Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Last Sunday over 60 FastForward athletes participated in the 5430 Sprint Triathlon at the Boulder Reservoir. Read Scott's race report following his age group victory...
The below submitted by FastForward Head Coach and Owner, Scott Fliegelman
Having done well over 100 multisport races over the past ten years, I can easily say the most memorable are the ones when I get to compete alongside my FastForward teammates. I love the energy on race morning, walking around the transition area seeing all the familiar, nervous faces, helping a few with last-minute preparations, warming up together, and then those final few minutes huddled around and under the FastForward tent before heading to the start area while wishing and receiving good luck from all around.
Last Sunday’s 5430 Sprint TRI at the Boulder Reservoir was just such an occasion and may have been my #1 race experience to date. The weather was warm and welcoming, the pre-race energy was perfect, and I felt strong and well prepared to lay down a smart race with the goal of completing exhausting my fitness over the next 75 minutes or so. I love how they call it a “Sprint”, given that most races lasting one –two hours or more are often called endurance tests!
My swim went right according to plan… minimal anxiety, even considering the opening stretch into the sun made it nearly impossible to see anything, but the final few hundred meters into the finish my stroke felt long and powerful, and I knew I was going at just the right effort and the time would be whatever it would be. (12:20 for 750 meters and the run up the beach)
I saw teammate and F4 coach Philip Mazza just in front of me as we entered the transition area, and knew that my swim had gone just right, as Philip is usually just ahead of me at this point. F4 super-athlete, surgeon, and father of three girls, Win Hartley, was heading out with his bike as we came in… great swim Win!
I couldn’t wait to jump on my bike for a number of reasons. 1.) My bike fitness has been quite good lately and I knew I’d be able to loop this course pretty swiftly. 2.) I had a whole bunch of super-cool new SHIMANO parts on my bike that made it faster, cooler, and just so much more fun to ride. The best and coolest stuff was the new Di2 electronic shifting system, that allowed me to shift effortlessly from both the bar ends AND the shifter levers… whereas pretty much everyone else in the field had shifting in either location but not both. I also had just mounted up a wicked light and very exotic looking set of PRO carbon drop bars w/ integrated stem (in white of course) and added the matching aero bar system that mounts directly to the bottom of the stem to make it look like one complete system. Following a fit session with Geoff at Colorado Multisport a few days earlier, I felt comfortable and powerful in this slightly adjusted position, and was looking forward to putting it all to the test under race conditions.
I moved through T1 swiftly and was on the bike and in my shoes without any issue. Just outside the gates of the Rez is a pretty steep hill, and right then Philip came by me while I navigated some slower traffic. As he and I have been riding at about the same speed these days, I was happy to have him to chase and “set tempo”, while I sat 7-10 bike lengths behind (3 bikes minimum distance is required to avoid a drafting penalty). We must’ve looked pretty cool in our matching F4 gold kits as we zoomed by a few hundred fellow participants along the bike course at 24+ mph. We passed Win late in the bike, as well as a couple of others who often best me on the bike leg, so I was gaining confidence as we approached T2 and felt like I had saved enough fuel for a strong effort over the coming 5K run. (Bike- 42: 38, 24.2 mph)
I zipped through T2, and felt better than ever as I headed out onto the course. I had no idea where I stood in my age group race, but I was pretty sure that I was having the best race possible and would continue to hammer all the way to the finish and pass anyone in sight. I did just that through the halfway turnaround, and gained confidence as I headed back home for the final 1.5 miles while seeing Philip and Win running strong, as well a dozens of other FastForward athletes in their awesome looking gold or pink kits. We exchanged supportive grunts or gestures, and continued doing our very best through the finish.
I crossed the line knowing that I had nothing left to give that day and was extremely proud of my race execution, preparation, and my fellow athletes that inspired me throughout training and on race day. I stayed in the finish area for quite some time greeting Win and Philip and others, then headed back out onto the course to cheer on my wife Liz and all the others for another 30 minutes or so before working my way back to the FastForward tent for some shade and congratulatory “High 4’s and Hugs”. (Run- 19:11, 6:12 per mile. Total time 1:15:34, 20th overall out of 1277 competitors)
Only then did I learn that Philip (3rd), Win (2nd), and I (1st) had swept the 40-44 awards ‘podium’, which was just about the coolest thing I’ve ever experienced as an endurance racer. Well, technically, a 40-year-old pro finished ahead of me, but as he also finished 3rd overall, he wins that award instead and we all moved up one spot… hence the “sweep”.
So, now it is on to Lubbock, TX this weekend for the BSLT 70.3 (Half Ironman), along with 20 FastForward athletes and many other Boulder/ Denver participants. Temps should be close to 100 degrees on race day, but I’m sure we’re going to have an awesome time racing and hanging out together. Stay tuned for another race report next week and more F4 training and racing tales leading up to our 30-person trip to Ironman Canada at the end of August.