Race 20 – Atomic Man Sprint

Today I crossed a big milestone (at least in my mind).  This was the 20th race and it took me over 400 miles of racing since July.  That is a lot of time out on the road (traveling and racing).  I am excited that we have made it to this point in the season.  I think at races it gives us some extra credibility among the racers that hear the story.  During the beginning of the season when I had 3 or 4 races ticked off I could see some doubt in the faces of other racers that heard about the journey that laid in front.  Now, when they hear we have knocked out 20 you can tell that they believe where this thing is going.  With credibility hopefully more support for the cause will begin to stream in as the season continues.

Today my plan was to take it EASY.  I did not want to “race” this one today because I have a big one on the calendar tomorrow.  So, I cruised in the swim, cruised on the bike (showed me some big climbs we have tomorrow around mile 6 and again coming back at mile 50) and then really tried to trot on the run.  This was hard because I saw a lot of other racers trucking by me on the run that I just had to let go.  Tomorrow will be my big test and I had to remember that out on the course.  The location of the race was (like most of the races this season) was in a beautiful part of the state.  Just west of Knoxville with perfect racing weather.  I really enjoyed my time on the bike during this one because I was able to keep my head up and take in the sights.  Good times.

Well, this one added 22 miles to the tally.  This brings the total to 421.2.  Tomorrow will add a cool 70.3 to this tally bringing us pretty close to bumping over the 500 mile mark and the half way point for the projected miles for the whole season.

Off to rest and get the mind right for tomorrow.  It will be a tough day as the legs are tired and I can tell the body is ready for a break.  One last big push and then a week off is my reward.  That along with some donations to Team Chad (hint hint readers…get on it)

Race 19 – Rev3 Branson

Last week brought me to Branson, Missouri for my 19th race of the season. This course has a reputation for being brutal on the bike. Branson is in the Ozark Mountains. When I rolled into town I could see that this was a well deserved reputation.

Leading up to the race we knew that the weather was going to be chilly race morning. 48 degrees. That was what welcomed us race morning. The water temp was 76. Odd to warmer in the water than out. I knew the bike was going to be a real test so I coasted in the swim. Didn’t push at all. It really was a picturesque swim at Table Rock lake.

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Heading out of the swim we had a long climb. The first seven miles of the bike was almost all climbing. It was beautiful though. From the top of the mountain we headed down onto a closed four lane interstate. Lots of hard long climbing was in store for the next thirteen miles. Then we headed back down into Branson for the run.

We the run course which sent us on a two lapped course. The first part of the loop was through an open air shopping mall which was strewn with spectators cheering us on. The weather was great. The course was great. Led to a pretty good run taking all into consideration.

It was great seeing my Rev3 family. They put on an amazing race. Everyone that came across the line did so with a smile. I got the privilege at the end of my day to finish the race with our last place finisher. He was an awesome competitor that just had a rough day. I accompanied him over the last two miles or so to ensure that he didn’t finish those last hard miles by himself. He was welcomed home by a huge Rev3 crew. Great stuff.

This race added another 32.1 miles to the total. We are now at 399.2 miles. Tomorrow will put us over the 400 mile mark.

Race 18 – Tri for Sight

Race 18 brought me back up to Lexington, Kentucky. This race was one I was looking forward to for the whole season. The race organizer and announcer were eager to have us come up for the event and they made sure to let the crowd know who I was and what I was doing for the year.

I have been a bit slack on showing the races through pictures. So I thought another pic-centric post may be appropriate. Here we go, race start:

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Now what you can’t tell from this picture is that it was about 52 degrees air temp. We were swimming in a heated pool but we knew it was going to be a cold bike. 400 yards in the pool went well. Out of the pool. Cold. Onto the bike:

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13 miles went without incident. It was a fun bike through beautiful horse country. Rolling through the farmland early morning is something very special. I really enjoyed the bike but it was cold. Very cold. Bike done. Run time:

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It took two full miles for my feet to thaw. It felt like I was running with frozen steaks as feet. It was generally nice running in mid-60 degree temps….especially as the feet thawed. The run, like the bike, was beautiful. We had the chance to run through the crowd twice which really pumps up the racers. Finished the run and coming into the finish :

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Done:

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Following the race they were gracious enough to bring me (and Lincoln) up to talk to the crowd about Team Chad. The whole crowd was listening to the story. It really was awesome:

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Tri for Sight was a blast. I wish to thank everyone connected with Tri for Sight and the Lame Duck Triathlon because they really showed Team Chad serious love. Thank you.

Tri for Sight added another 16.5 miles to bring the distance total to 367.1 miles. Boom. Writing this from Branson, MO waiting to add some more miles on Sunday.

Race 17 – E-Town Dolphin Sprint Triathlon

On Saturday of this past week I headed up to Elizabethtown, KY to tackle the 17th race of the season. I arrived into Etown around dinner time. Headed over to the race site to check things out and saw the race crew setting up the transition. I headed to dinner and started browsing through the race website to get all the details about the race. This was one of the few races where I had not pre-registered as this was a late change to the schedule. I had looked at this website a few times previously but didn’t catch one of the most important details. Registration had closed the day before and there would be no race morning registration. My stomach sank. I feared that I had just driven 2.5 hours just for a bad Thai dinner. I quickly started searching race calendars to see if there was any other race within a few hours of where I was. No luck. I paid my bill and headed back to the race site hoping the crew would still be there so I could beg that they let me in the race. Fortunately they were there and my humble begging worked. They added one more spot to the race and let me in. A true Callahan moment.

I parked the RV in the parking lot and rested for the night. This is one of the biggest perks of the RV. I was able to sneak in another 30 minutes or so of sleep. Walk out the door and into transition. So nice.

The swim was a 400 meter pool swim. There was a good crowd and a bunch of high school swimmers starting the race. Always fun to watch true swimmers at work. Soon enough my 17th race was underway. The swim was smooth without any real issues. No congestion which was a nice change of pace.

Bit of a run to transition. Off on the bike. The bike course was really in a good part of town. We quickly made our way out of town and onto country roads. My legs still felt a bit beat up especially on the hills. I just decided not to worry about that and just focus on getting the pace up on the flats. So that’s what I did. I think I was 10th off the bike and off onto the run.

They packed in the 5k in a small part of town. This meant several out and backs which was fine because it allowed me to keep an eye on everyone. I was happy with the run (all things considered). Came into the finish and was greeted with two young kids hanging out the medals. That had to make the race for me as I could see Lincoln doing that in a few years.

The racers and fans following the race were very welcoming. I spent the few hours until awards talking about Team Chad and the race series. Handed out more cards and invited more people to visit the blog and donate. Hopefully the donations will continue coming in for TC.

This was another sprint so we added another 17.25 miles to bring us to a total distance of 350.6 miles. Putting some real miles in. Heading to Lexington for another race this weekend.

Race 16 – Nashvegas Tri

This weekend I decided to stay in town to race our local Nashvegas sprint triathlon. My schedule had me heading up to Cedar Point in Ohio fora sprint on Saturday and a 70.3 on Sunday. I made a decision that my legs just could not handle those distances. I was right.

The race was held in Ashland City just outside of Nashville. I have done cycling races in AC buy never have I done this triathlon. I showed up the morning of the race to see a slew of my local friends. As an added bonus the Team In Training triathlon team was there competing. This was an added reminder to me of why I am out there every weekend putting in the miles. This group of committed fundraisers and racers impressed me greatly.

The swim started as soon as the fog burned off. This was quite a sight as the fog disappeared and we were graced with the surroundings. The swim went fine and the bike was of no real consequence.

I knew once I stepped off the bike I was going to be welcomed with weary legs. I was disappointed to see that this was the case. The heat was out and the legs were fatigued. I cruised back into the finish with a run time (for a 5k) that was a full 4 minutes slower than some of my times earlier in the season. I have worn these old legs down. Nonetheless I was glad to add the 16th race to the tally.

With all the local friendships at the race the discussions about the season, Team Chad and the bike were numerous. I was more than happy to talk to all who were willing to listen. This race added 17.65 miles. We have reached a total of 333.35 miles.

Race 15 – Hyvee Triathlon

Well we made our way from Chicago to Des Moines to get ready for the Hyvee Triathlon over Labor Day weekend. When we rolled into town we were greeted with the hottest day of the year – 104 degrees with a heat index of 110 degrees. Brutal to say the least. We got checked in to the race and tried to relax and stay out of the heat for the next day.

When race morning rolled around we had an entirely different weather condition to worry about. Storms woke us up early and got us moving to the race site. The overnight storms were so strong that they had to move the race start back nearly an hour to make repairs to some of the race equipment on the course. We thought we were fortunate that the storms had subsided prior to race start but that turned out to be a mixed blessing.

I have come to learn that the early morning storms tend to whip up a great deal of wind when the rain moves out and the heat rolls in. That is exactly what we experienced on this race day. The temperatures climbed up into the high 80’s or low 90’s and the winds became fierce. I have done several races around the ocean and now in Chicago and I have to say that these winds were the worst I have ever experienced. It really was draining on the bike to fight the winds.

Off the bike and onto the run. I knew from the first few steps off the bike that this was not going to be a fun 10k for me. The heat felt smothering and my legs just felt flat. Not really worn out from the bike but rather just flat from weeks of racing. It was one of the first times that I had felt so weak on the run. I guess the cumulative effect of racing and traveling is starting to add some stress to the legs. Got through the run. Visited the medical tent for a second week in a row. Not something I want to do again as the season progresses.

I have to say that Des Moines and Chicago were disappointments to me. Not from a performance standpoint (although that is also a point of frustration for me) but rather as it relates to Team Chad. I discovered that racing these really large events makes it hard to stand out in the crowd of several thousand people. The racers typically view these races as their “A” race for the season so they are head down and not real interested in chit chatting about things like what we are doing. So, this two week journey produced less exposure and donations than I had hoped.

Next week I was supposed to be heading to Cedar Point, Ohio to race a sprint and a 70.3. I have decided that this is not in the cards. I am staying local and will instead substitute in the Nashvegas Olympic distance race and another sprint race in Elizabethtown on Sunday. Keep the momentum moving forward.

Hyvee added another 32 miles to the tally bringing the total distance of racing to 315.7 miles.