Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2009 American Triple T

Friday, Saturday, Sunday
May 22-24, 2009
Portsmouth, Ohio
Shawnee State Park
Team Name: Rock 'N Rock Lifestyle
(Matthew Amman and Scott Bowe)

Overall Result: DNF

Scott Bowe and I teamed up again for the 2009 American Triple T race. After personally struggling in 2008, I was looking forward to testing my stamina. I have found that this race favors those with a long-distance racing curriculum vitae, short-course racers rarely perform well.

Our trip to the race venue included Adrienne's teammate Michelle Lanouette and Wisconsin short-course superstar Chris Wichert racing in the solo category. It would be his first attempt racing long-course and prove to be a learning experience. To breakup the 9+hr trip we stayed Thursday night at Adrienne's aunt and uncle's place in West Lafayatte, IN. We eventually rolled into Shawnee State Park at 3:30 Friday afternoon.

250 meter swim 4:46 (6 OA); 5 mile bike 10:47 (5 OA); 1 mile run 6:03 (38 OA)

Unlike last year, the lake water was warm and the pavement dry. I swam without a wetsuit again, biked evenly, and ran strong without a side-stitch. By placing in the top five, I earned us a 30 second time bonus.

RACE #2 OLYMPIC 12th Overall
1500 meter swim 20:16; 24.5 mile bike 1:09; 6.55 mile run 43:25 (6:38 pace)

The first race is just too short to really separate yourself from the competition so this becomes the ego race. Everybody around me smoked themselves trying to hurt each other.

I swam strong and noticed that I continue to develop a right side-stitch when breathing right--my dominant side. The problem seems to go away when I breathe to the left. Odd, for my entire swimming career I never had to breathe to the opposite side, but for some reason long-distance swimming is different. At least I found a solution. The other thing was that I swam by myself instead of trying to stay on Scott's feet the entire time. Obviously that set me up to bike and run better than in the past. The bike and run were uneventful. I enjoyed three powergels, 3 salt tablets (Saltstick), and water on the bike; 2 salt tablets and water on the run. I was happy with my performance and getting excited about hurting others in the final two races.

RACE #3 OLYMPIC 25th Overall
24.5 mile bike 1:09:57; 1500 meter swim 22:20; 6.55 mile run 50:44 (7:45 pace)

We started this race with the team bike time-trial. After what happened last year, Scott led out the first ten minutes using his SRM powermeter. We managed to hold strong. Switching over to the swim and putting on a wetsuit was difficult. In the process I put a few fingernail nicks in my wetsuit. Scott and I swam past a lot of people as expected.

The run turned out to be difficult for Scott. A right quad cramp and later a right chest stitch forced him/us to really slow down, but in stotan fashion he toughed it out keeping us in the top three (team category).

1.2 mile swim 27:55; 56 mile bike DNF; 13.1 mile run DNS

If you haven't guess it by now, things got bad. After a solid swim, Scott and I biked comfortably on the heels of the top team (USPROTri). Scott was feeling a little wiped out so I did as much of the bike work as possible. At mile 21 before we got back to Hwy 125, something bad happened. Scott and I had just crested a hill and he took the lead down a snaky descent. On the way down his front tire hit a pothole causing him to lose control and fall. Because we were travelling at 34 mph he slide a good 20 yards on the pavement before rolling into the woods. Being a few yards behind him I narrowly escaped riding over him. It was horrific to watch and immediately knew our day was over. By the time I set my bike down, Scott was on his feet and about to grab his bike. I told him to stay put and assess the damage. We both thought he was going to live, but the road rash on both legs, arms, and left butt cheek was bleeding profusely and swelling fast. As for the bike, I picked it up and checked it over. It was rideable, but the front wheel was out of true, the right aerobar busted up, and the left brake handle twisted around. After fixing the twisted chain, I had Scott get back on the bike. We rode slowly back to the transition area just a few miles away.

A DNF is tough on the psyche. For now Scott is going to learn how fast he can grow skin. I, on the hand, am going to go hammer the TriWisconsin Lannon ride tonight to makeup for missing out on the second loop of the Triple T HIM bike course. Fellow riders...look out!

On the flipside, my wife Adrienne and her teammate Michelle took second place in the women's team division. I swear that woman works half as hard as I do yet earns the same amount of hardware.

As for Chris Wichert, he survived (barely) and seems interested in returning next year. Arguably he should be in contention for the overall win. The swim remains his weak link yet in the tradition triathlon format of swim-bike-run you can have a weak swim, but Triple T is far from traditional. I continue to believe that the bike-swim-run format, found at the third race at Triple T, is a better triathlon format. At least that's what us swimmers think.

Thanks to HFP Racing for putting on another great race.

Things to Remember:
1. Training consistently pays off.
2. New Tubular tire pressure: front 115 psi, back 118 psi. Worked fine.
3. Razor blade is best for removing a flat tubular.
4. After installing spare tubular, pinch the rim between your legs and grab the tire to pull in an upward direction to reseat it. Start opposite of the valve. Repeat around the tire 4-5 times. This prevents a wobble.
5. Breathe more to the left when swimming.
6. 2 Powerbars and 1 can Red Bull for breakfast; Race venue food (Cans of coke, P&J sandwiches, Manwich sandwiches, chips, pasta, etc.) worked good for lunch and dinner; Race fuel was simply Powergels, water, and salt tablets (Saltstick type). Worked fine.