October 06, 2019 -
The goal for this season was to race 4 70.3 distance events and improve at each one with a PR goal at the end of the season. Race #3 followed Chattanooga and Eagleman and was a repeat performance as I would be returning again to face the Maine 70.3 in Old Orchard Beach.
Last time my brother raced with me and somehow he secured accommodations right at transition. This time, for the first time I would be trying to sleep in a tent (rather a teepee) before and after a race. My Sherpa and camping buddy was my son Gus and we took the same set up we did a few weeks prior when we volunteered at Lake Placid together – cots in the teepee, cold weather sleeping bags – and after a 5 ½ hour ride we arrived at the campsite at around 2pm on the Thursday prior to the race. We chose the Hid’N Pines Campground (8 Cascade Rd, Old Orchard Beach Maine 1(207)934-2352) because some other teammates were staying there as well (though they stayed in fancy campers). My awesome luck played a part again as we started to set the teepee up it started pouring but we have skills and had the bad boy up in 5 minutes despite the rain.
Did a short three mile run to get the legs loose and then Gus and I hit OOB. For those of you unfamiliar this is a tourist destination. After the summer season this becomes a ghost town until the following memorial day. The town was packed with triathletes but the tourists (at least on Thursday) way outnumbered us and it seems the majority were French Canadian. Gus thought the dock was “hella seedy” but he enjoyed the rest of the town (he’s 13) – lot’s of options for food, tons of touristy stores and a small amusement park.
Friday I did an easy 20 mile bike on the course and then Gus and I went and played some mini-golf at a spot called Martel’s in near by Saco. We had ice cream at the shop there too which was excellent. There is also a legit amusement/water park in Saco that we did not go to (Funtown/Splashtown USA) that Gus and his brother would have gone to if I had both of them with me. Got the bike cleaned up and had a BBQ with the folks from the Merrick Bike Tri Team and some other Long Island folks.
Saturday morning started with a swim – just an easy 800. The water seemed much warmer than my last Maine experience and I felt fine in a sleeveless. There was a strong current that I hoped would be at our backs the next day (it wasn’t). Rest of the day was bike check in – and early dinner and relaxing. Put my nutrition bottles on ice (Infinit bike blend – 3 bottles, and 20 ounce handheld with my run blend) and laid down at 8:30pm as a cornhole tournament raged in the campsite next to us (thankfully I had earplugs). Gus stated they partied until 1059pm and stopped one minute before campsite lights out.
Race morning my goals were – match my last swim in Maine – beat my last bike in Maine – and hope shoot for a 2:30 run. Ended up making one of three and coming 7 minutes short of matching my last Maine experience.
Met up with the MBBT folks and we hiked into transition (campsite was a mile out). Upon arrival we found a huge bottleneck at body marking – going forward always bring a sharpie we would have saved 20 minutes if we had a sharpie. Got in the water in the beginning of the 35-38 minute group and decided I would swim right to the first turn as I entered in the farthest right shoot (let in 3 people at a time I think, may have been 5 but think it was three). My goal time was 36 minutes and I completely blew that. I was being pushed right as I swam “straight” to the first turn. I was so far right I had zero contact and had to be whistled at that I was going off course – not good but I still figured no contact was good with the waves. Then I turned left for the long swim parallel to the shore and I realized how far I was away from the other swimmers. I changed to solely breathing left so I could try to close the gap but bow there was both current and waves and I was alone. I almost swam into a kayak who told me I had to move closer to the other swimmers so I made a concerted effort to swim into the other swimmers but by the time I merged with the group it was the left turn toward the shore. Came out in 43:44 which is the slowest sim I have had at this distance since Miami. Not what I was hoping for.
T1 I was quick until the porta potties at the exit when my body told me I should do D2 of the day … lost a few minutes but left the porta potty a few ounces lighter and ready to ride.
The bike in Maine is rollers – nothing crazy or technical – rollers that for the most part you can stay aero and move. The bulk of the climbing is in the first 30 miles and I had ridden the back end two days prior and felt that was the place you could really open it up. I wasn’t counting on a headwind the second half of the course. My nutrition was on point – I drank my Infinit every 15 minutes and at each aid station I took water to spray my face, back and rinse my mouth with. Felt great on the bike despite going slower than I had wanted to in the back half of the course. Came off the bike with a 2:47:51 (20.02 mph pace) which was slower than Chattanooga which was a more difficult course but an improvement of 5 minutes from my last time in Maine.
T2 I was slow as molasses which seems to be my MO. I don’t like to run – but I knew Gus would be waiting for me a mile away at the campsite so I put on a smile and off I went.
The run is never my strength and this year rather than getting more time to run I went the opposite direction as work responsibilities have eaten more and more into my training. I started out the first three miles at sub 9 – gave Gus a hug and then had to adjust to a run/walk which disintegrated with each mile. The course when I did it last time was a long run on a nature trail, almost 10 miles – now it was 2 loops of a smaller course where you had to run up a hill twice. Since I ran so slowly I had the pleasure of being passed by 100’s of runners who gave me support – maybe someday I will be the person giving someone encouragement as I speed along. I was never cramping but the heat and lack of run training got to me and I was slowed to a half marathon of 2:39, 6 minutes slower than 2017.
To reach the finish line you run past transition and through the town of Old Orchard Beach – I high fived the MBTT family and Wildwood Warrior friends – and Gus on my way to the finish chute. 6:23:53 official time.
Lobster bake was an option at the finish and I had prepaid for this. Gus was not impressed. I thought the lobster was so-so but the corn on the cob was fantastic. We had a dinner later at Butcher Burger in town (highly recommend) and topped it off with dessert at the homemade ice cream place Big Licks (also awesome).
Gus and I proceeded to Laconia, New Hampshire for the three days after the race. This used to be the home of the Timberman 70.3 and is the home to the biggest arcade in the United States – we played a ton of arcade games and mini-golf at three different spots. We also explored some caves in the white mountains and stayed in a rustic cabin that had a community hot tub that only Gus and I used for three days. (Sun Valley Cottages in Wiers Beach).
I think 2 times in Maine was it for me – I’d love another time at Timberman if that ever comes back. Next race less than a month away in Atlantic City.