Hoosierman Triathlon, a Touch of Purgatory

Hoosierman came around again this year at Lake Monroe Bloomington area. Last year it was a sprint tri only. Just for more fun, race director Andre gave us the Olympic Distance option, or about twice the fun. Well … on paper that is.

Seeing how I’m focusing on Olympic distance racing this year, I opted for the longer one and lined up Sunday morning with my protégé Ethan Page. Ethan is 19, swims much better than I ever can, and runs like I used to in my prime. My only chance of hanging with Ethan was to build a big lead on the bike. More on that later.

Jacob decided to go with me, so we set off a little after 5 AM for Bloomington with a stop by the Pages house. Ethan, Ron and Ethan’s girlfriend also came which made a nice group for the day.

The race got delayed 45 minutes or so due to the crazy storm that came through the night before. No big deal except that it was going to be a hot steamy day, so later means hotter. I went in the last wave with the 45+ guys. Thankfully my friend John Sheldon was also racing the Olympic and just like last year I drafted off Johnny till we made it back to shore. This made for an easy swim especially with a wetsuit on as the water temp was 76.

Made the quick transition to the bike with a minor slowdown due to the wetsuit getting hung on my timing chip around my ankle. The bike course goes up some serious hills from the start, that part I knew from last year. What I didn’t know was the added distance on the course was an equal or more difficult section of relentless hills. Some steep enough you would look down for chalk marks like you see in the Tour de France urging on Lance. About 20 miles in I started praying for them to stop, but they continued to come till the very end. God’s way of saying I should have been in a church on Sunday knuckle head. This also felt like the entrance to Purgatory. Hot and all uphill with no Beatrice to guide me.

My thinking was if I could catch Ethan on the bike who started in the wave 6 minutes earlier maybe I could hold him off on the run with a minute a mile cushion. Well, I never caught him so that plan was shot. However, I did a good ride which turned out 6th fastest for the day. Not bad considering I don’t live with hills like this in my little homestead.

The run starts up a nice hill, goes into the woods on a narrow trail then up a particularly nasty hill. Started the run just fine, but by the half way point up the dirt trial hill my quadriceps started getting some cramps. Apparently too many hills on the bike and not enough water intake was taking its toll. It was nice and toasty hot out so I should have been more careful. Not at mile 1 I had to drop into a survival mode of running. I have been running better and expected something good, but was not to be today.

The run course was two laps so the second lap featured all walking up the dirt trail hill. Just before I made it back in the woods, two ladies watching the race said “hey you look good, how old are you”. Not sure if that was a compliment, or an acknowledgment of my advanced age trying to chase down young guys like Ethan?

Finally found the finish line in sight, after what seemed like an eternity on the run. After all the results were in I finished in 2 hours 27 minutes, 1st in the 50-54 age group. Looking at the final results I was 20th overall. Bike time was good in comparison, but swim and run were not so pretty. Ethan had the fastest run split for the day and ended up 7th overall.

Hopefully I’ll fare a bit better in a couple more Olympic distance events over the next couple of months. Hopefully I can avoid any more Purgatory on the way.
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