Monday, November 6, 2023
Today was my longest triathlon (#203) of the year, The Riverfront Tri in Cocoa (Florida). An International/Olympic distance race with a .5-mile saltwater swim in the Indian River, 26-mile bike along the river road, followed by a 6.2-mile run. I’ve done this race in 2019, 2021, and 2022 and it’s a great finisher for the season (plus I won all three). Cocoa is an hour away from our home in Orlando, necessitating getting up at 3:00 AM to be there for the 5:30 registration. With a 6:45 start, just after sunrise, there wasn’t the usual waiting time before the race. Water temp was 72’f so I bowed to the inevitable and put on my wetsuit. At this race, you jump off the dock in pairs and begin your swim. Sounds odd but goes very quickly. The water was an initial shock but with the early morning air temp of 61’ it felt fine. My swim time was 18:21, a bit faster than last year. I was in second on the swim but moving to the bike, Jerry Mandello caught me at mile 2 and it was evident that he was pulling away. I settled down to enjoy the race and fight the headwind on the first northerly loop. The river road is amazingly hilly with over 700’ of climbing in the two loops. Rounding the first point, the tailwind pushed my average speed to 16.4 mph. Starting on the second 6.5-mile loop, the headwind had increased but I had warmed to the effort and was powering through it. Hitting the last turn was great as my average jumped to 16.7 with a stiff tailwind resulting in a max of 25.3. Rolling into transition, my stomach was acting up, so I hit the bathroom, losing 3 minutes. Beginning my run, I was stopped by a hamstring cramp and spent two minutes working it out. After a big swallow of Hammer Heed, the pain faded and didn’t bother me again for the next 5.5 miles. I crossed the line at 3:03.28, my run being about 10 minutes off. Bobby Dickerson won with an astonishing 2:32:13 (28th OA) in his first race in two years. I was Third behind Jerry but quite happy to have overcome the few setbacks.
Sunday, October 22, 2023
My 202nd triathlon was on Saturday, the Great Floridan Sprint in Clermont. With the full iron-distance starting at 7:30 (dawn) and the ½ iron-distance at 8:30, it’s a bit of a wait to start at 9:30. Everything went well on the swim, bike, and run despite two errors. I re-adjusted the front wheel quick release in transition and when I pulled the bike out, the front wheel was rubbing so I stopped and redid it. Then at the run start, I’d just caught 4th place in transition and left my small bottle of Hammer Heed behind. It stops the cramping problem I’ve had running at other races so my run was a bit cautious. I ended up in 4th out of 7 in M70-74, only 20 seconds behind 3rd. My friends did great: Hammer athlete Gabrielle Suver won the full-aquabike Overall at 6:36:18, Dawn Lane won F60-64 with a time of 17:51:44 in the full iron-distance, and Teresa Tinsley won F60-64 in the half with a 7:02.17. I did the half there in 2013 (2nd) and the 1/3 four times (2014, 2016-2018, 2019 got rained out); I hope to finish 2023 with the Riverfront Triathlon (Olympic-distance) in Cocoa in two weeks.
Sunday, October 15, 2023
Triathlon #201 today at Crystal River on the Gulf of Mexico. Saw nothing driving into the race site at 5:00 AM but was astonished to see the tornado damage from earlier this week after the race. Very choppy swim slowed everyone down as did the headwinds on the bike. First race for the NS Speed! I had a great battle on the bike for second place with Jeremy and I passing each other until the halfway turnaround when I pulled away. Speed was very smooth and comfortable; averaged 17.4 mph over the 15 miles with the headwinds. Solid run for my Second Place out of four; 9:29 splits. Second place out of four. Very happy with the Speed's performance.
Friday, September 22, 2023
Away back in 1995, I was looking at Moulton bicycles for the first time, having seen them in various publications. I contacted the dealers in the USA and Steve Hed in Minnesota told he would send me a Moulton AM to try out. It was not for sale as it was one of a pair that Alex Moulton had sent to his wife Anne and himself. Steve had the foresight to insure it as the shipper destroyed the Mouton in transit. He was a friend of Dr. Moulton and visited BOA several times. Shaun Moulton also sent him John Benjamin’s Speedsix in 2002. Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0wsutGeSno Steve was world famous for his advisory collaborations with many pro cycling teams. HED wheels were also very popular in triathlon. Unfortunately, Steve suddenly died in 2014 at age 59 and Anne Hed kept HED Cycling building racing bicycle wheels to this day. https://hedcycling.com/ Fast forward to early 2023, I contacted Anne to see what happened to the other AM. She informed me that her daughter Rebecca was working on clearing out many of Steve’s bicycles and could I help with the Moultons. I reviewed the five Moultons they were selling and gave them my estimates. They asked me to see if any USA Moulton enthusiasts were interested and the bikes were sold. Except one. There was a NOS frame kit for a 2003 New Series Single Pylon/Speed in stainless steel! It had never been built and I was very interested. Since I had already valued the bike, I ended up paying more than I planned but the Speed arrived with two Moulton wheels and lots of extra parts two week later. Before even bidding I had checked with my friendly bike mechanic, Diane, to see if she wanted to take on the project. Diane agreed, having worked on my Moultons for years and owning five herself. Many of the parts that arrived with the bike were not made for the New Series and we soon discovered the New Series frame was missing a few bits also. The Hope 70mm front hub was missing a spacer and the Moulton front derailleur didn’t reach the outer chainring. Plus, the frame pivot bolt had gone missing too. Dan Farrell sent us a new style derailleur adapter, but it didn’t fit. USA Moulton distributor Loring Kohrt also contributed. Diane was able to find, fabricate, or machine the necessary parts and the whole bike came finally together. The few painted parts on the frame are light grey so the SRAM Force component in dark grey blended well. As it will be my new race bike for triathlons, it is equipped with Profile bull horn handlebars and Profile carbon fiber aero bars with SRAM barcon shifters at the ends. The red SRAM aero brake levers top off the package. Now to begin sorting the Speed for my next triathlon, # 201!
Thursday, September 14, 2023
This past weekend, at age 70, I completed my 200th triathlon, reaching my goal of hitting #200 this year. I finished 14 tri’s this year (so far), from Jacksonville (north) to Cocoa Beach (south) and from the Gulf of Mexico (Crystal River) to the Atlantic (St. Augustine). With all the changes in the world and to Sandy and myself, I didn’t want anything to stop me. It took me 17 years to hit 100 and only 13 years to reach 200. The odd thing is, that young man (of 40) who did his first in 1993, felt the same amount of joy before, during, and after the race as I do today. And to me it’s the pleasure of completing the event successfully, knowing all the little things that can go wrong and working your hardest to make them go right. I still look up during the swim leg at the sun shining across the water and think, “What a beautiful day!”. And after the bike ride, as tough, long, and hot the run may be, I still feel the thrill of crossing the finish line. I know one day fate will conspire to stop me, but, with Sandy’s support, I’ll continue to strive and train to keep that day far off in the future. By the numbers: 200 triathlons. 35 First Places, 32 Second Places, 22 Third Places. 89 podium finishes result in a 43% podium rate. 2 half-iron distance, 3 one/third-iron distance, 45 Olympic distance (including 12 St. Anthony’s Tri’s), 150 sprints. More remarkable, No DNS, No DNF, No Penalties, No DQs. Now, when’s the next race?
Sunday, August 13, 2023
Triathlon #199 is in the books! Not sure if you saw earlier this week, that August 8th commemorated my 30th year anniversary of competing in triathlons. Today’s race was the third Sommer Sports Sprint Tri of the season and a big crowd showed up. The race director switched the starting order, so the Sprint started at 7:05 AM and the Olympic distance at 7:35. With the current heat wave (82’f at start) that was much appreciated. However, the lake temp was around 82’ also!
I was in the Third Wave and had a good swim, steady and straight the whole time. I did have the Fourth Wave (fast women) swim over me several times. It felt good to get out of the warm water too. Bike ride was great, averaging 17.1 mph through the hills and hitting 38.6 on the big downhill. Passed lots of people on the climbs. Run leg was hot and I carried a frozen bottle, pouring the cold water over my head numerous times. Heat (90’f at that point) made my final time a bit off but I crossed the line in Second out of five in Male 70-74.
Friends Andreas Moraitis and his wife Kerry Girona were Second and Fourth Overall. Others included Enrique Mercado, Bill Black (Second in Clydesdale class), Tom Hedman, and Lester Rilea. Made a new friend too, Justin Grofik, a Navy pilot from Tampa. Also, another friend, Hammer-sponsored pro triathlete Gabrielle Suver, won Female Overall in the Olympic distance race. Now to get out of the heat!