Sunday, December 19, 2010

Survival of the Shawangunks

Referred to as "the champagne of adventure races" in the video at the bottom of this blog. This race was great. Click on the SOS triathlon banner above for more of a course description, but basically this was an 8 stage triathlon in the Shawangunk mountains: 30m bike, 4.5m run, 1.1m swim, 5.5m run, .5m swim, 8mile run, .5m swim, .7mile run/climb.

I got back from the TransRockies and was buried in work. Literally zero time to do any type of training or anything other than work. Really dissapointing as I wanted to see if I could turn an intense running block at altitude into some serious sea level speed. So anyhow after 15 days of nothing (I did manage to squeeze in one 20mile bike ride) I drove up to New Paltz with Brian (my crew) to do this race. I didn't have a chance prior to the race to figure out what I was going to do with my shoes during the swim portions. Note to others: have this one thing dialed in before the race, practice your technique until perfected, this is an important element of this race. More on this later.

Starting on the bike was interesting. I thought drafting was going to be an issue, but it spread out really quickly and wasn't at all. This photo is about 50yds into the race. Why do I look so much bigger than everyone else?
The bike leg was beautiful and pretty flat and fast for the first 25 miles... then straight up hill for the last 5 miles. I took it very easy for the whole climb, did not want to tire the legs at this point in the race..

Arrived at the transition, handed my bike of the Brian, grabbed my shoes, goggles and cap and started running. This first run was the hardest of the runs for me. For some reason I never really felt comfortable, and it was slightly up hill almost the whole way.

Got to the first lake, took my shoes of and stuffed them down the back of my tri-shorts and eased into the water to start the 1.1 mile swim. The drag of shoes in shorts was a little uncomfortable, and after about 2 mins, the shoes had floated right out. I stopped, turned around, grabbed them, and tried to tuck them in even further into the shorts. That lasted about 30 seconds before they wriggled out and went floating away again. I decided that this wasn't going to work anymore so I just put them back onto my feet and and started swimming again. Swimming with shoes on your feet is not fun, and it slows you down a lot. But thats how it was going to be for the rest of the race so I had to make the mental adjustment right there and then. Other than that, all the lakes where beautiful, crystal clear, and cold - 63 degrees, just how I like it!!!

This is a photo of me coming to the end of the second swim: Lake Minnewaska
This is about half way through the third run, deep into the race. I put a lot of what I learnt at the TransRockies to work in this race, and it was paying off as chased down may of the people that passed me earlier in the race.
After the last swim, the trail goes very steeply up to the finish at Sky Top Tower, I had my shoes on already and I felt great, so I went for it and managed the 9th fastest climb split of the race! Finishing 22nd overall, and 4th in my age group... All things considered, I was very happy. Next year I'll be back to go sub 5 hours :)
Complete Results/Splits HERE

Here is a great little TV segment on the race... See you next year.

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