Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Giant Eagle Triathlon Race Report

After recently moving to Virginia, I found myself back in Ohio this weekend for the Giant Eagle Multisports Festival in downtown Columbus.  The unique point-to-point race was the first of it's kind for the area (although I've heard it was a Bud Light Series race back in the day...) and drew a pretty solid pro field for it's first year.  I've been training well and have produced two top 10 finishes in my last two races, so I was looking forward toeing the line in what amounts to a 'hometown' race.  I ended up coming away with a 3rd place finish in a time of just over 1:48. 

The race started out with a two lap swim in a local lake north of the city.  After an early morning EFS "holy hand-grenade", I was ready to go!  I settled in behind John Kenny after watching speedster Dustin McClarty take off the first 200m.  I took advantage of John's steady pace to keep my heart rate low and stroke relaxed.  The last 100 meters I surged slightly ahead and come out of the water in second place 15-20 seconds back of McClarty and feeling great. 

This was my first race with a PowerTap race wheel to measure my power output during the bike and I used the computer to monitor my HR and effort for the first few miles.  I  settled into a solid rhythm and followed my goal wattage that I'd set up with Matt earlier in the week.  Andrew Yoder blew by me like I was standing still, but I was encouraged to see that my power was about 20 watts higher than I had anticipated with my goal HR!  I eventually passed McClarty and was in 2nd for most of the bike until eventual 2nd place finisher Kaleb VanOrt came by me with about 4 miles to go.  I came into T2 with a 55:12 bike split at 335 watt average and still feeling good.

The run was a 2-lap course where I was able to click off the miles and ensure my 3rd place finish.  I knew I had little chance of catching VanOrt and had enough in the tank to hold off anyone behind me.  The run pace seemed more like  half ironman pace than olympic distance pace, but the hard effort on the bike kept my legs from turning over.  I was able to come in with a few high fives at just over 1:48 for the race with a 35 min run split and 3rd place on the day.  I'm very pleased with my highest placing of the year and a bit of prize money as well!  I'm in the middle of transitioning to 70.3 training, so it's encouraging to see that I can put together a solid olympic distance race.  I'll try to do it again at the Chicago Triathlon at the end of the month before finishing the season with three 70.3 races.

It was great to see so many people at race.  Thank you to everyone who came out and said hello at the race.  Also, congratulations to everyone who raced over the weekend.  Thank you to my great in-laws for hosting me for the weekend and cheering me on during the race.  Of course, thank you to my sponsors:  Kiwami Triathlon, Newton Running, BlueSeventy, ISM Saddles, First Endurance Nutrition, and Great Clips Salons. 

On a final note, I'm happy to be able to put a portion of my prize money to the Blazeman Foundation.  The first half of the year has been a bit of a dry spell for me, but I hope this contribution is the first of many to come for the rest of the year. Please check out the link on my site to the foundation and help fight the war on ALS!

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