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Race Result

Racer: Mike Tine
Race: Hickory Knob Triathlon
Date: Saturday, October 14, 2006
Location: McCormick, SC
Race Type: Triathlon - International Distance
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 2:33:37
Overall Place: 21 / 182
Age Group Place: 3 / 15

Race Report:

Swim: 00:24:49
T1: 00:01:39
Bike: 01:22:15
T2: 00:00:44
Run: 00:44:12

This race was the final one put on this year by Setup Inc. It was held at Hickory Knob State Park in McCormick, SC just over the border from Georgia, so a long ways away from home. As such, Karen and I flew down to Augusta, GA early on Friday morning (3:45am wake-up for a 6am flight!) and drove the rest of the way in a rented Toyota 4Runner. We tried to sleep on the way down, but it was a fitful sleep, so didn’t help much. This was the 2nd day in a row that I’d had to wake up at 3:45am, Thursday for a business trip to NYC and Friday for this trip to SC. But it was worth it in the end.

When we arrived at our hotel, Savannah Lakes Resort & Marina, we were pleasantly surprised. First of all, this area was giving Luray (site of Dave Glover’s Luray Triathlon) a run for its money as the friendliest place I’d done a triathlon! The people were almost scarily nice! Of course, this was basically the middle of nowhere as we found out when we went looking for a restaurant. There was 1 Pizza place, 1 BBQ place, a Hardee’s, and…..well that was it. So we went for lunch to the Little Italy Pizzaria with little in the way of hope for a good meal. We were happily mistaken. We thoroughly enjoyed our meals, a lasagna and a calzone, and vowed to come back for dinner (not much choice!). We then returned to the hotel to quickly assemble the bicycle, do a quick run to get the legs moving, and then headed off to registration. The run scared me a bit in that my legs were still very tired/heavy from the sprint race the weekend before (Bank of Bermuda). Oh well, nothing I could do about it now.

At check-in, I saw the next scary part of this race, the run up from the swim to the transition area. Evil is the best way I can describe this. It began with a climb up a ladder onto the floating dock. Then, because the lake was 9 feet below normal levels (!), there was a VERY steep ramp up to the fixed part of the dock about 30 feet above water level. That merely led to a long, steep hill about a ¼ mile up to transition. Ouch. Karen and I then drove the run and bike courses, seeing the hills of southern South Carolina. Given my tired legs of earlier in the day, I was getting worried, but again, nothing I could do now. At least it would be a pretty ride/run.

Again, I was happy with the 9am start time of this race. Karen and I woke up at 6:30am, dilly-dallied around, and got to the transition area at around 7:20am. We were early enough to get prime parking near the transition area. Karen stayed in the warm car because, another scary part of this race, the temperature gauge read an astounding 39 degrees outside! I meanwhile tried my best to stay warm while I set up in transition, picked up my chip, and got body marked. Cold, cold, cold, cold, cold! The water temperature was 70 degrees, so I was looking forward to the swim, but the ride after that was going to be very cold. So I prepared differently than normal. I laid out tube-sock arm-warmers and full-fingered gloves for the bike as well as wool socks.

I jumped in the water to warm up with about 15 minutes to go. I swam around for awhile, admired the beautiful scenery, and general felt good about my swim chances. I spotted Karen with my Aunt Mary and Uncle Bob who’d come up from the Atlanta area to cheer me on (my cousin also came with her beautiful new baby boy, Aaron). The gun went off with only the 10-second warning (no 3-2-1 countdown), and I tried to get into a rhythm. Darn it, my right goggle kept leaking! I stopped to clear it twice, but then just decided to swim with my right eye closed. I settled into a comfortable pace, knowing I had a hard climb to transition followed by a hard bike and run. I ended up having a great swim, coming out in about 12th place. The run up to transition wasn’t as hard as I expected, but still fairly difficult. It was nice to have my Uncle running beside me cheering me on the whole way – thanks Uncle Bob!

Then one of my slowest transitions in ages, as I watched several people who got out of the water behind me take off. I got on the socks, helmet, and shoes fine. But I couldn’t seem to get on my gloves or arm warmers. So I decided eventually to just jump on the bike and put them on while riding. My gloves were on my hands, but fingers weren’t in the glove fingers. The arm warmers were hanging out of my mouth while I mounted my bike. Then about ½ mile of riding with no hands to put everything on. A slow transition followed by a slow start to the bike, but hey, I was finally moving and I was riding at a reasonably temperature. It had warmed up a bit from the 39 degrees, but was still only in the upper 40s or lower 50s.

As I mentioned before, the bike ride was hilly, starting with a short steep climb out of the park (which was also part of the run course). I was keeping one rider in sight though, and gradually picked him off in the first 4 miles. Then I just kept peddling along, staying in aero position as much as I could, even on many of the uphills. My legs were tired from the prior week (and not enough training this year), but I was moving okay. A few guys passed me, but I passed a couple too, and came into T2 in about 16th place overall, having only lost 4 spots in a fairly competitive field. The bike was a gorgeous ride through the area near McCormick, SC with a lot of hills, trees, and lakes. My favorite part was riding past the golf course and, of course, skeet-shooting range in the park itself. Riding as shots were fired added a new dimension to the race (I heard a few from the hunters in the woods, too)! I bet Phil Mickelson doesn’t have to worry about a shotgun going off during his backswing!

I had a very fast 45-second T2 which helped alleviate my pain from the slow T1. It was fun to see Karen, Kate (my cousin), Uncle Bob, and Aunt Mary all cheering for me as I took off on the run. My legs felt pretty good, all things considered so I set off at a decent pace. This kept up for about a mile until the massive uphills began. And I mean massive! At the top of the last one, I slowed to a walk for about 20 steps because I wasn’t running any faster. Some of the slower cyclists coming in were even cheering for me to keep going! But then I rounded the corner towards the boat ramp, and picked up the pace again as my marathon endurance started to kick in. I wasn’t gaining on anyone that had passed me, but I was holding my own. My pace continued to improve on the way back to the finish. I was very happy when I saw the finish, I got a boost from my family cheering, and finished strong. 21st place overall, and 3rd in my Age Group.