Silverlake Sprint Tri

On Sunday, I raced the Silverlake Sprint Triathlon. A small local race south of Houston in Pearland, TX. For a small race, the event had a grassroots feel, but excellent organization. The course was fun and fast and made for an exciting day of racing. My hats off to the race director.

The 35-39 age group went first and this gave me another opportunity to get out front during the swim. The swim was not wetsuit legal so I had the speedsuit on and sure enough, found myself out front early. There was one other guy with me and I just let him set the pace. Unlike at CB&I, I stayed a lot more relaxed and swam a bit easier.

We hit transition together, but I got out of there quickly and found myself behind the pace car on the bike. The bike course was through neighborhoods and had a lot of turns. I found this to be a blast. I felt like a cyclist cornering and standing up to pick up speed again.

I put some time on my fellow competitors and soon found myself getting ready to run. I botched my run exit and had to turn around, but did not lose too much ground. The run was on sidewalks and I was out front! First time I have raced as the lone leader and I have to admit, it felt pretty cool.

My run was right at 6:00 pace for the 3 miles and I felt really strong with the cooler weather.

The final result was 1st in the AG and 2nd overall. A 19 year old Texas A&M triathlon team member clipped me by 45 seconds for the overall from a few waves back. Congratulations to him for a great race for the overall.

I also had the privilege of talking with young Lane Baron. Lane is a 10 year old triathlon phenom, racing against kids 5 years older than himself. Lane’s mom and two sisters also race and they make it a family affair. Lane caught my attention when I looked at his 8:10/ mile run split. That is an awesome pace at 10 years old in an open run, much less off a hard and fast bike! Watch for Lane as he gets older and becomes an ITU or IM superstar.

Also congratulations to Laura Gaddy, 3rd in her AG, Mike Young 5th in AG and Mike Huffine 4th in AG.

A great day of racing and I look forward to the Silverlake Triathlon again next year.

So how do you reward yourself after a fun day of racing success? By going to eat some awesome mexican food (and a few beers!) for lunch at Rico’s with my wife, Shani.

CB and I Local Race Results

The 2009 CB&I sprint triathlon is in the books. I had a goal of winning my age group and that was accomplished. This was the 3rd time I have raced it and have placed all 3 years, just never first until now. We had the largest age group with 113 people in the 35 – 39 wave.

This year’s victory was a bit of technicality, because the winner of the age group was a gentleman named Dean King. He also won the overall, so that bumped me up! Dean normally races as an elite athlete so I don’t feel so bad. This guy tore up the course and had one of the fastest run splits I have ever seen.

I want to also congratulate all of my fellow Team Finish Strong Racing athletes that tore up the course. Dana Lyons (my 50 year old coach!) and Michelle LeBlanc (local female cycling legend) took 2nd and 3rd overall. They both had bike splits of 26 mph, unbelievable! Do I need to point out again that Dana is 50+ and riding his bike 26 mph?

Ed York won his age group in the 45 – 49 division and Richard MacNamee took 2nd in the 40 – 44 age group. We had many other athletes on the podium providing for an awesome day of racing for Team FSR.

Special congratulations goes out to my friend Mike Young. Mike cut 5 minutes off his time and had is first ever top 10 placing in a race. Mike is no longer my friend, but is now competition! I am happy to report however, that he DID NOT beat me out of the water this year. My other friend Mike Huffine also finished well for his first CB&I with an impressive bike and run.

A short re-cap of my race: great swim, slow bike and a slow run. I had some really high hopes of racing faster, but it was still good enough to get the job done and finish on the podium. I learned that my bike has a long way to go and I will focus as much time as I can on getting faster on the bike. My travel with work makes that tough, but I will do what I can to pick up some speed and power.

Stephanie Young snapped this photo of me finishing.

The next race will be Silver Lake Triathlon in Pearland on May 17th.

Special thanks again to My family, all my friends, team FSR athletes, my coach Dana, our Team FSR sponsors (Bike Lane and Luke’s) and many others for their support. What a great day of racing right here in my own Woodlands backyard.

Second Place @ Lone Star

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Sunday was my first race of the season. I finished 2nd in the age group and 5th overall amateur. The distance was a quarter ironman and was a great test of any speed I might have early in the season

I normally race the longer stuff, but found this shorter race to be a lot of fun and an awesome test.

My friend Mike Young picked me up after Parker’s t-ball game and we headed down to Galveston. It was my first trip to Galveston since Ike and there is still plenty of reminders from the devastation. However, unlike other cities that have suffered from a hurricane, Galveston has picked itself up quickly and welcomed over 2000 triathletes back to the island. The race was sold out and the city was ready to host the athletes.

This is our third year to go to Galveston for this race series and we always have pasta at a local Italian place called Mario’s the night before. This year was no different with getting to eat with Mike and Clint. I put down a huge plate of spaghetti, bread and my pre-race glass of chianti. If you want some awesome local italian, you can’t beat Mario’s!

Sunday morning came after an awesome night of sleep (I was so tired from traveling all week I slept 8 + hours) and was ready to race.

Our age group was the 35 – 39 and we went second after the Pro’s, the 30-34 and 20 – 24 age groups all combined up in the starting wave. The swim went really well from the start and I quickly caught a lot of people that left 5 minutes before us. I was pretty sure I was first out of the water on the swim in my age group. I saw someone with a faster swim split post race, but question if he went in the right age group because I never saw him on the course.

The bike started as planned and I quickly got into a rhythm and was clicking by the group in front of us from the moment I left transition. My goal on the bike is to be sure I don’t get passed by anyone in my age group. Having a strong swim, I try to put myself in the front and just stay there for the race. When you swim well, it is easy to see where you are in placing, because if no one passes you… you win.

Well, this race was a bit different, because at mile 11 on the bike, Stuart Landis from the Woodlands came blowing by me. In a short race, I usually try to go with the other racers no matter what my heart rate says. However with Stuart, there was no hope. He dropped me.

The run started and my legs felt really heavy (no doubt thanks to Stuart). My HR was also really high because I could see my new friend “Stuart” in front of me on the run.

I usually run the first mile without thinking much, and here was no different with a quick 6:05. I saw Stuart and he did not give at all. I tried one more time at mile 3 with another 6:15 mile and still could not gain on him. By this point, my legs were done. I stayed close, but could never gain on him again and realized at mile 5 it was over. I will not reveal any other splits since my overall was a 6:30 pace for the 6.5 miles.

My streak of 2 first place victories at the Lone Star Triathlon was over. I was about to place 2nd. I looked back and there was no one in our age group even close. We had hammered everyone else, but I felt like the nail that got hammered.

The good thing about losing, is it only makes you want to work that much harder. The big race of the year is Kona, so an early season beating is good for the soul and brought my ego back down to earth.

Thanks Stuart.

Some Post Race Fun:

Great Marathons!

Yesterday was a great day all around on the course of the Houston Marathon.
My friends Mike Huffine and Jody Gaddy both completed the marathon. Jody ran a PR breaking 4 hours with a 3:57 and Mike Huffine had an incredible first time marathon with a time of 3:47.33. Mike Huffine has done this all while dropping 50 lbs over the past 18 months. No doubt Mike will be heading to Boston soon. I have him down for a 3:19 on his 40th. Now that Jody is under 4 hours, he too was checking his calender for a Boston Qualifier.

In the Half Marathon, Mike Young had a huge PR with a time of 1:41, shattering the 2 hour barrier. He no longer has that monkey on his back. Also my training partner and friend Michelle LeBlanc ran a stunning 1:23 in the 1/2 marathon. I saw her out there at the turn and she was flying.

For me, I could not be happier. I had this monkey on my back from not qualifying for Boston back in 2002. I trained hard that year and tried, but fell apart at Mile 17 and ended up running a 3:22. Not this year baby, with the support of my family at mile 18 (I always race better when they are out there) and with the help of my coach, Dana Lyons and the support of countless other people, I ran a 3:07! That shattered my last time of 3:22 and gives me a Boston Qualifying time for both the 30 – 34 & 35 – 39 age groups. Who knows, maybe a trip on Patriots Day in 2010. What a great way to start the 2009 race season!

Congratulations to everyone that ran yesterday.

Lastly, I have to recognize my good friend Richard Kane for his awesome run at the Angel Island 25K in San Francisco, CA. He is now coached by one of the Legends in Triathlon Mike Pigg. Richard ran a 2:14 on a extremely hilly and sometimes mountainous trail. Richard is seen here with his new coach, Mike Pigg.