Location: Quassy Amusement Park
Weather: 70 Degrees and Cloudy
Distance: Half Ironman (1.2 Mile Swim, 56 Mile Bike, 13.1 Run)
Finish Time: 5 Hours 3 Minutes 3 Seconds
Overall: 348th out of 2,520
Division: 60 out of 348
Swim: 1,120 Bike: 463rd Run: 348th
This was the inaugural event for 70.3 Ironman Connecticut! It was formerly run by Rev3, which is another triathlon event company. I had reservations about doing this race because it’s only three weeks before my race at Mont Tremblant in Canada. I thought about cancelling, but it was only 1.5 hours from home and didn’t want to forfeit the money, so I decided to use it as a tune-up race.
The drive up to Middlebury, Connecticut was a breeze compared to the distances I usually travel for most races. I arrived at 2pm and checked in my bike. I didn’t bring my race bike and instead used my training bike. The location of this race was really cool. It was located at Quassy Amusement Park, which has been around for more than one hundred years and is set against Lake Quassapaug. It was originally constructed as a “trolley park,” which were entertainment venues built along popular railcar lines in the early 1900s.
My game plan for the race was to keep it relatively conservative. Easier said than done when you surround yourself with a couple thousand competitors. I was really happy when I saw the race announcer because he was the same one we had in Puerto Rico and is an awesome guy. There were athletes from 37 states and 19 countries at the race, which is pretty remarkable because Connecticut isn’t exactly an exciting destination race.
There was heavy fog on race morning, so the race director postponed and shortened the swim. I found my friend Leon before the race, who I met a while ago at a running club in the city. The race finally got underway at 730am. I wore my full sleeve wetsuit, as the temperature of the lake was quite cold at 65 degrees. The water was extremely clean and clear, which was really nice.
The swim only took 17 minutes due to the shortened length and we were quickly off on our bikes. My aerobars were a little banged up from my bike crash last weekend (I hit a tennis ball sized pothole going 20mph - fortunately only had minor road rash and some light damage to bike), but I was able to straighten them out enough to make the ride comfortable. Someone kicked me in the face during the swim and knocked my goggles off. As you can see below, I was still squinting from the water that got into my eyes.
Heading into the race, we were warned by fellow athletes that the bike course was very difficult, due to significant hills. In total, we climbed more than 4,000 feet over the 56 miles, which makes this one of the toughest 70.3 bike courses in the world. Based on how I felt during the run, I think I cycled too hard – especially on the uphills. We passed a lot of farm land and animals like horses and cows during the ride. Unfortunately, the roads were atrocious – potholes, bumps and cracks everywhere. This was quite unsettling given the crash I had during the prior weekend. Ironman did their best to mark the blemishes with spray paint, but it would be impossible to identify every one of them. Fortunately, I finished the bike course safely.
The run course wasn’t too interesting, except for two guys in a pickup truck that were offering free beer on the side of the road. I actually saw someone stop and drink some haha. I spotted Leon again at about mile 4 and toward the end of the race, my friend Ian recognized me and shouted my name. I also noticed several people that I follow on Instagram, but never met in person. It was really nice to see all of them. The triathlon community is very special and close to my heart.
My calves started locking up during the last few miles. Next time I need to add more sodium to my diet before and during the race. I recently read an article that said pickle juice is a great remedy for muscle cramps.
Now I’m locked in on Mont Tremblant in three weeks. It was the first race I signed up for last year and one of the most important on my calendar. I will take this week easy, ramp up next week and then another easy week before the race.