The last and toughest race of the weekend at the Triple T in Shawnee State Park, OH took place today. I went to bed early the night before to try and get some extra rest. I slept in the my 110%. Play Harder compression pants and took a handful of Energy Bits to help me recover as I slept on an air mattress just outside of transition. I was really hoping that the temperatures would be a bit warmer today after the cold temperatures yesterday. However, mother nature had other plans.
I woke up to a balmy 37 degrees. I was, again, worried about the temperatures. Should I dress for the temperatures now and be hot on the back half of the ride or dress for the temperatures later in the morning and be cold/freezing for the first hour or so. Would I pay for it more being hot, or being cold? I didn’t know. I do know that I hate the cold!
I got my wetsuit on and headed to the lake. My feet instantly went numb walking on the cold, damp ground. I opted not warm in the water with the water and air temperatures so cold. I think the water temperature this morning was about 60 degrees. The gun went off and the time trial start of the swim began. I ran into the water and did a few dolphin dives to the first buoy. Each one was slightly less of a shock to my body. A few strokes into the swim, I managed to catch my breath and feel a little comfortable in the water. It was a two lap swim for a total of 1.2 miles. The second lap was a bit congested trying to swim around the swimmers that started later and were just getting into the water. I managed to only run into a few of them. It was hard to see them (and the buoys) with all the steam rising from the lake. I managed to exit the water in 5th place and into T1.
I opted to wear more clothes and maybe be warm/hot on the back half of the bike. I left T1 in 5th place including the teams and 1st in the solo division, maintaining my position. My hands went numb within the first the mile. But the rest of me was okay. I couldn’t believe what some of the other riders were wearing that were ahead of me… just their uniform, arm warmers and calf sleeves. I managed to catch the lead team about 10 miles into the bike… where a tree had just fallen over the road about 30 minutes prior. We had to get off our bikes and limbo under the tree. From there we descended down another windy and slightly sketchy stretch of road. I pulled away from the lead team at this point… enough were on the straights I couldn’t see them. It kinda surprised me, I began to wonder if they were okay.
About 20-25 miles into the bike, they caught me. They had stopped briefly a while back because the guy without the jacket, Jarod, was getting hypothermic and his teammate, Colin, gave him his jacket. I was feeling a little warm at this point and wanted to shed a layer, so as we leap frogged back and forth with lead over the next couple miles we decided to stop at the DIY aid station to give them one of my jackets I was wearing. While we were stopped, the second place team passed us.
I got back on my bike, extremely happy to have one less layer and continued on the winding roads through the forest. About 9 miles left to go, I approached a 2 mile climb. I was in my smallest gear (28 tooth in the back) and had to stand up for portions of it. My legs were getting a little upset at this point. I knew if I made it to the top of this hill, it was a net downhill from there. I made it into T2 about 3.5 minutes down from the lead team. My goal for this ride was to ride at Ironman intensity… and was right on where I wanted to be… about 270 watts average power. Now, just 13.1 miles of trail running to go.
The run was again on the same portion of trail, but this time instead of doing one out-and-back, each athlete had two out and backs. I felt sluggish for the first two miles, and it showed based on my splits. I finally found my running legs and was able to do a few miles at 6:20-6:30 on the way back the first time. I had a comfortable lead on the rest of the guys in the solo division. On the final lap, I could tell the my lead had grown since we last saw each other on the trail. With about 2.5 miles to go, someone told me the lead team was less than a minute ahead of me. I decided to try to catch them. I came out to the road with just under a half mile to go and saw them probably just over 1/10th of a mile ahead. I knew I couldn’t catch them. I managed to finish just 2o seconds behind them and secured my win in the solo division.
This weekend was one of the most fun I have had since starting triathlons 10 years ago. I camped out with the rest of the HFP crew (they happen to be the same crew doing the new Challenge race in New Albany, OH later this year), Michael Foland (founder and CEO of Infinit Nutrition), and they coach of Andrew Starykowicz. I camped out the entire weekend (for free) and got to hang out with several other pros for the whole weekend and really got a chance to get to know them.
I had a chance to really test my equipment this weekend too:
Argon E-118 – the bike handled the tricky roads very well. Stiff frame was great for climbing up the steep hills.
Rotor Power meter – helped my gauge my effort and dial in my expected wattage for Ironman distance this year
Cobb Saddles – lots of time in the saddle with wet/cold clothing and still no saddle soreness (use code “mavMike” to save 5%)
Vitorria Tires – Literally went through everything a tire could and handled them all extremely well (rain, cold, climbing, descending, cornering, etc.)
Champion System – my triathlon kit went through a lot of abuse this weekend. Able to carry nutrition in the pockets and no chaffing.
Enve Wheels – fast and aero wheels that are also light for taking on some of the hardest hills.
TYR wetsuit and speedsuit – kept me warm in 60 degree water… what else do you need to know?
Occupational Kinetics – for keeping my body healthy and race ready.
Infinit Nutrition – gave the energy needed during the race to preform (use code “maverick” at checkout to save 10%)
Swiftwick socks – kept my feet warm and dry on the bike, and free from blisters all weekend
Primal Sport Mud – apply to legs after a hard workout and go hard the next day (use code “maverickprimal14 to save 40% on your first order)
Energy Bits – I took these algae tabs after every race and really felt good before each race. They have 3x more antioxidants than gogi berries and all the protein you need in amino acids, so they are 99% absorbed (use code “mike502bits” to save 20%).
110%. Play Harder – I wore these after every race and slept in them one night to aid in recovery.
Smith Optics – They kept the cold wind off my face and my vision clear going in and out of the shadows so I could see the details of the road better.
VO2 Multisport for having all my bike gear dialed in perfectly for racing.
Lakeside seahawks – for helping me get faster in the water
Maverick Multisport – thanks for putting all the above sponsors together!
Vibra Health care – For supporting me financially to help make racing possible.
Grasky Endurance Coaching – for the being the brains behind the operation!
It was a lot of work this weekend, but I managed to walk away with $1500. God really has blessed me with a strong set of lungs and heart to let me do the things I love. None of this would be possible without him! Thanks also to my friends and family that support me. But the biggest thanks to my wonderful wife that encourages me daily to give it my all.