2011 Pat Griskus Sprint Triathlon

Tonight’s 25th edition of the Pat Griskus Sprint Triathlon was a minor epic. It is rare that a short course race like this can have so much drama, but this one was packed with interesting storylines. This was my third Griskus Sprint in a row and I don’t think I’ll stop any time soon. I just love the vibe of the Wednesday evening format. We had a spectacular July day in Connecticut until 5:45 P.M. That was 15 minutes before the official race start. That is when the skies opened up. Until that point, we had deep blue sky and a temperature of 91 degrees Fahrenheit. It was hot, until it rained. By the end of the race, the temperature had come down nearly 20 degrees, though it was still steamy from all of the moisture.

The race was delayed 30 minutes while we waited out the thunderstorms that came roaring through. There was only a little lightning and thunder, but it was enough to force the delay. The sky was an angry grey and black mess and the downpour was constant for nearly 45 minutes before slowing to a steady rain. With the lightning off the radar, they started us on the 1/4 mile swim. I was in the first wave, and there were no warm ups. They lined us upΒ and then the horn blew. The start was insane as the competitive guys violently thrashed for advantage. The out and back swim course is always a bit sketchy.

I had a nasty head on collision on my return leg. It could have been a whole lot worse. I was hugging the buoys, but I know I was in my lane. Someone from a later wave drifted across and we smashed into each other at full tilt. I stopped dead in the water and was fortunate to take the brunt of the impact with my right arm and shoulder. If we knocked heads, it would have been a lot worse. Fortunately, my goggles stayed on and I got going again. I think I had a horrible swim. Results will be posted tomorrow, so I don’t know my split, but I had ground to make up.

It continued to rain as we went out on the 10.5 mile bike leg. I love this loop. It has a mix of rough and smooth pavement with a lot of turns and several steep ups and downs. I felt pretty strong the whole way. Don Gustavson, a good rider, traded blows with me the entire way. We avoided the draft, but still were able to pace off of each other. I pulled away on the final climb and didn’t see him again, until after the race. He didn’t finish because he had a nasty crash in the final fast corner where you merge on to Route 64. His elbow was heavily bandaged, he had a deep wound to his hip, and he was complaining about his collarbone. It must have been ugly. The roads were really slick from all of the rain, and he just took it too fast and his front wheel washed out. There were several other crashes on the dicey course. Let’s hope everyone heals up.

I continued to make up ground on the 5K run. I caught several more people on the undulating out and back course that has several sharp bends. I was able to surge on the final hill and pick up three more spots. I had James Kelly in my sights, closed in, and then my legs gave out. I couldn’t hold on and he sprinted away in the final 50 meters. I think I finished 8th overall and 2nd in my age group (third if you count the winner). It was a good result given the fact that I only had three days rest since Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island. I was really looking forward to this race, but I’m happy to have 10 days off before my next one. My time was 1:01:05. Eventually, I want to break an hour here, but I have to swim faster first.

Cassie Maximenko (1:03:04) was the women’s winner and Christopher Thomas (57:19) was the men’s winner.

The weather cleared during the run and the sun was peeking out by the finish. A beautiful rainbow presented itself, which made for the perfect ending. The sunset was spectacular and the nearly-full moon rose high in the sky. This is why I love this race. The post race bash was lots of fun as we cheered on all of the first time finishers and all of the final finishers. The last athlete to cross the line was Tanya Sage, who lives in Debbie’s hometown of Prospect. There was a story about her in today’s Republican-American.

The volunteers were incredible today. They had to stand in the pouring rain and keep the athletes safe from traffic. The lifeguards had to deal with the rain, wind, and a choppy Lake Quassapaug. Kudos to the race organizers for staying composed, delaying the race, and ultimately pulling it off. I would have been really disappointed if it was cancelled or shortened. During the heavy rain, I hung out in the Giant Slide tower, which wasn’t totally dry, but it kept me out of the wind and was a bit warmer. I had some company in there. The transition area was a mess, with waterlogged gear strewn everywhere. I was happy to have my Seven Kameha SLX for the bike leg. It handled the challenging conditions the way it should. That bike is stable under all circumstances. Now I have to clean it up and my rear tire was flat when I got home. I’m lucky that it happened after the race.

Pat Griskus, who the race is named for, was a legendary athlete who succeeded at the highest level, despite being an amputee. He broke new ground for disabled athletes and set the stage for so many others to follow the path that he blazed. It was fitting that the 25th edition of the race in his honor was completed despite some interesting challenges.

Race Results

Republican-American Recap




2 Responses to “2011 Pat Griskus Sprint Triathlon”

  1. 1 dongustavson 18 July 2011 at 9:43 am

    Good racing Scott, I’ll see you out there again soon! -Don

  1. 1 2011 Amica 19.7 Triathlon Ocean Beach « Life Adventures Trackback on 24 July 2011 at 8:46 pm

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