Friday, July 29, 2011

Part 2: T1 and The Bike: Lake Placid Race Report

If you missed my pre race and swim report, go HERE.

T1: 9:29
Coming out of the water I immediately had my wetsuit stripped, then it was time to begin the looooooooong run to the oval.

However! This looooooong run has you running through the most EPIC crowd of people lined 5 deep behind the barriers.

You feel like a FREAKING rockstar!

I entered the transition tent in the utter chaos state. CHAOS people! I volunteered here last year, and I recall there being a slow trickle of people, and then BAM, the deluge swarmed  us. I soon learned what it was like to be overrun by a horde of triathlon zombies.

This time? I was the zombie invader!

I found an open chair, plopped the bag down on it, did my thing, and got the heck outa there as fast as I could.

Before I knew it, it was time to bike!

I found this picture of me in some random IMLP-er's facebook album!
The Bike: 6:06:09
My biggest fear at the start was some yahoo taking me out in the first 30 seconds, where it is all windy and downhill. This did not happen. Phew!

And off I went onto the course...

Because I finished the swim in the time I did, I entered the course at its thickest. There were people everywhere. I was being passed; I was passing. I even somehow passed Emily without knowing it!

Now it was time to swallow my pride and spin........EASY! My coach walked us through this first section, which is all uphill for about 8 miles. "Find your rhythm!" He drilled this into us. "If you can find your rhythm now, you can carry it through the entire bike." So I spun.

And again because I was with the hordes of people, I was worried the first big downhill would have been packed and crazy.

It wasn't!

And it turned out to be one of the easiest descents of that hill. I was calm and relaxed and I let gravity do the work.

As soon as I got onto the flats of route 9N, super stud Ironman, Peter Wickman blew past me. He was looking great and would up with a 10:23 that day and 7th in our age group for his first Ironman! Go Peter!

From here it was autopilot.....until mile 44-ish.

Why mile 44-ish? Well my bike broke!!!! To be exact, my front derailleur broke. And what is worse, I didn't know it yet!

So at mile 44-ish is when the road pitches upwards for the last 12 miles. I needed to shift from my big ring to the small ring in the front. Except stupid me, I did it too fast and the chain got hung. As I was slowing because I could no longer pedal, I frantically was changing every gear I had to force the chain. It worked. I got into the small ring and continued up the hills. A guy behind me witness my debacle and commented, "Nice save!" I felt proud of myself.

But the damage was done. And I didn't know it :(

I quickly learned of this mini disaster when I hit a flat section by the gorge and attempted to switch back to the big ring. I felt like Han Solo starting up the hyperdrive and it was a total EPIC FUCKING FAIL.

Panic set in and I immediately thought of the flats of route 9N on the eastern side of the course. I had a LOT of flat fast riding to do on the 2nd loop and no big ring to crank it! SHIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTT!!!!!!

My head was spinning but I immediately thought of the positive instead of the negative. So I was stuck in my small gear. Its a lot better than being stuck in the big ring!!! Fortunately I didn't really need it for the rest of the first loop since most of the climbing was still ahead of me.

I finished the first loop by stopping to see my family, which I told to be at the bottom of our road. It really helped me laugh it off and get my mind off of the matter.

This video totally cracks me up. My oldest brother was filming, while you can hear my older brother screaming at me, "Keep going!!! are losing TIME!"

Just down the road I quickly stopped off at special needs for loop #2, got some more vasoline "down there," chugged a generic Ensure, refilled liquids, and grabbed more food and I was off!

And I quickly realized it sucked to small ring flats and downhills. I figured that my big ring was a no go so I never attempted to try to use it.

Well, by the time I hit 9N on the flats, I was spinning like crazy and burning up my legs. There was no way I could keep up this effort to maintain my speed. I was going to ruin my run with this! So I just grabbed that lever and yanked. And the gear took! I was back in action!

I remained in the big ring until the climb up to Wilmington. Cya later big ring! Nice having you!

This section of the road has a lot of ups and downs, where you want to be able to switch between the small and big ring. I couldn't get it back into the big ring, so I got into a game of yo-yo with this poor girl. I would pass her on a climb, and she would fly by me on the downhill. I felt so bad that I actually apologized to her and explained my predicament. She understood and was cool with it. Phew! Triathletes are so nice :)

Meanwhile my frustration for not having the big ring was growing because there was another good sized section of flats up ahead. Two hills before this section, I had had it again and started wresting with the gears. The big ring took again, and out of fear of never getting it again, I big ringed the last two hills to Wilmington and I was set till the section where I originally broke the derailleur.

Then it was autopilot of climbing back to base.

Despite the mechanical, I did the first loop of the bike in 2:58, and the second loop in 3:08.

What I did right for this bike:
I got the fluids in. I think I went through 10 or 11 sports bottles of 50% water, 50% perform. This helped me stay cool and not thirsty. I also got the food down. Pacing took care of itself when I lost my big ring, however, spinning at such a high cadence did do more harm than good in the long run.

Also, biking this course 6 times in training helped build my confidence for the downhill, and getting to know the course better. I now know where every climb and flat is. I love this course!

What I should have done better for this bike:
This is a bit of foreshadowing for the run, but I should have been taking in electrolyte pills. Yes, I was getting in electrolytes through the perform, but it wasn't enough, I would soon learn on the run.

Also, I should not have been a knucklehead and switched gears too quickly! Doh!

Regarding nutrition, I should have eaten all solids on the first loop, then switched to all gels on the 2nd loop. This would allow time for the solids to get through my system so that by the time I hit the run, my stomach would be clear of any solids. I run better after taking in gels.

What got it done:
Riding lots. I owe this to my coach. He pushed me on the bike, especially by getting those long rides in. His training camp especially pushed my confidence levels to new heights. Remember how I drove up Whiteface the day before the race? During camp, we BIKED up that mountain! He put it perfectly with, "What I am putting you guys through will make race day seem easy."

Now that I look back on it, he was totally right! That 75 SUPER hilly ride we did that day made this 112 seems like cake with yummy frosting.

Stay tuned for T2 and The Run!


  1. Jon, awesome RR. I still can't believe that you had the issues you did. But way to not let it ruin your day, you know? Again, I love the reflection at the end.

  2. 8 oclock on the dot

    I was hoping it was your small ring, it would have been a long day in your 53, and staying positive on top of it, were you in a compact?

  3. Wow, you totally rocked it despite mechanical issues. That is awesome Jon!

  4. Nice bike report! Now your derailleur story is coming back to me.... darn Moosehead Lager! Way to kill the course even with mechanical issues!

  5. Wow. Good job on handling the mechanical. If you would have went with the, "picked up bike and tossed it in the wooods," that would have been acceptable too!

    Were you taking your liquid shots early?

  6. Congrats on the bike! I would have lost my shit if my bike broke halfway through the race.

  7. Awesome bike ride! You rocked it despite the mechanical.

    "You gotta tweet that" haha - Not that your derailer broke, but that you wanted it tweeted.

    Glad you at least got in the big ring again shortly. I was wondering if it would have been possible/worthwhile to stop and manually move the chain on the front if the flats were long enough.

  8. Great report and I second Kevin's comments about tweeting out that your derailleur broke. That is hilarious and scary because you were actually in control enough to think of tweeting. Not sure my composure would have been there and a tantrum like Jeff pointed out would have been more of my reaction.

    Great job. I love the way you are breaking this down and providing tips.

  9. Nice bike split! Awesome job hanging in there with the mechanical! Like you said though, much better to get stuck in the small chainring than the large.

  10. YOU ARE an ironman! broken derailleur and all! Loved reading this and watching the videos and more. I saw you on the run course... unfortunately I was hours behind you so I think you were ended and I was heading out on my 2nd lap and you looked strong!

    Great Job on the race and the RR.

  11. Great Job. Wow derailleur and all! I've had that happen to me, and I am impressed you never let it get to you. Amazing. I love reading what people do for nutrition. I like too the idea of slids the first half and gels the second half.

  12. Wow, congrats on getting through the bike with a broken derailleur. I'm pretty sure I would have freaked out, but it seems like you managed to stay pretty calm and do the best that you could to deal with it.

  13. Your write some of the best race reports, those videos are great!

    Real bummer on your derailer breaking, I guess that was why your speed on the first loop was like 22 mph, but the 2nd and 3rd loops was lower than this.

    Sounds like overall it went well despite the bike issues though.

    For electrolyte tablets, I like Hammer eundurolytes, I take one about every 30-45 minutes of activity. They seem to help with preventing cramps.

  14. oooh this makes me want to bang my head on the table in frustration for you. what a pile of suck. but nice job not throwing your bike into a bush and walkng back!

  15. Again, I loved reading your report! I CANNOT believe you had a broken derailleur! I can only imagine how frustrating that must have been. Still, to finish in 6hrs. with a mechanical problem is awesome!!!
    I love how your family filmed lots of moments of you..that's awesome!

  16. Awesome job overcoming that mechanical problem mentally. That would have shaken me quite a bit. And thanks for the shout out, amigo. I wish I had a support crew that was tech savvy enough to catch video clips of various parts of the race haha. Great work.

  17. oh man. i would not know what to do in that situation, but good for you for remaining (mostly) positive about it and forging on :)

    IM race reports are so inspiring, yours included. seeing your fam in their matching t-shirts almost makes me want to do one so i can have a fan club too.

  18. Congrats, Jon. Nice perseverance!

  19. way to get thru all that and finish it off for a good bike! haha cake with yummy frosting!

  20. Great job! Sucks about your bike, just bad luck, but you handled it well. Looking forward to the run. I hear there was some trouble around mile 18. I'm keeping my fingers crossed ;)

  21. Wow, that's overcoming trouble. You looked so good in that video despite the fact that you had a busted bike. Way to stay positive. Great work on the bike, and I can't wait to hear about the run.

  22. When I saw the tweet about your derailleur, I literally yelled "nooooooo" and the hubs asked what was wrong. I knew that you wouldn't have that big gear for the flats and downhills. Seeing your time, I'd love to know what you would have done had the bike worked... cause you smoked it! :)

  23. Nice job. I'm looking forward to reading about the run.

  24. Great job keeping your head in the game despite the setbacks!! You rock!

  25. I love the video with your family. If it had been me with such a big mechanical issue, I'm not sure I would have handled it as calmly as you did!

    I really appreciate the breakdown in each of your posts about what went well, what you could have done better and how you prepared. That's SUPER helpful as far as things to think about for my own race!

  26. Way to fight through the bike issues. I see ya rockin the Speed Weaponry! Nice!


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