Maine 70.3 Race Report 8-25-2019
Maine 70.3 Race Report, By Ken Junior
Maine 70.3, Old Orchard Beach Maine August 25, 2019
Why I chose this race?
Coming off a successful first year 2018 in triathlon and going from my first sprint tri and finishing with AC 70.3 this race appealed to me because in the past many teammates have raved about it as a fun place to bring the family along. I wanted to experience this race with friends and family at my side. So we booked a trip up which was a 5-6 hour drive even with stops. Totally doable with 2 young kids (3 and 4).
It was recommended to me to stay at a campground about a mile from transition. I booked a site alongside with a teammate next to me and my In-laws who came up next to us. This gave us 3 sites next to each other. I was a little hesitant to the idea, but as you’ll see this is the way to go!
Hid’N Pines Campground 8 Cascade Rd, Old Orchard Beach Maine 1(207)934-2352
Options at the campground are, tent it, rent and drive an RV up or rent a trailer you can either tow up or in my case we found a local on outdoorsy.com and he met us there and hooked it all up!!! A 29 foot trailer hooked to water electric and sewer. The campground itself was 5/5 for me. Super clean, had very close bathrooms, laundry, showers, a pool and playground for the kids. Everything was exceptional. On race morning they even had coffee out for the athletes as we left the campground on the walk to transition. The greatest part of these accommodations was the bike and run pass right in front of the entrance to the campsite so the family just had to walk out and cheer us on.
Schedule of Events
Wednesday we arrived and settled in to the campground and camper, relaxed after the drive. The drive up we hit torrential rains, I had wrapped my drivetrain and electronics on the bike but my wheels were filled with water, so cleaning and bike service was done at night at the camp site, be prepared for things like this if your bike isn’t going in the car or truck with you! Thursday We went on a short bike out and back on the course with a light run after down to transition to get acquainted with the course. Thursday night was fireworks down by the water, again a walkable distance or $1 trolly ride from the campground entrance. Friday we went for a swim, the water was not as cold as expected and was 64 degrees, the water wasn’t calm when we went out but it wasn’t too bad. Another run was done that day to keep the legs fresh, as I wanted to scope out the trail part of the run course. Athlete check in and Ironman village was done also. Saturday was a rest day and bike drop, then hung out with the family. The pool at the campground came in very handy! Sunday was RACE DAY! And Monday was wrap up and travel home, I would definitely stay an extra day next time.
Goals for the Race
In 2018 I trained a decent amount with the thought of possibly doing AC 70.3 last minute. In 2019 Maine was well planned in advance and was my A race for the year. I built a good amount of fitness early on in the year and then used a 16 week training program to peak for this race. Initial goals were to Finish, Go Sub 6 hours, and if all went well PR my AC time which was 5:28:51.
I actually got some sleep the night before which is rare. We met up at 430am to head down to transition with our gear, grabbed some coffee from the campground office for the walk and got to transition. Body marking was sharpies at the entrance, BRING YOUR OWN SHARPIE, EVERY RACE! Pack it in your bag. The line was hugggggge to get in because you had to be marked first. I placed out my gear and headed to the swim start which was about a half mile walk down the road. I dropped my gear bag off at the team tent by the finish line (approx. another ¼ mile down) where family and teammates would meet after the race. I also used these porta potties because there was no line!!! Unlike the ones in transition.
The swim is my weakest discipline and the fact that this was an ocean swim, was a little concerning to me, I definitely should have swam a little more in the ocean, but I was assured the ocean up there is not like the ocean down here…….. besides that day!!! The ocean was angry that morning!!! Water measured 64 that morning and booties were allowed but I decided on a long sleeve suit , no bonnet or booties. It was a self-seeding swim start. I figured my time would be 40-45 minutes but seeded in the 35-38 min wave as to not get caught swimming around weaker swimmers as has happened in races past, I can swim, just not fast. The breakers were hitting at the shoreline, I was able to spot my wife and give her a kiss before I went in, which was a huge nerve breaker! And off I went! The plan was stick to the outside a bit and not get destroyed in the pack. This proved well as it was a slightly longer swim that way but I was able to keep more of a rhythm, as much as I could with the conditions, the current and waves that were relentless, very hard to spot the buoys and felt like a washing machine. A small anxiety attack before turn 1 was avoided as it is all mental with me and swimming, you just have to keep swimming! Thankfully at the end of the race when I heard that even the “swimmers” said that was rough and tough I felt relieved to hear that, because my swim confidence was shot!!! I came out 3.5 minutes slower than my AC time and clocked 46:21.
LEGS ON THE GROUND FINALLY! Man after that swim I was thankful I was out but I was angry!!! Like what the hell just happened to me angry! I used a wetsuit stripper and ran the longer than usual distance into T1, the run was carpeted to transition which was nice. I took a deep breathe got my bike and knew I had some work to do!
I knew I had to crush this portion of the race! It’s about 1900ft elevation most of which is by mile 30 and the second half is SUPPOSED to be downhill flat and fast. So I knew if I hustled a bit the first 30 then I can tone it back but still fly on the second half. I did drive the bike course on Thursday, which helped immensely on visualizing the hills and where you can really hit the throttle. The first half went very well, I had my infinite drink mix in my aero bottle and 2 refills behind me. I took in only one of those bottles on the rear and also had 2 GU gels and a clif blocks while out there. I don’t rely on outside help from the bike aid stations. The course was beautiful, mostly flat roads and well-marked. It is not closed to traffic, so some of those back country roads had cars on them. Because I didn’t do so well on the swim and I have a decent bike split. I passed A LOT of people on the 1 loop bike course and it wasn’t till the last third of the bike where I was able to settle in with bikers that were about my pace. Once I hit the second half of the bike we were all greeted with a nice headwind, wonderful, so much for easier on the second half. So this burned me legs up a little more than I wanted. I PRed my bike split with a time of 2:36:26 and averaged 21.48mph. Exactly 6mins faster than my AC time. I know at this point I was about even again with my AC time and had to hustle on the run!!!!
There is a sharp left turn going into transition from the bike heading towards dismount, when I dismount my bike I usually come out of my shoes and leave them on the bike, I was already out of my shoes and on top of 1 of them the other was hanging in the wind on the pedal and touched the floor and unclipped from my pedal and went flying behind me. I was not about to lose a 100$ pair of cycling shoes so I had to stop hop off, which wasn’t exactly a safe spot with people flying around the sharp left turn, slip my shoe on jump back on the bike, pedal the 200ft to the dismount line and hop off, disaster averted and minimal time lost. I was able to get in and out of transition with one of the fastest times of the day, which is one thing I always work on, a fast T2, and it always pays off. Free Time!
The run is a 2 loop course with some initial elevation each time and then into a trail and back out and down. I got on the run, banana in hand and holy crap were my inner quads burning!!!! I didn’t look at pace and set my watch to heart rate only and settled in to keep my heart rate reasonable for the first couple miles. Once I was settled in to a good race pace I checked and saw miles in the mid 7 minute range. I felt good so I kept the pace!!! My AC 70.3 average was 8:28 so I knew even at 8 min a mile average id gain about 6 minutes or so. I lived off half bananas during the AC run every couple miles but didn’t see any this race. I did carry salt with me and began licking the salt 2-3 licks every mile or so to ease the soreness in my legs. It would come and go but I fought through it, until my legs starting slowing down around mile 11. Water and Gatorade were the go to, plenty of aid stations on this 2 loop run course!!! Being able to see the family twice passing the campground for high fives was motivating also!!! A few miles of each run loop goes through a hard packed trail which is nicely shaded but gets congested making passing difficult. Run time was 1:43:16 7:52/mile just over a 7 minute PR from my AC run time.
You hit the bottom of the run course and turn past transition and have about .75 miles straight and flat to the finish. No greater feeling seeing teammates and family in the finisher chute and getting that medal put around your neck for all that hard work!!!!! Being able to sit under the team tent and start talking about your experience with family and friends while slamming a soda and pizza back is a win win in my book and was the greatest part of the day! Total Time 5:13:05 a 70.3 PR of almost 16 minutes!!!!
I will definitely be going back to do this race again with the family!! It really is a beautiful course, very family friendly, plenty to do and all within walking distance of where we stayed! Personally I would practice some more ocean swims to prepare for another morning of rough water like that. About 80-100 people were pulled from the swim that morning plus a whole bunch that stuck it out like champs but unfortunately went over the allotted swim time. I would recommend this race for intermediate triathletes just because you don’t know what the swim is going to bring. In years past it was 58 degrees, if that rough swim was that cold also I’m sure more would have been pulled out. It definitely helped having done a 70.3 prior to this race. This course will require some ocean swim practice, and some light to moderate hill training on the bike. Feel free to reach out to me about anything related to this race or about the accommodations and pricing.