Monday, June 11, 2012

Black Bear Olympic Triathlon Race Report

It’s been awhile since I posted, so I figured I would get back into it since the racing season has begun with my race report from Black Bear Olympic Triathlon last weekend in the Pocono Mts.

This is my second year participating in this race and both times with Team in Training. You can check out my website here. Saturday was a travel day consisting of 1.5 hours. First I had to mow the lawn and run some errands. We left for the Poconos around 11am. We hit some traffic because of an overturned tractor trailer and got to Beltzville State park just shy of 1pm. My wife, son and I headed over to packet pickup and got our stuff. Nothing too exciting. We were on our way back to check in to the hotel when I came upon Coach Joe in the parking lot getting his bike ready to ride the course. We said our hellos and got back into the car for the four mile drive to the hotel.

There were open water swim clinics at 2pm and 3pm and a few of us were planning on attending to check the water temp and get acclimated to the water. We all drove over around 3pm and swam for about 20 minutes. They had some smaller boys set up to practice sighting, but they were only about 50 yards apart.

We went back to the hotel to get ready for our prerace dinner in Jim Thorpe. We had a beer or two at the hotel, then a beer or two at dinner, then came back to the hotel and had another one. Just something to help us sleep.

Race morning started at 4:30am with the alarm going off. Nothing too out of the ordinary since I hit the gym most days at 5am. The hotel was serving a hot breakfast so mine consisted of French toast, sausage, a hard-boiled egg and a toasted bagel. Carbo loading (plus I love breakfast). We headed over to the park around 5:45 and got transition all set up and just hung out until 7:15 till the race was starting. I took a few strokes in the water to warm up. My wave started at 8:04ish.

The swim was a 1500m out and almost back. Sighting was easy since we were going away from the sun and the water was calm. There might have been 30 people in my wave so we were pretty spread out by the first sight boys. I took the swim nice and easy, nothing too fast. My HR was anywhere from 140-145. My swim time was 22:52. 64th out of 269 finishers. T1 was 2:30, about average.

Running out of transition to the bike was uphill for about 1/8 mile. We hop on our bikes and out of the park. The bike portion is rolling hills for the first seven miles. Fast downhills and slow uphills. Coach Blob and I were going back and forth the entire time. After the sprint people cut off the course gets fast. There was a stretch of about three miles where we could just open it up. I got down in aero and cranked. The extension for the Olympic course was a lollipop and my tire felt mushy as soon as I got back to the lollipop stick.

The tires seem inflated so I kept pushing. There was a long downhill followed by a very long uphill. We were probably averaging around 7 mph going up the hill. About 50 yards from the top my tire felt very low. I stopped and checked it and there was a nice spring sticking out of it. I stood there for about 30 seconds debating on whether or not to change it or just pump it up and see if it holds air. I decided to change it. Ripped the old tube out and jammed the new tube in and inflated it with the CO2 and I was off. I estimated from the time I stopped to check till the time I was off was about 5:30-6 minutes.

I was pissed and lost all motivation to place in my division. Plus there were still more uphills. After cresting the last uphill and starting on the downhills, I gained confidence and started pushing again. Coming back into T2 my bike time was 1:32.45. The Garmin with auto-pause had me at 1:26.

T2 was fast. Shoes, helmet off, running shoes on and gone. 54 seconds. The run was two loops all on trails of crushed gravel and dirt. I managed to strain my calf a few weeks ago and hadn’t fully recovered. My goal was to take it easy and kick it up at the end. The weather started heating up but I managed to put together a decent run of 51:04 or 8:14/ mile. If my calf was 100%, I could have run at least a minute faster, maybe more. Coming up to the finish I was able to pass coach Blob with 100 yards to go.

My final time was 2:50.05, about 2 minutes worse than the previous year, but when you add in the tire change, it was a PR. I figured I didn’t place because of the slow bike so we just hung out for a while and then headed back home.

I checked the results online a few days and I was right, I was 4th in my division. (Clydesdale over 200lbs) The first place Clydesdale had a finishing time of 2:44.30, so without the tire change, I would have had a real good shot at winning my division. Next year for sure!

Up next I have the Mountaineer Man ½ Ironman in Morgantown, WV on June 24th then it’s full on Ironman training (not that I’m not already training) for Chesapeake Man on September 29th.


  1. You must juuuuust barely qualify for Clydesdale!
    I hope the water up there was still as beautiful as I remember it being. And I didn't realize you're doing a full IM this year- GOOD LUCK! :)