Sunday, June 28, 2009

Race Report: Cohasset Sprint...and a rant

Let me get a few things out of the way before giving the race report....

progress: n. advance toward perfection or to a higher or better state; improvement. Totally lacking in the Boston area.

Legend has it that the roads in Boston and surrounding towns were a result of cow paths in revolutionary times. Winding and illogical. You would think that at some point the guys back then would say, "You know what? I think we're smarter than cows. Maybe we should put some thought into the design of our roads." But noooooooo. They're crazy. But for a second let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say they just wanted to confuse the invading British forces. Fine. But after the war of 1812, when the all-clear was sounded, there were about 9 decades to get things right before the automobile came along. To make matters worse, once they realized it was too late to change the cow-paths-turned-roads due to property rights, you would think they would post helpful traffic signs. Wrong again. On what should be a fairly easy route, I got turned around going to and returning from the race.

OK, that isn't new news. However the same moronic gene pool that produced those roads thought it would be a good idea to hold a triathlon in Cohasset. Dumb, dumb, dumb. We can swim and run just about anywhere, but you need good routes to hold the bike portion. This was the third annual race there, so you'd think they'd realize their mistake and hold it somewhere else. Wrong again. Sure, you couldn't call it the Cohasset Triathlon anymore, but I'm sure another town would step in. Preferably somewhere far away from these same roads. The bike was only 12 miles. The pavement was some of the worst I've ever seen. At the beginning of the race, the organizer said the town had promised last year to pave before this year's race. Given the economy and tight municipal budgets, it's no surprise it didn't happen. But even if you paved the entire route, it was ridiculous. It made Polarbear seem like a straight freeway. It seemed like we didn't go more than 100 yards before another bend in the road or corner. All of this while it's a fairly overgrown area, so there was zero visibility through the turns. The crowning blow came as they were light on volunteers and those that were out there were not nearly as proactive as they should be. I approached many intersections not knowing where I should go. On top of all this, USAT called this a special qualifier for the National Championships. Obviously zero due diligence went into that decision.

Back to the race....

The swim was supposed to be a half mile with a beach start and a three sided rectangular course- short leg out, longer parallel to the beach, and exit down at the other end. With a heck of a fog bank and good surf, they brought the buoys in closer to the beach. During the interminable 30 minute delay to the start of the race, the visibility improved dramatically, but they never moved the buoys back out. On top of that, the tide was going out, making the swim even shorter. I honestly thought it looked like a 300 yard course. It was so short they had the Elites go around twice. I warmed up on time, 25 min before the scheduled start, then froze for the next 45 minutes. Meanwhile, we were watching the so-called "Elites" swim the course. We had to wait for them to go around the first buoy for the second time before starting. There were these two stragglers that were probably 10 minutes behind the others. How in the world did they get in that wave?

We finally started- with a 70 yard dash down the beach towards the water. I had a few people around me as we dove in and quickly cleared them. I was first to the corner, then really struggled with the wave action. The suft made finding a good stroke nearly impossible. Two guys came up on either side of me, but I was able to stay with them. By the end, one was a bit in front of me and the other passed me as we left T1. As I was running my bike out of the incredibly long path to the mount line, I looked at my watch- 6:30. In other words, there was probably less than 4 minutes of swimming.

For the rest of the race, I passed two "Elites" on the bike, and one passed me back near the end of the run. I didn't see another soul the rest of the way.

Other than being physically rattled by the lousy pavement (see above rant) and nervous about all of the blind corners, I had a strong bike. Power was 7w higher than Polarbear, VI the same, and speed was 23.4 vs. 22.9.

The run started like most- with a tight and moderately cramping torso. It took about 3/4 mile to loosen up. The course had all kinds of quick little hills that broke up the rhythm, but in general it went well, especially considering how hard I pushed the bike. I split 6:16, 6:25 and 6:35. I'm plenty fast out of the gate, but I need to work on staying strong at the end. Some good descending sets should help that.

I left early to get back to a horseshow. As I was gathering my stuff, the last swim wave was me, another sign of poor race management.

I was looking forward to my "no limits" meal during the drive home. It was too early to stop before going through Boston, so I waited for Rt. 1. Not one sandwich shop on that northbound strip. But there were about eight Dunkin Donuts (not an exaggeration). Either these franchisees have a poor sense of business or there's enough demand there. And if that's the case, it's a sad commentary on the health of commuters in the area. So I drove through to the Kennebunkport rest stop and picked up a fairly good turkey and provolone on wheat, ice cream sandwich, Snackwell cookies and Doritos.

I didn't wait around for the results, and they aren't online yet. I'll report back later.


  1. Hi--
    oh yeah. The turns. Not exactly a fast bike course, and the run is longer than advertised. They cut the swim short last year too--which doesn't bode well for us. To get into the elite wave you just had to say I'm elite and sign up for it. I've beat many of the women in that wave--both in road races and in tris. So yeah, that's annoying. The lesson here is NOT to travel to MA for a race. Maine and NH--that's where it's at--which is why I always come to you to race! Still, what a great performance. The 40-44 field was packed with awesome athletes (I know quite a few whom you beat, I will add) and you really held your own. Nice work.

  2. Good race despite the management..or lack thereof....