Many clubbers up at Deep Creek, MD, 9/15-16, for the Oly or Half. Feel free to post about your experiences here.
Great to see some many DC Tri peeps racing and cheering! SavageMan is a wonderful race that is wicked tough. Should have used my road bike instead of my tri bike. Nevertheless, I got my brick for getting over the Wall! Hated the run on the fire "road".
I'll remember this for a long time: Running into the finisher's shoot, the announcer says my name, and no fewer than 15 DC Tri buddies come rushing to the side netting to cheer me on and give me high fives. Talk about feeling the love.
Thanks for a memorable weekend!
After my first half-iron distance race at Eagleman (where I was crippled by the heat), I knew that I wanted to try the distance again during September/October. This time around, I looked specifically for a race that would play to my strengths (instead of proximity to DC): hilly bike so my road bike would be advantageous, a hard run course, and cooler weather so I wouldn’t lose half of my body weight via sweating. After previewing the SavageMan course during the DC Tri training weekend, SavageMan seemed to fit all three criteria. I spent the rest of the summer chasing Adam and Brady up Skyline, making Scott pull me up Mt. Weather, and biked up and down anything that looked remotely like a hill in Arlington. Race day quickly approached and before I knew it, I was setting up my transition area.
And that’s when things went downhill rather quickly.
As I was pumping up my tires, the valve of my front wheel broke off. I stood in transition for what seemed like an eternity before running over to the mechanic tent to get a second opinion on whether I should ride with that tube or to use my spare. This problem happened to me last year but not in a race scenario; I knew I could ride on it and just deal with the issue later, but I wanted a second opinion. From the look on the mechanics' faces and the answer I received, I utilized their tube changing expertise and gave them my one and only spare tube. With their help, I got out of transition just as it closed and rushed to get body marked. I sprinted to the bathroom, furiously pulled on my wetsuit, and hustled down to the beach area. I hopped into the water at a beach area, thinking I was in the right spot to be told that the real start was the next sandy spot over. I Pamala Anderson’d my way out of the water and ran to the real starting area with only 2 minutes to spare. Balls, what a nightmare!
Swim: Pretty uneventful. Straight into the sun we went and in what seemed like a short period of time, the inflatable turn-around turtle appeared. I hopped onto some feet for the way back, hit the swan boat and headed for home. I was psyched to look at my watch and see a high 31 as I exited the water. By the time I crossed the timing mat, I was at 32:01, a 37 second swim PR. Holla for a dolla honey boo boo child!
Bike: After bundling up for the descent into Westernport, I jumped onto my bike and took off. My original plan of riding smart went straight out the window and I chased down every rider that I could. I flew down the sketchy section that Kyle Yost warned riders about and before I knew it Westernport’s dreaded wall was in front of me. During the summer I tried twice to get up that damn thing…no good. I knew that there was no way I was climbing it and didn’t want to force it. I handed my bike off to volunteer pretty early and headed for the “grassy” area on the side. Oh hello large crowd lining the side, I would like to get by so I could run up this small mountain. For some reason, all the spectators seemed confused by what I was trying to do and wouldn’t move. I saw a tiny dirt path and headed straight for it only to realize I was off roading through a very large bush. I pushed my way through to find that I was way off the actual grassy area and over the fence that lined the road. WTF am I doing?! I steepled over the fence and back onto the actual Wall and ran the rest of the way up the hill. The next twenty or so miles went like this: climb, climb, climb, fist pumping/ gratuitous yelling of “Suck It” at the top of every hill, MarioKart power-sliding around corners, climb, climb, climb, climb. Before I knew it, Killer Miller was in the books and I was heading for home.
Or so I thought.
At mile 45, I had this odd feeling. No, not because of any stomach issues, but something didn’t feel right with my bike. I pulled over to the side of the road and squeezed my front tire. That sucker was flatting. In a span of two minutes, I went through Kubler-Ross’s 5 Stages of Grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Denial – No, no, no, there is no way I have a flatting tire. Nope, nope, not going to believe this.
Anger – AHHHHHHHHHH! I have a flatting tire with 10 miles left AND I DON’T HAVE A SPARE (insert slew of swear words that would make even the toughest of truckers blush)! !!!!!!!!! I WANT TO THROW MY BIKE INTO THE DITCH!
Bargaining – Dear God, I know I’m not the most religious person, but if you let me get to the finish without wrecking/killing myself, I’ll go to church. I’ll stop swearing, etc.
Depression – Wow, my tire is super flat. I hoped it was a slow leak or something. Nope totally flat. There goes my awesome race, right down the drain.
Acceptance – Well, I’m in the middle of this race and there aren’t a whole lot of people around. I don’t know if anyone would help me anyway. Plus, you might be possibly the worlds slowest tube changer in the world. Time to just keep going.
And that’s what I did. I rode the last ten miles of the race on a flat front tire, praying that I wouldn’t die on any of the downhills or corners.
When I saw T2, I wanted to celebrate; I was so thankful to make it safely in! Final bike time = 3:33:31. Then, I heard something I wasn’t expecting. “You’re in 7th!” Gulp. Not what I was expecting to hear at all. I changed into my run shoes and headed out for 13.1 miles of fun.
Within the first half mile, I knew my run legs decided to show up for the party. I was moving pretty quickly and passing some men. I hit the first turnaround and was shocked to see Adam galloping towards me. BALLS! Flat tire I hate you, I thought I would have more time on him! My previous promise of not swearing as much disappeared and I yelled some colorful expletives which surprised Adam, some of the surrounding runners, and made the 14 year old volunteers giggle. Within a few minutes, he caught me and gave me a wicked hard slap on the bum before running off. I meandered on, running up into the campground and then back down on the state park road. I continued to pass more men before hitting the dreaded fire tower road which I slogged up. I got a chance to see how far ahead 6th place was – not by much. Coming down the rocky mess of a trail was awesome; it reminded me of my XC days back at Bates College and I used the terrain to my advantage, actually closing the gap a bit during this stretch. By mile marker 6, I made the pass into 6th and didn’t look back. I was surprised to hear someone yell out that I was actually in 5th since I knew I only passed one woman (one of the pros dropped out during the run, bumping everyone up a spot). I kept pushing the pace and by the time I hit the campground, dying animal noises were in effect. I knew that 4th place was just a bit in front of me and I kept running, hoping that I was reeling her in. Just keep running up the state park hills, just keep running up the fire tower road, just run.
At mile 12, I looked at my watch for the first time during the run to see my time. Oh…my…god…I’m still in this, sub 6-hours is within my reach! For the next 1.1 miles, I ran as hard as my legs could go. The sound that was coming out of me alternated between dying animal noises and whimpers as I trudged up the final hill before turning onto the flattish, dirt road to the finish. I feel so bad for anyone who was around me at this point, the noises I was making were so awful! After what seemed to be the longest 1.1 miles ever, I turned the corner to see the finish line. I made one final push and crossed the finish line in 5:59:52. YES! Run time = 1:48:18.
Overall, my final time was only 25 minutes slower than Eagleman on an exponentially harder course! I could not have been happier to finish the race with my sub 6-hour time (and in one piece!). Though I could have done without the bike chaos, it is all part of the process and makes for a great story. Onward to Half Full!
Rolled into Deep Creek Lake around 3 PM on Sat. - picked up packet, attended mandatory 3:15 pm meeting, then racked my bike. Next stop was the condo I rented for the day.
I decided to try Uno's for dinner around 7 pm, to aviod any wait I just ate at the bar and yes I had a couple of drinks. Get 2 beers in me and I will talk to anyone, met 2 other triathletes also doing Savageman, one fellow DC tri member (Dan) and one from Reston (David). Also talked to a local couple and a vacationing couple about the Savageman event. After this, I decided set the alarm for 6 am and turn in early as I hadn't been getting much sleep last week due to working long hours at the office.
Woke up at 5:45 am before the alarm and decided to go ahead and get ready for Savageman. I was very excited, this being my only "A" race for the year and in fact the biggest athletic event of my life. My goal time for this event was anything under 7 hours (6:59:59 works). The morning tempature was a low of 45, but in my haste of packing the day before, I forgot to pack any jacket or long pants, but at least I had my arm warmers and gloves for the bike. One girl mentioned I was brave to be wearing only shorts, but I told her it was actually stupidity. The race start time was an 8:30 am with my wave going off at 8:37, but I was ready to go by 7:30 am, so just waited around and chatted with fellow triathletes including my 2 friends which I just met last night at Unos.
Now on to the event itself, at the swim start, the sun was in our eyes and I couldn't see any bouys ahead, so the plan became just follow the swimmers in front and pray they are going the right way. I got kicked in the face a couple of times, but goggles remained in tacked, better luck next time guys. Swim felt good, I was concentrating at streamlining and gliding more as I learned in Masters swim and I finished the a swim in 37:42 for the 1.2 miles, which last year would have been about my 1 mile swim time, so far so good.
At T1, it seemed to take me forever to get my socks, arm bands, and gloves on with the cold and wet. But finally I was on the bike and off. It was cold but I felt comfortable and did the easy 18 mile bike into Westernport. I said I would only do the wall if I felt I could make it, the first few hills leading to the wall felt surprisingly easy and I was thinking maybe... but then there were several cyclists in front of me and a couple of them just when down early on the wall so at the last second I changed my mind and took the left for the detour to avoid the wall, probably a wise decision on my part. The 7 mile climb up Savage Mountian was tough but at the summit I was feeling cocky and shouted to one of the volunteers at the top "Is that the worse you got?" And he replied "Unfortunately No". That's what I get for being a smart ass. At mile 28 I felt really good and was telling myself that I love this course and I am for sure coming back next year (insanely maybe coming into play here). The next 10 miles was a continuous series of decent and then climb, until mile 38 when I hit Killer Miller. Since I went around the wall, this was the hardest part of the ride for me. But I somehow made it up the 22 percent grade without having to walk (another one of my goals - no walking on either the bike or run). I knew from doing the bike course in 2008, that there was only more hill around mile 43.5 and then the last 10 miles was flat and fast back to the park. I completed the ride in 3:44:30, which is within 2 minutes of the time I did 4 years ago (3:42:53) as a relay, so I was happy with this.
T2 was uneventful, other then saying hi and well wishes to some of my new friends from this morning as we met in transistion. Then off to the run. The run was a 2 loop course. Whereas the bike felt great, the run did not. The hill to the campgroup from mile 1 to mile 2 almost killed me (I much rather do Killer Miller again). Then miles 2 to 4 was OK on flat to rolling State Park roads. But the Fire Road around Mile 5 was worst than the campgroud hill, I can't believe I have to do this again. Finally I finished loop 1 and begin the second loop. Physiologically I now felt much better knowing that this was the final loop and I am also certain the coke and heed I was downing at the rest stops during the first loop helped as well. When I finally hit mile 13, I was so excited that I started sprinting and screaming for joy, which also got the crowd going with loud cheers. I finished the run in 2:15 (10:21 pace).
Overall I am very happy with my time and crushing my 7 hour time goal. I may have to add this event to the triathlons that I do every year (currently Luray & Reston). The race itself is very well organized and I love the challenging hills of the bike course. Besides next year, I may actually tackle the Westernport wall, just maybe...
Swim:1.2 Miles - 37:42 (190 out of 274 men)
T1 - 5:38
Bike: 55.7 miles - 3:44:30 (127 out of 272 men)
T2 - 2:59
Run: 13.1 miles - 2:15:36 (165 out of 255 men)
Overall: 70.0 miles - 6:46:23 (137 out of 255 men)
That race was, without question, the most difficult race I've ever done.
I could regale you with a myriad of triumphs and tribulations from the SEVEN HOURS and EIGHTEEN MINUTES I was out there.
I'll share just two.
1) I made it up Killer Miller without getting off my bike. I had never done this before, and my heart REALLY wanted it. My legs were not so sure. Heart won. :) I was literally YELLING most of the way up, something akin to a Braveheart wail.
2) I've never been that close to tossing my cookies mid-race before. I got to the top of Firetower Road for the second time, and I had to truly convince myself that I was not gonna barf not gonna barf not gonna barf not gonna barf not gonna barf.
I would do it again, but probably not next year. ;)
Congratulations to ALL who raced! You are Savages!!
A glance at the top 100 finishers of the arduous Half Iron revealed, from the athletes recognized, quite a few from DC Tri, including a brother-sister-spouse trio:
23 BRYAN FRANK 37 GAITHERSBURG MD 5:30:29 28 28:00 69 3:17 28 3:12:21 17.4 24 3:43:37 34 1:26 36 1:45:27 8:03
37 ADAM STOLZBERG 36 ARLINGTON VA 5:42:57 248 39:30 115 4:00 33 3:13:21 17.3 57 3:56:49 44 1:33 34 1:44:36 7:59
47 SEAN GORDON 30 ARLINGTON VA 5:46:01 116 32:35 51 2:56 49 3:18:49 16.8 51 3:54:19 31 1:22 57 1:50:21 8:25
56 KEVIN D'AMANDA 50 BETHESDA MD 5:51:25 199 37:03 142 4:25 85 3:26:49 16.2 100 4:08:16 14 1:13 24 1:41:57 7:47
63 JIMMY BISESE 50 WASHINGTON DC 5:54:51 79 31:10 97 3:49 70 3:23:39 16.4 62 3:58:38 43 1:32 78 1:54:43 8:45
73 KASHA WILLIAMSON 40 FAIRFAX VA 5:58:51 144 33:41 34 2:40 95 3:30:13 15.9 92 4:06:33 75 1:52 58 1:50:27 8:26
75 ERIN BOUGIE 27 ARLINGTON VA 5:59:52 95 32:01 132 4:13 105 3:33:31 15.7 103 4:09:44 67 1:50 49 1:48:18 8:16
85 DANNY HAYES 36 WASHINGTON DC 6:07:11 242 39:06 195 5:12 71 3:23:43 16.4 99 4:08:00 49 1:39 90 1:57:33 8:58
87 MICHAEL COFFMAN 42 ARLINGTON VA 6:07:58 202 37:17 59 3:10 66 3:22:55 16.5 81 4:03:21 32 1:22 118 2:03:16 9:24
93 TRAVIS SIEHNDEL 35 WASHINGTON DC 6:11:20 103 32:14 41 2:50 69 3:23:16 16.4 61 3:58:19 58 1:45 168 2:11:17 10:01
94 ALEJANDRO ESCOBAR 36 ARLINGTON VA 6:11:39 67 30:40 146 4:26 138 3:43:14 15.0 131 4:18:20 41 1:31 64 1:51:50 8:32
96 JANIE HAYES 39 WASHINGTON DC 6:12:11 140 33:32 48 2:53 116 3:35:08 15.5 108 4:11:32 46 1:33 94 1:59:06 9:05
I'll give a shout out and props to one of newer FAST club members: Joe Munchak. He hasn't started racing in club colors yet (hopefully we can convince him to soon), but he destroyed the course placing 5th overall and taking first place in the Elite Wave with a blazing fast overall time around 4:52.
What Bryan said. Great job Joe.
Oh, and a shout-out Jill (first in her age group) to the girls of 'Team Beat Alejandro' who placed first in the female relay category.
Major shoutouts to Pam Simmonds and Elliott Collins for both completing the Savage 100.0... you know, BOTH RACES, because they are awesome and hardcore. And maybe a little cray cray.
More props to Mike Locke, Shannon Beebe, and Dan Edwards for finish their FIRST half Iron distance races at *SavageMan* because they are similarly awesome and hardcore. Mike Locke scored SECOND PLACE for the Clydes!
Also a note of badassness for Kris Kitto, who was originally signed up for the Olympic Distance race and who *switched* to the half after realizing (what?) that he is awesome and hardcore.
Bryan - thanks for the shout out! I know, I need to get a DC tri kit asap- but I hear that the new ones for next year will be super snazzy and I'm holding out. I'll take a loaner for my last 2 races if anyone has a med/sm though!
Video of the Westernport Wall Falls. A couple of DC Tri Jerseys...