This weekend I “experienced” Frankenmuth. The city is famous for a number of things, but here are two that I partook in:
1. Bronner’s – The world’s biggest and most famous Christmas Wonderland store. If you can dream it up and relate it to Christmas, they have it. The property is decorated in Nativity Scenes, Santas, lights, etc. The property is the same size as 5 football fields!
2. Zehnder’s – The world’s biggest Family restaurant. And also the home of the “world famous chicken dinner.” They pride themselves in their service (which was really good) and their chicken dinners (which were good… but I was hoping for something better since it is world famous… but then again, KFC is also world famous).
The triathlon also had world class service and professionally ran by the company (3 Disciplines) that put on my first triathlon ever 11 years ago (The Seahorse Triathlon). The course was beautiful… but much too short for this long distance specialists. It took me about 15K on the bike before I started feeling good. I struggled to push half iron distance watts on the bike for the first 15K. I finally warmed up and Infinit’s NAPALM started hitting my system. After that, I averaged 330 watts. At that point, I started catching a group of 3 ahead of me. I eventually passed them and hit the run feeling good after biking the 3rd fastest bike split of the day (58:10). The bike course was slower than than what I expected due to about 50% of the course being on rough roads and about 12 or 13 turns on the course with lots of gravel on the road. The run course was a very flat, 2-looped course. We ran through Bronner’s and got to experience the Christmas spirit in August! I managed to run a 5:47 and passed 2 more guys on the run to finish 6th on the day.
This race doesn’t get much press, but does have a pretty good prize purse. Some really fast guys showed up, including Ben Collins, Chris Lutz, Thomas Gerlach, and a few other ITU guys. Considering I out biked most of these guys is encouraging to me. After racing this, it confirmed to me that the longer the race, the better I do. Olympic distances are fun and a good speed day, but I felt like I was getting stronger as the race went on. I’m looking forward to a 70.3 and 140.6 triathlon later this month!