One of the best things about the Fox Cities Triathlon Club is the strong drive to share triathlon with newbies. While most triathletes love bringing new people into the sport, the Tri Foxes offers Tri 101. This annual program brings together first timers, experienced racers, coaches, mentors, and training sessions to prepare people for their first race.
If I remember correctly, Jesse showed up at transition around 6 a.m. He was delayed by one of those situations we all fear. His bike had flatted out, and he realized he was out of spare tubes. He decided to head to the race, hoping one of the bike shops would have a maintenance tent. Nobody did.
He got in a good warm-up running all over the place trying to find someone with a tube he could have. We never crossed paths, but he eventually found Mark, who wasn't racing. Mark had the spare Jesse needed, and they were able to get the bike ready to go with about five minutes to spare before the start of the race.
The picture above shows Jesse getting marked up for the race. The guy in the yellow shirt in the background is Mark. Mark is a huge force in the Tri Foxes for reasons just like this. He is always there to help out fellow triathletes.
Our paths did manage to cross just before the start of the race. Jesse's wife took this great picture of us ready to go. This is just after I took care of my own last minute "freak out" issue of a leaking ear plug. More on that when I post my race report.
The sprint starts were after all the half distance waves, so Jesse had an opportunity to calm down a bit from the bike issue. He used that time to wonder about the water conditions, as he'd heard the conditions were a bit rough.
Jesse reported he got through the swim like most everybody else. He floundered his way through like everyone else. The reports he'd heard were accurate. While there were no whitecaps on the lake, there were huge swells the entire morning. One of the pros admitted in a news article that he had almost called it quits during the swim.
Jesse got caught on the very inside of the turn, wrestled with the bouy, and made it back the the swim exit in about 6:36. Not bad for a quarter-mile swim. Faster than me, anyway.
Jesse headed up the hill to T1, hopped on the bike, and headed out for his ride. His biggest concern for the bike was low tire pressure. I pointed out (after the race) that he probably had more pressure than he thought as the temperature increased a great deal. He completed the bike portion in 1:09, another great performance. After a short transition, he headed out on the run.
In addition to being Jesse's first triathlon, this race exposed him to his first trail running. Several areas of the trail had him concerned because of tricky footing. More than one triathlete has taken a tumble along the course, so his concerns were valid. He made it through with no issues, and completed the run with "time to spare."
His second goal, after finishing, was to come in under two hours. His official time was 1:51:25. And he said he wasn't completely exhausted. Apparently he had a little bit more available to give, so knows what he might be able to accomplish in his next race.
Jesse is no longer a "Tri Kit." He's now an official triathlete and fully grown Tri Fox. He's already looking at a couple of races in the coming weeks and months. Congratulations, Jesse!
The Run for Ron 50-mile ultramarathon is in the books. It was a long, painful book, but it's complete. There are, of course, stories and lessons that come with any major endurance event.
First, allow me to say I may have reached the pinnacle of my ultramarathoning career. Having participated in the Fall 50, I have a new and profound respect for ultramarathoners, particularly those who complete extreme endurance events in the 100+ category. Fifty was quite enough for this body, and only time will tell if more events at this distance are likely.
After running 40-miles, it might make sense to detail how difficult it was. Then again, I doubt that would be news to anyone. So a different approach seems to make sense.
This past weekend, we proved it isn't all about the bike. It isn't all about the run. This weekend, it was all about the kids. This was the weekend of the Oshkosh Area Triathlon put on by Midwest Sports Events. Saturday was the kid's tri and Sunday was the sprint distance race. My own kids raced Saturday, and the Brigade kids raced on Sunday.
After a long vacation week, it's time to get back to work. And for the faithful readers anxiously awaiting the Spirit of Racine race report, we start with the picture on the left. It should be noted that it is difficult to see people walking to the start, and impossible to see much beyond that. About the middle of the picture is a bouy that can just barely be made out. And this is around 7:45, almost an hour after the race was supposed to start.
I was speedy in T1 as I went without socks and I had preloaded my drinks onto my bike. Last year, I had the bottles in a cooler with ice. Even though I forgot my gels and had to run back for them, I was way faster than last year.
I blazed through T2 in just over 90 seconds, and started the run in extremely hot conditions. The temperature pushed 90F as the day wore on, and I went through a lot of water for cooling purposes. I struggled on the run and finished with a time of 1:55:59 compared to 1:45:51, last year.
Just to belabor the point, this Fourth of July was full of firsts, nearly all of them in the first few hours of the day.
The 2008 Bellin Run is in the books. It was a beautiful day, with very slight breezes and fairly moderate temperatures. While it was a bit warm in the open areas, it was far from the extremes of heat experienced the past few years. In fact, conditions were so good that at least one new course record was set (though I don't know which).
Imagine running an Ironman and finishing with a PR of nearly an hour. If that race was an Ironman 70.3 event, it would be even more satisfying. And achieving that kind of improvement in an Olympic is huge.
Okay, I know it might seem a stretch to relate Mary Poppins and endurance sports. Of course, when you WATCH Mary Poppins the day before a marathon, it becomes clear.
Just who is this Iron Pol?
A former out of shape sailor, who became a marathoner, then a triathlete, Ironman, and ultramarathoner. Now, life has pushed me into short track speed skating. More important than the titles is the lifestyle, and sharing it with others.