Tuesday, June 16, 2009

2009 Got Energy Triathlon

Got Energy Triathlon
La Crosse, WI
June 14, 2009
Olympic Distance (1500m;40k;10k)
Matthew Amman 1st OA
S-20:33 B-57:58 (25.7 mph) R-39:11 (6:18 pace)

A car nearly killed me in this race. In the last half mile before entering T2, a car took a right turn across the closed bike lane right in front of me. I had only a few seconds to react by braking and swerving. It was not enough and I hit the bumper.

Earlier this year when visiting our friends Travis Evenson and Paula Skoy in Onalaska, we saw that the YMCA puts on a local triathlon in June. Adrienne and I figured we would sign up as another excuse to visit friends.

We travelled there after work Friday with the dogs. Zero like usual hogged the back seat with Nika having to stand. They eventually worked things out so that both could lie down.

Saturday was fun. We went and watched Travis play in a softball tournament in Sparta and enjoy the chicken dinner the local Lions club was grilling. Yum. Afterwards, I put together the bikes and Adrienne and I went for a 30 minute ride to warmup the legs. I was hoping to get a swim in as well at the YMCA but did not have enough time. We had an excellent dinner at an Italian restaurant in LaCrosse.

This is not a very big race. The sprint category had some 180 participants while the olympic distance had just under 70. The venue, Lake Neshonoc and Swarthout Park, was beautiful with perfect conditions.

The swim start was uneventful. I started up front and a little too far to the left. The first 200 yards was fast with some guy pretty intent on swim up and over me. He kept swimming up on to me until his hands were on my waist. Wierd. After a while I was out in front and pulled away. However, by starting on the far left I had trouble swimming straight and kept veering off to the left. I eventually made it to the turnaround buoy and started back to the swim finish. I exited the water in 19:XX with a 30 yard lead. Transition went smoothly.

I rode out of Swarthout park quickly and onto Hwy 16 where an assigned motorcyclist was my guide through the bike course. Upon reaching the first turn as we started riding through town (West Salem), the motorcyclist had some troubles and went around the first turn too slow. I nearly ran into him and had to swerve. It was not a good sign.

The bike course was mildy hilly but the road conditions were nearly perfect and there was no wind. It made for fast bike riding. I pushed fairly hard but was a little worried about tired legs. My training partner Scott had done a race the day before (Elkhart Lake Triathlon) and when we chatted on the phone after he finished the race, he told me that his legs were still trashed from our hard ride at Merton Tuesday and the hard run we did on Thursday. Nevertheless I seemed to hold up okay.

I led the entire bike course. The turnaround was a bit gravelly and I did slip a bit. On the way back I could see that I had a comfortable lead. Second place (Brent Sinn) was a few minutes behind.

As we got back to town, there were a few turns to manuevre through. For the last 3/4 of a mile, the eastbound road starting at Leonard Street was closed off to traffic with construction barrels. Soon after entering this area--the dedicated bike lane--the lead motorcyclist decided to vear off into the traffic lane. I thought nothing of it because he had problems when we originally went through this section. My other thought was that maybe he thought I could make it back to the park/transition area on my own--it was nearly in sight. So I forged onward in the bike lane.

Well, apparantly what was going on was that a car wanted to take a right turn across the bike lane, something I did not see, to enter a side street into a subdivision. To avoid a mishap, I either needed to come to a complete stop or vear left into the traffic lane behind the motorcyclist. Anyway, the car turned right in front of me giving me a just 10-15 yards to stop and/or swerve. I tried to swerve but knew I was in trouble. I was moving way too fast (+25mph). The driver of the car must of saw me at the last second because he tried to stop but was still moving when I crashed into the right side of his bumper. The collision was between his bumper and my crank/left pedal (nothing touched the wheels or frame). I went flying landing on my left hip and shoulder. The pavement was smooth so I slide maybe 7-8-9 yards. Immediately, I got up to assess the damage. Having witnessed Scott crash at Triple T a few weeks earlier, I was familiar with the routine: check body, check bike, make decision if to continue. Based on the rather small tear on my bike shorts I knew it was not as bad as Scott's fall. Some fingers on my left hand were badly scrapped plus some minor road rash on my left shoulder and chest. The bike seemed okay, the wheels still true, no visible cracks on the frame.

I climbed back on and biked back into transition. Checking over my shoulder, I saw that the motorist had pulled over to the side of the road and race volunteers were scrambling over to talk to him. Meanwhile, I was falling apart mentally. I was extremely mad and felt violated. Here I was pouring my heart into having a fast race and some car takes me out! When I entered Swarthout park with the spectators cheering me on, hidden behind my sunglasses were tears of anger and fear. I managed to rack my bike, put on my running shoes, and start running.

Full of adrenaline, I managed to run strong the first mile. I was trying to put what just happened behind me and hold it together to win. As wanted, I kept my running stride short and pushed the envelope short of side-stich territory for the first 15 minutes. At the first turnaround I had what looked like another triathlete running me down. He was running sub 6 miles, me right around 6:25. Worried I kept pushing it and after 5K never saw him again (He must of the been the winner of the sprint triathlon.). At the start of the second loop, Adrienne was starting out on her first loop. She was running fast (nearly as fast as I). Upon passing her, I told her what happened. She thought I must of been fine with the pace I was holding.

On the second loop I let myself find my natural running stride. My pace seemed even and I even managed to push hard for the last mile. I never ran on the edge for risk of hurting myself even more. I crossed the finish line in 1:59:27.

Who was at fault? I believe we all were: the motorcyclist, the car, and me. While it's easy to point a few fingers, I'm just happy to be alive. The medical staff at the race did a wonderful job and wish to thank them as well as the race staff. They did their best to ensure a safe race and sometimes things just happen.

I'll be sore for the next few days and have to grow some new skin. I was hoping to race High Cliff Half-Ironman this coming weekend, but will have to spectate instead. That's okay. Adrienne is fun to watch.

La Crosse Tribune:
Got Energy Triathlon: Wife and husband sweep intermediate distance races
By KIRK BEY | kbey@lacrossetribune.com.

WEST SALEM — Adrienne Amman smiled. The “debriefing,” as she called it, likely would take place on their three-plus hour drive home Sunday to Wauwatosa, Wis.

Amman could take great satisfaction in a job well-done. The Got Energy YMCA/Touchstone Energy Triathlon, a race she and her husband, Matt, had first heard about when they visited the area last winter, had been an enjoyable experience. Adrienne won the women’s intermediate distance race, which consisted of a nine-tenths mile swim, 24-mile bike ride and 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) run, in 2 hours, 18 minutes, 53.6 seconds. She beat runner-up Maggie Fournier of Onalaska by more than seven minutes.
Adrienne Amman begins the swim portion of the Got Energy Triathlon Sunday as she runs into Lake Neshonoc in West Salem. PETER THOMSON photo

For Adrienne, it had been a day worth talking about. And the perfect person with whom to discuss it would be sitting in the car seat next to her.

Matt had had a pretty incredible day himself, winning the men’s intermediate distance race in a course-record time of 1:59:27. He had done so while doing the final leg of the race, the 10-k run,with an aching left hip. It was the result of a collision with a motorist as he approached Swarthout Park on his bicycle.

Matt simply was looking forward to icing his leg and getting some rest. But Adrienne was happy knowing her husband of seven years would offer his opinion of the day’s events if she asked.

“He’s my guide and my coach,” Adrienne said of Matt, who, like her, graduated from Middleton High School and the University of Wisconsin. “He tells me what I need to do with my training and I say, ‘OK.’ ”

It’s no wonder.

Matt, 32, has completed one Ironman triathlon (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, 26.2-mile run), the Wisconsin Ironman, last year in Madison, and plans to compete in one later this summer in Louisville, Ky. He’s a chiropractor with a hectic schedule — he has his own practice in Milwaukee — but he has a strict, 20-hour-a-week workout regimin.

Adrienne, 30, is a speech therapist at the Milwaukee Veterans Administration Medical Center who also has a busy schedule that includes between 16 and 17 hours of training a week. Even though Matt and Adrienne don’t get to train together often, days like Sunday when they both perform well are a great way to spend a weekend.

“This (competing in triathlons) is just fun for us. We keep it light and just try to enjoy it,” Matt said. “This is our hobby.”

It’s the type of hobby that Adrienne is glad she shares with her husband. She knows he’s a good resource in helping her improve.

“You can learn something from every race,” Adrienne said. “There’s always something you can improve upon.”

Things to Remember:
- Breakfast 500 calories (2 Clif Bars); 1 can Red Bull
- Drink only 2/3 can of Red Bull (5-6 oz) in future
- Tire pressure F-115 R-118 (Fine)
- Water bottle 1/3 full with water
- Flushed mouth twice on bike, never drank
- No food or water for OLY
- Wore socks for run (Good idea)