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Quassy Olympic Triathlon Race Report

I flew up to race near Waterbury, CT, this weekend in the Revolution 3 Quassy Olympic distance triathlon. Several of my Team Type 1 teammates were also there. Most raced the oly with me, but Casey race the half-iron on Sunday.
The race venue is at Quassy amusement park , and I will say up front that if you are interested in a family-friendly race site, this is it! Rev3 runs a great show and really makes athletes feel great, from the whole check-in experience, to race-time amenities, to post-race swag and food! Great organization and I really look forward to more Rev3 races that are on the calendar for this race season!

Friday we checked our bikes into the TA (transition area). The racks are the wooden box type (which I enjoy more than the pole type where you hang your bike…another perk of this race organization!). Here's a pic of my bike set up in the TA that afternoon.

Race morning was much less stress and hassle because my bike was also already at the race site. I went for a practice swim and there was major chop because of the wind. The weather report showed race morning should be much better and I was happy to see the lake nearly as smooth as glass when we arrived the next day.

Race morning I had moderately good BGs leading up to the race. I had created a basal profile for the race on my Omnipod the evening before, so during the race, I was not going to have to mess with any adjustments (looking forward to that, especially for decreasing my transition times!). My basal was set to -75% starting about one hour before the swim and ending about 30 minutes before the end of my run. It worked great! I woke up with a BG of 152. I ate a Hammer Bar for breakfast, and my numbers stayed steady leading up to the race start with readings of 163 and 176 before my last BG prior to entering the water, which was 160. I ate a Chocolate #9 gel and headed into the staging area on the beach for my wave start (Chocolate #9 is 15 g of low glycemic index glucose that I knew would hit me slow….right in the middle of the swim, which is exactly where I wanted it!).

I got a little excited and I think my efforts in the beginning of the swim were a little too hard. However, I was able to find a bit of a rhythm and settled into a flow after a few hundred meters. The swim passed quickly enough (definitely not my favorite leg by any means :-) and I came out of the swim with a time of 25:16. The stats showed me exiting at 10th in my AG (age group).

I had a good T1, stripping my wetsuit, throwing on my sunglasses and helmet, and hitting the road! The mount/dismount line was pretty far outside the TA, but I ran to it and passed several people right from the get-go by doing a running mount onto the bike (rather than stopping, throwing my leg over, etc). My shoes were already clipped to my bike so I pedaled up to speed and then put one shoe on. The first 200-300 meters of the course were uphill, and I didn’t have time to put both shoes on…so I pedaled to the top with one foot in, and one foot on top of my left shoe :-) As soon as I crested, I increased my speed and got the other foot in my shoe. Game time. Time to lay the hammer down. My stats also showed that I exited the TA in 9th place in my AG—good, but I know for my “A” race in August I’m going to have to get faster.

The bike course was very challenging and had lots of little hills that were short and steep…hard to find a rhythm. I was “racing blind” because I was using my disc wheel, so I didn’t have a cycling computer or my power tap to tell me how far I had gone. I figured I was averaging 40 or 45 mph on most of the downhills, but on some of the uphills I was probably only able to crank out 10 mph, if that. My stats showed an average of 20.97 mph on the bike, and given that it was such a hilly course, I am really happy with that (but again, know that I need to get faster if I’m going to stand a chance at being competitive in August). I fueled on the bike with one bottle of Gatorade (roughly 35 g carbs) and one bottle of water with a Hammer Endurolytes Fizz in it. It’s a great electrolyte replenishment tool and kept me from having any cramps on the bike or the run, despite my intense efforts I was throwing down. I came back into the TA and did a flying dismount off the bike (leaving my shoes again clipped to my bike, to save time). I landed fine and had a great, quick T2. I had gained a few spots in my AG with my solid bike effort, biking out in 9th place, but coming back into the TA with a 4th place spot. My bike split was 1:13:29. Threw my Newton racing flats on (went quick since I wasn’t putting on socks), race belt on, visor, grabbed my garmin and grabbed a Honey Stinger gel. I knew I’d need some quick acting energy to sustain me for the 10 k run I had remaining in front of me.

I ate the gel immediately outside of the TA and got my watch put onto my arm. Time to run! The run was a beautiful course. Shaded nearly the entire way by great arching trees covering the road, it kept the temps cool and allowed me to focus on trying to maintain quick cadence and really push myself. I only took water at the aid stations each mile. The uphills of the run course were also challenging, but I did my best to keep my pace up and knock out the miles as quickly as possible.
As I approached the 4.5 mile-marker, I heard footsteps gaining on my pretty quickly. As the runner approached, he told me I could relax, because he was 30 years old (I race in the 25-29 AG). I breathed a little sigh of relief, but also knew I wanted to hang with this guy and beat him if I could. I increased my pace and we settled in together. We managed to climb the last little incline between mile 5 and 5.5, and all we had left was a straight away before turning into the park and crossing the finish line. I told him “great run”, and hoping I wasn’t being too pre-mature, I turned on my last little boosters. It felt good to “walk away” from the competition and put a gap between us. I held a sub 6 minute/mi pace and came into the park, crossing the finish line with a total time of 2:29:06. I checked my BG and was 83 post-race. Perfect! Exactly where I wanted to be. I knew my nutrition and insulin plan had worked out great! I slipped a few spots in my AG, coming in 7th of 42. My run split was 47:22, with an average pace of 7:38 min/mile. Not a great time, but given the challenging course, respectable for where I’m at with my training. Here's a pic after crossing the finish line. I was "all smiles", so maybe I didn't go hard enough!? ;-)

It was not a PR (personal record) for me, but the race was a fantastic test for my bike and run speed on a challenging course, especially leading up to AG Nationals in August (which is reportedly a relatively flat course, especially compared to Quassy). I also learned a great deal about my nutrition/diabetes-management plan as well. Overall I thought Rev3 Quassy was a great race from start to finish, and would highly recommend it as a very family-friendly race venue for anyone in the NE looking for a high quality race at a very reasonable price-point.

Now it’s back to the road bike this week as I prep for this coming weekend’s crit races at Tulsa Tough! Can’t wait!

Views: 206

Comment by jrtpup on June 6, 2011 at 9:56pm
Bradford, I'm out of breath just reading! What a great accomplishment. I'm extremely impressed with your BG management, WTG! Best of luck in the next challenge!
Comment by Gerri on June 7, 2011 at 2:03am
Like jrtpup, I'm also worn out just hearing about it. Does exercise count if it's totally vicarious:) Man, what a challenge. You did great--congrats! We're all so proud of you.
Comment by Lorraine on June 7, 2011 at 5:50am
Just amazing! Congrats, Bradford. I smiled the entire time I was reading and chuckled when the 30 yr old told you to relax. ;)
Comment by Bradford on June 7, 2011 at 7:02am
Thanks all!
My BG management has ups and downs, for sure. But during the race it was spot-on! Couldn't have asked for better numbers. Later in the day I had some hypos from the increased insulin sensitivity, but nothing I wasn't able to fix quickly :-)
@Gerri, YES! Exercise definitely counts even if it's vicarious ;-)
Comment by Terry Keelan on June 7, 2011 at 10:52am
Great report, Bradford, and well done on the BG/nutrition front. Clearly you've done some experimenting with this and found the right combinations! I've never tried the Hammer products. Have you been using them for awhile?
Comment by Bradford on June 7, 2011 at 10:57am
Thanks Terry!
I've used a few hammer products in the past. This year I found the hammer bars, and they are delicious! I like their apple cinnamon gels too (the rest of the flavors I'm not really a big fan of). The gels work pretty well for me, but are largely more complex carbs rather than quick acting like the stinger gels are. I also use their whey protein for post-workout recovery drinks. Very good protein and really low carb too (not a lot of extra added junk).
I think finding nutrition replenishment items that are palatable is half the battle! :-)
Comment by Joe_h on June 7, 2011 at 12:19pm
sounds like you were hitting on all cyclinders! fantastic job on a very difficult course. good luck at nationals
Comment by jaynadems on June 7, 2011 at 1:17pm
Thanks for sharing! As a newbie to the triathlon world I love hearing how others have managed during their races!
Comment by Ginger Vieira on June 7, 2011 at 6:53pm
Bradford -- I so, so, so admire how you make diabetes a part of your training. I know it's not easy for you and it's not always done perfectly, but you clearly put so much thought and work into it and this blog DEFINITELY shows that!
Comment by Bradford on June 8, 2011 at 5:46am
Thanks everyone! Much appreciated.
@jayna, good luck to you as you venture into the fantastic world of triathlon. It is a blast!
@Ginger, thanks! I know that if I want to do well in competition, I must deal with the diabetes as much as possible...if I don't, my competitive ability definitely suffers.


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