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I Love Savageman!!!

September 19, 2017 -


 Savageman has been a staple of mine since I first got into the sport of triathlon. This year was put in flux back in December after my bike crash, subsequent surgery and 3 months of zero training while waiting for my body to recover enough to not risk additional injury. I opted for the sprint distance this year to see if I could better my race from 2016 and to see where my fitness stands after the late start to my season. I came into the race about 10 lbs heavier than last season which is a big penalty on the bike and run courses at this race but I still felt relatively strong and was looking forward to racing.


Swim: 15:34, 3rd AG, 18 0f 168 OA (2016 Swim Time: 16:55. 1:20 faster)


The water was chilly. The day before the race they said the water temp was 61 which felt about right during our practice swim. On race morning they said the water temp was 64 which I believe was pretty generous. I like cold water myself so I really enjoyed the swim. Clearly the other swimmers in my wave disagreed as I was the only one to get in the water and warm up. The rest of the wave started getting in the water around 3 minutes before the start. When the gun went off I pushed hard to get a little gap from others and then settled into a comfortably hard pace that my should could hold. I still don't have the strength back that I used to so I can't really push my swims like I would like to so it really has become a balancing act. All in all it was a decent swim for the lack of swimming that I've done this year.


T1: 2:03


Nothing exciting to note. The run up to transition is tough and uphill the whole way. My heart rate was through the roof by the time I got to my rack but that's part of sprint triathlon racing!


Bike: 43:53, 21.2 MPH, 2nd AG, 7th of 168 OA (2016 Bike Time: 44:00, 0:07 faster)


The bike course for the sprint is an out and back that is primarily up hill on the way out and down hill on the way back. My plan was to ride as hard as possible on the way out and then attempt to catch a little bit of my breath on the way back. I could feel the weight difference on the climb out but I had plenty of people to chase as the longer race started 30 minutes earlier. I kept my heart rate around 172-175 on the climb out and was fighting for air. I passed the leader who was on the way back around 1 mile from the turnaround so I knew that I was having a decent say. I hit the turn around in 3rd place and was looking forward to the ride down back to the lake. I pushed the pace on the way back and cheered on everyone I passed to help take my mind of the leg burning and lung searing discomfort! The went into tranistion in 3rd place but didn't truly know where I stood relative to the waves behind me.


T2: 0:40 


Again, nothing special here. A quick run through transition to rack my bike. I unclip my helmet once I hit the transition so that I don't have to waste time taking it off after I arrive at my rack. I also put everything I want/need for the run in my hat so that I can throw on my shoes, grab my hat and take care of putting on my sunglasses, race belt, etc while on the move. It's all about simplicity and smoothness for me in transition and this really works for me.


Run: 23:35, 7:35/mile, 4th AG, 18th OA (2016 Run Time: 23:55, :20 faster)


The run at Savageman is an interesting one. A large part of it is on a gravel access road which isn't necessarily the fastest and there is a monster climb in the campground loop that really puts you in a hurt that you can't escape! I came out of transition quickly and settled into a hard but sustainable pace because I knew the campground hill was coming around 3/4 mile into the run. I choose to bypass all aid stations in sprint races and typically in olympic races as well unless it's really hot so I went by the awesome volunteers and entered the campground. As I hit the steepest section of the climb Erin and Kris Betz were there to cheer which was a blessing and curse because I couldn't walk since they could see me! I slowed to a near crawl for the 2nd half of the hill and was passed by 2 strapping 40 somethings who made me curse my extra weight! Once over the steep section I was able to get my pace back down and keep the 2 guys in my eyesight. I used them as a carrot for the remainder of the run and was able to keep the gap at about 1 minute for the remainder of the run. You run past the finish to do a short out and back at about 2.5 miles and I was doing all that I could to hang on. After I turned around I saw Dave(someone who swims with us at Lifetime and is a beast!) and he yelled that I'd better not let him catch me. It was the last little lift I needed to get my butt to the finish line.


Finish: 1:25:44, 2nd Age Group, 6th of 168 Overall (2016 Finish Time: 1:27:50, 2:06 faster)


I had a great time getting back to racing. i really didn't know how I'd stack up to last year which I thought was a strong race for me. This race turned out to be a big success for me. It felt great to get back to my favorite race and was an awesome finish to my comeback season. Thanks to everyone who has provided help and support from helping me out of woods immediately after my crash to checking on me after surgery and then getting out on the roads with me! 



AJ Baucco Coaching is world class triathlon coaching for age group athletes of all ability levels. We specialize in Full Service Triathlon Coaching, but we also create Focused Training Plans for athletes that like a more hands off approach. Feel free to contact us with any questions or to set up an informational phone call.

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