Nautica Ney York City Triathlon 2008

NYC Flatiron building

Hortense and I have both spent all of about 2 days in New York before we met.  So, although this was a race weekend, we turned it into a pretty good vacation as well.  We were both curious to see and experience the Melting Pot.  It was a weekend of a lot ‘firsts’; making the trip supremely enjoyable.

Hortense at W 32nd StI’m so lucky to be traveling with my wife for many of these races.  We both love to travel, and although I can’t go all out, we still manage to get a lot done.  We did log a lot of miles walking the streets; my head tilted this way and that curious to see the mass of humanity around every corner.  This was energy zapping due to the high humidity and mid 90’s temperature.  I was hopeful that this exposure would yield some accumulation for acclimating to the humidity.   

NYC Triathlon Hudson River startWe stayed on the Upper West Side on 92nd St in a very cozy 1 bedroom apartment, giving us the allure of being local New Yorkers for the weekend.  We arrived on Thursday evening and ate at a French restaurant on the sidewalk patio, enjoying the warm but comfortable night while people watching over good conversations.  On Friday we walked from our apartment down to the YMCA on 5W 63rd St for a nice little swim in a 4 lane pool.  Then we enjoyed lunch somewhere south of Central Park at another French restaurant.  I opted to take a taxi back to the apartment and watch the Tour de France while Hortense continued walking/ sight seeing.  We were both a little tired that evening from the day’s ventures so we ordered some ‘to go’ food from, you guessed it, another French restaurant.

Lead swim pack at NYC TriathlonOn Saturday, apart from a lovely bike ride around Central Park and the Pro meeting at the Hilton, I stayed off my feet and watched Le Tour de France in our apartment.  I really enjoyed every minute…feeling very relaxed, yet alert, feeling good and appreciating my health.  When I am able to enjoy the moment like this and not get overly anxious for the upcoming race…it can be quite gratifying.

Swim leaders at NYC TriathlonRace morning came at 1:30am MST (my time) to prepare for the 5:50am EST time start.  After some oatmeal and a banana I was wide awake, feeling well rested and ready to go.  However, my circadian rhythm was out of whack; I was not in the usual pre-morning routine.  That is to say, the trips to the bathroom were lacking.  I was unable to convince my body of the pending, very early morning race.  Ah well, se la vie.  This would prove to cause some discomfort on the bike and a quick trip to the port-a-potties after the finish.

Everett swim finish with Potts right behindNew York was actually sleepy at 4:20 in the morning as I biked over to T1, that is, until I arrived to the Tri scene where over 3,000 athletes prepared for their urban adventure.  While racking my bike I felt a little peculiar, bearded with hair getting long and gangly, I was surrounded by Olympic athletes.  To my left was Greg Bennett, Simon Whitfield, and Colin Jenkins while on my right was Andy Potts and Paul Tichelaar.  I was in excellent company feeling a bit like an honored guest, sitting courtside at the Lakers vs. Celtics finals.  Ahh wait a sec…I’m in the game.  I was a black sheep, mingling with guys making a good living from the sport I love and heading to Beijing for the Olympics in a few days, while I work 40 hours a week to support a similar lifestyle.  That is a big reason I race, for the chance to compete with the best in the world, albeit hand-cuffed with far fewer training hours, I still compete.  Most importantly, it is super fun.  I was thrilled to take over the streets of New York while racing with the best athletes in the world.

Everett chasing WhitfieldAfter a mile and a quarter walk (it was at least ¼ mile from the swim finish to T1) to the swim start the pros lined up, ready to dive into the Hudson.  The source of the Hudson River in Upstate New York is beautiful country where I’m sure the water is clear and pristine.  However, outside of the city the water was a bit murky and one noticed a lot of debris floating.  It would be great to see it restored to the natural beauty it must have been before it was urbanized.  I lined up in the middle a bit closer to the shore and when we dove in I was surprised with the salty taste.  The line held steady for the first 200 meters and then we started bunching up behind the leaders.  I was very comfortably Brent nearing finish with 3rd palce in backgroundplaced near the front, almost being slowed down, but boxed in with swimmers crowding me from either side; all three of us fighting for position on the 2 feet in front of us.  I was determined to keep my position directly behind the feet I was on.  Breathing to my right with the shore on my left I held steady even though the guy on my left caught my elbow a few times while turning into me.  The pace was comfortable for me and I obliged to sit in and hold my place.  That’s when I started noticing all the jellyfish stings pretty much all over my exposed face and arms.  It wasn’t horrible, but it was certainly uncomfortable.  The guy to my left swam over the back of me and headed out towards the middle of the river.  I must have lost some focus or direction shortly after that, as suddenly the lead pack gaped me.  They too headed out towards the middle and I opted to go alone, taking a straighter line closer to shore.  The gap was growing, probably as much as 20 seconds but the last 300 meters I felt great and made a strong effort to bridge up.  I was gaining ground and would have caught up if there had been another 100 meters.  Alas, they excited the water teasingly in front of me.

During the long jaunt to T1 Andy Potts ran by powerfully and quickly caught up to the group.  I lingered just off the back of the group and actually lost a good 20 seconds to the fastest T1 splits.  I need to work on the barefooted transition run. 

I did my best to quickly bridge up to the lead group once on the bike but was burned by having to climb a steep hill out of transition without my shoes on.  Next year I’ll have to get into my shoes quickly.  The bike was hillier and more difficult than I had anticipated.  Making the first turnaround, I seemed to be a little over a minute behind the leaders, still reachable I hoped with a strong second half to my bike.  I felt strong the last half, but lost some focus and finished conservatively losing more time to the leaders.  Bennett was way out in front; surely no one would be able to run him down.

post race recovery at Fire IslandHeading into T2 I was surprised to have company at my distinguished bike rack.  Simon Whitfield was just leaving.  He proved to be an excellent carrot, (he was obviously having a bad day) as I held him just a few seconds ahead of me while traversing 72nd St.  I was feeling great, with quick feet propelling me effortlessly and if I could just catch Simon my race would be satisfied.  Amazingly, I was gaining ground on him as we entered Central Park.  Passing one of the best runners in the sport in the same race that I out swam one of the best swimmers in the sport was gratifying.  Even though Simon must have been contemplating how to DNF, shortly pulling out after I passed him, he still held an honest pace the first couple miles.  This pass was wholly too rewarding as the last 2 miles of my race I lost much of my competitive edge.  I was passed by 4 guys who all ran a 10k pace that I should be able to go with.  Kevin & Hortense enjoying race day sunsetBut being my first big race in Humidity, since passing out at St Anthony’s, I wanted to finish healthy more than I wanted a high placing.  Eerily enough, Brent McMahon was closing in on the finish in 2nd place.  Suddenly, with less than 20 meters to go he passed out.  Hayes, Potts, and Tichelaar all ran by while medics attended to Brent.  He came to and crawled to the finish in 5th place before resuming his exhausted, painful, nausea.  The anguish he was in was all too familiar as I saw him in the med tent after I finished.     

I felt good about my race, and definitely felt recovered which is awesome because this race can be a stepping stone to improvement instead of the other way around like many of my other races this year.  It was a smashing good time to storm through New York City and have the support of the large crowds.  I recommend this urban adventure for anyone.

Fire Island sunset

So I was now done with my race, it was 7:50am (5:50am my time) and Hortense and I had the whole day to play.  So we went to Penn Station and bought tickets to Bay Shore on Fire Island.  Having a couple hours before departure we ventured through Midtown and Midtown South soaking up the stifling heat eagerly awaiting a cool dip in the Atlantic.

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RESULTS.

The 2008 YMCA Boise Spudman

It was awesome to be racing the Boise Spudman after a 2 year hiatus.  Wow!, what a great event.  It was my very first Olympic distance triathlon (back in 2003) and after doing several races all over the nation, this one still ranks up there as one of the best. 
Thanks to Tim Severa and the YMCA staff for putting on this race.  Spectators and racers alike are fortunate to have such a dedicated group.  These events help the community stay active while having fun doing it.  Also, thanks to all the volunteers, who took aside some time on a beautiful Saturday morning to make this race safe and fun for all the participants.

2008 Boise YMCA Spudman Triathlon 
Hortense and I were both racing and we woke up to a calm morning under brilliant blue skies.  Hortense had a fever the night before and wasn’t sure that she was going to be well enough to race.  However, a good night of sleep worked some magic and she was ready to go.

 
It was easy to smile and relax while enjoying the day’s optimum weather with temps in the high 60’s, not a cloud in sight, and the slightest of summer breezes.  I’m not sure what the water temperature was at Lucky Peak but it was comfortably warm yet still refreshing.  At 9 o’clock the athletes took off on their 1.5k swim(1.7k probably).  I was excited because it was my first race since St Anthony’s (the first of May) where I felt 100% healthy and wanted to enjoy my fitness.  My swimming has been superb; so when someone took it out fast and pulled away in the first 200 yards, I was startled and wondering who is this fast guy?  Everett and Nay out frontDid a pro enter the race?, was it a college swimmer?, was he a good biker and runner?  I was stoked.  Being challenged is always fun and brings out the best in your abilities.  I caught up to him and drafted for the next 300 meters or so.  I was able to recover while drafting and so I took the lead, while passing I noticed who the fast swimmer was…Peter Ney.  We had swum together on several occasions, and yes he is a fast swimmer, biker, and runner.

Spudman swim finishEverett feeling good in the F2R wetsuit

 
From there I maintained a much stronger than usual pace and got into a great rhythm.  I was using this event to get in race shape in time for the New York City Triathlon the following weekend.  Peter forcing the issue in the swim was exactly what I needed, keeping me more than honest.  He stayed close but I worked on negative splitting my swim and held off any late charge.  None-the-less, we had a pretty good 3 to 4 minute lead on some other strong swimmers in the field.

Everett & F2R wetsuitHortense 1st woman out of the water
After quickly changing out of my F2R wetsuit, I was off to time trial 40k (about 43k) on the super fast SCOTT Plasma.  We had about a 3 mile out and back section where we could check out our competition coming out of the water.  It was motivating to see my wife as the lead women.  I yelled, “Go Hortense!” and surged with a little adrenalin rush.  I was happy to consider her great swim reflecting on how she had been feeling. 
I rode on and did my best to attack the large climb up to ‘Hilltop’, knowing this was the biggest test to my overall fitness and speed.  After cresting this hill it was a several mile descent as we strode along a chunk of the Boise Ironman course.  I flashed back to leading the first part of the bike in that race…and imagined my pace much quicker today.


Coming into T2 I turned my attention to having a solid run.  I felt fleet footed and quick albeit too comfortable to be having a breakthrough run.  I was finding it hard to force the issue and approach the realm of painfully hard running.  I knew this would most likely be the case in the NYC Triathlon and did what I could to keep my pace near my threshold.  I was appreciative for this glorious day and my fitness which was surely back on par.  Heading back on the out-and-back run course I was elated to see Hortense still leading the race.  Maybe she should feel bad the night before the race more often!?  I encouraged her to, “think about those BRIC workouts.”  Knowing these tough workouts serve up the mettle to finish out a 10k strong.  Running towards the finish I noticed she did have company with several other women hot on her trail.

 
The best thing about the race, for my psyche going into the NYC Triathlon, was that the run felt short and I was left with the wonderful feeling of…’that’s it!?’  It was also super cool to finish the race and feel recovered shortly after.  Feeling like this after a race is a sure sign that my body is in good shape and ready to roll.


Hortense got to mile 4 and then started to fade as the day’s heat rose and her energy waned.  However, giving her minimalistic approach to training…she did awesome and winning her age-group and finishing 4th overall is something to be proud of.  A few more weeks of Harold’s running workouts and she’ll be a whole new animal on the run.
   

 

2008 Boise YMCA Spudman Results

Spudman Photos from Aeros site

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Pacific Crest weekend’s rule

Driving roughly due west from Boise on Interstate 20; one encounters mile after mile of wide open country.  The views in every direction are expansive along this arid, dry, route; all of it desert.  Yet, it’s a vivid landscape with mountains, canyons, rivers, meadows, craggy hill sides and an assortment of colors.  It is a dreamy landscape challenging the mind to think big.  After 257 miles, the first forest begins to envelope the road revealing that Bend, Oregon is near.  We are close to our destination of Sunriver for the Pacific Crest Triathlon.

Our backyard view in Sunriver during the evening
Nestled in Central Oregon, this place has an ancient & majestic feel to it.  Mt. Bachelor (a stratovolcano) and the Three Sisters tower above the landscape coated in high mountain glaciers.  The giant Ponderosa Pine trees dominate the forest.  It is a beautiful place to visit and one with many, many outdoor activities.

 
This was a wives only race weekend.  Our friends Adam and Kellie with their kids Mac and Lucy rented a lovely house together close to the Deschutes River.  Adam and I played the roll of supporting our wives for a change.  Both Hortense and Kellie were doing the Olympic distance Triathlon on Sunday while Adam did a triathlon of his own…watching the little ones (Mac was racing too), cheering on Kellie, and taking photos.

Adam, Mac, Kevin and Kellie 
Adam and I were able to enjoy ourselves; not having to rest or stay out of the sun.  We both had an outstanding training/ fun day on Saturday doing a Bric workout while Kellie and Hortense got their packets and lounged at the house.  We found a single track trail that ran along side the Deschutes River that made for glorious Mountain Biking.  It was my first Mtn. Bike ride in ages; over a year.  We were wowed by the terrain and the scenery and I couldn’t help but think why I had not been in so long.  We rode for almost three hours feeling that yippee experience the whole time.  Embarking on Dillon and Benham Falls was stunning, kindling the paddling spirits in us.  I think we both would have liked to ride a few more hours; however we had responsibilities to ensure Hortense and Kellie were ready for their races.  We did a short 40 minute run on winding rolling single track that had me feeling like an Indian Scout covering ground fast to find some prey.   It was so much fun to be training on new trails; exploring.

 
The next day I drove Kellie and Hortie up to Wickiup Reservoir while Adam took Mac to the Half Mile Kids run and watched Lucy.  With Saturday setting several records for High temperatures throughout Oregon…Sunday was shaping up to be even hotter.  After the girls exited their 1.5k swim shortly after 9:30am the temp was already 86!

Hortense sporting her sleevless F2RHortense entering T2 with her SCOTT Plasma Hortense off on her Hot run 
The girls raced awesome and I think they both had that inner smile throughout the swim and bike.  The run was another story.  It was Hot, way too hot to ‘feel good’ on a run that traverses through the trees but is still mostly in the sun with rolling hills.  Hortense worried me at the start of her run (in 2nd place at that point) as she was moving fast.  Running hard in such heat can be stifling and most importantly I wanted her to finish healthy.  Both ladies showed true grit and finished strong making their husbands proud.

A Healthy finsih 

It was a fantastic weekend; one to be thankful for our loved ones and our health and our beautiful environment.    

Bend Bulletin Coverage 

Pacific Crest Trialthon Olympic RESULTS  

Hortense’s 2007 race report

Good job ladies!.