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Should you be scared of the Mooseman Triathlon Bike Course?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, May 23, 2012
in Triathlons

The Mooseman triathlon races are June 2-3. The international (Olympic) event is on Saturday and the big race (half Ironman) is on Sunday. The Mooseman triathlons have a reputation for being challenging bike courses. I have done the International event twice and have trained on the roads around Newfound Lake for years.  I can tell you that both courses are tough, and unless you are Lance Armstrong you need to pace yourself.

The International course has the famed "Devil's Hill" which should strike fear in the hearts of the undertrained cyclist. Devil's Hill comes early on in the race and is a short but very steep hill. I usually spend the first few miles after transition settling into the bike and keeping my heart rate down. There are several decent rolling hills prior to Devil's Hill. You definitely do not want to go crazy until you are over Devil's Hill. Settle into a nice rhythm and warm up your legs. As you come through the center of Hebron you will have a nice downhill (25 MPH no peddling) and then you will start to climb Devil's Hill. The beginning of the hill starts with a short but tough part and then it really gets steep. I try to spin my way up as much as I can. I try to delay standing until the last 20-30 yards if possible. Another key is making sure you start the hill in the correct gear. If you start in too high a gear you risk not making it. Every year you will see people walking up the hill. After you get past Devil's Hill the course is tough but nothing else on the course is scary.

The half Ironman event does not go up Devil's Hill. You might say...great...easier course. You would be incorrect. The course now travels over Mount Rumney twice. Mount Rumney is a 3.5 mile long climb that is extremely steep in certain sections. This is one of the toughest climbs you will experience in a triathlon in New England or anywhere. I think the "scariest" thing about this climb is that you have to complete it twice. If I was doing this climb in a race that would be all I would be able to think about it. This hill is the type of climb that will keep you up the night before. If you are an inexperienced or undertrained cyclist I would definitely recommend the third chain ring (granny gears). Having the third chain ring will reduce your chances of having to walk.  Once you make it up the climb, the descent off this hill is extremely technical and fast. If you do not like flying down a steep twisting descent then the downhill section of this course may be just as nerve racking as the uphill.

Check out the Mooseman International.

You can check out the Mooseman Half by joining View the  Due to production costs we aren't able to offer longer events like this one for free. After spending over $200 to enter a race I know I wouldn't mind spending an additional $5 to see the bike course. Just saying...If you are interested, sign up and view the Mooseman Half here....



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Bombed at Bassman Half Triathlon!

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, May 08, 2012
in Triathlons

Last weekend I drove down to Atlantic City, New Jersey and competed in the Bassman Half Distance Triathlon. It was a well organized event in a great venue.  However, I wasn't thrilled with my performance. It was one of those days when I kept thinking, "Why am I so uncomfortable"? Racing is often "uncomfortable", but usually in a long event you hope to settle into a steady pace as the hours tick by.  That was not the case on Sunday for me. Unfortunately my "veteran status" did not make me immune from having a bad day.

Bassman Bike Transition

The Bassman Half distance triathlon is a 1.2 mile swim, 58 mile bike, and a 13.2 mile run. The race is located in the Bass River State Forest in Tuckerton New Jersey. Tuckerton is about 30 minutes north of Atlantic City. The course is just slightly longer than the typical half distances. As I setup the transition area prior to the event I felt calm and prepared. I really had no prior warning that this was not going to be my day.

The swim was an "in water" start and I felt fine in the calm clear 65 degree waters of Lake Absegami. As the swim started I felt great for about 5 minutes. Then the problems began. My goggles started leaking and completely filled with water. Now being a veteran triathlete I calmly sat up in the water and re-adjusted them. This continued for several minutes. I just could not get my goggles set. Then maybe due to the stress of the situation I started to get some "in water" anxiety and completely lost my stroke. My eyes were stinging, I was blind in the water, and I started to slightly panic. I finally relaxed and tried to salvage some kind of stroke. I then noticed that the person swimming next to me was standing. I put my feet down and then realized I was swimming in about 3 feet of water! I immediately stood up and spent about a minute trying to fix my goggles. I was finally able to get them fixed and then continued on with the swim. As I progressed there were about 3 short sections of the swim where it became very shallow and many people stood up and ran 5-10 steps before the water got deeper. The second half of my swim was much better but I was still about 5 minutes off my usual time for this distance. The whole second half of the swim I just couldn't believe what had happened.

Crossing the finish lineThe bike course was flat and fast. I was flat and not fast. Basically I had a very uninspiring performance on the bike. To make matters worst I had two mechanical issues that set me back about 6 minutes. I just could not get comfortable during this entire event. The bike course was two 29 mile loops. I started out feeling decent but that feeling quickly faded. I just had a flat performance. I finally got off the bike hoping that I could turn my day around with a great run. The run is my best event and I was hoping that due to my great conditioning I could at least end my race on a positive note. I started off great, keeping the first 6 miles under 8 minute pace. Somewhere around mile 8 I suddenly started to lose my form and started feeling bad. By mile 10 the wheels had come off and my pace had dropped by 2 minutes a mile. I did not allow myself to walk, but for the last 5k I would not describe what I was doing as "running". I finally finished and left the race wondering "What just happened" ?

The bottom line is that I am competing in an Ironman on July 28th and I just bombed a Half Ironman on May 6th. Not the best scenario. Over the next few days I will be analyzing what happened and make adjustments as needed. I am not going to let one poor performance take away all of the good training I have done over the past few months. This poor result does bring up one question. Should I compete in the Mooseman Half Ironman on June 3rd to attempt to get a better performance or should I just continue training and focus on the Ironman? Would it mean anything if I did well in a race that is only half the distance?  Now that you've heard my experience which option below do you think I should choose? (comment below to help me decide!)

(***Note*** I ended up training as scheduled and forgot about this performance***)

1) Continue training as scheduled and don't worry about bombing the Bassman!

2) Sign up for Mooseman Half Triathlon today and kick butt on June 3rd!

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