Park Rapids, MN; June 15, 2013
Redemption!by Matt Backmann
Lead-up: Chain of the Lakes was a disappoint in the beginning of the season. Never was that race a priority but it is still nice to perform up to your expectations. Using that experience as motivation for training and racing but not focusing on the past I felt uncertain leading up to the big training events in the month between the events, namely the Headwaters Tri Club time trial. Due to the weather this week was our first time trial of the year and the second chance I had to turn myself inside-out on the bike. However, Lakes to Pines was not an A race this year, it did fall at the end of a light week in the training plan.
Night before: Did some shopping at the grocery, adult beverage store, Northern cycle for some last minute flat kit items. Got home from that, did 3 loops around “the big block” (1.5 miles), followed by a .66 mile run. Started helping get dinner ready and checked the registrants list. I saw a lot of names on there that I knew were quick and got instantly excited to race Saturday morning.
Dinner was brown rice, soy sauce, spinach and herb salad, and a 6 ounce portion of steelhead trout. One thing I changed this year was my pre-race hydration strategy. I believe that some of my gut issues last year were related to being over hydrated. This had to change in order for me to be successful this season.
Race day morning: It was very nice to not only be home but also go to bed, I won’t say sleep, and wake up at a normal time. Woke up at 5:00am, had a small bowl of cereal with almond milk. Milled around the house getting some dishes done, Tri stuff together, made some Teavana Earl Gray Creme tea and a peanut butter and honey sandwich for later. I knew it was going to be at least 10:00am before I started so I was going to be prepared and follow my schedule. Brandi and I left for the pool at 6:45 and got there with plenty of time to spare.
Racked my bike in the same spot as the last two years, second to last rack, on the end, right by bike out/in, and set my bag down on the bike rack bar. I was in no rush to dig everything out. There were so many people to talk to, help some newer members of the club, and triathlon in general, and overall enjoy the social aspect of doing a race like this.
Pre-race: After watching five waves, mine was called to the pool. Started to put the goggles on and jump in and SNAP! The strap finally gave up, at the worst possible moment. Without hesitation I walked out to transition, dropped my broken goggles into my bag and grabbed my wife’s goggles; nice goggles, new, and pink! Walked back into the pool, begged to join a lane, and did a warm up. For whatever reason, there was 18 minutes between the beginning of wave 5 and wave 6. We had at least 7 minutes to wait for our wave to start, and then it was on!
Swim: It was, almost exactly, a copy of every other pool swim. 500 yards at a 1:34 pace, slightly slower than I planned but definitely within myself. I know I was not going to win the race out of the pool, my only intent was to limit my losses. Jumped out after my 20 lengths and trotted to transition. Much to my surprise, I wasn’t last out of the pool!
T1: My main thought during T1 was not to damage my wife’s new goggles. I have done the other tasks enough times that I was starting to accept the routine of putting on the sunglasses, helmet, and grabbing the bike. At the exit of T1 I caught a glimpse of Matthew Dickenson from Lakes Area Multisport. He was fighting with his top and gave me something to giggle about as I got on the bike.
The Bike: After the time trial I had some confidence in my bike, maybe. The true test would be during the race. David Lewis went whizzin’ by me as I was getting out of transition. My goal was to keep him in sight on my first lap (his second) and then manage the second lap. I knew that I had passed at least two people from my wave, I saw at least one more so I pushed on. Better than I ever have, no making sand castles on the side of the road today! In my mind I was all business. I returned to transition after what I felt was a successful bike ride. I drank a little, just enough and not too much, good plan and took in about 4-6 ounces of water, just to loosen the mucus.
T2: The best thing I can say was, uneventful. Got off the bike, didn’t crash. Racked the bike, didn’t drop it, took off the helmet, dropped it, and put on shoe and grabbed my hat and race belt and left.
Run: When I began triathlon the run was a weakness, I bled placings by watching people run by me. Today I took off knowing there were people in front of me and knowing that I could chase. About 1 mile into the run I caught the other Matthew from Lakes Area Multisport. At the turn around I caught the last person in my wave. I was feeling terrible, in that good sort of way, and passed him as he fumbled with his cup at the aid station. I skipped the aid station as I knew from my training that I would be fine without any more liquids in the race. At this point he hung on my shoulder until the turn at Helton. Unfortunately, he left me at the point, and I had given all the fast I had at that point.
I made the turn into the track and just wanted to finish strong.
Ended with a >3 minute improvement over last year, in similar conditions, and only 2 seconds off of my 5k PR.
3rd place Overall, 2nd in my new Age Group (good job David Lewis!)
Lakes to Pine Race Reportby Woody Leindecker
FRIDAY: Pre race dinner ended up being happy hour at the 209 bar. A brunch burger and a few shandies. Shut the party down early, got home and packed all of my gear ready for an early Saturday wake up call.
SATURDAY: Up at 5:15AM coffee, and a little chillaxin before taking care of business. 6:30am off to south HWY 71 where I had an egg white delight, clif bar and gatorade on the ride. I arrived to the panther pool around 7:30am. I was greeted by Backman and Kippenhan in the parking lot and many other Headwaters folks in transition. Good to see the swimmers from the winter clinics in Bemidji. As I was setting up transition I discovered I forgot my race belt. It was either Backman or Lewis that told me to pretend I forgot my race number, it worked!
The race: I shared lane 6 with a PR alum swimmer. The swim went as well as expected. A 6:33 to the feet on deck cruise and on to transition. I think the highlight of the swim was wearing my lumberjack swim cap in the panther pool as we have been friendly swim team rivals for years. Coach Fritze and I go way back.
Bike: As always I am caught on the bike. It took just over a mile for Backman to catch me, he made his presence by giving me a little pat on my posterior as he sped by. The bike was 20MPH avg is OK for me considering hardly any time in the saddle.
Run: I ran without a watch. I wanted to go by feel and push hard. I ended up going my PR 5K at 6:50 pace (21:13). Happy with that effort. 13th overall and 1st in the 40-44 AG. That will change next year as Lewis joins me. Improve the ride and running I MIGHT be able to give him a challenge.
CONCLUSION: What a blast and a great bunch of volunteers who are mostly swimmers and swim families in the PR area. Coach Fritze and the swim community are a class act and ran a great event. I hope to come back next year.
A Beginners Prospectiveby Brandi Backmann
Back Story – Wednesday night at the time trial I had my first flat tire while biking. I ran over a knife blade from a pocketknife, which punctured my rear tire. Thursday night I learned how to fix a flat tire.
Friday – This was a typical pre-race eve in the Backmann household. We had fish, brown rice, and salad for dinner. Several times throughout the evening, I stopped and had the “realization” that I was racing as well in the morning. While getting our bags packed for a race day, I usually pack a bag with my camera, and things for the kids. This time I was packing up my race gear. Fell asleep right away and slept well. So far the nerves were minimal, but maybe that was because it hadn’t sunk in yet that I was racing too.
Saturday morning – Eggs and toast for breakfast, along with Earl Grey Crème tea! Pack up the car, leave some last instructions for the kids, and off we go to the school. Once there, Matt picks out his spot in transition and I set up next to him on the opposite side. This works out well, as neither one of us are in transition at the same time. I love setting up transition and the social aspect that is part of the set up. Everyone is walking around chatting with those around them, analyzing the weather, who is racing, and the venue.
About 7:45 I change into my gear, and take my bike out for a ride to warm up the legs. It is a beautiful sunny morning. Just before I need to turn back into the bike loop I hear a pop, followed by the whistle of air coming out of my rear tire. This is the 2nd flat tire in the same amount of rides. I am not feeling good about this. I walk my bike back to transition, and have Matt help me change the tube in my rear tire. Matt thought that the tire was in good enough shape to get me through the race, so we didn’t worry about that.
By now it is time for the pre-race formalities and I am starting to get nervous. My last triathlon was Nevis and that was 10 months ago!! I try to remember everything that Coach Neil taught us in our classes last year, and all the pieces of information that I have learned from watching and helping Matt.
Swim – I am in wave 2 so I don’t have to wait long to start. Nancy L and I decided to share a lane. My goal was to control my breathing, and to do the whole swim freestyle with no breaks, even if it meant going slow. Mission accomplished! And I even beat Nancy out of the water! (but we are not competitive or anything)
T1 – quick dry off my feet and face, wake up the watch so it can find the satellites, put on the watch, bike shoes, and helmet, jog to the bike out, hop on and go.
Bike – Lisa Peterson passes me right before we leave the bike loop and my goal is to keep her in my sight as long as possible. This is going well until I hit a rock and you get that “popping” sound as it flings off. Of course the first thing to go through my head is that I have gotten yet a 3rd flat tire. This is not the case, but it does preoccupy my mind for the rest of the bike. At the start of the second loop it starts to rain. And with the rain comes the wind. I was a little faster on the 2nd loop. In hindsight I know I had a mental block with the flat tire issue, and I probably could have pushed a little harder on the bike.
T2 – rack the bike, take off the helmet, switch to the running shoes with no socks, pull on my race skirt with my number and off I go again.
Run – I am feeling slow on the run, but my goal is to run the whole thing. Every time I felt like I needed to walk, I told myself to just go a little bit farther. Nancy caught up to me just before the turn around. I tried to hang with her, but she has been running, and I wasn’t able to stay with her for long, so I just kept my feet moving at a pace that was slightly uncomfortable, but not unmanageable. Running across the football field and onto the track was a great feeling!
Finish – Crossing the finish line was even better. I had finished my second triathlon. No, I wasn’t speedy fast, but I did improve on my own times. The swim was a success! And even though I felt slow on the run, I was faster than I thought! This time was a PR in a 5K for me!!
Lesson Learned – You can’t let past events distract you from giving your all in this moment.