Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Lobsterman Triathlon, a bucket list race crossed off to never do again.

Ya, this race recap is a few weeks late but to be honest its taken me this long to purge all the hatred from my soul over it. If you live in New England there are races you "have to do" and the Lobsterman Olympic in Freeport ME is one of them. For the first time I had a group of friends all wanting to do it so even though there was camping involved, yes camping and we'll get to that eventually, but the chance to hang out and race with a group of fellow triathletes was too good to pass up.

So off we went to Maine to pick up registration packets, get to the camping area (which at least was right at the starting area for the race) and set up camp. Unfortunately, mother nature did not feel like cooperating...and it poured most of the day. So much so that we ended up holed up in a local restaurant waiting for a break in the weather. The storm didn't let up until it got dark which meant looking for the camping area to pitch a tent and pitching said tent was done under flashlight/headlights. Now I have to admit that I HATE "camping". I spent 10 years "camping" in the Army and the day I took off my uniform was the day I swore to myself that I'd never sleep outdoors, in a tent, or go without a shower again. But...this was gonna be a different, fun experience right...right?! Ugh. Tent set up and in bed by 9:30 to try and get as much sleep as possible before the sounds of people coming into the race wakes you up.

There was a benefit in being literally 100m meters from the transition area and having the ability to wake up, then walk over for set up. Because of the rain the days prior, the transition area was already a little "mucky" as we set up and all I could think was how terrible it was gonna get as the day dragged on. I never cease to be amazed at the divergence of people's transition areas. So guys were so spread out so much that as athletes walked up they had to ask people to please use less space. This ain't your living room people!

Swim: .93 miles, 44:34
Everything setup, time to get on a wetsuit and head to the water. Oh ya...the was frigid! So cold I wished I had a full wetsuit but I decided to at least do the double swim cap trick to help with holding onto some heat. As we entered the water, I actually missed being a fat kid beecaue the blubber would've insulated me! One of my fellow racers noted that the folks behind us would have a hell of a time navigating in the water because our caps are the same color as the buoys. Prophetic words indeed. I've never been so happy to hear the start command becuase I wanted to generate some heat and get to swimming. It seemed like it took forever to get to the first buoy. We were swimming perpendicular to the current and I felt like I was swiimimng as much left to right as I was straight. Ugh. Ok, first buoy down now swim into the current to the next buoy. The comment about the swim caps being the same color as the buoys was spot on. Every time I thought I was sighting on a buoy I realized it was a swim cap from my wave. The cold of the water was quickly replaced with the anger of realizing this swim seems to be taking forever. I figured the best thing to do was stay with the "pack" of swimmers to use as my guides to get me through the course. I finally made it to the last buoy and made the turn toward the finish thinking this should go quickly with the current to my back. With no intermediate buoys for guidance the only thing to do was stay with the pack hoping we'll get to the end. We turned into gopher swimmers. Every 25 meters or so we'd all stop and pop up our heads to try and sight the swim exit...and ask each other where its at. It was only after a few minutes more that I realized that we were easily 300 or more meters off course to the right of the swim exit...which was black and in the shade...making it almost invisible. Sonuva! I was getting tired and just wanted to get out of the water by now. Ok, dig in and finish this damn thing already! I finally got to the swim exit, got out of the water and glanced down to see my watch read 44 minutes. 44 minutes?! Are you kidding me?! Ya, the water was rough but last weekend I swam an Olympic in 26 minutes...what the hell?! Well, nothing to do but get to the bike and see what time i can make up.

T1: 2:34 (my worst ever)
I have to admit, I was gassed coming out of the water. All of T1 seemed to be in slow motion and the time certainly shows it. I couldn't feel my hands or feet and they did not want to function to get me out of my wetsuit and into my cycling gear.

Ride: 24.7 miles, 1:16:44 - 19.3mph
The ride out of transition was on a sandy course and I was so fearful that the sand would accumulate and get stuck in the narrow space between my Cervelo P2's frame and rear wheel (its happened before) and lock me up but luckily I got out and onto pavement with no issue. Really?! Even on a dry day, putting expensive tri bikes on sand is acceptable? I don't think so. The bike course was uneventful but not flat. We really need to define what "rolling hills" are. That course was "hilly" to me. For some reason my GPS didn't pick up so I had no idea of speed or pace so I spent most of the course passing people and leapfrogging with another triathlete from a college team. It was a pleasant diversion too because I felt gassed out on the ride. I just wanted to get off the bike and get to the run.

T2: 1:15
Hitting the dismount point I see that its absolutely muddy slop getting into transition. I sank into ankle deep in mud with both feet trying to get to racks. Are you kidding me?! Ya, I know it rained but this is supposedly a "premiere event" and nobody thought to plan for this or better yet to fix it? Ugh! Just get the bike racked, get out on the run and get this over with.

Run: 6.2 miles, 49:03 - 7:54 pace
Within a few 100 meters on the run, my right hip started to bother me again. I've been dealing with this weird hip pain the last few weeks. I don't know if its from overuse, some change in my gait or a leftover thing from my Timberman crash but it hurts as if it needs to "pop" and can't. So...I knew this run was gonna suck and the time showed it. My GPS still hadn't picked up so it was all about passing people and making it to the turn to head back in to the finish. The last mile was over rolling hills and my hip was killing me. I wanted nothing more than to just get to the finish and that picture shows it. I crossed the finish in 2:54:58...over 40 minutes slower than the weekend before. Then, imagine my surprise when in passing I talk to one of the race staff about how crappy the course was to find out that the swim was closer to 1.2 miles than .9 miles. Are you f'ing kidding me?! That was not the way I wanted to end my season. Yes, I know "things happen" at races but Lobsterman isn't some first year mom and pop race. I expected a well put together, Ironman-like professional event and was sorely disappointed. Yes, it was a "bucket list" race to do but having done it, I wasn't impressed nor have any desire to do it again next year.

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