Saturday, November 28, 2009

2009 Race Season

My 2009 race season was my best so far.  I have been racing since '03 but never like I did this year.  Up until 2008 I had never DNF'd a race before.  The lead-up to Ironman Lake Placid 2008 was good but I stepped on a nail at work on 5/16 and struggled to get my training in after that.  The injury bothered me for over a year.  Race day came and I woke up with either the flu or food poisoning.  Not sure which.  I started the race but was unable to continue after the swim.  I withdrew and filed it under "live to fight another day".  I went back to the Peak tent and hung out before retreating to the hotel with a fever and a temp of 102. I was able to make it back down to the venue after the fever broke to watch Dave Brackett finish his first Ironman and almost beat my '06 finish time.  I also met Angela Bancroft that day.  Angela was there to sign up for IMLP'09.  She has become a great friend and inspiration since then and I continue to enjoy following her race adventures. After IMLP '08 I went home, regrouped, and decided that I was going to "rip it up" in 2009.  So, back to 2009.  Rick Durgin and I spent a great deal of time on the trainers doing bike workouts and using power numbers as a guide.  I gained a tremendous amount of bike strength and fitness this way.  I also swam three times per week all winter long and made more progress with my swimming - which has never come easily.  I worked my running too but not as hard as I should have.  I did do some of my running on the treadmill this past year and it seemed to help improve my turnover as well as reduce the risk of being hit by a car in the dark on Pope Road in Windham.  The other thing I paid more attention to going into 2009 was what I put in my mouth.  I got my weight down to 166 by eating right and incorporating some regular weight training into my plan.  This allowed me to race at about 168 this year.  BIG difference.  All this added up to a great year, the peak being my participation in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida on November 14th.  I raced 14 times in '09 counting the three time trial (bike) races I did in the Maine Time Trial Series and two half-marathons.  Below are my "Race Reports" for most of them.   I am a new to this blogging thing so I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures:
  • PolarBear Duathlon, May 2nd 2009.  First race of the season.  I came in second place in '08.  I wanted to win this race and thought I could.  The run started pretty quickly and I felt good.  Didn't try to chase anyone as I knew there would be some people going out too fast.  We came out of the woods and I was in third place when I saw the first and second place guys go right instead of left.  I went left but I turned and screamed at them to turn around.  They did but it gave me a 30 second gap.  Now, I'm a "do whatever it takes to win" kind of guy but this just didn't seem right to me so I slowed up, almost stopped, and let them not only catch me but regain their positions as 1st and 2nd.  Stupid? I wanted to win because I was fastest, not because somebody screwed up.  We came into transition together and I came out in first.  I hammered the bike.  There were only two faster bike splits that day and they were by guys in the triathlon, Kurt Perham and Mike Caiazzo.  So I felt pretty good being in the company of those two guys.  I got off the bike and ran like I was in second place.  Had a good strong run and came across the line in first place by over two minutes if I remember right.  My first win!  I had never really won ANYTHING before so this was pretty cool even though it was only a "duathlon" hahaha.  I felt like I earned it too.  I told my wife and daughter I was going to win this race and that's what I did.  Good feeling.  In the words of Kid Rock: "It ain't cocky if you can back it up"!  Why the Du and not the Tri?  Well, I did the tri for a couple of years and had crappy swims in the pool and got frustrated with pool swims so I decided to try the Du.  Plus I had placed 2nd at the CELT Challenge Duathlon in '07 and had fun with it so I thought I'd "do the Du" instead.  HOWEVER, given how the rest of '09 went and the gains I feel I've made with my swimming, I will be putting my big boy pants back on this coming season and entering the Tri.  There are a couple of guys that I know swim really well and I want to see if I can stay with 'em.
  • Maine Time Trial Series:  I did three of the time trials this year, my favorite being Cambden :).  I was finishing near the top and I think that if I just focussed on this I could be right there with those guys.  That said, I used it as a way to tune up for the tri season and didn't do enough races to place in the series.  These races are a blast though.  Total hammer session.  You will see heart rate numbers you have not seen often, that's for sure!
  • Moosman Olympic:  6/6/09.  35th place of 870 finishers.  9th in age group of 103.  2:28:17.  I was sick all week before the Mooseman and was beginning to think this illness thing was going to be a pattern on race day.  Luckily I came around on Thurs/Fri with help of a Z-Pack and decided to give it a go.  Dave Brackett, Pat Kelley (aka New Guy), Rick Durgin and myself headed to NH on Friday.  We scored free lodging and great accomodations all the way around with my favorite aunt Julie and uncle Gary on Lake Winnisquam 20 minutes from the race venue.  Upon my arrival at the transition are I was immediately frustrated with the lack of space to set up.  It was awful.  Deep breath.  I met Steve Tenney there and he tuned me up in pretty good shape that day.  He's on my list :).  The swim was very cold, I had an OK swim, not great but ok.  It took me 15 miles to catch Dave Brackett on the bike.  We passed each other a couple of time and then he faded.  I started the run too fast and was having trouble getting a full deep breath, my feet were numb from the cold swim and then bike.  It was a good 4 miles before I had any feeling at all in my left foot.  I stayed fairly steady and was able burn through the finish at 2:28:17.  Saw Mike MacDonald, Angela Bancroft, Kim Nemec and Rick Durgin at the finish.  I waited to see Brackett come through and then we watched Pat Kelley complete his first olympic distance race.  Good solid day.  We headed for lunch at a local Irish place as I can't stand waiting in line for post race food.  We had a feast and some beers and headed back to my Aunt and Uncle's for an awesome afternoon on the pontoon boat.  Many laughs and more beers.  Great time had by all.
  • Black Fly Tri  7/10-7/12.  This was a great 3 day event in Waterville Valley, NH.  Dave Brackett had just bought a "new" camper and he and I travelled to NH in that on Friday.  The Black Fly consists of 3 days of racing.  Friday night is the 4 mile bike time trial, Saturday there is an Olympic distance triathlon and Sunday there is a sprint distance triathlon.  We were there to compete in all three events known as the "Lord of the Flies".The person with the lowest combined time for all three events is considered "Lord of The Flies".  Friday night we did the time trial.  I came in 7th of 104.  Kurt beat me by about 30 seconds or so and I felt pretty good about that until I figured out that he was probably pacing himself for the weekend and I had "let it all hang out".  He wasn't my concern anyway as I knew he would win it overall for the weekend (and he did), my focus was Rick Durgin.  He is very strong on the bike, swims about the same as I do and at the time we were running about the same.  So it looked to be a competitive weekend. Rick finished 15th in the TT on a borrowed road bike.  He backed into a car when he was leaving for NH and crushed his brand new P2.  Ouch!  So he was on a rented mule and still kicked ass (no pun intended).  After the TT, only seventeen seconds separated us.  Saturday was the "Olympic" distance race but it was shortened due to the extremely cold water temps.  The little pond we were to swim in was only about 56 degrees.  I had a horrible swim.  I got totally anaerobic and had to stop and settle down.  Nat Steele still jabs me about that.  Anyway, I got out of the water two minutes behind Durgin and got some of it back on the bike but not enough.  I pushed hard through the run but he beat me soundly by 2:28, a margin that was going to be tough to erase in a sprint distance race on Sunday.  Rick came in 17th, I was 35th and Dave did pretty well too although he was too far back to challenge us on Sunday.  He also was getting tired.  So after the Saturday battle I was behind Rick by a margin of 1:11.  I knew it was going to take a huge effort to beat him on Sunday and an even bigger effort to beat him for the weekend.  Dave and I headed back to the "Shaggin' Wagon" and took it easy for the rest of the day.  There was a river behind the campground we stayed at and we sat in that for as long as we could stand it.  I think it helped me on Sunday.  Saturday night looked like rain so after dinner we packed up camp and figured we'd drive the Shaggin' Wagon to the race venue in the morning instead of biking the 9 miles - again, in the rain.  It rained hard Saturday night and it proved to be a great decision.  We got lots of sleep and showed up at the race ready to rock.  I did something I had only done before the bike time trials.  I got on the trainer for a 30 minute warm-up.  I got a good sweat going and literally walked over, put on my wetsuit and started the race.I saw Durgin in transition and he remarked that he thought he'd wear socks today.  I said "yeah, me too" then when he turned around I threw mine back in my bag!  HAHAHHAHa....I knew I would need every second today and a little gamesmanship was not out of line. The swim was much better today.  Didn't get anxious, just started out easy and built into my pace.  I ended up swimming two minutes faster than the previous day!  I got a great strip of the wetsuit and sprinted into T1.  I looked and saw Rick at his bike putting his helmet on.  He had gotten in the water 20 seconds before me so I knew I had beaten him on the swim.  Perfect, now I just need a minute on the bike and hold him off on the run.  Not so fast.  He got out of T1 ahead of me but I caught and went by him at mile two on the bike.  I never looked back and at the turnaround I judged that I have about 45 seconds on him.  It was a steady climb all the way back and I was confident I had my minute as I crested the last hill.  It was then that I heard "how do you like me now MF'er?!  Holy crap!  It was HIM!  The sonavab&%ch ran me down in the hills on a bike he hadn't ridden before this weekend! Now what am I gonna do? Now I will have to outrun him BIG TIME in a sprint.  We swapped places a couple of times coming in and dismounted our bikes at exactly the same time after screeching to the line.  I wanted to chuck mine in the bushes and just run but I couldn't.  We sprinted into transition and I came out first.  Fastest T2 ever - like 34 seconds or something.  I looked over my shoulder and saw the Big Man bearing down on me - about 30 feet back.  This was not good.  The tongue of my left shoe was messed up so I had to bend over and pull it.  There goes my gap.  Now we're running stride for stride.  Not where I want to be.  I look like Barney Rubble trying to keep up with him.  We run by Rick's wife Michelle and daughter Madisyn and they're screaming at us.  This is fun.  My heart rate is pushing 180 and I settle in to the fact that this is where it's going to be for the next twenty minutes.  We run by Kurt (he was way ahead) and he later tells us it looked like we were out just "chatting it up".  Far from it, we were running 6:15's and I couldn't talk if I wanted to.  I surged a couple of times to see if he's go away and he wouldn't.  I just couldn't shake him.  We saw Brackett, he was shot, and we were flying.  Rick basically pulled me in for the last mile and he'd probably say the same.  We came into the park and saw his family again.  I knew it was shaping up to be a classic finish line sprint.  I reached back into my bag of tricks for a little something extra but got nothing.  He beat me to the line by a few seconds and we both almost puked after.  What a race!  Absolute blast!  I beat him in the race but didn't get enough time back to win on the weekend.  I was 29 seconds short.  Imagine that.  Race somebody over the course of three days and only 29 seconds separates you.  Obviously, if I hadn't tanked the swim on Saturday It would have been different but I don't play that game.  He beat me straight up and that's all there is to it.  You gotta bring your "A" game on race day.  We had a blast.  Rick finished 7th  and I was 11th in the Lord of the Flies category.  Dave was down the list a bit but did very well too.  I think we're all planning to go back in 2010. 
  • The "County" Half Marathon  I think it was around the end of July / beginning of August that we planned a "training" weekend at my camp in Island Falls.  We wanted to combine a training weekend with a family getaway.  I arrived at camp on Friday with Jodi and Bailey.  When I drove through Island Falls I happened to catch a glimpse of a little neon cardboard sign that said "Half-Marathon Tomorrow" with a phone number on it.  Hmmmmm.  I got to thinking that we were planning on running "long" on Sunday anyway.  Why not switch it up and get some race pace stuff in there instead?  I called Dave and Rick and let them know about it so they could ponder it on their way up to camp.  Long story short, we decided to race Saturday and then bike Sunday.  I think there was a whopping 75 people in the race. Directions were given, left here, right there, right after you pass the dead skunk in the road take a right onto the dirt road etc.  Rick and I decided we'd try to run "sevens" and Dave thought he might be able to run 7:30's.  We all took off and Rick and I immediately fell into a good "sevenish" rhythm.  Dave wasn't too far back and was doing a good job not of going out too fast as he sometimes does.  There was a pretty good hill in the first mile with a quick turnaround and another dose of the same hill.  We knocked out a couple of seven tens or so and started picking up the pace about the time we pulled up along the worst mouth breather I have ever encountered in a race.  You know the guy, sounds like someone is holding his nose and every breath is his last.  There's no way this guy can hold this pace given how he looks but nonetheless we picked it up a little more to get by him before I fell over laughing.  Durgin wouldn't even look at me because he knew I would have something funny to say.  Then we came up on "The Clomper".  He is the guy that runs like he's going downhill even when he's on a flat road.  You've seen this guy, he has size 27 shoes that you'd swear were full of concrete...Clomp, Clomp, Clomp....  So here we are running down Route 2 in Aroostook County with the Mouth Breather and the Clomper, both within earshot and I turn around to check on Brackett and see "Ironman Impersonator" guy bearing down on us running at about a 6 minute clip.  I slide left and give him room but he never comes by.  He checks up just before passing us and then fades quickly.  Maybe he thought it was a 5k.  I saw him at the start and he was wearing an Ironman World Championship headsweat Do-rag, no shirt, and a heart rate monitor.  Looked like an Army Ranger tatooo on his arm so I figured he was no joke.  Never did see him again after his sprint in mile three.  So Durgin and I settled in to around a seven minute pace through the first six.  That was about the time he started picking it up. We went through the seven mile marker running a 6:23 pace when I told him I didn't think I could hold it.  He says " oh Come on, we only got six miles left!".  Ouch.  He started inching away from me and I downshifted to a 6:50 and felt better.  Mile nine presented a nice one mile steady climb and I had some 20 year old kid breathing down my neck.  I held him off through the finish but I had to work hard to do it.  We all had a a great run, certainly faster than we'd have gone if we didn't race and with Timberman a couple of weeks out it was a great tune-up.  Rick ran 6:50's, I ran 7:03's and Dave ran 7:30's.  A good day all the way around.  The ladies brought bikes so they were able to get a ride in as well.  
  • Timberman Ironman 70.3  8/23/09  4:51, 75th overall  Gilford, NH.  Timberman was the race I was gearing everything toward all season.  I had checked last year's qualifying times for Clearwater and thought that if I had a PR and a great day I could punch my ticket to the World Championships.  I set this goal at about this time last year.  I had times when I thought it was a pipe dream and other times when I just knew I could do it.  Either way, I put it on my list of goals for 2009.  I'd be lying if I said the DNF in Lake Placid didn't have something to do with my success in '09.  I trained angry, and hard all winter.  I left the Ironman sticker on my bike just to remind me that you can never take it for granted.  Every time I felt like quitting or cutting a workout short I would just look down at that sticker and be reminded of what I felt like that day in LP when the wheels came off the buggy.  The Timberman race was typical in that it turned out to be a very warm day.  I had a great swim after a long wait.  I felt very solid on the bike and was able to go 2:28.  When I headed out for the run I felt great and was knocking down sevens before the heat started becoming a factor.  I ended up running 8's and going 1:45 on the run.  I finished with a time of 4:51, 18th in my age group and didn't look to be be in the mix for a Clearwater slot.  I went to the roll-down any way and was very fortunate that it rolled down to me.  I got in!!!!!  Dave Brackett almost got a slot too but was just short.  Bummer, I wanted him to get in as well.  Rick Durgin won the Clydesdale division even after a 10-15 minute delay due to a broken pedal.  Mike MacDonald and family came down to support us and it was great to have people yelling for us.  So then it was done.  I had a slot.  Be careful what you wish for!
  • Lobsterman  9/19/09  Freeport, Maine  13th overall, 3rd in age group.  When I set the goal to qualify for Clearwater I never gave a thought to how much it would extend my season if I were able to secure a slot.  After Timberman I met with Rob Smith and he put together a training plan for me.  We wanted to really focus on the second half of the 70.3 run - to be able to run strong late in the race.  The Lobsterman would be a great way to see if I was on track.  I set a goal to run sevens off the bike.  I also wanted to beat Al Bugbee.  Al got me at the Timberman and I wanted another shot at him.  The water was frigid but I had a solid swim.  As I neared the shore I noticed Bugbee to my left and was pretty pumped that we would get to square off on the bike.  It never happened as Al ended up having a long day.  Something was up because I didn't see him on the bike at all.  Anyway, I felt great on the bike but kept it a half click back so I could really dig into the run.  When I exited T2 I knew immediately that I was going to run well, I just felt great.  I ran the first mile, heading out of Winslow Park in 6:53.  So far, so good.  I got out onto the main road and was feeling super.  Passed Angela (she was headed back), Owen Lisa and Brett Helstedt.  All were having great runs.  I hit the turn around and was still running well below sevens.  The run back was strong and I finished having run 6:45's!  I was pumped.  This was a very good indicator that I could run well off the bike.  I was getting there.  I ran into my old friend Rick (Aquaman) Ackerman at the finish and we caught up for a bit.  Dave Brackett came down to see the race and we waited for Pat (New Guy) Kelley to finish his second olympic distance tri of the year.  Pat later demonstrated the proper way to negotiate a long line at the beer tent.  Great weather, great race.  Bring on Clearwater.
  • Maine Marathon  10/4(?) or so, Portland.  I had a twelve mile run on my training schedule for this day so I decided to run the half-marathon.  My goal would be to run seven minute miles for 13.1 miles.  Rick Durgin was running but he was planning to do the full marathon as part of his training for the Manchester marathon in early November.  Rick ran a 3:24, then went to NH and tore off a sub 3:15 and earned himself a Boston Marathon spot.  I had a great run and averaged 7:01's or so I think.  I was close to my goal and had a solid day.  I was overdressed but that was ok given it would be hot on race day in Florida.  After the race I hung around a bit.  I saw a lot of people I know.  I caught up with Pat Kelley and Dino.  Pat had just completed his first 1/2 marathon and did it in stlye, running around 1:39.  I saw him on the course after the turn-around and he was not far behind me.  He had a big smile on his face and held his Garmin GPS up to me and yelled that he hadn't seen over 7:15 on it yet!  Let me put this into perspective for you.  Six weeks earlier when Pat signed up for the race he told me he was just hoping to finish.  I told him that he was beyond that, having completed two olympic distance triathlons already this year.  I told him that I was confident that he would not only finish, but that he would AND COULD run "sub 8's".  He looked at me like I was crazy but I could see a glimmer of belief in his eyes and I knew I had started a fire burning.  So here he was out there close to the turn around knocking down 7:15's with a smile on his face.  I literally laughed out loud as thought back to the look on his face six weeks ago when I told him what I thought he could do.  I just hoped he could hold it together coming in.  He pretty much did and it was that day that I think Pat really started believing in Pat.  We call him "New Guy" at the pool because we have had a lot of fun watching him make all those silly mistakes that newbie triathletes make.  Things like pulling your wetsuit on over your "regular" shorts, riding your bike a few days after a race and forgetting the number is still on your helmet.  Things we've all done but it never gets old seeing someone else do it!  I have enjoyed watching Pat jump headfirst into this sport.  He is scrappy and never gives up.  I like that. More importantly, he is a quality individual, the kind of person that every time you're around you become a little bit better person yourself.
  • Black Bear Triathlon  10/18/09  Orono, Maine  Rob and I decided a mid October sprint distance tri would be a great way to work on some speed and stay sharp so I signed up for the Black Bear Triathlon.  His instructions were to "crush it", "go and win it".  Win it?  I've never won anything!  I knew I could go and compete so I decided that I would go there and win it.  No reason I shouldn't be able to.  It's a small race way up north, likely very cold and late in the season.   I got up race morning and left around 5am for the two trek north.  I tried to sneak into the transition are undetected but I caught a guy that looked pretty fast eyeballing me.  He was set up pretty good with a full disc on the back and a fast looking bike.  I went about setting up and decided I would put my tri tank on AFTER the pool swim due to the 37 degree temp outside.  I also prepped my Peak Performance bike coat and a pair of gloves.  I knew I would freeze anyway but I didn't care, I was here to win.  I didn't do a bike warm-up because of the weather and I headed into the pool to get ready for the 600m swim.  I saw "race wheel guy" get geared up and head out for his warm up. He later found me in the pool area and came up to ask my name.  I told him Kurt Perham.  Hahahah  No, just kidding.  I said, Bob Turner, nice to meet you.  He said, "Bob Turner? hmmmm?  You're a wicked fast biker aren' t you?" I laughed and said "I like to think so but there's always somebody faster"....then I said "well, it looks like you and I are going to do battle today".  He said "Yeah, looks that way"...and that was all I needed.  I was now DEFINITELY going to win this damn race, AND I wanted to crush this guy in the process.  In the nicest sort of way of course. :)  I was able to get in the water for a quick few hundred warm up before the start.  I was in the far lane and my target was in lane one.  We started and I had a nice steady 600.  I jumped out of the pool and snuck a peek at lane one as I slithered by.  HE was still in the water!  I headed out into the frigid air and got my gear on.  HE hadn't come out yet.  I took off on the bike and got my gloves on.  I hadn't had time to ride the course before the race so I was going blind - not good.  I would have to rely on the volunteers to direct me.  The first guy I came to had one hand in his pocket and was text messaging with the other.  He finally gave me a signal at the last minute and I stayed on course.  It was like that the whole way but I managed to rip it pretty good.  It was so cold that I had to bike the last few miles with one hand on the bars and one on my crotch.  EVERYTHING was freezing.  This was not a good situation and had the race been any longer I would have had to stop and "warm things up".  I looked back a couple of times on the bike and saw no one.  It was a wave start of course so I kept hammering thinking maybe someone in another wave could get me.  I hit t2 and threw my bike back on the 2x4 rack and got my running shoes on.  I ran HARD. No one was going to get me today.  I think I ran sub sevens for the three miles and finished on the UMaine track - pretty cool.  I crossed the line and was pretty confident I had won but wouldn't know for sure till everyone was in.  I headed to the showers - still never saw my nemesis - and got ready to go to the awards.  I enjoyed lunch with the Nakamura family.  Their daughter attends Umaine and also raced with her dad Roy.  They both did very well.  Nice family.  When the results were posted Roy (who won his age group) nudged his way in and confirmed that I was the overall winner.  I was stoked.  Yeah, it was a small race but I later found out I had set a course record by well over two minutes.  I finished in 1:06 something.  I smiled when I heard one of the younger guys that had raced say " Hey, who is Turner?" I said, ah, that's me.  He said "Jesus, Dude!  You destroyed us!"  I smiled and thanked him and silently said to myself that THAT"S WHAT I CAME TO DO!!!!!  ARGH!!!!!  I was great to finally win one.  Maybe I can win a bigger on in 2010.  I headed for my truck and was so excited I drove ten miles in the wrong direction before I realized what I was doing, making my trip home twenty miles longer than it needed to be!  Now, onto Clearwater for a little humble pie.
  • Ironman 70.3 World Championships  11/14/09 Clearwater, FL.  Jodi, Bailey and I flew down to Tampa on 11/12.  Looking back, I wish that I had gone down on the 11th as Bailey was off from school and Jodi off from work due to Veteran's Day.  Oh well.  We got to the Hilton around 2pm on Thursday before the Saturday race.  The first thing I did was go and grab my bike so I could put it together.  This would alleviate some of my pre race stress.  I had to make sure the steed was in race shape or figure out any issues quickly.  The bike assembly went perfectly thanks to Rob Smith walking me through it when we took it apart.  I also was glad that Josh Freeman had tuned it up before I left.  Bike assembled, I headed over to check in only to figure out I was a little late.  Bummer.  I would have to wait until tomorrow.   No big deal, just wanted to check it off the list.  I headed back to the room and chilled out.  At 6pm we headed over to Sand Key Park for the welcome dinner and mandatory pre race meeting.  I never expected what  saw there.  There was a huge stage set up with two jumbo TV screens and rows and rows of tables, enough to seat 2000 people.  The food tent was jammed with about 8 forty foot long tables piled with awesome food.  These guys do it right.  We enjoyed a nice dinner outside about 100 yards from the Gulf and listened to various speakers and race officials.  It was very windy in fact I had finished everything on my plate except a bit of salad when I looked down and my plate was gone.  The wind took it.  All I could do is laugh.  I got a great night of sleep that night and on Friday morning we found a little diner across from the hotel and had breakfast.  It was a neat little place, a lot like Becky's Diner in Portland so we felt right at home.  After Breakfast I went to check in.  I got all my gear and headed back to the room to get organized.  On my way to the elevator I spied Ironman World Champ Craig Alexander.  I was able to get a picture with him and actually shot the breeze for a few minutes.  Very cool.  After that the girls went shopping and I spent a few hours getting the bike set up.  I had not totally figured out how I was going to haul a spare tubular tire with me in my first race on tubulars.  I went back and forth to the Ironman bike tent a few times and ended up with a new Xlab Super Wing set-up and tire bag.  I got rid of my aero bottle set up on the front and the down tube bottle cage, put it all on the Wing and I was ready to rock.  Nothing new on race day right? heheheh.  On my third trip back to the room I ducked into Subway and ordered up a foot long sandwich for lunch.  I was at the room thinking how much more fun this trip would be if my friends were there when the front desk called me.  "Mr Turner, there is something here for you. Could you come down and get it"?.  I left my sandwich and headed to the desk.  When I came around the corner I caught a glimpse of Dave Brackett ducking behind a column.  I snuck around the far side and jumped out at him.  We caused quite a scene in the hotel lobby but we didn't care. I was psyched that he'd travelled all that way just to come support me in the race.  What a nice surprise.   We headed right for the bar and got him a couple of beers and after I finished setting up my stuff we went to check in my bike and buy Dave a ticket to the awards dinner.  Bike check in was great.  They have one person escort you to your bike spot and run through the whole transition area protocol with you.  It was so helpful.  The volunteers there were awesome.  We spent some time at the hotel pool Friday afternoon and then we all went to dinner and I got to bed fairly early.  Race morning I woke up around 4:30 and went down to the hotel lounge and got a bagel and coffee etc.  At 5:30 I headed to the transition area.   It was a pretty cool scene, still dark out and everybody just going about their business.  I got bodymarked and inflated my tires.  After that I stretched out a bit and headed toward the swim start.  The race officials had moved the swim to the harbor instead of having it in the gulf.   This was due to the recent tropical storm in the area and the nasty surf it had created.  Dave Brackett found me down near the swim start and we hung out until it was time for me to get in line.  I was pretty calm and was about as ready as I could be.  They were starting us in kind of a time trial start, two or three at a time.  We had to sit down on the dock then ease into the water.  It worked in my favor as I have a history of blowing up in the first few minutes of a mass swim start.  I was able to ease into my pace and do my thing.  I had a solid swim, passed a few guys and got passed a few times.  Very little contact with anyone, which was great.  I sighted well, felt good and exited the water with a PR swim of 30:52.  We had a long run to T1 but I was happy to be out of the water and headed for my bike.  I was so cranked up when I got on my bike that I tore out of there like it was a sprint.  I tried to settle down but I just couldn't.  After I got over the bridge my heart rate was 168 and I was averaging 24.8 mph.  Too fast too soon.  I backed off more.  I got to the ten mile mark and actually had to yell at myself to slow down,  I was worried I was going to blow my run if I didn't.  Miles 10-20 I seemed to get a handle on things and got comfortable with my heart rate coming down into the 150's.  Better.  It was about that time that the first pack of about twenty riders went by me like I was standing still.  they had to going at least 30mph on the flat.  No joke.  I shook my head and remembered that Doug Welling had warned me about this.  As the race wore on the packs got bigger.  I stayed out of the fray and did my thing.  I saw a few drafting penalties handed out but it was absolutely ridiculous how much drafting there was in this race.  At times, due to the amount of people in the race it is almost impossible NOT to draft.  I did my best to avoid those situations but it was hard to watch others blatantly cheat.  I did get pissed off once after get passed by about 60 bikes.  I passed them back and smoked 'em in good shape before realizing how stupid I was being.  I settled down and focussed on MY race.  The rest of the bike was a steady spin and I came into transition at 2:14:48 having averaged 24.93 mph for 56 miles.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think i could go this fast but the course is conducive to these kinds of times.  The guy that won my age group biked under two hours!  So now I'm a runner.  I handed my bike off to a volunteer and felt relieved to have gotten through it without incident.  I could now focus on the run goal of 1:30 off the bike.  This was a tall order given I had just had the ride of my life.  I still felt pretty confident though because I had gotten the bike ride under control early enough to not screw up my run.  I had a great transition and took off feeling great.  It wasn't too hot yet and I hoped I could punch out 13.1 before the heat became a factor.  I had the same problem early on the run that I did on the bike.  Settle down!  I ran the first mile in 6:36 pretty comfortably but figured that was a little quick.  I settled into a seven minute pace with a guy from Jersey and hung with him until I had to hit the porta-potty in mile six.  He was a Yankee fan so I bid him adieu and hoped I could catch him later.  I lost over a minute in the outhouse but I HAD TO GO or I was going to have issues.  That done with I set about trying to reel in the Yankee fan.  I didn't really think I get back to him but I was able to pull up along side him in mile nine.  I was still holding onto 7:10's or so but I was starting to slow down.  This is where I really had to go to work.  I put a little surge on the Yankee fan and he didn't respond.  I never looked back and never saw him again.  Just the way I like it with Yankee fans.  Anyway, I tried to hang on through the finish but slowed a bit and crossed the line in 1:34:56, a 7:14 pace.  Very respectable considering I had biked out of my mind.  I caught a glimpse of Brackett as I approached the finish line and screamed at him.  I crossed the line and was happy to be starting my offseason.  The guy to my right tipped over and they lugged him off.  I put some ice in my hat, got a finisher's medal and a towell and got my picture taken.  Dave and I headed out to find Jodi and Bailey who had stayed out on the run course rather that mess with the crowd at the finish.  We all headed back to the hotel, skipping the post race food (hate lines) and I got showered up.  We got another big ol' Subway sandwich and headed for the hotel pool while Brackett cat napped.  What a day.  4:27:18.  I had a tremendous day and still finished 57th in my age group!  Unreal.  Those guys are FAST!  It was great to mix it up with the big boys and I was proud to represent our local tri community with a great race.  I remember thinking of everyone watching online when I was going over the timing mats.  I laughed when I hit the 25 mile bike mat and I was at 24.8mph.  I said to myself "there's no way they're gonna believe that"!!!  I was a great trip, race and overall experience.   One I'll treasure always.  Thanks to all of you that supported me, trained with me and cheered for me.  Thanks to my family for putting up with all the training and making it part of our lives.  I truly am living the dream!
So there you have it!  2009 in a nutshell!  Haha!  If you read this whole blog I hope you enjoyed it and you got a little something out of it.  I will keep blogging as long as people keep reading!



  1. You write Great race reports Bob!!! Fun to read about yoru season... I love hearing all the inside details that we don't always know. it's what makes races special. Great sportsmanship at PolarbearDu btw...that IS what makes your win special. 2009 was an amazing season for you. HUge congrats. I have a feeling 2010 will be fast and successful as well.

  2. Bob- A great bunch of RR's. My first reaction is...oh, shit- another one to worry about. With the 2009 season under your belt, 2010 will be another step up. I can relate to a prior year's race motivating you for the next year- I missed Team USA by 45 seconds in 2008. It eats at you, pushes you through pain, and makes you a more aggressive racer. Nice work.

  3. Thanks Guys, I won't be as long winded now that I've reduced '09 to writing! Looking forward to a great 2010!

  4. Beautiful recap of your season and welcome to blogland!

  5. nice wrap up Bootstrap. Hope u are fresh and ready to push hard into 2010.


  6. Sounds like an awesome season. Very inspirational! Can't wait to hear what 2010 brings...
    Loved the race recaps.