What a fun and challenging race course! I went in with a plan, executed it fairly well, and left with a result that I’m proud of. You can’t really ask for much more than that. The race plan revolved around nutrition. Following my failed nutrition strategy in the New Jersey Marathon, I was able to reevaluate and dial in something more specific (eating every 30 minutes), and ultimately beneficial. But let’s start at the beginning.
Check-in and registration
WOW, what a logistical nightmare and failure on the part of Ironman. The check-in process was poorly orchestrated. I waited 45 minutes to sign my waivers and grab my race packet. It was a process that took less than five minutes, yet myself along with hundreds of others were forced to wait in line as the flow of bodies was at a standstill.
The issue was two-fold from what I could tell. There were three volunteers (God bless them) handing out waivers. One gentlemen was explaining the waiver process to each individual person which took far too much time. He should have been explaining it to groups of people at a time. One other volunteer was only servicing Bib numbers 1-500, of which there were maybe five people in my 45 minutes of waiting. He wasn’t assisting the two other volunteers with their lots of athletes.
The third volunteer was bouncing between two boxes of waivers, while a handful of other volunteers inside the tent were standing around doing mostly nothing. The slowest part of the process is the waiver completion. They should have had more hands assisting that initial piece which would have sped things up.
Sunday morning I was able to part across the street from Quassy Amusement Park. I was one of the last cars allowed in the lot. I got lucky. I heard horror stories from athletes waiting upwards of an hour for shuttles to transition from the satellite lots.
Once transition closed at 6:00 AM everyone headed to the beach. The swim was supposed to start at 6:30 AM, however the fog on the water was so thick you could barely see any of the buoys on the water. They only announced a delayed swim start at 6:15 AM. We’d now be starting at 7:00 AM. From there the fog seemed to get worse as the morning went on. Around 6:50 AM the announcer said the swim would be shortened to only 750 meters. Cheers and applause erupted from the beach!
I was a little disappointed the swim was shortened, but even those 750 meters were horrible from a visibility standpoint so it was probably the right call. So, I then proceeded to wait another 35 minutes to get into the water. Are you sensing a theme here?
They were letting two athletes into the water every few seconds to start. Then three, then four. It appeared as if they were making it up as they went along. Needless to say, the first group of swimmers were in and out before I even moved a step closer to the start.
Once I got in, a had most of the area to myself which was great. I didn’t get bumped or kicked and was done in just under 14 minutes. As I mentioned, the visibility was very limited, making things a bit more difficult.
The run up to transition was fine. I liked how they had some carpeting down for a portion of it. I felt slow getting my cycling gear on and then having to run with my bike through the racks from one side of transition to the other to hit the road.
This was the most beautiful and also challenging course I’ve ever ridden. The hills were never ending. Between a mix of long, gradual climbs and short ascents into the clouds my legs were working overtime. The road conditions were pretty bad. This led to me passing several athletes changing flats along the way.
I remarked to a fellow athlete that there were way too many flats being changed. I must have jinxed myself because at Mile 46 I was on the side of the road fixing one too. It cost me seven minutes, which by my standards was pretty quick!
With a course this hilly, it’s hard not to ride in a group. And with road conditions this poor it’s hard not to ride three or four across the road to avoid the potholes and rough pavement. I’m not complaining about drafting or blocking. It was really hard not to considering the aspects of the course. I didn’t see or hear of any penalties for either which is good. At one point a race official came up alongside me on a motorcycle and could have dinged about 12 of us for something. She kept on going.
I was hoping to ride under three hours and did that even with the flat. 2:54 bike split for just under 19 mph average pacing by feel since my power pedals weren’t synching to my watch for some reason. Pretty thrilled about this split!
This was faster than T1, as it should be. But still could be faster.
My goal was to run a sub 1:50 half marathon here. I missed that by only a few minutes and probably would have had it if it wasn’t for that last god damn hill at Mile 12! Shout out to the lady in the lawn chair telling us our misery was almost over about half way up that final climb.
The run course was challenging but fair. Plenty of hills to keep you honest and working hard. The volunteers were pretty awesome, especially the ones out by the school. Fun group of people!
I was moving along pretty good for the first few miles. No muscle cramps which is what usually happens to me. Considering the difficulty of the bike ride I was expecting a lot worse. My hamstrings started to tighten after the first 10K but it didn’t slow me down too much.
Also, thank you to the guy giving out beers around Mile 2 or 3. I took one and it was delicious. All in all it was a solid run and I’m pleased with the 1:51 (8:28/mile) following that crusher of a bike.
I’m excited about my result. It was the hardest race I’ve completed and I hit my plan and my goals. The course was beautiful, volunteers were excited, crowd was good and everyone I interacted with was pleasant and didn’t take themselves too seriously. That was all awesome.
The swag we got was legit! The waterproof bag is excellent and should be appreciated by triathletes. The medal and hat are always quality too. Post race food was decent enough. Hot dogs and hamburgers. I loaded my plate with pickles to get that sodium back up!
The logistics of the race with check-in, parking, shuttles, etc wasn’t very good. Things like that make me hesitant to sign up again for this race.
This was positive affirmation of my self-coach training plan leading up to the USAT Olympic Distance National Championships and then Ironman Mont Tremblant in August.
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