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It seems fitting that since I was awarded with Monday off for achieving an ‘Outstanding’ on the PRT (the Navy’s semi-annual fitness test) that I would spend the weekend exercising and racing. Saturday Molly and I went for a 50 mile road ride around Wauconda. Saturday evening after a party we headed up to Lake Geneva, ready to race on Sunday and Monday.

Sunday’s race was the Lake Geneva Triathlon. I was excited because this was going to be my first local triathlon since we’ve moved here last September. It was an opportunity to see what the local talent was like, and time to become familiar with the races in this area. Monday’s race was the 5th race in the Tour of America’s Dairyland, the Greenbush Road Race.

I have competed in many triathlons in the past 26 years, and have to say that this race was put on very well. The venue was great, but so was the course, and the organization was spot on.

The race began with a 1.5K swim along the shore of Lake Geneva. It was a great swim and I kept it smooth. I finished the swim in 24:18, which is a couple minutes slower than I’d like, but actually about the time I expected with the swim training I’ve been doing. The fastest swim was by Bill Bishop at 18:10.

The bike course was full of rollers, and I love rollers. My age group wave start was pretty far back, so I had a lot of people in front of me that I was screaming by. I think that gave me the feeling that I was doing better than I actually was. My normalized power was only 287 watts, where I think it should have been about 320 watts. Because of the rollers I had a lot of strategic surges and coasts, but even with that my power should have been at least 10% higher. I had one mechanical that caused me to stop for a minute, which really sucked. I don’t like to give up any momentum like that. Overall my time for the 38K bike was 57:58, the 11th fastest time (another indication that I should have been riding harder). The fastest split went to Adam Zucco (go figure) at 55:10.

Bike Course

The run was a 10K run on trails and grass in Big Foot State Park. Much of the course was shaded, which was good because it was warm and humid. The trails were rolling and there were a lot of roots (trip hazards) but the organizers had the worst of them painted yellow. A couple short descents I thought my legs were about to buckle because I was going as fast as I could down them. Overall I thought the run went well, but 10 more pounds of weight loss would have cut 2 more minutes off my time of 43:14. The fastest run of the day went to Todd Byers at 37:26.

Run Course

Overall I finished 19th, 3rd in my age group. The first female was almost 6 minutes behind me (one small victory), but really I would have like to been in the top 3 overall (who wouldn’t). I am not used to finishing 3rd in my age group at a race with 500 finishers. Although I see I can make some quick improvements of about 2 minutes in each event, that only accounts for 6 minutes and the winning time was 1:57:34. The next triathlon is the Wauconda Triathlon, Olympic distance again, on July 22.

After the awards Molly and I headed out to Kohler where we stayed at The American Club. It was a fantastic place to stay and relax before we headed to Greenbush on Monday morning for a road race. That report will have to be in a separate post.


It’s been over a week now since ToP ended. Oh how quickly we get back into our regular routine as vacation ends, and it writing this post was something I figured I would do sooner than later. Well, at least I’m writing it now, which is a good thing. My boost in fitness from ToP is setting me up nicely for a good summer and fall, so I don’t write this post now it won’t happen.

This is my second ToP, last year being my first. Last year I planned on attacking early on day 5, but never got the chance since everyone was attacking, and my plan turned into survival. About a mile of slow roll out of the hotel I decided to go for it. Ooops. A little too early since there was a stop light just a quarter mile ahead. I did learn from it though that Mike Brown wasn’t going to let me go. Not too surprising. Mike generally doesn’t let anyone get away. Another mile though and I went for it again. Mike was on me, and I think the whole train was, but every time I caught my breath I attacked from the front again, and again, and again. I generated a gap that gave me a little extra motivation, but unfortunately was caught a few miles down the road. It was untimely, as I eased off and rested on a wheel right past the next turn. If I had maintained the gap I certainly would have made the turn and there was a beautiful descent that would have been in my favor. Even if some people caught me, there wouldn’t have been many.

I had to play Andrew’s game for a while, as every time I started to move ahead he grabbed onto my jersey pocket and pulled me back. We eased down the descent, and through Petaluma. That’s right, the Petaluma that Snoopy always wanted to go to and become a world champion arm wrestler. At our first van stop was the rest of the group, the ones that didn’t take the wrong turn. I had actually forgot about the turn for a minute. We slow rolled out from the van stop and I got a flat. Curt and Scott, two of my team mates offered to help, but I really didn’t want to hold anyone up. After I fixed the flat my CO2 didn’t seem to fill my tire as much as I had expected. I’m not sure there was a full 16 grams of CO2 in there. I thought about starting my chase, but instead rolled back to the van which was just a couple blocks away and filled it with a pump. Yeah, only had 60 psi from the CO2. I was glad I stopped. I then started my solo chase, hoping that I would catch up at the next van stop before the climb up Mt. Tam. I knew they would stop there for sure.

What I didn’t know was that Marc, from the Orange County team, had instigated a chase by the Brown brothers by leaving the first van stop early, getting ahead, and then hiding behind a parked vehicle while the group rode past. Marc then jumped on the back. A couple people back there saw him, but the Browns were taking turns pulling, chasing the phantom Marc that they just could see. Marc reported that the pace was getting to be ridiculous, so he eventually went up to the front and said “do you want me to take a pull?” A classic move, but it certainly didn’t help me as I was chasing with no help.

I rolled up to the second van stop, where there were about six or eight riders, but my team wasn’t there, and the top guys weren’t there. I rolled in, and said “I need help!” I swear I heard crickets. Damn it. I grabbed a Coke and a handful of chips and rolled on. I rode up Mt. Tam hard. It was an awesome climb, and I was just amazed that I could never catch sight of anyone. There were a lot of false summits up the climb, which many epic climbs do have, but eventually I was riding along the top ridge of the mountain. The redwoods had vanished, and it was just grassland. I could see Stinson beach way down off my right. It was a beautiful day, and amazing. I wanted to take pictures, but just pushed on. The descent finally came, and I was ripping through the turns thinking “I’m sure I can make these turns faster than Tommy…where the hell is he?” I had been riding solo for hours. Finally near the bottom I saw Marc, Mike Armstrong, and Jerry Logan ahead. I got up to them, and they didn’t even jump on. Damn. Still solo. I pushed on. Unfortunately my route sheet had blown away early in the day, so I was navigating purely off my Garmin. Not a big deal when you’re in the country and there are very few roads, but when there are a lot of roads intersecting I took some crazy turns. There was a 20% (or more) descent that I was really unsure of, and worried because I didn’t want to go back up it. Fortunately it was the right way.

I kept hammering through Mill Valley and Sausalito, and somewhere just missed catching Tommy, Mike, and Jeff who stopped for a sandwich break. Fighting the crowds across the Golden Gate proved interesting. I ended up rolling into the hotel to see Molly there with a new camera to greet the first rider in.

I wasn’t the stage winner though. We had agreed pre-ride to end the race in Mill Valley so that we wouldn’t be racing in the city streets.

ToP ended with a chill get together at Carter’s buddy’s place, so it was a private venue and a great way for us to mingle and share war stories. The war stories became more and more interesting as the beer and wine inventory dwindled.

To my surprise I was awarded a new jersey for Most Aggressive Rider. The Tour recognizes a most aggressive rider, so I thought this was pretty cool. The award is also known as the Combativity Award, or “Le Prix de la combativité in French”. The jersey winners are shown below: Sprinter – Andrew Lee, KOM – Mike Brown, Best – Tommy Brown, Most Aggressive – Jerald Cook, Best New Rider – Jeff Tomaszewski.

Why is Mike so serious in that picture? It must be because he is thinking about winning the Texas sprint triathlon championship, earning himself a pro-license, which he managed to do 1 week after ToP.

My ride is loaded here on Strava.

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June 2012
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