Mandy’s Nutmegman Half Iron…

It all started on Saturday with chores and such and a mention to the Mrs. that knocking out chores sometimes felt like transition – trying to get all the little bits and pieces done before moving onto the main parts of the event. My good buddy (and tri-idol) Matt still contends that when knee deep in tri training that “everything is a transition”. Well, that day it sure felt like it and we did just that and headed up 84 to Southbury to pick up the packets from our dearly loved Mandy and John. We grabbed the packets quick (luv that), said hello to Mandy, had some stuff to drop of to John from the weekend before, but found out he was at the race site so with some time before the briefing we drove out there. We found J skimming the lake trying to get all of the weeds/reeds (see swim below) out of the line of fire for tomorrow’s swim. It turns out there was a reaper machine that came in and cleaned it, but couldn’t get that close to shore… so it was all up to J to clear it out for us racers (altho, a scout troop showed up and offered to help too). We shot the breeze with John and played with Luna for a while before heading back to the hotel for the briefing.

(she’s jacked ain’t she!!!)
I luv the day before the race where everyone is taping numbers to their bikes and you can hear the clicking of the freewheels as they go through the lobby. Everyone with water bottle in hand to hydrate up. It’s communal and at the same time individual… and it gets me into an event frame of mind. We were a tad bit late but caught most of Mandy’s discussion of the course and rules. Then the head ref spoke and we were off again to drive the course. Kate drove it once as I read off the directions, then we drove the run, and I took over the drive the bike once more without directions to try and get a feel for them by memory. It went well but christ, it was going to be one hell of a hard course. (it ended being the hardest half i’ve ever done). Once home Kate helped me get everything ready and into the car for a quick exit tomorrow (another transition 😉 and then it was off to bed. Zzzzzz. I remember having 3 phases of sleep. 1 till 1:30, the second for about another hr, and the 3rd being the deepest dead sleep until the 4am wake-up.
Sunday was a 4am wakeup with the grind and brew going off to the glorious scent of java floating through the kitchen. I gunned down 2 cups (enough to get the body flowing) and was actually a bit too much too fast. I tried to separate it with 2 mini bagels but it’s just too damn early for food. Give me bacon and eggs around 9 or 10am and you have a much happier camper (note to race directors, can we swing this?) We hit the road into the dark and serious fog at around 5:15… plenty of time to get there and set up. Even got some twitters from Javier saying he was up and mobile as well! How cool! Jav, Kate and a number of the crew were all going to be there helping in one capacity or another and even my mom was getting into the volunteering! Man that rocks.
Arriving at the site, it was still dark out with the sky juuuuust ever so slightly starting to lighten to the east. We pulled all the gear out of the car, pumped up the tires and headed down to set up transition and for Kate to check in with Mandy as to what she could help with. Turns out that Kate started with body marking (and I couldn’t even get her to mark me as dudes kept cutting me off! ha!). Well it was time. Well almost…

Swim (2 loops):
The swim was supposed to start around 7am but due to all the fog coming off of the lake we couldn’t see past the first buoys! So Mandy thought it wise to delay it for 30mins. John wanted us to go anyway and to fight to the death with possibly pulling off a Harry Houdini escape-from-chains-before-drowning trick. Yep, and he’s the legal eagle of the bunch. Well, it cleared quite a bit, but we still couldn’t see all the way out to the end buoys. If the police boat would have been triathletes they would have parked behind the last bouys with their flashing strobe police lights… but they didn’t and when the go was called… every body swam out to the first ones that we could see… and then everyone went towards… well, know one really knew. The boat? a kayaker? followed the shore? whatever they were doing, it was totally the wrong direction. AND… this happened on both laps! I guesstimate that some people added 250 – 300m to their 2k!
Altho… i really like the 2 lap idea. It lets the blood come back into your legs and breaks it into awesomely manageable chunks and gives you a great idea of where the field is both ahead and behind. I am so psyched that they have this for IMLP.

Well my swim was nothing to really write home about… Except for the reeds… from the last buoy into shore was very interesting… Pitch black, and they’d lasso your arms yanking them back and making you fight for shore ;). I sighted as best i could for the foggy conditions and think i did alright. J was right as he announced me coming out of the water and into trans… it was one of my best HIM swims. It would also be my only PR (other than the transitions 😉 on the day.
Swim: 33:22 (Ranked 51st)
Lap 1: 16:10:58
Lap 2: 17:12:69

T1: 1:33 (Ranked 18th)
Just a slight malfunction and correction on the aero helmet straps.

Bike (3 loops):
Not very eventful. It was beautiful and HARD! Hands down one of the most beautiful, hard and technical courses. I’ve never gone so fast on a race course, having to flag police well ahead of time to have them stop traffic as we came streaking thru intersections. The one oddity of note was how piss poor some of the drivers were that were out on the course. they were just driving unpredictably (no signal turns, reversing, etc) it was just so bizarre. At the downspout that led to the park was a gang of people screaming there heads off (including my fam) that only translated into a doppler effect. Annachrist was out on the other side of the course and it was awesome seeing her cheering and guiding people on. Due to the tuff nature of this course drafting was ridiculously impossible. Everyone was so spread out that it was impossible to even do this for most of us mortals (altho, the 1-2 places of both the women and the men were supposed to be quite the dogfights!). So basically the ride was painful with lap 1 being all seated and fun, lap 2 was some standing on the steeper stuff and familiar, and lap 3 being a boatload of standing and lactic acid pulsing thru the legs. Coming into the park and transition I popped out of the shoes and readied for the fast downhill dismount into T2.
Bike: 3:24:36 (Ranked 32nd)
Lap 1: 1:12:38 (includes park)
Lap 2: 1:02:44 (doesn’t include the park)
Lap 3: 1:11:17 (includes the park)
Hills? yes… Max Speed: 48.5mph. Avg:16! ha! that’s what climbing at 8mph does to you.

T2: :32 (Ranked 4th)
It probably would have been lower had I not tried to exit transition the wrong way ;). That was my fastest transition ever and it lead me to my placing, as the guy that took 21st was less that 20secs behind me and spent 1:30 or something in transition.
Run (2 loops):
So the run was going to be hard (are you detecting a theme here?) but I wasn’t all that bashed on the bike, and wasn’t even really all that saddle sore either (considering i was using a newer and less padded racing outfit after the rain-soaked bike shorts cut into me in the Hamptons). The first lap was actually fun. Yeah it was slow going, and work, etc. But i was so looking forward to seeing everybody at a slower pace and it was awesome to see the leaders too!

I heard from J, that i was somewhere in the top 30 coming off of the bike this was a big pick up. It was so good to finally see people as it was lonely out there on the rides. So I saw Mandy, J, Ken, Mandy’s dad, Javier, Jesse, and last but not least the sirens of the turn-a-round Aubry & my dear Kate! I was feeling good. Just having my powergels on the 45 minute to 1hr mark and drinking water (i so didn’t want anything sweet anymore) and i was so buried in my IM style shuffle up the hills and trying my best to use the downgrades to extend, catch, or hold my placing.

So lap 1 was done and I was still feeling ok. I forgot to take the split tho (sorry about that). I passed Javier, Jesse, and slapped hands with Ken on the way back out. Chatted with Mr. B again and rounded down the shaded (thank god for the shade) lane to the other side of the lake before heading out to see Kate one more time. This was a downhill, which also meant a climb back out… and here is where the beginning of the end began. At this point there was only 1 person who passed me and that was a relay so I was mentally feeling good about the placing. No one was really gaining as i took splits from the turns (i ended up passing this guy later on as this was his 1st lap and my 2nd). Once out of the park and climbing up to the main street to go see the ladies who were screaming for me… well, this is where i lost my mind and my legs started to give. I saw the ladies again, but this time it was hot and a blurr. I just wanted to get the drink at the next aid station up the hill and back to the patrol car before the downhill back to the park. I was in pain. Tunnel vision was setting in. This was the last 5k and i was slowly losing my grip on reality. The legs were on autopilot and knew where to go. The mind also knew it was almost over, that is the pain from climbing. The other muscles would need to compensate on the downhill, and that was just fine. Back to the park it was… and down we unloaded into the finish. I was delerious but could still stand and grunt some communications. I took all the water and gatorade handed to me as i knew i was underhydrated at this time (but not so much to be in any danger). The parents were at the finish and helped me take off all the safety wrapping on the bottles. I chugged them and tried to head right to Mandy, J and then to the water to wash all the salt and grime off me.

Run: 1:46:30 (Ranked 20th)

Place: 20th overall (20/95?, 1st in AG (1/13)
Total Time: 5:46:38

After cleaning up and drinking everything in sight it was just cheering, awards and the afterparty. I (very much to my surprise) took 1st in my AG – which is a first!

Kate and the sirens came back later on that day, we helped cleanup a little before i needed to get some sleep. Kate and I stopped by the parents to have a celebratory beer and then ordered chinese food to eat on the couch. I ate like a madman and passed out instantly. What a great day! Family, friends, racing, food, beer… what more can you ask!

~ by philiplavoie on September 22, 2008.

2 Responses to “Mandy’s Nutmegman Half Iron…”

  1. Amazing Man – one hell of a job on a difficult course! Looks like between you me and Sasquatch RWP had one hell of a weekend! 3 more weeks til Chi town – then I’m up in Westchester to do some long rides – cause Houston training will be nowhere near as bad as chicago since its only a half!

  2. looking forward to it bill. and yeah, u guys sure did throw down at the cow! good luck in chi!

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