Tuesday, September 23, 2008


“Ten minutes and the transition area needs to be cleared out,” the announcer says. As I get the final touches on my transition area, that I showed up a tad late to, I reach into my bag to find out that I do not have my cycling shoes. Folks, this IS a nightmare. Nationals, and I don’t have my cycling shoes. The thought of asking others if they had an extra pair crossed my mind, but was pointless. I was hoping they were in the car in another bag…hoping. If they were not, that meant that they were about 45 minutes away and I would be screwed. Here’s the corker in it all…the car is a 4 mile shuttle ride form the race venue. Yes, 4 miles. And yes a friggin’ shuttle ride. I really tried to stay calm here. But I am at a race where my wave starts in 45 minutes and I do not have my shoes and they are a total of 8 miles (there and back) away via a school bus shuttle. Things re not looking good, but I thought if this was going to happen, it would not happen with me thinking about it. So I ran up to the road where the shuttle ‘was’ regularly dropping people off. I sat there and waited what seemed like 20 minutes, but I would suspect it was more like 10. Oh, it gets better. Since the race waves had started, the busses could no longer go the 4 mile way, they now had to go all the way around the lake which was 8 miles. Crap! I told the driver my dilemma and he said, ‘get in and I will do my best.’ I have to say that I have never been on a school bust that has been driven like this one. This driver was phenomenal. My guess is this was a life long dream for him. To have some guy jump in this giant but he has driven hundreds of thousands of miles and say ‘follow that car.’ Well, kind of like that I guess. He closed the bi-fold doors and we were off. That bus was doing things that I never thought possible. We were carving corners like bobsled. I was holding on to the seats as to not fall off. I did not want to comment on how fast he was driving because I did not want him to think that I did not approve. So I sat there and watched this guy do his thing. I was doing the math in my mind thinking that if he just averaged 30mph, it would be 16 minutes. Then 1 minute to get to my shoes, and another 10 minutes back (4 miles back). Then, of course, I still needed to get ready for the race. So I had 45 minutes, and about 37 was accounted for. That meant I would need to get my wetsuit on while on the bus. So I did. I got some odd looks, but it was necessary. The B70 Helix is so easy to put on, you can really do it anywhere. I just hope that TIMEX does not get any complaints. I could really go on and on about the details of this ‘bus trip’ but I need to get to the race part.

Needless to say, I made it. Jessi coordinated with a volunteer in T1 to get my cycling shoes to my transition area and all was ready. I was able to actually say hello to some TIMEX friends. They laughed, and I guess I could as well…now. A big thank you to Ken who was about to give me his shoes and did everything he could to help me. Also, thanks to Jessi for sending text while I was on the bus telling me to ‘stay calm,’ ‘take it easy, and ‘focus on the race.’ All which helped.
Walking down to the start

I ended up lining up right in the middle, which I thought was odd since no one else was there. I thought that maybe I was missing something. Was thins a ‘bad’ spot? Oh well, I would not be there long. As I sat there at the dock, I could hear Emma yelling ‘Go Daddy!’ about 7 times in a row. No one but me know who she was yelling at, and some guys smiled thinking it was cute…probably Dads too wishing their kiddos were there yelling for them. I waved and we had 1 minute to go.

The countdown came and the horn sounded. I think it was horn, might have been a gun too. But I was off. I put my head down and started an aggressive start to try and get away from all the bodies and get a little open water. It seemed like everyone was right there but I was far enough away as to not get all tangled up. After about 300 meters, it seemed like I was by myself. There were people around, but not all that close. I really like to have my own water and focus on my own speed. So that was nice. I was swimming well and pretty straight form what I could tell. I made the two turns of the far end and was heading back. The swim was just too easy…no people…no problems. I eventually found myself swimming with another guy at the same speed. So I tucked in behind and could ease up a bit. I then started to go around him and found myself just swimming next to him so I backed off and stayed behind to rest a bit before T1. I cam out right behind him and swam a 19:37 which I was happy with.
Waving at Emma and Jessi form swim start

Running to T1

The run to T1 was pretty tough up a steep boat ramp. But you just do it and get up there. I had a ‘fairly’ smooth T1 since I really never saw where my shoes were placed because it was a volunteer that Jessi asked to put there since it was closed when I arrived. But sure enough, they were there. So instead of having the shoes on my bike, with rubber bands, I had to put on my shoes and then helmet and off I went. I mounted quickly, clicked in, and was now off on the bike. I passed a few people in the first 75 yards and then we were immediately into a ‘no pass zone.’ These can be good or bad. If you are alone, or leading, they are good. If you are behind a 60 year old woman trying to put on her arm warmers while she rides up the hill, it’s bad. I was patient and as soon as I got out of the no pass zone, I passed everyone that was there. I was anxious and was ready to get this bike leg going. It was 2 laps of a 20k course that was rolling. Nothing too steep, so it kept your effort honest the entire way. I was feeling good and was staying on top of my hydration and watching my power as I was flying by other age groups. My Trek TTX felt right at home on this course…smooth, powerful, and efficient. I saw a few people out on the course that I cheered on. Some being TIMEX people like Cindi :) I was watching my time as I came around on both laps. I remembered that sub hours were not all that common last year and I thought I would be right around a mid 58 minute which was good. I rolled in to T2 and was off the bike in on to the run pretty easily. Zoot shoes make transitions way to easy. Unfortunately, I see a lot more people wearing them. My advantage is disappearing.
Riding out of T1

Coming in off the bike to T2

I headed out on the run and was feeling pretty good. It’s a very challenging run and you seem to be going up or down all the time. It’s important to take advantage of the downs as much as the ups, so I did my best to do that. I knew Chris Thomas was behind me (another phenomenal TIMEX athlete) and could easily run me down if he was close. I saw him coming in on the bike when I had only been running 1:15. So I figured I had about 2:30 on him… not enough. But I would still need to run hard regardless. I felt like my cardio was there and my legs were doing well. I always know I am in trouble when my breathing is in control and my legs are tired. This was not the case. I eventually got to the 3 mile point and saw Jason Schott coming back. Crap… he was ¼ mile ahead and I was sure I was not making ground on him. I eventually made it to the turnaround and looked t my watch. I ran for about 45 seconds and then saw Chris and Craig Greenslit. Craig runs even faster than Chris. So I knew I was in double trouble now. I thought I might be in 2nd, and if they both pass me, it would be 4th. Nothing really magical about that for me, but I still needed to run hard. I finally hit mile 5 and I seemed to be still running hard. At about the 5.5 mile point, Craig passed me. He went by fast, but then faded quite a bit. But was then able to pick it up again on the downhill sections. I knew that Christ had to be close. I thought I would need to run hard for 4 minutes, that’s it. I hit the final uphill section that was not as ‘uphill’ as I thought it was. It was pretty flat really. So I kept up the tempo and made the final turns down to the finish area. I was still worried and glanced back another time just to see. People on the side said that there was no one behind. That’s funny, because I can see Chris right back there and that guy can close a gap like adolescent braces can. I came around the final turn and was on the red carpet of the finishing stretch. I was so excited. I had no clue hat place I was in, but I really felt like I race this race an honest effort. Swam well, rode well, and ran my best. I definitely did not out run Chris, he’s was faster than me, but I was simply able to hold him off. I hope because I my effort, he was able to elevate his effort as well and give something of himself he was proud of too.
Starting the run

Crossing the finish line

"Legendary" Chris Thomas and me

Bruce Gennari and me (National Champion when it was held in Cda)

Ken, me, and Greg

Afterwards we all talked and were happy it was done. Ken Collins and Greg Gallagher both came in too with solid efforts. We were the only 3 men from Spokane and I think we did well.
Awards ceremony

Thanks to Jessi, Emma, and Natalie who were the sherpas and cheer squad for the day. Couldn’t have done it without you guys. Also a huge shout out to Ironheads Triathlon Club who set us up with a stellar home stay. Grant Folske gave up his bachelor pad condo for all of us to stay at and he stayed at his girlfriends. What an amazing guy. And get this, he raced too!
Greg, Natalie, and Ken


Grant and Ginny

Congrats to all the TIMEX athletes who showed up and raced. I am honored to don the orange of TIMEX. Watching all of you race makes me race harder. Nice work Ian, Bruce, Chris, Julie and Cindi. You guys are awesome.
The TIMEX crew (L-R)
Roger, Chris, Ian, Cindi, and Bruce
not pictured: Julie