Friday, July 18, 2014

Cohassett Sprint Triathlon

*** LATE POST #2 ***

Elle: Our friend Lenny, who lives in Cohasset, and who watched us race last year, decided to take the plunge and do the Cohasset sprint triathlon this year. For some reason, this race sells out ridiculously fast, usually in just one day. The town holds special spots for anyone who lives in town. So Lenny got in. I was reluctant to sign up, considering how cold the water was last year, and missed the big rush. But Lenny insisted I put my name on the waiting list. Which I did. And about a week later, got an email, "Congratulations, you're in!"
So I guess I was racing Cohasset this year!

Webb: I made the decision not to race. As Elle mentioned, it sells out fast. In fact, it is the fastest selling sprint race in the country. As registration day approached I was not confident my back rehab/training would have me ready for a high-intensity effort on June 29th. Plus, the weekend after was the Challenge-St Andrews half-iron distance. It may sound odd to some, but a long slog over 70.3 miles sounded easier to manage for my back than a hard, short effort. Doing the two <ahem> back-to-back did not sound smart.
A beautiful morning for a race

Elle: Webb and I packed up the car Friday after work and drove down to Cohasset to stay at Lenny & Lisey's home. It's like being at a lovely, boutique hotel, but nicer.
Saturday morning we all (Lenny, Lenny's neighbor, Webb and I) did an easy pedal along the bike course. We returned, took showers, and enjoyed a fabulous brunch that Lenny & Lisey hosted at their house. After a great brunch, some drinks, and schoomzing all afternoon with the locals (some of whom were racing the next day), we headed out to pick up our race packets.
Here's a first: a race t-shirt that I'd actually wear! In public! Yes, the race shirt was high quality, with a nice design. Kudos to the race directors for this one.

Race Morning

Hey there, Kyle
Elle: We were actually up and on time this morning, which is always a small victory. Lenny, Webb and I got on our bikes and rode the 3/4 of a mile to the race site. I was anxious to get my area set up, so I got to it. As I was doing my thing, I ran into some of the usual suspects, including team captain, Kyle Damon.

Webb: While Elle was setting up in transition, I wandered around taking pictures and basically just killing time. Surprisingly I did not have an ounce of regret about not racing.

Elle: After getting everything set up in transition, Webb ran me through some warm-up drills, and sent me out for an easy jog. As soon as I got back it was time for the race meeting and then it was down to the beach. Of course I ran into my good friend and triathlon goddess, Beth Allen. We were both reluctant to test out the water, but I just barged right in. It was chilly, for sure, but actually not as bad as last year, which was a pleasant surprise. Beth was less excited and opted to just splash her face rather than go all the way in. No matter, she still beat the pants off me.

The Swim
.25 mile ocean swim

Yay, the swim is over!
Webb: The swim is a point-to-point. It is a dry-start with each wave collecting on the pebble-and-sand beach awaiting their call-up. Unlike most races, the swim waves have approximate start times. The race director (I presume) waits until the last swimmer of the previous wave reaches a certain point and then sends off the next wave. It is a pretty smart way to manage the chaos of the swim. The drawback is that it can be a long wait if you are in one of the later waves.

Elle: This race attracts a huge field for some reason, so Lenny's swim wave started over half an hour before mine did. But finally it was my turn, the starting horn sounded, and we were off. The swim went by fairly quickly, I was able to do some drafting, so that was nice. As I ran up the beach, I heard Webb yelling at me, "Beth isn't too far in front, go, go go!"

I got my wet suit off and as I adjusted my pony tail from high (for the swim cap) to low (so my bike helmet would fit), my hair tie snapped and broke. But since I always keep an extra on my wrist, I was able to avert a hair disaster, and quickly remedied the situation.
TIP: Women, always keep an extra hair tie on your wrist for such a situation!

The Bike
12-ish miles of rolling hills

Webb:  We know this course fairly well. In addition to training and racing on it last year, we put in a couple of training runs this year too. This year the race organizers had to change it to detour around a church. The result was some added distance. More importantly, the different route was more technical, including a rough patch of nasty pavement on a twisty part that slowed down the riders.
Killing bugs on the bike
Officially the course is 12 miles. I'm pretty sure I measured it at 12.35, give or take a few dozen meters. Last year I remarked how beautiful Cohasset and Scituate are. That has not changed. There is one hill that is somewhat challenging a few miles out of transition. For the most part the rest of the course takes you up and down a variety of rollers. Without question there is a super fun section adjacent to a golf course that was newly paved and very fast. The bike course ends with a gradually stepped climb that is neither easy nor a killer, unless you've been hammering the first 10-11 miles.

Elle: Webb pretty much summed it up there. I guess the only surprise was just how many bugs I managed to kill with my face during this race.

The Run
3.2 mile single-loop

Webb: This is a tough run. Not far out of transition you run up Beach Street. When I say up, I mean vertically. At the top you take a right and make your way to Jerusalem Road for a gorgeous view off to the right as you make two consecutive climbs, or one long one with a short reprieve. On the back end of Jerusalem, you turn right onto Atlantic for the return trip which seems way longer than it should.

Cramp, cramp, cramp
Elle: As usual, I was glad to finally be on the run. But it is hilly. And it was hot. And even though things started out fine, soon my old nemesis, The GI Cramp, showed up to throw a monkey wrench into my race. It was very frustrating. I wanted to go faster, but the sharp, stabbing pain in my gut just wouldn't let me. I did the best I could, even passing a bunch of people. But of course it wasn't enough for this tough, fast field of athletes. I ran in to 9th place in my age group. You know it's a tough day when Beth Allen only comes in 3rd. So I tried not to beat myself up too much. It was a gorgeous day and a great race.

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