Monday, June 25, 2012

Litchfield Hills Olympic triathlon

A quick race report for the 2012 Litchfield Hills Olympic triathlon on 6/24.

GORGEOUS day! Perfect swimming conditions, shady, not too hot, and a nice breeze even kicked up just after the race.

Got up at 3:30AM to make the drive down there (treated to a beautiful misty sunrise over Barkhamsted Reservoir along the way) and managed to get thru registration and set-up with no hitches, just in time for the 7:30 start.

I was in the first wave. The swim was full of furious, thrashing crazy maniacs all trying to drown me, as usual, but I forgave them since I was unintentionally kind of doing the same to them. I don't know if it was an unusually large wave or what, but there really was a lot of bashing and veering around and it never really did seem to thin out much, which is saying a lot for .9 miles. Anyway, about 20 minutes in I accidentally took in a lungful of lake. This was only the second time that's ever happened to me (the first was during an easy solo swim at Echo Lake on MDI last year; it's just as scary each time!). So I rolled over on my back and floated and coughed like a madman until I could breathe again. A heartfelt "thanks!" to the guy in the kayak who swiftly paddled over and asked if I sas OK. I told him I just took a little sip was all. Anyway, I lost maybe a minute or two to that, but otherwise escaped unscathed.

The uphill, dirt road run to T1 was probably a quarter of a mile. I'd heard enough about it ahead of time to know to have shoes waiting down below, and to take the wetsuit off BEFORE running up. Also took a little port-a-pot pee break in there (you didn't need to know that but I needed to defend my T1 time).

The race's name tells you what you need to know about the bike course (and the run, for that matter). You scream downhill at first, then roll for a bit, then glide down alongside the Farmington River, down down down, for maybe 10 miles. And then you finally start back up. After one notably steady grueling ascent it flattens out for a bit, but there's a final 2-mile climb back up to the lake with at least 3 grades that force you up out of the saddle. The final one in particular was very much a lung-buster.

So T2 and the start of the run were pretty much carried out in total oxygen debt. But, as always, you recover. As mentioned earlier, the run was plenty well shaded, and it wasn't particularly hot out (though it did get toasty later in the day), so there were no overheating problems. Just a slow-and-steady 10K to finish in 2:47. Not my finest effort, but about right for the limited number of long swims and lack of hard cranking rides in my training of late. I was plenty pleased, considering.

All-around a well run, very fun, and sometimes quite scenic race. Best part? Being handed a cold draft beer right after the finish. Awesome...

(some photos I bought from the race photographer)
(my hair always looks like I just got electrocuted or something)