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Race Result

Racer: Mike Tine
Race: Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon
Date: Saturday, May 6, 2006
Location: Huddleston, VA
Race Type: Triathlon - Sprint
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 1:08:49
Overall Place: 9 / 246
Age Group Place: 1 / 41
Comment: First in age group - finally!

Race Report:

Swim - 12:08 (10th)
T1 - 1:10 (27th)
Bike - 35:03 (10th)
T2 - 0:38 ( 9th) - fastest T2 yet!
Run - 19:52 (27th) - side stitch again. Food? Stretching?

This had been a long time coming. My very first triathlon, 10 (?) years ago in CT, was the first and last time I got first in my age group. Admittedly, that was likely because not a lot of 25-year olds showed up then, but it still helped me get hooked and gave me a goal year after year. Well, I finally did it again - FIRST IN MY AGE GROUP!

Now for the caveat. There was one 35-39 year old in the top 3, but he was counted for overall, so 1st rolled down to me. I'll take it. Actually, if it weren't for Michael Orton, this guy would have won the whole race.

Anyway, I hadn't trained as much as I'd hoped over the winter and certainly not over the past month or so. But I've done what I could given work, life, etc. I went into this race hoping for top 5, but willing to take what my body would give me. I was also excited to try out my new steed for the first time - 2005 Litespeed Saber, Renn 575 disc!

I was hoping for a good swim, but hadn't swum more than 1x per week in over a month. I swam a bit slower than last year, but came out of the water 3rd in my wave! It felt very smooth, and I loved the swim. Looked up every 20-30 strokes. Perfect water temp (69), perfect day so far.

The run up to T1 was tough on breathing, but that was under control by the time I left T1. Relatively easy getting off wetsuit, although I can do it faster. Slow clip into bike, but took off after that.

Pushed it hard for the first couple of miles, so breathing was an issue. There was a 30-year-old on a comparable steed who was swapping positions with me for the first few miles, but then I dropped him and settled into a rhythm. I realized I was somewhere in the first 15 out on the course...despite starting in the second wave! Had I really passed that many people in the swim? I started getting worried I'd cut corners or something, but my time didn't suggest that, and when I saw others I recognized from my wave at the time I expected to see them, I knew all was good. I kept hammering. The bike fit felt great. I even tucked up most hills. I couldn't catch anybody after the first wave of people, but I was definitely gaining. Keep in mind that all but 2 from my wave were behind me, so everyone within 3 minutes ahead of me was actually behind me in time (I thought I was first in my wave at this point, but I found out later I was mistaken).

I saw that Will Waskes, fellow RAT, was only a few seconds ahead of me going into T2. I'd managed to gain 3 minutes on him as he'd started in wave 1. We'd somewhat expected this as he is a great runner (much better than me!). I flew through T2 - fastest ever for me - and passed Will in transition. I knew I'd see him soon.

I was right. As he caught and passed me at about 1/4-mile mark, he said he wasn't feeling so good. Which made me think I could hang with him despite my side stitch that came back. So I did. We swapped positions until the turnaround. At this point, he took off and I tried to keep him in range. I did. He and one other person were my rabbits. They enabled me to pass one of my fellow 35-39 AGers ahead of me. Now I was certain I was in first for my AG. I was right - somewhat - as I explained before. #2 overall was 39, but he got the overall award, so... Anyway, with this in mind, I knew I had to fend off any other attacks, and I knew Kevin Kunkel was gunning for me. As a better runner than me, Kevin could potentially catch me, especially with this side-stitch that I was fighting. When I heard the breathing behind me, I thought it was either him or the 35-year-old I'd passed just before mile 2. It was neither, but rather a 43-year-old who got 2nd in his AG. I pushed it hard for the last mile, and harder for the last 1/2 mile, peeked back with about 100 yards to go, saw nobody would catch me, and continued to push strong through the finish. Not a great pace (6:35), but good considering the side stitch. And only 3 people from my wave beat me.

And I finally got that elusive 1st in AG for which I'd been questing. Next goals: Top 3 in AG at an International Distance race, Top 5 overall at Smith Mountain Lake.

One note on Orton...he was fun to watch in the race. Even racing on a road bike (warming up for next week's ITU race in Hawaii) he crushed all comers. If only I could swim, bike, or run so smoothly.