Monday, September 28, 2009

TDD Triathlon in Douglas, MA

This race was held on Saturday September 19th, with a VERY civilized start time of 9AM. Sue and Owen were planning on coming along this time, so with about 2 days to go before the race, we decided to get a room at a hotel in Worcester, MA so we would not have to head down real early Saturday morning.

One thing I did this race was make up a list about 2 days before of all the equipment I needed to bring. Packing up to go was SO MUCH LESS stressful. I simply packed each item and crossed it off the list.

We found a nice place to stay and headed down on Friday night. We had dinner on the way down in Tewksbury, MA at Cracker Barrel. Not exactly the best place for a "carbo loading" dinner, but I made due with Roast Beef (they were out of the meatloaf) and some mashed potatoes. We continued on the hotel and got there much later than Owen's usual bed time. What I figured would happen, did, and I did not really get a good night sleep. Luckily I had got lots of rest on Thursday night. I was up most of the night both excited and nervous about the upcoming race. I have to remember not to worry about things I can't control. The weather report called for lots of wind and I was getting worried.

I was up at about 5:30AM for a shower. We all got up and down to the complimentary breakfast by about 6AM. Owen was excited with so many choices for breakfast. I had my usual pre-race meal of some yogurt, bagel with PB, banana, some coffee and OJ.

We got into the car and headed for Douglas. It took as about 30 minutes to arrive at the park. We arrived at about 7:40am and I unloaded all my gear. I wasn't out of the car for 2 minutes and both Kurt and Jen walked by. Sue and Owen headed out to explore the area and I headed to registration. Picked up my packet and headed for transition. I met lots of COMP team mates in and around transition. Mostly new but some recognizable faces as well. Very pleased to be in transition right near Patrick.

Unloaded my gear and headed for bodymarking and then an initial trip to the "facilities". After getting back to transition I got suited up and then back to the "head" on last time. I then headed over to the beach to find Sue and Owen for one more good luck hug etc. Owen of course had to do his "speed" ritual one more time. He stands in front of me and then proceeds to rub speed from his shoes onto my feet. He will even put is feet in both my cycling and running shoes and walk around in them. I tell you, IT WORKS!!!

I headed back to transition to make one final check on my gear and set-up.

I am bummed now, because I let too many weeks go by before I got back to finishing this post. I promise next season I will do a better job posted my reports right away.

Have a great winter!!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My first group ride with Team Comp

I want to start this by saying what a difference it makes to go for a ride with others. Except for some fund-raising rides, this is the first time I have gone for a ride with a group of people. I looked at it as my first chance to get some needed practice and at the same time get some advice from some more experienced riders. There were only 4 of us for the ride even though Rich showed up to send us off from the common. Kurt, Jen, Kelly, and myself headed off sometime after 8am.

We weren't more than 15 minutes away from the Salem Common when Jen said she noticed I was riding with my feet pointed at the bottom of my down-stroke. She mentioned that you get more power if your foot is flat (perpendicular) to the crank at the bottom of each cycle. Being a mathematician this is something I certainly should know. Kurt concurred and of course as soon as I got home, I lowered my seat by about 3/4 of an inch.

The ride itself was quite enjoyable and a good pace for me. The weather was perfect and of course the roads were all dry. Most of the route was familiar to me, except that I had gone the reverse direction from north to south through Topsfield Center on previous occasions. There were some challenging hills all culminating with "Great Hill" just outside of Topsfield. It leads up to a very quiet retirement community. It was a great up and over and I was amazed when Kurt had told me in the past the group had even completed the "up" portion five times before continuing back down the other side. Kelly decided to do it once more and of course she did it faster the second time. Once was certainly enough for me.

It is certainly a hill I will try again. I was given the choice of riding around and meeting them on the other side, which certainly was not an option for me.

After going through Topsfield Center we headed under route 1 to Ipswich Road. This area is very familiar to me as some of you know, there school where I teach is just across the road from Bradley Palmer Park. We headed down Highland St. to 1A and then cut over to the Beverly Airport. From there it was down towards 97 and on into Beverly and then Salem.

I chose to cut off from the group and take the Kernwood Bridge home in order to save some time. We had a family trip planned for Water Country and it was well after 11Am by this time. I said my good-byes to the group and headed for the bridge. What a mistake!!! Just as I headed down Kernwood, I noticed the tail-lights. The bridge was out, letting boats through and it looked like it had just turned. I waited there for at least 15 minutes and of course watched as my three team-mates cruised over the "big" bridge into Salem long before me. I should have stayed with them until the end.

Hopefully many more enjoyable rides to come with "TEAM COMP". I know when the pace picks up I won't be able to stay with the main pack. We averaged about 11.5 mph, which is a few mph under my usual pace, but I'm sure once they head out at 15-20 mph and more, I will be puling up the rear of the pack. Maybe I'll start my own peleton at the back of the pack. Just let me know the route and I'll get there.