Green Mountain Stage Race - Noah Manacas Race Report

Stage 1 TT 6 miles mostly uphill.
This one sucked.  I didn't catch that my start time was moved up by an hour from the tech. manual that was published the day before so our leisurely lunch in NH turned into a race to the race... picked up my packet and got to the start line with 30 seconds to spare.. no warm up, straight up hill.  Anyway thats my excuse for a 30th place finish.

Stage 2 Circuit: 53 miles 2 KOM's 2 sprints.
Goal was not to get gaped after the KOM's which happened last year.  Did a little pace setting at the beginning but then just tried to stay mid pack. First time up the KOM climb a small gap opened but with the help of a few other dudes we caught back up pretty quickly.  The second time around the gap was bigger and it took a while and some decent work to catch back up, luckily a bigger group helped out and we caught back on in the last 5 miles before the finish, made a little mistake here, as we caught back on I saw what looked like 4 or 5 dudes going of the front so I sprinted past the whole field to catch them... I should have asked, turns out those dudes had been dropped from another field, woops.  The pace got very fast with 1k to go and I figured I was around 15-20 position around 500 to go... then some dudes who started the lead out blew up and sat up and I found some room ahead so went for it with whatever I had left. Surprised me a bit since I was just going to hold position, not wanting to take anybody out sprinting from mid pack!  Ended up crossing the line 12th.  We lucked out as it didn't rain until after we finished.

Stage 3. 67 Miles App. Gap finish.

Again the goal was to get to the base of App. Gap with the pack.  This has been motivating my training all summer.  Last year I had a mechanical 20 miles in and finished the race alone.  That sucked and I was determined not to let that happen again!  After a 5-6 mile neutral start which just kinda stayed neutral a couple of  guys went off the from and no wanted to chase including myself. Figured they were going for the sprint points at mile 14 and they can have them... then 4 dudes went off the front again at mile 10, definitely going for the sprint points... though it was risky I let them go figuring we had time to catch them and I had no intention of being in a break all day and blowing myself up before the big climb!  We caught most of them around mile 20 something but the pace cars where gone and the pack was going pretty slow and easy... word got back that there was still a dude off the front and his team mates were controlling the pace so we picked it up and a hand full of us chased pulling the whole field  into it.  Massive potholes and slight downgrade between miles 20 and 30 made things interesting, this is where i had an issue last year, but I avoided all of them and we caught the guy who was off the from before the first KOM at mile 40.  I stayed with the pack on this first climb, which didnt feel to hard, and the pace also didnt feel to fast after that.  The KOM at mile 64 on Baby gap was tough, I was expecting this to be the hardest part of the race and it was... but I managed to stay on.  A few miles later the App gap climb starts and I just went steady and tried to pick people off, figured I had around 20 ahead of me at the bottom of the climb.  Picked a few people off and ended up with 16th.  Sweet!

Stage 4.  crit.  6 turns, a decent climb out of turn #6, lots of painted lines and granit/brick crosswalks.
Course was wet. Not cool.
Just wanted to finish and get a GC score, didn't race the crit last year due to pinched nerve that also killed half my cross season.  Planned to but didn't do any Wells ave races and only crit practice was a few laps each of Witches cup and Beverly...  Monday morning I was pretty psyched to be in one piece and the legs even felt pretty good during warm up.  The first few laps started Suuuper fast, could barley hang on.  It slowed a touch but I small gap was opening ahead of my group and I didn't think I could close it.  Just dodged a crash on turn #5, some dude flatted and wiped out into another guy when he made the turn.  Then I hit turn #6 a bit too hot and wiped out myself narrowly avoiding the guys around me.  Hoofed it to the pit, got the biked checked out, washed some blood off my left side which looked a bit like hamburger meat and jumped back in after my free lap or two. I thought this might give me the break  I needed to stay with the field but it totally blew my nerves, got pushed back in by the mechanic and a few laps later and I ended up going into some matts they had protecting the outside of turn #1, i didn't want to lean into the turns like I did before and there was some slippery granit crosswalks at that turn... back to the pit again to fix my shifter... slightly embarrassed this time.  After that I did a few more laps until I got the whistle.. I thought I had enough laps to get a score for the race, needed at least 15 or 13+2 free.  Turns out I did, also turns out I was mid pack, when I crashed, I thought I was at the back and that the official had made a mistake when he put me back in mid pack but I guess not!  Some good road rash on the calf, hip and elbow but aside from that no major damage.  I STILL DON'T LIKE CRITS.  But I might have to practice them a bit more.

Anyway, somehow with my estimated finish time they gave me 23rd place out of 33, about 2 minutes back which put me into 17 place in the GC.  SWEET!!

Timberman 70.3 - 2013 Race Report

I went to Timberman 70.3 on a mission to redeem myself after the last performance I had there back in 2009. Back then, the race didn't go well (you can read my race report here) and therefore, this time around I was ready for payback and willing to deal with the worst case scenario:

Heading into the race I was feeling good; while my swim was still a work in process I knew I did more than a few open water swims and was in solid shape. For the bike I knew I was in the best cycling shape I've ever been and I could lay down a good performance. And for the run, while still not where I wanted to be, I could shoot for a 1:20-1:21 hr run based on my training.  Overall I was feeling ready...!

The swim - Goal 30 min, actual 30:56 min (24th age group, 194 overall)

The swim went well for most part; though I have been swimming more of what I did for Rev3 Quassy, my swim training has still been inconsistent hence I knew a solid performance and good day to be around 30 min at best. Starting towards the middle of the waves meant I would be catching earlier waves and this could represent some contact and slowing down. I was ready for a good old fashion swimming mess and I wasn't disappointed. Going out to the 1st turn around I drafted of faster swimmer and I got clear water but after the turn around we encountered swimmers complexly stopped floating, doing back stroke, breast stroke, maybe even tubbing and I think I even saw someone doing something like the picture to the right

Needles to say this slowed me some. And before I forget, I sincerely apologize for the few poor swimmers I happen to smack on their back of their heads as I tried to find clear water among that mess and your heads kinda popped out of nowhere. It was NOT on purpose I swear. If that was one of you, let me know, I'll buy you a beer as a peace offering and even let you smack me on the head, but just a bit! Anyway, the rest of the swim was still rather busy and on the last turn heading back I found myself swimming a bit more of course but eventually I found my way to the shore.

Transition 1 - Goal sub 2 min, actual 1:46 min
This went well, except as soon as I stand up to exit the water I felt like my calves were going to cramp on me so I gently ran out of the water and eventually managed to run at decent clip. I made it to my bike and was careful putting my shoes on to prevent a calves cramps. Ran out and passed quite a few peeps in the process and even saw Coach Peej! 

Bike - Goal 2:23-2:25h, actual 2:25:20h (6th age group, 52th overall)

This was the leg I was really excited to get to and see what I could do given my recent training. I was ready to push the limit, something I haven't done much before as I always tend to fall back on my running. My power target for the race was 230w and as soon as I got out of transition I faced the 1st challenge; my calves were still crampy so I had to be somewhat gentle for the first 4-5 miles when pedaling. On top of that, I notice something right away and something I experienced the days leading up to the race; my legs were flat and trying to push my goals watts was tough as my quads felt heavy and sore. You see, 8 or 9 days before the race I went for a deep tissue release massage; a week before the race is usually plenty of time to get it done and avoid messing up with your legs. 

Well, my mistake was 2 fold; on one hand I haven't get one in a LONG time, so it was perhaps not the wisest choice to get one at the time (maybe 3 weeks out?). The 2nd and also my fault was trying out a new massage. Let me be clear, the massage itself and the guy providing it (who I highly recommend) was awesome and did a great job. BUT, I didn't know exactly the type of massage I was getting and that it was rather intense, perhaps the most intense one I've ever gotten, to the point I felt like this throughout the session 

This left me rather sore for days and though I was expecting my legs to come around with so many days in between, they didn't. All through the hilly portion of the first 11 miles of the course where I know I can ride faster than others, I simply didn't have my peppy legs so instead of freaking out and trying to hold 'x' power I went to ride by feel and ride smart. 

I mean, sine my target wattage was out of reach, I had to ride smart and calm, that mean to be as aero as possible saving energy and riding as "smart fast" as possible. Therefore I quickly focused on"turtling" all the time; no not what you may think like the left pic, more like the one on the right

Mentally it was very tough to be unable to ride at the pace I had in mind, but remaining calm and riding aero while trying to get back to T2 as soon as possible helped me stay engaged and positive. I had another mishap around the turn around at mile 28ish, my chain got stuck as I shifted gears and I had to slow down to fix it. This cost me 45-50 sec according to my file but I went back on and just kept moving, fueling and trying to make myself as small as possible. At some point I started thinking how I could crawl inside my bike frame. After unsuccessfully achieving that, I kept riding aero, coasting on descents, spinning on climbs, sling-shot passing, and since I knew the course by memory, I was avoiding bumpy parts, cornering better, etc. All helped a lot and soon enough I was riding on the last 5 miles of the course, This made me very happy because in spite of my lower power (215w), I was still on pace to achieve the upper time the range I knew I could be; so while not the fastest time I knew I could muster, smart riding indeed paid off!

Transition 2 - Goal sub 1:30 min, actual 1:29 min
This was good, in and out. No issues here and it was great to hear so many cheers from friends!

Run - Goal 1:20-1:21h, actual 1:23:23 (2nd age group, 28th overall, 16th finishing place for amateurs)

I started the run and I was happy that unlike during the bike, my legs were feeling peppy and ready to fly. I passed the E3/BTT tents and the cheers were great! I head out onto the main road for the the 1st loop and as soon as I reached that road I felt something I was dreading I may have to battle with yet again but hoping I shouldn't; a $%^&@ side stitch. This derailed my last race at this very race 4 years ago and hinder my run performance at Rev3 Quassy 3 months before. In spite of my best efforts to fix this by switching my fueling plan, practicing different strategies in training, etc. and hoping I figured it out, well I was wrong. I can't explain how it feels but imagine it is something like this: 

Except, the knife sensation goes through my lower right abdomen and stays there sort of like when they are jiggling in the 2nd knife and moving it around; and the faster I try running the more intense it is, It only goes away 'some' if a slow down or if I stop. The latter was not an option so I went with the former, to run at whatever pace I could manage while handling the pain. Through the entire first loop I didn't look at my watch once, I knew if I did I would get discourage and I was already contemplating quitting. But I managed to keep moving and seeing so many of my friends/athletes on the course or cheering helped me to stay running and moving forward.

I tried everything I've read about side stitches, changed my breathing, 'squeeze it out', breathing forcefully, etc. I was doing my best impersonation of a woman in labor, "breathing deep to manage the pain". Nothing worked but at least I was keeping my mind busy, I was dealing with the pain some and moving. I was so focused on this that anytime I would see one of my athletes of friends, I couldn't muster much words but I was able to least give a thumbs up. I managed to drink some water and coke without increasing the pain which was great news as before this would just make it worst. At least I knew if I survive the pain it may actually go away having a chance to run 'better' the 2nd loop.I kept moving and as I approached the start of the 2nd loop I could feel the pain going slowly away... awesome!

This lifted my spirits, kept me positive and while I was still ignoring my watch completely and running entirely by feel, I could notice my pace improving and felt I could go faster and faster. All of the sudden I got like Bolt possessed!

I kept up speeding up and after the turn around I finally decided to look at my watch around mile 10ish, after some not so quick math I figured my goal of finishing in 4:20hrs was probably gone, but I could certainly finish within minutes. So I put my head down and kept up running as hard as I could. I kept passing people and it was great to hear the cheers and encouragement from friends and my athletes. I finally made it to the '1 mile to go' and just ran as hard as I could passing whoever was in front.

As I crossed the line I knew if things went well I would be within minutes of Jana due to her swim start and that would be great news because it meant she also had a solid performance and she did! After a hug I walked to the E3 tent to find out how the rest of the crew did/was doing.

In the end my finishing time was 4:22:51h, missing my goal by 2:51 seconds but I redeemed myself with a tough but solid performance, finished 2nd place AG and qualified for the 70.3 world championship.

In the end it was an awesome day for everyone and E3; we finished with 5 podiums, 5 athletes qualified for the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship, many of my athletes PR and/or finished their 1st 70.3 ever and most importantly, everyone had a super fun day! Best race day ever as a coach :)