By Patrick Moseley
22nd Male Collegiate
The Lake George ODT was my 5th triathlon and 6th race this year. Also, as a new member of the team, I was really excited to compete in my first Northeast Collegiate Triathlon Conference (NECTC) race. I had raced twice with the team over the summer, but I expected the collegiate conference division to bring something new to this event that I had not experienced before. The race and trip definitely exceeded the high expectations I had.
RACE PREP/RACE MORNING
We met up at 11AM the day prior, loaded up and set out for the 3-4 hour drive. It was easy to pass the time either enjoying the beautiful natural scenery of upstate NY, or listening to bizarre music courtesy of Dave and Peter. When we arrived at packet pickup, we met up with the Northeastern University Triathlon team, and went to a restaurant with them. They were a good group, and it was cool to talk with other college athletes from Boston.
On race trips, I’m always kind of the black sheep in that I bring every single thing I will consume with me from home. While everyone else is doing the pasta thing at this Italian restaurant, I pull out my salad, beans, and quinoa. This is just the routine that has worked the best for me. I feel much better having familiar foods in my body the day before and the day of a race.
Race morning, I wasn’t feeling too hot due to sleeping (or not sleeping much) on the floor of a hotel room. Only getting 3-4 hours of sleep before a race is certainly far from ideal, and was in the back of my mind as I got my bike ready, ate breakfast (banana, raisins, and dry oatmeal), and got dressed. I quickly put it behind me by recalling my best race of the summer back in June where I also barely slept the night before.
We arrived at the race site earlier than most people (probably just before 5AM), before transition was really supposed to be open. After getting body marked and settled into transition, a few of us went for a warm-up run in the dark of the morning with assistance from Colin’s head lamp. My run legs felt pretty good considering the sleep thing. Shortly after, we did a warm up ride. I lost the group right out of transition because my bike was making some concerning noises. I stopped to check it out, but there were just leaves in my rear brakes. What a massive relief considering this was 30-ish minutes before our wave start.
After getting back, putting on the wetsuits, and doing a quick swim warm-up, it was time to wait for the 6:55AM wave start. I usually just try to stay as relaxed as possible waiting for the start, focusing on how confident I am in my training and what my goals are for the day. I’ve had my sights set on a sub-40 minute 10k run all summer. It was a big thing weighing on me standing outside of transition.
There was an issue with the buoys before we started. Two of them would not stay in place. We were instructed to “ignore them.” Definitely some confusion in the water due to that, but things happen and you roll with it. Also, after coming out of the water, you had to run across the street to get to T1 after coming out of the water. The volunteers/directors were on top of that and really watched for us and held off the passing cars.
At the start of the swim, I went out pretty aggressive like usual, but had something happen to me that hadn’t before…I panicked. I never panic during races, but about 60 seconds into the swim, I really noticed feeling fatigue (from not sleeping…I think?) which didn’t instantly cause me to swim much slower, but got in my head. I really began to wonder for a second if this would be the longest Olympic triathlon I had ever done, but somehow I settled into my usual pace and regained composure.
I was able to sight and stay with a group for most of the swim, but I’m not sure if the buoy situation caused me to swim extra distance or not. The swim itself would be a little long. The race directors told us the lake was high from the recent storm that went through New England. It just meant you had an extra 50 meters or so to run in one to two feet of water at the end of the swim. All those things considered I was satisfied with my swim split.
When we drove the bike course the day before, the other guys that are stronger cyclists than me were pretty stoked about how flat and downhill the course was. While this is a big advantage for a strong cyclist, it is also great for me as someone who races with a really run-focused plan. I was excited to have less hills, meaning fresher legs for the run. The course did not disappoint during the race. I felt the most confident I have ever felt during a bike portion of a triathlon during this race. I had a professional bike fit done by Grady at Landry’s a couple of weeks before this race. I also bought a more comfortable saddle, which resolved many comfort and inefficiency problems I had been struggling with on the bike this summer. I was able to hit 32 mph on some of the down hills, and maintain 19 to low 20s on the flats. The last leg of the bike was really nice. We rode alongside the lake we swam in. I had some great scenery surrounding me as I prepared myself mentally for the run and race finish. I almost had a snag at the end; it was kind of unclear where to go to get back into transition, and the volunteers were directing traffic and didn’t see me as soon as I would have been comfortable. I lost a little speed coming into T2 trying to make sure I rode into the right spot, but nothing major.
I think one of my favorite parts of a triathlon is putting on my running shoes in T2. Mostly because the run’s my favorite and best leg; and partially because I can be relieved I didn’t have a race-ending mechanical problem on the bike. I haven’t had that happen yet, but it’s a definite point of anxiety for me.
The run course was great! It was a two loop course, with a short, steep downhill on each lap. I know from my classes in biomechanics that running downhill still is putting substantial stress on your muscles and joints, but it still feels different, possibly better if you’ve just run uphill. I told the other guys afterward that I really felt the downhill section breathed some life into my legs each time around.
I tried something new on the run during this race. I paced myself with my watch on each mile. I knew to break 40 minutes I needed to be at or under 6:24 miles for the 10K. I think this technique helped. Even though I did not hit my run goal, I still ran my fastest 10K! After the first mile sign, my watch said 6:11. I felt good and I thought I was easily on my desired pace. However, after mile 2 or 3, my pace was 6:48, and I started to get anxious. But, I told myself that the mile signs may not be exactly 1 mile apart, and of course my pace will be affected if a certain mile is predominantly uphill, downhill, or flat. Somewhere during the middle of the run, I passed a few people from MIT and Northeastern. It felt good to gasp out some encouraging words to some fellow Boston collegiate triathletes, but it also bumped up my confidence that I was moving up in the collegiate division. By mile 5, I think I almost said out loud to myself, “STOP looking at the watch!” because I knew it was time to stop being a scientist about the race and just let it all out. I still had enough energy to steadily accelerate all the way to a sprint finish over the last mile.
I’m really happy with my results. This was my best race so far. I finished 23rd in the collegiate division, and was the 22nd male collegiate. I had a great time racing my first NECTC race, and can’t wait for the next one. Bring on MightyMan!
FINAL 2:25:18Read More
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