Friday, August 8, 2014

Ironman Lake Placid Race Report

 Mile 55 of bike, first time by the CMS tent with Olivia, my mother Fran, and cousin Terri.  They were just a little excited to see me, and I them!  For 12 hours my mother, family, and friends were there every inch of the way, full of support; I was never alone. 


It is done.  In the record books.  A solid piece of myself given to the preparation for and effort towards Ironman Lake Placid (IMLP).  The feeling is grounding; something forever.  For those reading who are taking a large sighing breath in previewing the length of this report, here are the short gritty details: a daylight finish, fantastic electric storm with hail and heavy rain, 47mph downhill in driving rain, 2 half bananas, 15 gels, 3 gallons of fluids, 1:07hr swim, 6:19hr bike, and a 4:50hr marathon, total time 12:30, family and friends with me the whole way, and an easy-feeling finish, still standing, and ready for pizza, French fries, and hugs.

Michael, 2567 just moments before the finish arch of IMLP.
 
In coach Tracy's words, "nothing is a surprise".  That means because I had proper preparation I was ready for my race and ready to deal with the unexpected.  Of course a "surprise" could have meant I cleaned the clock and won my age group, but that was not in the realistic goal-setting plan. 

All to plan, no surprises, just wonderfulness

Goals per my plan: To compete in and complete IMLP using a specific plan of nutrition, hydration, and appropriate pacing as practiced over the many months of preparation for this largest of “A” races yet to be tackled.  To execute a process that will reveal my potential and dedication up to this date.  To finish and not end up in the medical tent.  All goals met or exceeded; fantastic.

Mikaela Boley and I left Easton at 0400  on Thursday and arrived in Lake Placid (LP) just after noon.  The objective was to get a prime tent-site for the Cambridge Multi-Sport (CMS) team tent, the one that would shelter our families and friends as we do the race.  We hit it just right and put the tent exactly where I wanted it to be: on Mirror Lake Drive, 5 feet from the swim course lake and 5 feet off the road where both Mikaela (Mik) and I would each pass six times over the course of the Ironman.  Only hours later that evening did we see folks putting tents on the sides of hills, over rocks, and up embankments, not prime real estate.  The CMS green of the tent stood proudly for the event.
Mikaela and I after the finish but before our massages and French fries.  From Thursday noon until this moment there was no wasted motion between us.  An Ironman is a lot of focus, planning, and work before toeing the line.

With the race being on Sunday, we both thought arriving Thursday would allow for lots of down-time to relax before the race.  Not so.  Thursday was filled with setting up the tent, lunch, packet pick up, a short run around the lake, and one lap of the swim course.  We checked in at the hostel, ate our dinner at Lisa G's, grocery shopped for our pre-race meals, and went to bed.

Friday was a "do nothing" day.  We both leisurely cleaned our bikes out in the bright sunshine (we thought, wouldn't race day be great to have this weather); it took forever, especially me.  After a little lunch snack, we drove one lap of the bike course, 56 miles.  This was an excellent idea.  We got a sense as to where the aid stations were, where the pot holes were, and a feel for the elevation gains and losses.  Though we had biked the course in other years, Friday's reconnaissance was well worth the ride.  Upon our return to the hostel Mik's family had arrived.  We cooked and ate our carbo rich dinner pasta and sauce, salad, and bread, then we all headed to the LP Ben and Jerry's for ice cream.  I was in bed by 9pm.

Saturday saw Mik and I headed out with the bikes and car to the top of the 5 mile descent into Keene, New York, the largest descent of the course.  Mik first with me following in the car...40+mph.  She continued along the river to make a 30 minute ride, nice and easy.  I felt like the driver of one of the team-cars in Le Tour de France.  When Mik  stopped, we threw her bike on top then returned to the top of the descent for my turn.  The road had been mostly repaved with fresh asphalt except for a few mysterious sections that still contained tire-popping potholes.  The new parts were awesome; the old portions were treacherous, but were marked with flo-orange spray paint.  The rest of the families and friends arrived at some point over the day.  Mik and I scrambled to pack our Bike and Run Bags.  We were focused, but still had zero time for relaxation.  We had to drop off our bikes and bags at transition, finish our light workouts, and cook and eat our dinner all before 3pm.  We nailed it.  With the arrival of our fans, things got easier as they all chipped in to help us, even if that meant to give us some space  or to do some cooking for us.  The hostel was perfect for the 14 of us, especially the huge commercial kitchen for us to use. 

As I was preparing to go to bed on race night, my daughter Olivia asked if I could give her 20 minutes of my time.  We went up stairs where everyone had congregated.  There I received the most touching gift ever: a birthday/ironman video made for me by my family and friends.  It contained segments of video from many of my friends and family who gave birthday wishes and Ironman encouragement.  It was awesome.  I was awestruck, teary-eyed, and totally blind-sided.  But, it was that video that made my race, made my day.  

Race morning found both Mik and I in the kitchen shoving carbs down our gullets at 0330.  We left the house just after 0415.  We parked close to T1 and began our morning race preparations: filling liquids, taping gels to bike, putting last minute things like my prescription sunglasses in our Transition bags, body marking, and preparing for the swim.  Oh, did I mention that it was raining?  It was 58 degrees?  My difficulty was figuring out what I was going to wear on the bike, especially if the weather was foul.  I was prepared with options.

Mik and I left transition with my bike pump in hand and us both in our wetsuits at 0550.  We walked the swim chute (1/4 mile) to the beach.  We could not find our families to hand off the bike pump and things, so we shanghaied a young couple who put all but Mik's flipflops under the CMS tent for us.  Next thing I knew Mik and I were getting in the water for warm ups.  It was that moment that I thought, "I might not see Mik again until after the race".  But, I did and we stood in the starting line up within sight of each other. 

Unfortunately, for Mik, she had two head-on collisions with other athletes while warming up for the swim.  She was shaken, badly.  Good thing she's tough.  The unexpected happened, but Mik, luckily, was okay. 

Tracy told me to seed myself faster than I thought I would be, so I started very close to the front of the crowd near the 60 minute swimmers.  Mik was in the front.  This little bit of encouragement from my coach saved my Ironman experience.  I was later to find out that a large portion of the swimmers were pulled early from the water because of lightning.  Luckily, I finished the whole swim.  Had I started near the middle or back of the athletes, I would still not have completed a "whole" Ironman distance.

It had stopped raining and as the dawn approached bits of blue sky were peaking through the clouds.  The age groupers started 10 minutes after the professionals.  It was a sea of elbows, hands, feet, green and pink caps, and black rubber.  Mirror Lake has two parallel stainless-steel cables that are strung five feet underwater and are 100 feet apart.  It is to a swimmer's advantage to be "on the cable", to be able to see it.  See the cable and there is no sighting needed, which means a faster swim time.  I was determined to be on the cable, and I was the entire time.  But, this meant I constantly had to fight to keep the cable.  This was the most difficult swim of my life.  Who invited all those people????   I was constantly sandwiched between two swimmers, I was touching the feet of the guy ahead of me, and my own feet were being tapped all the time.  It was tough to get in my own swimming groove, but I did. 

On the last leg of the swim I felt extra splashing.  It was then that I realized that it was raining heavily.  The swim exit was weird.  I was made to sit in the sand for the strippers to rip my wetsuit off of me.  I don't like sand on my butt, especially, when I know I need to sit on it for the next six hours.  I grabbed my suit and ran up the chute to T1.  The chute was lined with people, including my wife, family, and friends cheering wildly; it was exciting.  Luckily, the rain washed most of the sand away. 

In the changing tent I had to decide whether to put on long sleeves or not.  I looked around and chose to go with just my new  CMS cycling jersey.  After running out of the tent I heard my number yelled and by the time I got to my aisle, my bike was handed to me.  I saw Olivia and Nat at the bike mount, then off I went carefully, down the hill around the slick wet switchbacks to the main street.  My glasses were in my pocket; too wet and foggy to use them (but they came in handy later).  On the way out of town I remember seeing women holding babies under umbrellas in the pouring rain.  If felt more sorry for them than my own predicament. 

There is a long slow ascent out of town; about 10 miles.  Then there is a quick steep 5 mile descent, the largest of the race, down into the town of Keene.  I remember flying down this descent with an inch of rain on the roads, saying Hail Mary's.  I pedaled, even on the downhills....steady efforts up and down.  My speedometer later read 47mph.  I missed all the potholes and knew when to pay attention the most.  Somewhere between LP and Keene there was a series of close violent thunder claps; they were scary and I remember talking to the riders close to me while we're humping at 10mph up a hill, "Are we having fun yet?"  Did I mention the hail, too?

After an hour and a half of rain, it stopped and blue sky was on the way.  My fingers were numb and I was pretty cold.  I had to pee, so at mile 27ish while it was still raining I stopped and let it rip; this would be the first of 5 times I needed to pee on the bike.  I  learned that if I stopped at an aid station, I could use the port o pot while the volunteers would top off my fluids.  None of these stops were more than a minute.
My gang of supporters: mother, adopted sister/neighbor, wife, daughter, Terry, Mik's brother, and my swim coaches.  Girl in blue shorts is photo bombing the pic.

Eventually, the sun came out and I warmed up.  Then it got really hot.  I was soooo thankful to not have a long sleeve on.  Coming by the CMS tent for the first time at mile 55 was exciting.  My family was there with hands sticking out for me to slap as I went by.  They looked like they were having the time of their lives.  The second loop was less eventful, but not eventless.  I dropped the last two hours of my nutrition and had to turn around and pick it up (thank you Tracy for that advice).  At ten miles before returning to LP a particularly boisterous group of fans had one fellow stripped naked except for a green sheer ribbon that went around the back of his neck, down over his chest, around the undersides of his privates  (all enclosed, thankfully), then back up to make a loop.  Luckily, ha, I got to see him on both laps. 

I thought this might make up for all those training weeks that I called my mother seldom.

I thought it would be fine for me to stop a minute at the CMS tent and hug whom ever was there, so I did....couldn't take more than a minute, right?  I hugged my mother, Olivia, and someone else.  They were stunned and shooed me away.  Only, I kicked my chain off while trying to get away.  The chain wedged between the frame and the front small chain ring.  A volunteer was there to hold my bike while I yanked the chain free and set it right again.  Visions of pushing my bike the last mile to Transition went through my head.

Fixing my chain

All the while on the bike I am systematically fueling and hydrating to plan; perfectly to plan.  I treated myself to two half bananas, one in each lap.  Each hour I consumed one gel with caffeine, 8 ounces of water, and 20 ounces of GU Roctane energy drink.  I came off the bike ready for the run.

Despite Tracy's reassurances, I was not confident in my run.  I've never had a great run in any of my Eagleman races.  My longest training run was disappointing at 17.5 miles after 195 minutes, and I felt like crap during that run (it was also 100 degrees).   So, I was amazed at how good I felt at the beginning of the marathon for IMLP.  I kept it slow which was easy.  I kept it that way for the entire time.  Even in the last six miles, I wasn't convinced that I could finish with this amount of energy and composure.  I found myself RUNNING up the last large hill coming into LP with throngs of fans cheering me on.  With my name written on the front of my bib, everyone was calling out my name, "Way to run up this hill, Michael! You can do it, Michael!  Michael you are awesome!"  All that helped a great deal to get me to the finish. 

In the final mile it was hitting home that I was about to finish.  I did most of my crying in that mile before the finish.  I thoroughly enjoyed the victory lap in the Olympic Oval slapping hands of strangers and seeing Olivia and Nat on the way to the finishing arch.  Then it was over....too soon on one hand, and not soon enough on the other.  My finish was half hour off from what I wanted to do.  It was spot-on with what I expected; no surprises. 

Each finisher gets a volunteer who stays with him/her until the volunteer is assured his finisher will be okay on his own.  My fella got me water, a space blanket, and two pieces of pizza.  I was happy.  I had him give my finisher's hat and shirt to Olivia.  Then Mikaela found me and we had a celebratory hug.  We went over to my family then went and got massages together.  I got an hour with my  women in the massage tent.  First they warmed me, rubbed me, flipped me, then allowed me to change my clothes.  When I left them I was in my jeans, eating French fries, and walking very normally.   Mik and I found our bags and bikes and walked out of there holding our heads high.  Our families were eating dinner somewhere in town.  Our problem was getting out of town with the Jetta.   Having arrive to T1 before they closed the roads, left us unable to easily get to our hostel.  By 11pm we made it home to the open arms of our families.  I think we partied until 0100 the next day. 

The last presentation of the day was a four-pack of locally brewed beer acquired by my underaged daughter, Olivia.  As she presented the beer, she said it was just too perfect to pass up.  The beer was called....IronMike.



 



Monday, June 9, 2014

Eagleman 2014....Ooooh that Smell...

On my bike somewhere near mile 25 on the Smithville Road I zoned out and started singing in my head, "whiskey bottles,..and brand new cars,.....Oak tree, you're in my way.." Yes, Lynyrd Skynyrd's, That Smell, was the first song playing in my car at 0430 as I left Wittman.  Even with drug undertones it was a good beat to start the day full of water, wheels, and fire; and here it was rising up in my head again in the middle of my race.  Awesome!  What a beautiful place to have a race!

Before you read on, click to listen to That Smell while you read.

Team CMS at Transition prior to the start on Sunday. 

Eagleman is a big weekend full of planning, schedules, preparations, people, fun, and racing.  The excitement builds until one is nearly exhausted by the time the race starts at 0645, but not really.  Racing jitters go away after one finds his rhythm on the swim. 

Phinn helping me prepare on Saturday afternoon.


I had a plan, an actual printed out piece of paper with my plan for this race starting on Thursday...what to eat, when to go to bed, when to be where.  There was volunteering on Friday afternoon at the packet pick up, a great way to meet other athletes.  The Expo and talks were fun at the Ironman village set up at Sailwinds Park.  Final anti-jitter swim and bike at T1-Bike-Racking on Saturday afternoon led me back to Wittman for a planned 7pm bedtime.  Well, I was packed, dog fed and walked and in bed by a little after 9...oh well.   Up at 0200 for a meal, back to bed.  Up for good at 0400 and out the door by..."Oooooh that Smell, Can't you smell that smell...."

At 0600 my transition was set up and I was checking things off my paper list.  ANNOUNCEMENT: "This will be a wetsuit illegal race" and "men must wear a shirt on the swim".  As the panic rose through transition, I shifted gears a bit with wardrobe and was set to go.  Pictures with team was followed by my first gel and water as I entered the Choptank for my warmup.  Luckily I could hear the DJ/Ironman announcer from out in the middle of Hambrooks Bay and realized they were starting every wave 5 minutes early from their posted times.  I made it back to shore, climbed the rocks, ran to the boatramp entrance and caught my wave setting up for the start.  I went to the far buoy of the starting line...alone....no one within 80 feet of me.  The other 150+ of my friends were crammed at the other end of the line...what a mess.  Horn blew and we were off.  Finding my own rhythm in a bout 2 minutes I found a potential draftee.  He was slightly faster than me...perfect.  I successfully drafted him for most of the race, following his tiny bubbles made by his hands.  Drafting helps: less sighting and its faster. 

We swam into 2 or 3 waves, maybe 4.  I couldn't see very well with some fog in my goggles and bright sunshine and poor vision to start with.  One could stand at any point of the swim course.  Near the finish it was very shallow and some people were walking instead of swimming; swimming was faster.  This was a PR for me with a non wetsuit swim of 38:42.  I was 19 of 158 in the swim.

I heard my name as I came out of the water and slapped a few hands of friends going into transition.  So much fun, but my heartrate (HR) was racing.  Off on the bike the goal was to hydrate/nourish for the upcoming run, but first I needed to slow it down and get the HR down to a reasonable low zone.  The ultimate dangerous carrot was having my coach, Tracy MacCherola,  pass me on the bike while I was slowing it down in the beginning.  Despite the urge to hammer it and chase her (can you imagine the email on that one), I was good and stuck to my plan.

Lower Dorchester County and Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge rock!  Gorgeous! The wind went exactly as I saw was predicted.  It was in our face most of the way to mile 30, with the exception of some time on the Hudson Road and the last part of Dailsville Road.  Then things got faster, especially on the Golden Hill and Egypt Roads; I was hitting 25's.  The ride was quick and done before I knew it.  I had my thoughts in my fuel, but didn't execute very well; I misjudged my hydration and got off the bike in a hydration deficit.  PR EM bike at 2:37:06....Yay!!  At this point there was potential for me to break five hours in EM.  Was it to happen?.....

An aside: There's a young professional triathlete, Jesse Thomas, who I met at Poconos 70.3 (he won).  He was here at EM this year and became the champion of the alternative 81.3 course.  Yes, he missed the Smithville turn while looking at a friend in the penalty tent, then proceeded to tour Taylor's Island....11 miles out of his way.

A great bike dismount was met by cheers for CMS (me) and I elbow-high-fived to Brad and Jim and friends.  Awesome!  Felt some pains in my legs dropping my bike off.  BAM, left ham and right quad were yelling at me to not run.  Boy did they yell.  Despite this pain, I kissed Carita before leaving Great Marsh Park, off for 13 fun miles with legs that were under hydrated...I was in trouble.

"...one little problem that confronts you,.....got a monkey on your back,.... "  go with the plan.  Slow down the HR for miles 1 and 2, zone 2 for miles 3 and 4, then the run will unfold well from there.  AND, there was a good  moment there after mile 4, but it was just a moment.  I hydrated and fueled well enough during the run to stay out of  further decline physically.  But, the clock was ticking and I was only making 9:30 miles, if that.  I kept running and never stopped except to drink fluids at the aid stations.

The aid stations were great; kids and adults all working together to help the athletes.  Every kid wanted us to take her cup of refreshment.  And, there may have been a CMS member at nearly every aid station.  So good to see everyone, sorry if I seemed too out of it to say a proper hello, especially to Nita and Beth. 



Mile 12 was my hardest, "....Just one more fix (mile), Lord,..... might do the trick..., One hell of a price for you to get your kicks!...."  The finish mile was easier that I thought.  Reinke at the corner and Trevor...Dean somewhere and others...I could only manage a mouthed "O  M  G".  But I think I smiled too.  The finish chute was a welcome scene...Laura, Carita to the right, water in hand, finish medal around neck, timing chip off, Coach Tracy, more water, photo with Tracy on podium, new finish hat and shirt....all great.

I had disappointment to not meet a target.  My time was 5:24:45...a great time, but I wanted more.  It took me a  while to shake the feeling, but I got there.  I was puzzled about my legs and there was a lot of speculation, but I'm sure it was hydration.  Maybe a culmination of other things too, but, hey, it was a great race.  I learned to not focus so much on my time; it took too much away from the event for me.  Luckily, I will have all this figured out by July 27th for Ironman Lake Placid.

There are sooooo many people I love and appreciate for their support on this weekend.  You know who you are...family, CMS teammates, friends, Coaches, organizers, and my fellow athletes and volunteers.  This is an awesome event that we're all blessed to have in our lives. 

So much fun to have the CMS team and supporters all over the EM course.  Congratulations to all the CMS'ers who raced yesterday.  AND, to all  of you who are pondering whether to do Eagleman next year, Lynyrd Skynyrd says it best, "....say you'll be alright come tomorrow,..... but tomorrow might not be here for you.... HEY YOU!"  SIGN UP FOR EM 2015!!!  Cheers.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Year 50


Firstly, my apologies to you and myself for not having had a new post in 20 months. MY BAD!

Yes, its' been coming for a long time, my 50th year.  Turns out that there were many significant events in history that occurred since I was conceived: President Kennedy was shot, the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, Innsbruck Olympics, Vietnam, race riots, and Bewitched, to name a few.  So why not make my own mark in my own life's story?  The answer has been brewing for 7 years, maybe much longer.  On July 27, 2014, four day's before my 50th birthday I will compete in my first Ironman at Lake Placid. 

Mik and Joey with me at our volunteer post at Ironman Lake Placid last July.

Little do we realize when a "seed" is planted.  For me this "seed" was planted in 1980 when I was 15.  I was there for the first Oxford Triathlon watching athletes exit the water on the Bellevue shore.  I was SHOCKED and in AWE.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could possibly do such a thing, much less WANT to do such a thing.  But, here I am on the cusp of my 6th Eagleman 70.3 and less than 2 months from my first full Ironman.  I get teary-eyed just typing this; I am blessed and so very thankful for these opportunities.

The 2013 spring racing season was awesome; I had many PR's in races which culminated in a very good Eagleman, besting my previous best time by nearly half an hour.  But, I also finished with a case of Plantar Fascitis in my left foot.  I struggled with pain through the summer, and after an August eight-mile run, I decided I needed to stop running to try and heal myself.  I didn't run for 2 months, but kept swimming and biking heavily.  The PF did not get any better, worse if anything. 

I had already plopped down an ungodly amount of money on IMLP registration, but more than that I wanted to be whole again, race again, be competitive again, and maybe find something out about myself.  In October, right after the sailing season, I hired a Triathlon coach, Tracy MacCherola; best thing I've done in a long time.


I've known Tracy for 7ish years through Cambridge Multisport (CMS) as a tough competitor, coach, and a supporter of her CMS teammates.  She has brought me a long way, helping me shape some goals for triathlon and life.  I am a stronger athlete because of the work I've done over the past 9 months under Tracy's guidance.  But, she's not alone.  It takes a village to create a happy person/athlete/triathlete.  I am that person (with plenty of room for more growth) because of the help and support of several key people in my life, the most important being my wife, Carita.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ironman Pocono Mountains 70.3

Here’s the quick and dirty of my Ironman Pocono Mountain 70.3 form Sunday:
Tri-bikes on the Jetta after the race.  Ryan's is the "Blue" one that he got only 2 weeks ago.  Mine, the trusty Sommers Titanium, has over 17 years worth of miles (probably close to 50,000 miles.
 Personal Best!!!
Total time: 5:34:26

1.2 mile swim: 30:54 12th of 121 204 of 1329
1: 5:04
56 mile bike: 2:54:36 27th of 121 322 of 1329
T2: 2:28
13.1 mile run: 2:01.24 35th of 121 375 of 1329

· Air temperature at start: 48 Burrrr degrees. After loading our morning clothes into bags and buses we stood for an hour in our wetsuits and bare feet at the beach. I hate that they “close” transition in these races. Swim start 7:34

· Swim start at abandoned resort, complete with weeds and trees growing where they should not, broken buildings and patios; at very eerie lake with fog (kept looking for “Jason” to rise up from water)

· Water temp: 64 which felt warm as we entered because we were so cold


Tri-friend Ryan Clift and I standing at Second Pond Lake on Saturday, the day before Pocono 70.3.  Notice our long sleeves and that no one is doing warm up swims behind us...yes, it is cold.  Ryan's time for the race was 5:22; he passed me on mile 48 of the bike and started 4 minutes behind my wave.

· Michael in lead pack gasping to settle into swim 2 minutes into race. Swim panick is close.  Just remembered that there was an Elvis impersonator at the timing mat who shook my hand as I entered the beach.

· After some mental struggle, Michael settles into swim half way to first buoy. Fog is a factor but my goggles stay clear and I can always see the next buoy but not the one beyond. I am 12th out of water of 121 in my division, but I don’t know that at the time, but, do know that I swam into 4 waves ahead of me.

· Its cold, so Michael takes his time dressing in T1 for bike; smart to be warm on bike, long sleeves and hat; long T1 at over 5 minutes.

· Michael feels very good during whole bike over very hilly, very technical course dodging potholes, road washouts, bumpy intersections, medical crews, orange cones in center of road, and hairpin turns at 35mph. Saw 2 wrecks including stretchers and neck braces, many flats.

· Michael nearly scares the piss out of himself while going 44.6 mph and stops at mile 36 aid station and visits the bathroom.

· One section of road is so rough there are dozens of water bottles scattered from falling off competitor’s bikes; more dodging

· At T2 the sun is out and temps are in the 60’s. Michael strips to his CMS tri-suit, wearing the green proudly!

· Michael forgets to wear race bib on run. Two minutes up run-course Michael returns to T2, takes off timing chip before mats, retrieves bib, puts chip back on and continues on course; probably lost 5 – 6 minutes on run

· On run after hitting the Porto pot at mile 2 Michael meets 33 year old woman, Kelly, who talks for 8 miles (yep, over an hour) of the run and helps Michael forget the pain of what he is experiencing. She left me while I was gobbling my last gel and water at aid station mile 10 and I never catch her again.

· Michael finishes in downtown Stroudsburg, PA feeling strong to the cheering of throngs, finishers medal, space blanket, water, and hug from Kelly

· Chicken broth, bagels, and chocolate chip cookies

· It starts pouring rain as we’re collecting gear bags from the buses and bikes out of transition; it is a melee….freezing too. Picture rain, a school bus with windows open, volunteers throwing identical, yet, individually numbered, gear bags out the windows to other volunteers who mostly catch the bags except for the few that explode spilling shoes and personal items on the wet ground.

· Definitely missed the friends and comforts of Eagleman’s simplicity and WARMTH.  Poconos helped me love hills; it was really a fun and exciting bike course through gorgeous country roads.

Pro triathlete, Jesse Thomas, whom I met at bike racking on Saturday, won Poconos on Sunday.  He was back in California for his wedding anniversary dinner with his wife the same night.  He said his race to the airport was nearly as tough as the race.

· Michael registers for Osprey Triathlon on Monday morning.  Michael does not know why he did this whole race report in the third person; will do better next time.

· See you at Snowhill on Saturday.