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Race Result

Racer: Mike Tine
Race: Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon
Date: Saturday, May 7, 2005
Location: Huddleston, VA
Race Type: Triathlon - Sprint
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 1:10:39
Overall Place: 10 / 394
Age Group Place: 2 / 46
Comment: First sprint race in 5 or so years. Side stiches - ouch.

Race Report:

As my first sprint race in 5 or so years, this was a race to which I really looked forward. However, I didn't really taper (TdS last weekend), and I didn't know what to expect. I was hoping for top 3, knowing that would be difficult to accomplish.

Karen and I arrived later on Friday night (8-ish). We were staying in a cabin within Smith Mountain Lake State Park, so we were only about 1-1/2 to 2 miles from the start of the race. The cabin was great, and Karen cooked my pasta dinner while I unpacked the car and cleaned my bike from TdS the week before. Besides some idle chit-chat with Will Waskes and Kevin Kunkel, this was the extent of my race prep.

The next morning, we arrived by bike (other park residents drove the 1-1/2 miles to the start - wimps) at about 6:40am. The parking lot was already packed as was the line for body marking. I picked up my packet - number 261 - then went to set up in transition. The racks were REALLY tightly packed, but there was enough room for us. The disconcerting part of registration was the sign noting the 60-DEGREE WATER TEMPERATURE! I like cold water, but come on.

One item that I didn't like about this race was that the male waves were divided into 34 and under, and 35+. As we all know, there are some REALLY FAST triathletes over 35. So no matter where I finished in my grouping, I'd have to wait and see what happened from the group behind me before knowing how I did overall. And they wouldn't know how hard to push given the 3-minute time lag from the first wave.

With about 15 minutes to go before the start, I dove it for a quick "warm up." My face actually hurt due to the cold water! I only did about 100 yards, then got out to get ready for the start. I was up towards the front when the very quiet beep signaled the race start. Once we all realized we were supposed to go, the rush began. I quickly got out towards the front and settled into a fast rhythm for this 800+m swim (it was admitted to be longer than the originally reported 750m). I saw Will Waskes WAAAAAAY out to the left, but staying parallel to us (I'll let him explain in his race report). When I exited the water - which didn't seem as cold anymore - Karen was yelling that I was 11th in my wave. Farther back than I'd hoped, but overall pretty decent.

In transition, I had a very difficult time getting my bike shoes on due to the cold water effects. I yelled a few profanities very loudly - sorry kids - but eventually pulled them onto my cold blocks called feet. I took off into the bike, passing what turned out to be 2 people in transition. Then another 2 about 10 yards into the bike. I started hammering, given the short course for the bike. I passed another 2 people before the second mile marker. Then, somewhere along the stretch before the first turnaround, I must have gotten into 3rd place in my wave. And I was only about 200 yards behind 1st. #2 passed #1 a few miles later, and I followed suit. So now I was in - gasp - 2nd place!!! Unfortunately, my fitness is not what it was last year, and certainly not my uphill fitness. So when we got to what qualified as a long uphill on this course, 2 "kids" passed me (21 and 22 years old, I think). I kept all 3 of those ahead of me in sight until transition.

I had a tremendous dismount from the bike (the dismount police were audibly awestruck :-)), sprinted to my rack, and had trouble getting my feet into my sneakers, again due to the cold feet and hands. But my transition was still under a minute so I was happy.

Unfortunately, that was my last happiness of the day. The side stitches started less than 1/2 mile into the run. And they were BAAAAADDDDD. I couldn't take anywhere near full breaths, I couldn't seem to work it out quickly, and I was almost reduced to walking. Fortunately, with some slower running and some massaging of the area and some breath control, I got it under control (for the first time) before too long. I did about a 6:55 pace for the first mile, though, which was almost a minute slower than I wanted. The 3 ahead of me weren't pulling away, though, so I thought I might have a chance to catch them now that the stitch was gone. Unfortunately, it reared its ugly head again before mile 2, at which point the leaders disappeared. It again reared its ugly head on the downhill/uphill portion right before the finish. As such, I got caught and had to sprint to the finish (I'd rid myself of this last stitch just in time) with the guy behind me. I found out as he barely passed me in the finish chute that he was 38, so was in the wave behind me anyway (and turned out to be 2nd overall).

So, I finished "5th" but had to wait for the wave behind me to finish before I'd know the final results. As mentioned above, I ended up top-10, so I'm happy. But I'd like to return next year in better shape to try to get a plaque (top 3).

I learned that, in the sprints, I've got to remember to stretch out my sides/breathing apparatus prior to the race. IM-distance didn't require this as the race was long and slow! I also remembered how much fun these sprints could be. And how painful.

Kevin accurately noted the friendliness of triathletes. Everyone was extremely friendly and cordial, particularly when the line of people began to check out my bike! A constant stream of people admired my Colnago; this was fun, but I had to keep my eye on it throughout the awards ceremony!

Which leads to my last entry. 3 RATS, 3 awards. The power of 3 begins - I'll let Kevin explain in his report.