2012 Pat Griskus Sprint Triathlon

Yesterday, I made my annual pilgrimage to Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, Connecticut for the Pat Griskus Sprint Triathlon. The 26th edition of this classic race was run in brilliant sunshine and beautiful summer weather. Last year, we had a massive thunderstorm that delayed the start and in 2010, it was 100 degrees Fahrenheit at the start.

This year was cool compared to that, but 85 degrees is still lovely. I had a pretty good race, though my swim and T2 were downright ugly, which would come back to haunt me. The swim felt long, but that may have been because I stopped several times to look where I was going, perform my synchronized swimming routine for the crowd, and doggy paddle. If I had a ball, I would have played water polo. T2, well, I couldn’t get my shoes on.

My bike was fair, and I ran well to finish strong. I improved on last year’s finish, but my time was slower. I was 7th overall and 2nd in my age group. It is tough when Chris Thomas, the men’s winner, is also 40. You are always going to be relegated to 2nd or worse!

Cassie Maximenko also repeated as a winner. She led a strong Waterbury YMCA Triathlon Club contingent and a massive showing from Timex and Team Timex. My club, the Hartford Extended Area Triathletes also field a strong team. HEAT was out in force, which was great to see. This race has an awesome vibe, so if you are a triathlete and haven’t done this, you are missing out. If you aren’t a triathlete, this is a great first time race, and is in memory of a fantastic and inspirational athlete. Tom Wilkas and his dedicated volunteers and sponsors go out of their way to make you feel good. The post-race festivities are always fun. I celebrated with a Kona Brewing Company Fire Rock Pale Ale. I hadn’t had one of these fine brews since I was at the Kona Brewing Company in Hawaii nearly two years ago, so it was fitting that I would enjoy one tonight. I’m not exactly on the road back to Hawaii, but the inspiration is always helpful.

Speaking of inspiration, there were a ton of newbies racing tonight. More than 460 people, including relays finished the race, which is fantastic. The oldest male was 75 and the oldest female was 70. I was impressed with their fitness. I love this course. The bike leg is picturesque. I had one close call. I was a bit overconfident on a fast descent and took the 2nd hard right hand turn way to fast and ended up correcting just in time to avoid the woods. I went off the asphalt into the dirt, but at the last moment, my Seven Kameha SLX turned enough to sweep right back onto the road and I never slowed. It was a little spooky, but I was trying to make up for flailing away in the water an ceding valuable time to my peers.

My legs were likely a little heavy after competing at the Winding Trails Tri Series last night. At Winding Trails, I pushed the swim, pushed the first part of the mountain bike, and then slowed down for the run, but the effort was still taxing. I love that race so much and haven’t missed one this year, so I figured I would go anyway. Maybe next year, I’ll rest before Griskus.

Chris Thomas was followed by Dan Theleen and Tim Steiskal. Cassie Maximenko was followed by Jeanne Theleen and Dana Humbert. All I needed to find on the swim and in T2 was one more second! I had a really fun battle with Gregory McKirryher. He couldn’t be missed in his hot pink Newington Bicycle racing kit. I caught up to him in the last mile of the 3.1 mile run, but he hung on. I pushed the final hill and could tell that he wasn’t letting go, but I thought I had him. In the last 1/4 mile, he surged past me, but I stayed close. We hammered the final 200 meters. I tried to take him on the inside of the final left hand turn onto the gravel, then onto the grass, over the min-train tracks, and into the narrow chute. We sprinted to the line in a dead heat as if our lives depended on it. It was a hairy finish. I thought I crossed first, but wasn’t certain where the official line was. There were a lot of timing mats and a banner. It didn’t matter. The results show us with the same time and with Gregory in 6th and me in 7th. It was a lot of fun.

Tonight, I have the option to race for third night in a row at the Lake Terramuggus Tri Series, but I’m going to pass, and just hang with Debbie and the kids. I was solo at Griskus because they all ran the Bolton XC Series. Maybe I’ll crack open another one of those Kona brews and think about going long again. Next up is the Ocean Beach Triathlon on Sunday.

Race Results

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