reply to: #968610

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Master
2202
2000100100
Canton, Michigan
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM
Damn, I wanted to puke just watching the videos!

Good job!
2007-09-18 10:21 AM
in reply to: #968610

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Pro
4292
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Evanston,
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM

Amazing.  What an incredible course!  Great job.

Though just fyi for next time, the best way to tackle a 25% grade is in a chair lift.

2007-09-18 10:50 AM
in reply to: #969146

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Cycling Guru
15134
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Fulton, MD
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM
Awesome race description!  Congrats on surviving the race and making it up the Wall!


2007-09-18 11:56 AM
in reply to: #968610

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Extreme Veteran
510
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Falls Church, VA
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM

Great race.  I was volunteering on the bike course and my car struggled up some of those hills.  Major props to anyone who could bike that.  Not that the run was much easier.

I guess since the RD couldn't figure out how to make the swim uphill he just figured to make you do it with almost zero visability.

2007-09-18 12:00 PM
in reply to: #968610

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Pro
4612
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MA
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM

Great report, Kendall.  You are crazy! 

Come up to N.E. and do OWS practice with is.  We have those mists and fogs just on top of the lake in spring/fall. 

That "wall" is worse than Devil Hill at Mooseman.  I hope they have more devils dancing around so you know you're really in HELL.   Great job getting up that thing. 

2007-09-18 2:09 PM
in reply to: #968610

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Expert
803
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MD
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM
Kendal,

Congrats on finishing - nice split on the bike, too. I previewed that bike ride back in July and I'll attest that it's the most difficult 56 miles I've ever biked. Ended up I couldn't do the race this year, so I'm looking forward to next year.

If you can, please post your race report on the SavageMan forum at http://www.createforum.com/savageman/

I'd be happy to re-post it for you if you want me to. Just PM me and I'll put it on their forum.

2007-09-18 7:02 PM
in reply to: #969593

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Extreme Veteran
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Subject: RE: Savageman HIM

econway - 2007-09-18 2:09 PM Kendal, Congrats on finishing - nice split on the bike, too. I previewed that bike ride back in July and I'll attest that it's the most difficult 56 miles I've ever biked. Ended up I couldn't do the race this year, so I'm looking forward to next year. If you can, please post your race report on the SavageMan forum at http://www.createforum.com/savageman/ I'd be happy to re-post it for you if you want me to. Just PM me and I'll put it on their forum.

I put it up there..that course was sadistic fun and I want to share.   

2007-09-18 8:58 PM
in reply to: #968610

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Master
1671
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West Bend, WI
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM
That is freakin awesome!!!


2007-09-18 9:18 PM
in reply to: #968610

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Buttercup
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Subject: RE: Savageman HIM

You are nuts.

 

2007-09-18 9:19 PM
in reply to: #968610

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Champion
8766
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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM

Excellent job.   Way to celebrate.

Was naked guy hot?  Other than the hairy ? 

2007-09-18 9:29 PM
in reply to: #970164

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Extreme Veteran
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5002525
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM
jldicarlo - 2007-09-18 9:19 PM

Excellent job. Way to celebrate.

Was naked guy hot? Other than the hairy ?

Uhh, no.  Not that I was checking him out or anything.  Not that there's anything wrong with that!   

2007-09-18 9:41 PM
in reply to: #968610

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Champion
19812
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MA
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM

What a thing to do to challenge yourself..what's next?

Congrats on a very hard HIM!

Crazy area you are staying in...naked men in the hotel...at the vending machine...hmmm

2007-09-19 6:01 AM
in reply to: #968610

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Extreme Veteran
527
50025
Jacksonville, FL
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM
You have got to stay upright on that bike...good job!


2007-09-19 6:20 AM
in reply to: #968610

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Pro
4545
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Orange Park Florida
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM

You had to toss in the endo so you could call this an epic day right?

Congrats!

2007-09-19 7:52 AM
in reply to: #968610

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Master
3546
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Millersville, MD
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM

Helo fellow savageman!

You had quite an adventurous day.  Shame on you for flying off the apex of a turn into a ditch.  Only an idiot would do that on this course.  I'm glad your endo didn't end your day.

Gotta love the nekid soda run!

My race report will be up shortly.  It was truly an epic day!  Kendall didn't exaggerate one bit... it's brutal.

2007-09-19 1:28 PM
in reply to: #968610

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Champion
5529
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Nashville, TN
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM
Awesome job.  That sounds like a blast!!!  Congrats
2007-09-20 6:47 AM
in reply to: #968610

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Expert
1049
100025
Jacksonville, FL
Subject: RE: Savageman HIM
WOW. Great report. I will cross that race off my list. Glad you survived and had a good time.
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