Niantic Bay Triathlon

I had a morale boosting result at today’s Niantic Bay Triathlon. This is a fabulous race. I did it once before, but that was before I became a real triathlete. It was years ago and it was an experiment that I didn’t pursue at the time. Now that I am taking the sport seriously, I returned to take a crack at this neat course on the Connecticut shoreline. Much like the Ocean Beach Triathlon two weeks ago, this course has a lot of character. The unique features include the bay swim, the twisty undulating bike course on rough but pretty roads, and the zig-zag run with the finish across a bluff onto the beach.

More than 600 triathletes filled out the six waves for the 7:30 A.M. start at McCook Point Park. The weather was spectacular with sunshine and a pleasant temperature. Prior to the start, the view from the beach looking up at the hundreds of spectators on the bluff was impressive, and I imagine that the view of the six hundred racers below was just as good. The race attracted more than 30 relay teams and a lot of first time racers. I continue to be amazed by the popularity of sprint distance triathlons. It is a juggernaut.

I have been focusing on my swim technique. It is my weakest discipline and is a huge liability. If I could only improve by 10%-20%, I would get much better overall results. I would benefit both from the faster swim leg time and from the fact that I would be less fatigued for the bike and run. I felt like I was doing better, but the results don’t show a huge difference. My swim time was 2:08 behind John Babcock at Ocean Beach. Today, I was 1:30 behind Babcock,which does show some improvement in the less than two weeks since I received some better swim coaching. Obviously, the courses were different, but they were both supposed to be 1/2 mile, so I’ll take this as progress. It was suggested that I shave my mid-summer “race beard” in an effort to be more streamlined. My reply was that my boycott of the razor companies is soon to be over. Then I’ll start another one.

The other area where I am deficient is my transitions. This is almost a joke now. I’ve always been slow and I need some NASCAR pit crew advice on how to avoid wasted motion.  I could have moved up at least one spot in the overall results if my transition times matched some of the other guys. I rode the 12 mile bike course yesterday afternoon to scout the roads. They are known for being bumpy and the winter made them worse. I don’t really mind that because it puts a premium on bike handling skills. I also enjoy the turns and the hills. I used the little ring twice. Last week, I switched to a shorter stem and shortened my aero bars by an inch, so I’m getting much more comfortable on my new Seven Kameha SLX. I can’t wait to try it at some of the longer distance races, including Timberman 70.3 in two weeks.

I made up some ground on the bike, and was chasing one more guy before I ran out of road. My run was also pretty good. The 3.5 mile course winds its way through the beach community to the south of McCook Point Park. There were a lot of folks cheering for us and that was helpful. The more than 150 volunteers from the Hartford Marathon Foundation did a great job with all aspects of the race. The bike course was safe and the run course aid stations were nice to have. I picked up a few more spots on the run, but again ran out of road. The run finish is pretty cool. You leave the road, cut across a dirt parking lot and take a singletrack sand trail over a wonderful bluff. You pop out on the road for a final brief stretch of asphalt before hooking a hard right, running across the sand, and then taking a 90 degree left turn for the final 200 meter beach finish along the water’s edge.

John Babcock broke his course record with a super 57:06 time. I would like to know how he goes so fast. The gap between John and the rest of us is huge. He was followed by Staz Dawson in 1:01:11 and John Peters in 1:01:45. I was 6th overall in 1:02:56 and first in my age group. Between the swim and transitions, I know that I can pick up 90 seconds on this course. I think I can ride faster too. I’ll try again in the future. The first woman was Elise Vonhousen in 1:06:20. She was followed by Jen Lemieux in 1:08:13 and Christine Louden in 1:10:04.

Now I have to shift my focus from these short bursts to the longer distances. Building up my endurance is now my primary focus, but racing these sprints has been fun.

Race Results

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@thecubscouts #pinewoodderby never gets old. Pack 157 Bolton, Connecticut #cubscouts So that little injury caused by my @renocxnats crash on Saturday afternoon wasn’t so little after all. It’s a broken leg (fibula). Prognosis is good, but it hurts like heck. My blog post report with blow by blow details is linked in my profile. #cxnats #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #crossisboss - - -

This #lifedeathcyclocross stuff is true!!!! I crashed out of the Singlespeed Championship @renocxnats (on the dreaded off-camber) but not before having more fun. @artroti43 raced on the frosty course ❄️ at day break. 🚴🏽 We met a lot more @horsteng #crossspikes customers. I hung with little bunny hopper 🐰 Miles, the Junior 11-12 year old Silver Medalist.🥈I cheered for Nic, who represented @the_ccap in the Junior 15-16 age group. @sportstert and Iva came down from Tahoe to cheer LOUDLY for me. 🎺 I got my badly sprained ankle taped and iced. I had a beer. 🍺 I’m even looking forward to my red eye flight home ✈️ . Best of all, I’ll see @trailrunningmom and the kids on Sunday. I can’t explain the sensation, but despite the pain, I’m ready for next #Cyclocross season to begin... after some rest. #teamhorstsports #cxnats #horstengineering @parkavebikeshop #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #crossiscoming You could say that at least for this week, I’m married to my #bicycle - - -

@renocxnats #cxnats @seven_cycles #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #chapelofthebells #Cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Good day representing @horsteng at @renocxnats in the 45-49 age group. It’s a great course. The wind was blowing hard, but the sun finally came out. I’m happy with 37th place but should have made a move to get to 29th, which was 30 seconds ahead. That’s a long way when you are going flat out and cramping. 4,500 foot elevation was a factor. I’m disappointed that they cut one lap of my race when I wasn’t close to getting lapped by the leaders. You train this hard and come all this way; and you want to get the most racing for the $ and time invested. They only let 25 riders do the full six laps. The only positive to come out of that was that I watched fellow New Englander @adammyerson execute a perfect final sprint to win the Stars and Stripes again. Teammate @artroti43 had a good ride too. 
@seven_cycles #sevencycles #horstengineering #teamhorstsports @bicycleseastct #crossspikes #cxnats #renocxnats #Cyclocross #crossisboss @therichardsachs didn’t have the race he hoped for but it was still great to see him @renocxnats and “pit” for him. He said he officially started his second off season, but first of 2018. @artroti43 and I played soigneur/mechanic for 90 minutes, but minus the massage! atmo #renocxnats #richardsachs #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #hauteframebuilding #Cyclocross #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross I previously hadn’t published this image, but it recently received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 @appalachianmountainclub Photo Contest for the People Outdoors category. Check out my blog (link in profile) for the interesting story of his photo (shot with this iPhone 6s), a trip report from this amazing Maine adventure, and past contest history. I love this image of two of my favorite women. I’m barred from submitting images to the 2018 contest, but I’ll be back in 2019. #appalachianmountainclub #baxterstatepark #katahdin Congratulations to Master Park, the Park Family, and the entire team at Park’s U.S. #Taekwondo at the Grand Opening of the new facility in the former VFW building. Our kids love it! So much better than being next door to the pawn shop and liquor store.😊#tkd 🇺🇸🇰🇷 This morning, the @trinitycollege Main Quad was bathed in beautiful sunshine ☀️but it was frigid and the wind was blowing! ❄️ The chapel was packed with an overflow crowd to celebrate the (shortened) life of a lovely friend. She will be missed. #circleoflife 🌏

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