Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Race Report: Timberman

The Timberman race was ranked the best sprint race in the US by Triathlete magazine. Thus, it was sold out months in advance. Luckily, knowing a few insiders, I was able to fill in for a friend of mine at the race. So my bib said "Sionan" on it, but otherwise, I raced as me.

The race was a slightly shorter swim (1/3 mi), slightly longer bike (16 mi), and slightly shorter run (3 mi) than an traditional sprint. The weather was warm, but a stormy. I was surprised to see how many people were wearing wetsuits. The water in Lake Winnipesaukee was around 75 degrees, but well over half of the competitors wore wetsuits. I figured for such a short distance, the advantages of the wetsuit would be overcome by the struggle with taking it off. However, they did have wetsuit strippers available, and I was a little jealous that I didn't get to utilize them.

Next came my first gumby moment of the morning. I chucked my sunglasses on my towel, cause it was starting to rain when I emerged from the water. I threw my helmet on and got moving. Out on the bike, I remembered that I had had a gu in my helmet, but I hadn't seen it when I put the helmet on, so I figured it must have fallen out somewhere. Low and behold taking off the helmet, I found my gu, still there. Nice one.

My run felt pretty good. Getting to the first mile marker, I checked my watch, 8:44. I had felt a little faster than that, but ok, I'm not in shape. A few minutes later I checked the watch again, 8:46. Ah, gumby moment number 2: my watch was displaying time of day, not lap time. Sweet, I had actually run much closer to an 8 minute first mile. The last mile, the next person to try to catch was much further ahead of me, I focused and got determined to take her down. Turning into the shoot, I passed her, and sprinted to catch the next two people ahead of me. Overall time was sub 24 minutes, which I was thrilled with, but after the fact I discovered it was not quite 5K, so my overall pace was 7:58, still not too shabby for me.

So best sprint in the US? Well it was superbly organized. Tons of volunteers. But the real kicker was the post race food: the typical fruit and bagels, then salad, pasta, antipasto, cold cuts, clam chowder, yogurt, ice cream, soda, margaritas, beers! And I got a nice insulated water bottle and mini towel! My first towel from a tri! And so appropriate that the sprint gives you a tiny towel.

Special thanks to Andrea for helping me get into the race, putting me up for the race, letting me drive her car and entertaining me on the drive. And to Sionan for giving me her number.


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