2009 Pat Griskus Triathlon (Olympic Race)

We awoke at the crack of dawn today so that I could finally compete in my first triathlon of the year. Last month, I went to Harriman State Park for a Half Iron-distance race, but it turned into a long duathlon because heavy fog caused the swim to be cancelled.


Today’s race was the Pat Griskus Triathlon (Olympic Race) at Quassy Amusement Parkin Middlebury, Connecticut.   There are two Griskus races, with the older (23 years) Sprint Race scheduled for its usual Wednesday night slot on 8 July. I’m doing that one two because I have always wanted to do the summer race. It is one of the most popular triathlons in New England.

Today’s race consisted of a 1 mile swim/25 mile bike/6.2 mile run. It started at 7:00 A.M., which is good and bad. The bad part is that we had to get up so early. The good part was that the race was over by 9:30 and we were home by noon with the whole afternoon to relax and do stuff around the house.

Open water swim.

My first triathlon was in 1999. My second was in 2002. My third was today. I wanted a change of pace in 2009, so I chose triathlon as my focus. I never took it seriously in the past, but this year, I’m giving it my all. I’ve been swimming a lot and I built a triathlon/TT bike purpose especially for these events. I’m working my way up to the Ironman distance, but I’m not ready yet.

I was a bit nervous about the mass start open water swim. With limited experience, and none recently, I really didn’t know what to expect when 200 people charged into Lake Quassapaug with arms and legs flailing. I did OK. It certainly isn’t like swimming in the pool where you have lane lines, clear water, and your own space. My biggest problem was swimming straight. I kept looking up and making course corrections, which is horribly inefficient.

My transitions were OK, but not great. Getting out of the wetsuit was easier than expected, but I was just slow. I opted for comfort (e.g. socks) rather than speed. I was watching the hard core guys and gals. They have the drill down pat. The bike leg was my strong leg today. I made up ground the whole way and just ran out of road otherwise I probably could have continued improving my position. The course was beautiful with lots of ups and downs. It was moderately technical with several tight turns and some rough pavement to deal with.

Finishing the bike leg.

The run went OK. I picked up a few more spots on the twice out and back course. There were a few hills to contend with. Once you did the first out and back leg, it was difficult to chase because the first leg runners were mixed in with the second leg runners. That was a minor frustration, but no big deal.

Starting the run leg.

I ended up 14th overall in 2:21:19 and was 5th in my age group, which met expectations. After the mediocre swim, I did a lot of passing, which is OK, but next time I don’t want to lose so much ground in the water. I had a lot of fun, as did many others, which was the main objective. I simply needed to do a triathlon so that I could go into the next one with more confidence. The Pat Griskus volunteers were awesome. There were lots of road marshals and police on the bike course; the aid stations were well stocked, and the finish area had a mini-expo set up with lots of post-race refreshments.

I’m still adjusting to the triathlon scene. The culture is the complete opposite of trail running. There is a lot more gear. The entry fees are much higher (excluding ultramarathons). Most people spend more time training. There are lots of do-dads in addition to all that gear. The top athletes have a certain intensity. The trail running scene is much more mellow. We are going to get a chance to chill out tomorrow because we are taking part in a Father’s Day tradition, the Mt. Greylock Trail Race. I hope the race numbers that had been written on my arm and calves with black magic market fade by then. Othwerwise, I’m going to be getting some serious flak!

Race Results: Click on results and go to Pat Griskus.

3 Responses to “2009 Pat Griskus Triathlon (Olympic Race)”

  1. 1 waghormley 21 June 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Happy Fathers Day, Scott! Great job in the triathlon — I look forward to hearing about Mt. Greylock and your training schedule for the Iron Man.
    C U Monday morning — Bill

  2. 2 twilkas 21 June 2009 at 6:22 pm

    good god man, you were 14th oveall and never took the sport seriously? Nice result, you’ll have some people looking over their shoulder for you, no doubt.

    Thanks for writing that up, I like reading various accounts of peoples days on the course. The vols enjoyed themselves and we’re looking forward to July 8th, glad you’ll be with us.

    Best wishes for the remainder of your race season Scott,
    Tom Wilkas – Race Director

  1. 1 2009 Mt. Greylock Trail Race « Life Adventures Trackback on 21 June 2009 at 7:46 pm

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