Tuesday, September 1

FCF at the races: Erie

The FCF racing team's 2009 triathlon season came to a close on a rainy day at Presque Isle this past Saturday. I think both athletes are reasonably pleased with the way 2009 turned out; Nick medaled in 3 of the 4 events and was a consistent top-20 finisher, while I battled back from a May knee surgery to best my 2008 performances and notch my first International distance race.

The weather was poor at last year's race, and very nearly as bad this year. The rain came down steadily in the morning and picked up as we neared the start of the race. This meant some significant, though not serious, waveage in the bay. The swim was longer and more difficult than last year, but the chief problem was that Nick and I got tossed in with about eleventy-thousand other yellow-capped athletes at the start. The organizers could certainly add another wave to thin out the swimming herd we dealt with in this race. Frustrated with all the contact and fog, I ditched my goggles about 2/3 in for better visibility. Consider that it took me more than half the time to do this "600 m" that it took me to do 1500 m the week before, and I couldn't see anything there either. Nick was out in 11:29 and I emerged near the middle of the pack at 15:59.

Anyway, the rain was still at it when we got on the bicycles for 20.8 km, but the course remained flat and fast. I was passed only by the overall winner and managed to fish a bunch of people who apparently didn't have the same issues as me in the water. I cruised in at 34:57 for a career-high 24 mph; Nick also posted a 32:26 for a PR velocity of 25.8 mph. The winner's average was near 30 mph!

The run wasn't as fun as last year because they moved it from the multipurpose train to the road and a paved trail. Eh. Not a real inspiring run course, but oh well. Nick knocked out the run in 23:59 (7:03 miles), while I posted a hugely disappointing 28:06. I ran 8:23 miles in a 10K after more swimming and bicycling on a tougher course six days ago and here I come out with 8:16 miles? Lame. There was at least some excitement; near the finish line, Nick informed me that the end was just 100 m away, and I had enough left to sprint past the two people in front of me.

So, I ended up in 91st (81st, not including teams) with a total time of 1:21:12, while Nick claimed 19th (15th minus teams) at 1:10:10 to earn 3rd place in his division. I did by far the best in the bike, claiming 153rd, 59th, and 91st among individuals in the three events. Nick again posted consistent quality, at 24th, 21st, and 20th. We were both off our 2008 times in the run and swim, but I chalk that up to course differences.

I'd like to do this course on a half-decent day some time. Of course, now it's blue skies in Cleveland.

The tris are done for the season, but there are still some races to be run. I'm looking at the Great Race in Zeptember, the Towpath half-marathon in Rocktober, and perhaps the Kickoff Classic before OSU destroys Michigan once again in November.

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