Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Counting off the days

TL;DR - I sort through where I am in racing. If you check the blog for reviews and/or race reports, I should be back next week with a RR. If you don't want to read through my random sorting of my mind, thanks for checking the blog, see you next week.

When I started planning out this season, it began as most of my idea's usually do... a generous helping of bravado combined with impulsiveness with only the bare minimum of actual thinking or planning.

Basically what I had written down was this
- Win the local Fleet Feet series points championship (sprints)
- AG Nationals (Qualify for worlds with a good day)
- Aquabike Nationals (Podium)
- Profit

Of course that was at the end of last year.

Most people (myself included) consider a year a long time in the abstract... that is, looking forward from today a year seems far off. Unfortunately (for me) when it comes to becoming faster in racing a year is not that long... especially when multiple sports need to be improved fairly substantially.

The next step I went through was all consuming despair. I was already locked in to the races, but not where I needed to be in the numbers department. Oh sure, I'm fit. Hell I've been fit for years. But Fit =/= Fast. Turning in a 2:25 at Rev3 Knoxville didn't do anything to re-establish my hopes, bad day or no. Most of my other races haven't been noticeably faster than 2013, although I'll be the first to say trying to compare two days a year apart is both maddening and fruitless when it comes to discerning truly accurate information.  My training has been promising and my run at the Knoxville 1/2 marathon was a step forward (pun intended) but nonetheless... both my run and my swim are still much farther away from where I had secretly harbored hope for them being at this point in the year.  My bike is still sitting at about a 4.3w/kg ftp (possibly as high as 4.5 as I've lost a bit of weight in the last few weeks and have been putting in a bit more t.i.t.s.) which is respectable but certainly not strong enough to make up for my swim or (most damning) my run.

Which leads to the step I'm at right now... acceptance. Not complacency mind you, never that... I doubt I'll ever be complacent when it comes to my racing... but an acceptance that I've put in the time I was able to put in (or that I thought I was able to put in) and followed my plan as closely as possible (I think I missed one day I had planned over the last 6 months, and it was while I was on vacation.) and now all that I can do is finish these last couple of weeks, get a good taper and race the absolute best I can on the morning of.

Will it be enough? The realist in me points to a resounding no. I think on paper even on a good day I'm still a couple of minutes off being fast enough for a top 18 (or likely even top 25) ag finish. That probably goes for the Sprint on Sunday as well. (I'm doing both races)

Regardless, I'll be enjoying my weekend. My new goal is to PR the Olympic distance and let all the things I have no control over fall where they may. I don't mind getting crushed, so long as I know I didn't leave anything on the table.

All in all I'm happy with how my training is developing. Something about how long it took to build Rome comes to mind. I'm still moving towards my larger goals, steadily. So long as my health holds up things should be fine.

Saturday is the Oak Ridge Velo TT. I won't be doing the full Omnium this year as I feel the crit is a little more risk than reward this close to some bigger races, and the road race... well I just wasn't looking forward to it the same way I was the TT, and since they're on the same day I decided to focus on those 7 miles this year.

Warming up last year... hoping to crush my time this year.

Next week I should have a short report on the TT, and maybe a review... I've got a review in mind, but need to get the time to finish (err...start) it.  There's also some interesting stuff going on in my garage, but at the risk of it being a disappointment, I think I'll wait on sharing it.

If you suffered through all of the above, Kudos! You deserve a picture of a cat trying to be Godzilla.

Aaaaaahnnnnnnaaahhhhhggggg!!!! Or whatever sound Godzilla makes.
Thanks so much for reading (or at least looking at the Godzilla cat.)

-Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

6 Years of Triathlon (a race report)

Saturday was that time of year again. My Triathlon Anniversary. This is the 6th time I've gotten my feet wet at the West Side YMCA triathlon, the first race I ever did. It's a super sprint (200y, 12k, 4k) and a small race usually, but nonetheless it holds a very special place for me. This year it had another reason to be special. Jimmy had finally caught the bug and decided to try a triathlon, so it would be his first as well. His goal... have the fastest bike split.

Nothing like some friendly competition!

On to the Report!


I get up pretty early and have a cup of "Olympic Gold" Granola (Kristin Armstrongs breakfast) and wash it down liberally with espresso. I shower and pack up and as soon as the beautiful support crew arrives we're off to the venue.

Jenny giving me some last minute advice... like "don't suck."

I get a pretty good position in transition and get marked. The run course had been changed this year so I spend a little extra time acquainting myself with the new route and making sure I'm aware of any surprises (as some of the course was off road) that might be awaiting. Then it's back to get a lap of the bike course in and again make sure nothing nasty is on course. Finally, as I've been unable to swim all week (pools closed... which is a lot funnier if you're internet meme savvy.) I got in a "long" warmup in the pool as time for the start drew near. (Long being about 500y, which is long only if you consider the swim is only 200y.)

Then it's good lucks and see you soon's to the family and Jenny, and a last well wishes to Jimmy who was seeded quite a ways back (he's not a swimmer.) I seed myself about 10 people back and prepare for the redlining to come.

Swim: 2:58 (19th place)

Don't judge me.
My swim was terribly unexciting and blessedly quick. In a sprint with a swim as short as this one, that's exactly what I was hoping for. I knew I was going to be a couple of places down coming out of the water, but was fairly confident my bike would shore up most of the difference... other than Nick (the eventual winner) who I knew would be tough to catch from the start, as he's a fairly "complete" triathlete and a good swimmer.

Before I have time to consider most of that however, the swim is over! I crawl up the ladder and it's time for transitions!

T1: 1:11

Look at that handsome devil with those razor sharp tan lines.

This is the nastiest transition ever. The entire way to (and in) transition is loose gravel and broken pavement. Fortunately I practice walking on hot coals, so it's no big deal for me. I take the jaunt down to the bikes, get my helmet on and head for the line. I've been practicing my flying squirrel but I'm still not positive I can nail it 100% of the time... so I take a step over as opposed to a full jump. Cost some seconds but likely saved some skin.

Bike: 17:54 (4th place)

That doesn't look chrome at all...  stupid Kask.

This bike course is very rewarding to those who are familiar with it. There are two turns in particular that can be taken very fast only if you know them, otherwise you'll slow quite a bit thinking they are tighter than they are. I was actually down a couple of watts from last year, but faster, mainly due to not as much braking on said turns.

Jimmy had said he wanted the fastest bike split, so I was willing to dig a little extra to try and deny him of it. (what are friend's for) Overall, the bike went great for me, with a short delay behind a van (we were in a subdivision) and nearly crashing coming back towards t2 (the race turns left up a big hill to go out into the subdivision, but also turns left coming back toward transition... which can cause some awkward moments when somebody like me comes barreling into that corner expecting to take the turn at full speed. It's the one complain I have about the race... but I'm unsure how to solve it.)

Alas, I was indeed beaten by Jimmy (who got the fastest split) and two others. I kept the losses down though... within 30 seconds of the fastest split, so I was happy.

T2: 0:37

Stupid belt! Being cheered on by the Village People. 

After the near run in (literally) turning back towards transition, I had shaved enough speed that hopping off my bike uphill would be tough, so I took the wuss' way out and gingerly stopped and stepped off. Again... slow... but dignity salvaging. As I ran into transition and yanked my helmet off I slung the face shield off and into the endless rows of "stuff." I look for a few seconds but can't find it so shrug it off. As I get to my rack (actually past it since I was looking for a rack with a space at the end) I realize Nick has nagged my corner spot. (For which he apologized more than once after the race, even offering to take a penalty for it. Stand up guy, but no need to get worked up  in a little race like this.) I get the Cannondale lodged in the triangle made by the top of the rack, grab my number belt and visor and head out on the run.

Run: 16:01 (6th place)

Go ahead, take a second to let how much clashing is going on with what I'm wearing to settle in.

Immediately coming out of transition I hear Rebekah (dressed as the construction worker from the Village People. YMCA...get it?) giving me a little update as to where I am... two ahead of me. Ut Oh...

Being a short 4k with some off road segments, I'm not sure if I can chase anyone down (heck... I'm not sure I can chase anyone down on a good day) but I am hungry for a good placing at this race. At a little under the first mile marker I see somebody on the horizon. It turns out to be Mike (a local Fleet Feet guy who is a VERY good swimmer and very consistent racer.) who is in a little bit of duress. I see him slow to get a couple of deep breathes and know I've got him. I make the pass and the water station lets me know there is only one guy ahead of me but that he has a good lead. Being a time trial start that can mean a lot of things... but I try to muster up what gas I've got left and finish strong.

I make it across the line leaving what I've got on the grass, then collapse in tiredness. Sprinting is hard.

Total: 38:38 (2nd Place)

I get a kiss (woohoo!) and congratulations and then make the trek back to transition to find my face shield and see if my bike is still holding up. After that I take a quick shower (forgot a towel...doh) and come back to cheer on the others. I find Jimmy and he is all smiles (You can read about his thoughts on the race here on his blog) as usual. Then it's sit around and wait, watching lots of my friends get called up for their awards (including Jimmy, who was second in his AG in his first tri!) and then finally coming out with second place overall.

The Greatest awards picture shirt ever.

6 years later, I'm still having just as much (maybe more) fun as when I started. Hopefully I can keep the trend up for another 6 (and many more) years!

Jimmy and myself posing

And that was the gist of it.

Thank you guys for reading, I really appreciate it! I've got this next week off to take a little easy, then it's the Oak Ridge Velo TT the next week, the Springbrook Sprint the first weekend of August (gotta keep getting those points) and then it's off to Milwaukee for Nationals. I signed up for the Sprint on Sunday, so I'll be racing back to back days... hoping for a miracle.

Until next week! Stay safe, we've had enough bad luck in the tour this year for all of us.

- Christopher Morelock


Check out the new and improved VFlow Plus 2 here! (Works with the rear hydration mount as well)

The magic floating in space saddle! Ooohhh, ahhh!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It wasn't a race...really...

Plenty of exciting stuff is going on, so as usual this is going to be a little all over the place! Bear with me!

So the Tour is in full swing. Some exciting racing has already took place, and unfortunately if you're like me... some tragedy. Cav's wreck on day 1 removed him from the tour and opened the door for Dolph Lundgren Marcel Kittel to rack up stage wins most likely uncontested. I've got some backup hope reserved for Renshaw, but I admit it's a dim light. I just can't get behind any of the other sprinters... I dunno Cavendish has always been my sprinter, so disappointment from the start for me.

Fastest man in the peloton!

Next on the list of things to get to... some of the new designs on the Cobb T's. Sure sure you can wear your Ironman finisher (or sprint finisher...whatever) technical tee before/after the race... or you can get a few double takes (and probably a laugh or two) with one of these. Here's my personal favorite...

You just sorta need to be able to back it up ;)
Heh... should have went for the full monty and just spelled out A** in my opinion. But oh well.

As for the not a race race report...

It wasn't a race, it was just a fun ride. Except there was a KoM jersey for the first person up Butterfly gap... halfway through the ride. So it was kind of a race. Sort of... but not really. Unless you were in the first group... in which case it was definitely a race. I think. Maybe... but not.

Here we are waiting to get the show on the road (and beat the heat)

Far left black and blue Cycology Bicycles kit. The hulking guy to my right in the same kit is Jimmy. 

The only real "team" in the area is Knoxvelo (you can see the red/white kits peeking in and out in the picture) and they were the only guys there in force for the 100 miler. I had 100% pure intentions going into the ride to A.) Have fun and B.) Ride with the "A" group to the climb. Jimmy was a little more serious about it the night before and the morning and by the time they called for everyone to start getting ready to go I had lapsed into full on "race" mentality. Jenny would later shake her head and say under her breath "boys..." I guess that explains it.

Heading out of town... in the best place for staying out of trouble.
We get the go and I'm immediately ready to get to the front and lead out of town. I've said it before and I stand by it... the first couple of miles of a big charity ride are DANGEROUS. Give me a Cat5 crit any day.

I'd go into a little more recap from the first 40 or so miles but honestly... there's not much of interest. I sat in once the "A" group was established and poor Jimmy did the lion's share of the work. Unfortunately there were a significant number of Knoxvelo boys in the group and they were unwilling to let any funny business (that is, getting away early for an "easy" win) go on, so it was just a matter of putting in the miles.

As we closed in on Butterfly we started getting organized (that is to say I dragged myself up front to talk to Jimmy) and discussed how I felt. Honestly I felt pretty good (so no excuses for what's to come.) so we started some back/forth attacking on the group. Everything got pulled in pretty quick but we caught some people off guard. As we turned down the road for the climb I made my move. Unfortunately the rest of the group wasn't full of slouches and they were all experienced enough guys to not let me make a gap. Then it was just a matter of who was strongest.

I'm a pretty good climber. That said, the kind of climbs I excel at are steady grade long grinds... you know, basically a inclined time trial (imagine that) but that's not what the gap is like. It pitches and levels, pitches and levels... the kind of climb you need good steady power AND a strong kick.

I got crushed.

Once I saw I wasn't in the league with the real climbers in the group I backed off, managing to come over the line in decent shape but far from the winner.

Crossing the KOM line after a disappointing showing on a tough climb.

Such is life on a bike.

I feel like I'm going to get a good chance to recover (it's not like the climbing is over...) and catch back up to the guys in front of me on the little bit of downhill following. Of course it's the perfect time to drop my chain!
My front derailleur stop screws had backed out from all the rough roads we'd been on! That's pretty intense!

I get things adequately "rigged" back up and try to keep as much grease off of me as possible (yeah...) and then find myself in no-man's land. I ride to the next aid station and find that I'm all alone. That's one thing you learn early in bike riding/racing... if you can't hang, nobody is going to wait for you. (Nor should they)

Fortunately... it's not a race.

I wait around, drink some extra Gatorade and find some other stragglers coming in. We form up a good group and head off for the last 50 or so miles.

Nothing much important from that point on, just what it always should have been, a fun long ride. I don't think I've ever been quite so ready to get back to Barley's and have a drink though. (Hard Cider...YEAH!)

So next year... I'm going to go into this "not race" in better shape. 150lbs is still a bit too heavy for this kind of climbing. I think at the same power with 10-15lbs lighter I'd have crushed it. But it wasn't a race, so no big deal. :) Right?

This weekend is my anniversary tri race, the West Side Y. It's short and painful, and I'm excited to be able to do it again. Of course Nationals is closing in, where I can go and really get my butt handed to me. I would say I'm just going to have fun...but yeah... we all know how that goes.  I'm going to have fun doing the best I can and hopefully do a little bike split crushing at least.

One step at a time.

Thanks everyone for reading. I as always appreciate it.

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Achievement Unlocked - 100 Posts

Who would have thought that 100 posts later I'd still be doing this. Kind of hard to believe that this blog has turned out as well (in my opinion... it's possible I've got low expectations though...) as it has. I can only hope that if you've read through a good portion of the posts that you've found something useful, insightful or at the very least humorous out of my ongoing saga. This blog has certainly helped me, if only to give me an outlet for reviewing my own accomplishments (however meager) and failures. (however astounding) It's also given me a chance to do something I enjoy, which is write, despite the fact that my High School English teacher would say I'm fairly lousy at it. (Too many parenthesis and Ellipsis...)

The most exciting time of the year in sports is also upon us. It's the one month out of twelve that I get to reverse the roles most of my friends enjoy and spout off stats and wins that nobody else has any clue about. That's right... tour time.

The most important questions must still be answered... like "What Stem is that?"

I'm excited about this year's tour... I think there is at least a small chance that we have an interesting race for yellow. I could be totally off of course and Sky could continue it's overwhelming dominance, but I suspect that at least Saxo will try to make things interesting. And of course there is my secret guilty pleasure of rooting for Cavendish to rack up stage wins.

I also have some small hope that every other word won't  be about doping this year. Unfortunately after Froome's TUE and Kreuziger's current woes that seems like a pretty vain hope. I want to believe we've turned a corner in cycling... but I'm afraid I just don't. But of course this blog doesn't want to get that serious, so let's just pretend that all is right.

Rainbows and Unicorns farting Sunshine!! All is happy in the world!

As for life in the realm of mortals (that this Saturday is the Tour de Rocky Top 100 miler, again featuring the miserable challenging Cat2 climb up Butterfly Gap. While I'm an ok climber, I certainly wouldn't say I enjoy it... but nonetheless I'll be making my way to the top once more this year, hopefully without adding on a couple of miles. (we got lost last year and ended up with around 110 miles.) If I were in a little bit better shape I'd consider racing to the top for the climber's jersey, but I will have to be satisfied with just making it up to the top. :)

Last year it took about 6:45 to be done (of course there was some wandering and slow riding, and the extra miles) and I'd like to be done in under 6 at the absolute max.

Last year's route... a little different, but all the important parts are still there :)

So, happy 4th of July to everyone. Have fun, blow stuff up, eat and most importantly be safe! Enjoy the start of the Tour on Saturday and give me a thought and little mental push to get me to the top!

Thanks so much for being a part of all 100 posts! Here's hoping to hundreds more :) Without seeing the views this blog gets there's no way I would have stuck with it... so thanks to you all even if you're just a silent face behind a keyboard!

- Christopher Morelock

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Some Stark improvements to the Cobb Mobb!


You'll pay for the entire Chamois, but you'll only use THE EDGE!

You too can rock the Mobb kit... with a bit less 80's retro feel!

I've had the opportunity to use my kit a couple of times now and I have to say there isn't a better suit on the market for keeping you cool. This thing was designed (and excels) at being the coolest (both fashionably and temperature wise) kit on the market... and at $99... heck most jersey's cost that.  The side pockets in the shorts are an excellent addition for those going longer (or who don't want to mess with the back pocket) and the rear jersey pocket has a zipper closure to keep your keys (or other important article) safe.

Men's Kit found HERE
Women's Kit found HERE

The other big news of course is the newest member to the Cobb family...

All that keeps running through my head is Super Troopers.

That's right, Dark Mark... he is real...right? In case you have been living under a rock, here's a link to his website. Despite the satirical nature of his blog, there is almost always some good information to be taken away from his posts... he does a great job of keeping people honest. (Like some unmentioned mask company...)

So thanks for checking out the blog again! Two days in a row! Check out the Cobb Mobb's FB page, my Facebook or Twitter (add me and I promise I'll only stalk you when I'm bored at work.)

This is post #99... milestone next week! Now I just have to figure out something to talk about!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review! The new Goofy looking lid...the Evade!

I knew I shouldn't go to the local Specialized store. I was pretty positive they would have the Evade in stock, and I was pretty sure that if I tried it on and liked it... I would inevitably buy it. If you follow the blog (even loosely) then you know I'm in love with new and exciting gear, and what's more exciting than the lid Cavendish sports. Plus... what self-respecting aero nerd doesn't own an aero road helmet... I can't very well just ride around in my Bambino on a road ride now can I...

Good enough for the Missile

Long story short, they not only had the Evade, they had the murdered out (all black for those of you without street cred) version in my size... and it was discounted $249.99 instead of the $250.00 that all the other colors were... DEAL! So without further ado, on to the review!


We're not uncovering any new revelations today... basically the helmet has been around long enough that if you're interested in it, you've read the technical data. Nonetheless, I've got to fill out this post with something, (and other people's data is a great way to look smart) so to quickly summarize.

- 46 seconds / 40k faster than the Prevail
- Around 5w difference between it and the McLaren (if you are to believe Rapp)
- Road Bike Actions "shootout" puts the Evade as a bit faster than the LG Course or the Air Attack
- Jim (Erosports) puts it as the fastest aero road helmet
- Better than the other Specialized TT option in the US (The TT02) which, admittedly is pretty dated

At $250, it's the most expensive of the "big 3" aero road helmets at the moment. It's also arguably the most "dorky" of the three, although the hockey player-esque Attack isn't a handsome helmet by any stretch. The Course is certainly the most "normal" looking helmet of the bunch, and it's definitely got some serious venting, so I can see it's draw to some.  However, this is about what I think of the Evade... so let's move on.

Putting it on for the first time:

The  cat watches with contempt as I mess with helmets instead of feeding him.

Probably my favorite thing about the Evade is the simplest thing... and that is that at it's core, it's a road helmet. No ear flaps, no convoluted system to get it on and secure, just slip it on, adjust the ratchet and clip the straps. No hassle.  The thing also feels a lot better than I had expected. I'm not really sure WHAT I expected, but I certainly didn't anticipate a comfort level rivaling that of my beloved Rudy Sterling. Of course the big S has extra padding you can add yourself, but I was comfortable out of the box.

Heating / Ride Comfort:

I broke the Evade out for a little climbing last Saturday, wondering how it would do in the heat. At 85° and Sunny at the "hard" part of the ride, I think it was a pretty ok testing ground. Here's the ride profile.

There is a climb somewhere...
The verdict - it was hot.

I mean that just in general... the helmet itself seemed to cool sufficiently. (or at least, didn't overheat noticeably) When the sun is beating on your face and you're climbing an INFINITE number of switchbacks... well anything is going to be friggin' hot. I felt like there was plenty of ventilation to keep me from having a stroke.

Almost 4 hours in the saddle and I didn't notice any discomfort with the helmet either... no weird indentions in my head or anything else alien. I give it a thumbs up as a livable helmet.

Value: (That is, the good and the bad)

There's a lot to like about the Evade. It's fast, it's flashy and like I just said, it's a helmet you can live with both in training and in racing. As a matter of fact, if the world stopped turning and I could only own ONE helmet for all my riding going forward (it'd be a cold day in hell... but what ifs for the sake of what ifs) then the Evade would certainly be my choice. Nobody is going to be upset with some free speed, and if you are a fan of the way the helmet looks (I am... I admit it's a big part of why I bought it) then not much is cooler than matte black. And let's be honest, it's sweet. Isn't that reason enough in itself?

On to the "meh" part... the price. Yes, $250 is a good chunk of money... but it's actually a lot less than I had expected it to be. $250 is priced right up there with basically everyone's (Specialized included) top of the line road helmet, and it's priced well under almost any top of the line Aero helmet. If you believed everything you read, and that everything said ~5w of the McLaren (good luck buying one of those for under $400, if you can find one.) then it'd be hard not to call the Evade a good value. Of course, disclaimers should abound (helmets are personal, don't believe everything you read, blah blah blah, Santa isn't real.) The looks also should probably fall in here... it's not for all. I got reactions that swung from awesome to hideous in the looks department.

So that leaves the bad.

Let's get this straight... if you wear this helmet, and you get beat at the County Line sprint on the shop ride... you deserve all the ridicule you get. Just accept it and move on. (Not that that happened to me...)

Seriously though, I would say the bad is the fact that we aren't limited to one helmet for every occasion. I'm positive Specialized will sell a fair number of Evades to people who either want a "do it all" helmet or people who can't get over the "goofy" aero lid look. (This just in... You are wearing SPANDEX and soaking wet. You look like a dork in ANY helmet.) However for a lot of casual racers I suspect there just isn't room in the closet. Most guys and gals are going to have a dedicated road helmet, a dedicated tri/tt helmet and that's it. Adding $250 to that starts looking a little more questionable if you aren't a gear nerd or planning on doing some breaking away in local road races/crits.

So, I'll wrap it up by saying... if you need a swiss army knife helmet, if you need a new kickass helmet, or if you're a road/crit racer that occasionally does an Omnium or TT, then this might be the helmet for you.

If you've already got a tt lid and road helmet and aren't actively looking for a breakaway lid... then you don't NEED the Evade. So pass if you don't have a use for it.

Alright, that's it for this time. Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it.

Check back tomorrow (Thursday 6/26) because there will be a special post coming. Make sure to check it out, especially if you're in the market for some new threads.

-Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Let's go Fort Stormin! (Race Report)

Last year this race didn't go so well (what with pulling out and waiting for the police/medical after the guy in front of me was clipped by a truck/trailer.) as this is actually the "Smoke on the Water" course from last year and NOT the Olympic "Storm the Fort."  My primary goal was to just safely finish, with a hope to score as many points as possible in the Sprint Series. (This race counted double.)

That said, like all my sprints this year leading up to the big races, I would be "training through" it. Thursday was a tempo run and tough swim, with Friday being mercifully short and sweet 1' repeats on the bike, so I wasn't going in totally rested and ready, but excited and anxious none the less.

It's a good drive to Kingston from my house, so the lovely Jenny and myself headed out about 5a.m. I check in and bike racks are semi-marked (your row was marked, but first come first serve inside that) so I grab the end. Prime position. Josh and his dad were also getting set up, along with Terry and Lloyd, so I spent some time chatting and then finally decided I should probably warm up.

I got a long bit of riding in on the bike so I'd have a chance to scope out a little of the course, particularly the train tracks a few miles in. They are the very wide variety and at a very odd angle, so hitting them just right is of paramount importance... and even then I thought it best to slow down just a tad. Complicating things was the washed out gravel on the return trip side... I mentally make a note and carry on. They were enough of a concern I ran my Jet9 (22mm tire) instead of my HED3. (19mm)

Anyways, I get back, battle for my spot at the rack (yes...that's my stuff... no you didn't show up 20' before start and get the best spot on the rack...sorry.) and get into my swimskin. The family arrives, I get a few kisses (lucky!) and go hop in the water to warm up with the call for 8 minutes to start.


Swim - 11:36 (600y - probably long by a bit) 10th OA out of the water.

Land Ho!

Well... I thought I had 8 minutes. No sooner do I hit water than I hear the announcement for 1 minute to start... yikes! I get my face wet and get toward the front toward the middle of the river.  The gun sounds and we're off.

Moderately physical for the first minute or so, but then the waters cleared out. I'm pretty much on my own up until the second turn buoy at which point I find some feet. I hold on for a minute or two, but realize my trailblazer is going wildly off course. I correct and sail in on my own. I most certainly shouldn't have taken for granted he was sighting well. Oh well. Live and Learn. I'm out fairly early (by my estimation) but I know a few guys have gotten a fair lead on me.

T1 - 1:21 (long run from swim to transition)

Lonely Transition

I make the long run from the swim exit and quickly get my glasses and helmet on and head out on the bike. As I hit the mount line my Powertap Joule decided to fall off! A volunteer somehow catches me and I fumble trying to put it on before finally saying "F" it and throwing it to my mom who is standing at the side of transition. I hop on the bike and curse a few times. Guess I'm riding without power today.

Bike - 33:46 (13mi) 3rd OA

After getting in my shoes and up the first little incline, I drop in aero and start doing work. I pass a few places in the first few miles and think I'm probably somewhere in the top 3. I hit the train tracks just a bit harder than I had thought to and launch the aero straw cover thing off of my Torhans (2nd one in 2 races... be warned if you live in rough areas... my next one is getting a pin through it.) but otherwise come through unscathed. The rest of the ride is pretty uneventful, I push as hard as I think I can handle and still be able to run. Wish I'd had power but such is life sometimes. At the final turn back to the road leading to transition I finally see someone in front of me. (eventual 3rd place, Nicholas) I make the catch with about 1/2 a mile to go and think I'm in first. Little did I know I was actually just WAAAY behind in second place.

T2 - 00:35

I jump off the bike and am quickly running out of t2, with the guy I passed on the bike right behind me. He looks like a runner... which isn't good for me. Nonetheless, I'm not going to slow down.

Run - 26:41 (4 miles) 16th OA

Lumbering towards the finish line

And by not slow down, I mean I immediately slow down and start pacing with him. I know (from many...many experiences) that I'm bad about going out too fast off the bike, so I figure a little pacing might go a long way. He is open to working together and tells me we are way behind Bill (1st place... I hadn't even seen him in transition that morning) and that he's not feeling up to catching him. I know I'm not catching him so we have our gentleman's truce until at least mile 3 and work together.

The run course is pretty miserable (they all are if you're me) with a charge up to the fort at a little past the first mile marker (who builds a fort on a hill anyways... jeez... the nerve.) and it quickly starts to eat into how I'm feeling. Soon I'm all alone, with my pacer long since leaving me in the dust, but unfortunately I can hear somebody (David) else closing the distance between us. At mile 3 he passes me and I'm repulsed to see a "34" on the back of his leg. Sigh. Guess there will be no cruising to the finish line. I'm hurting but I've heard him breathing hard for over a mile so I muster up something and catch his heels. I sit on his back for a good ways until we come up on transition... at this point there is a long (100m'ish) path down the river, then it widens up into a boat loading parking lot where the finish line is. I come beside him and we run down the path shoulder to shoulder.

I'm not a good sprinter. My kick is more of a hop. I'm pretty sure if we get close enough for a "real" sprint then I'm going to get trounced. So as we step to the parking lot I make my move. I give it everything I've got left and fortunately my opposition is already on the rivet and lets me cross with a couple of seconds buffer. Been a while since I worked that hard at the line.

I collapse in exhaustion and lay they for a minute to collect myself.

Finish: 1:13:56 (1st AG / 4th OA)

Jenny trying to get a picture of me ;)

Sadly, since the men 40+ started after us, I am eventually kicked from the podium to 4th, within a few seconds... now I really wish I hadn't stopped for my Joule ;)

Still, I was happy. Double points for 1st in my AG gives me a safe buffer for the series in my age group, and puts me very close to the top for the overall.

We hang out and watch some other finishers, then wait for awards and finally it's time to head home. Nobody got hurt, so the race was a huge success in my book!

Now it's back to training... hard training. It's kind of "cram" time for August which is fastly approaching. Time to get in the best shape I can possibly be in!

A less dorky than normal picture of the Cobb Mobb kit.

As always, thanks so much for reading! I really appreciate it!

-Christopher Morelock