Race Coverage

Bazooka Laps & Track Clumping...

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By Ted Treise

Clash Miami Race Report - Hands down my favorite race ever – a curvy lap course on the Homestead Miami NASCAR Speedway, world class competition, and a race promoter that treats triathlon’s elite like actual professionals. Let’s dive in.

Lead Up

The lead up into the race started with Ironman Florida, the second week of November 2021. After I found out Ironman’s are in fact quite hard; I took 6 weeks off and put a start to structed training around mid-December. Getting going from the off-season to race season is something like…

1. I took too much time off, there’s no turning this liquored fueled pizza ship back into an athlete.
2. I guess that workout wasn’t a complete disaster and we might have a chance.
3. I am a god – may the lord have mercy for those who stand against me!  ...

With the timeline above, I graduated from period 1 around mid-January, stayed in period 2 until about the end of February. Then we started to feel the fire of period number 3 around race week.

For race week, Dani and I flew to Miami on Tuesday night. On Wednesday we hung out for a bit then hit the track for some hot laps in the afternoon then again on Thursday morning. During both of these track preview sessions I loved how it brought the competition together. At a normal 70.3, people are doing their final sessions across a city at different times. Here at Miami; were pitting in the garages on pit row, everyone is on the track at the same time, and we’re going to the pool together after. It’s a fun environment getting to know our competitors.

Race Day

Again, this race is unlike anything else. We show up on race day at around 8:30am for Dani’s 10AM start. Usually, our races are at like 6:30am and it’s a painful 3:30am alarm. We get to the track, park in the paddock, then bring our bikes into a calm and quite transition with no more than 10 people in at any one time. While setting up transition, you could feel the heat starting to rise.

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During the woman’s race, I watched the live stream within an onsite media room for the athletes. This was 100% the best way to watch as the pond in the middle of the infield was inaccessible to spectators with the bike course surrounding it. After Dani exited the water, I ran out of the media room and caught her in Pit Row for her planned departure. Now we had only 3ish hours to kill before my race. During that time, we waited in the comforts of the AC media room along with the rest of the men’s field. As the time passed, dropped woman started rolling in. Most DNF’d due to the heat and as they trickled in, the women looked rough! Some were being carried in like soldiers on a battle field with a someone holding each limb, others still had enough muster to stand. All the men were looking at each other like ahh, we gotta race in this in a couple hours… when it’s even hotter? A very somber mood was casted over the room with each body being dragged in. Before we knew it our swim warm up was being called and it was off to war for the boys of Miami.

Swim

The men’s field had about 60 guys in it. Our start line was about 20 feet wide with the shore on one side and a crab ball on the other. Doing the math here, each person had about 4 inches of real estate on the front row or 3ish people deep in real life application. In lining up, the Olympians took to the shore side with many people going behind them (4ish deep) leaving the middle relatively open. I went middle to right snagging a second-row spot as people stacked up behind me.

This analyzing and jockeying for position happened within about 30 seconds before the cannon went. Before you knew it, BAM! At this point it’s chaos and here’s your jungle guide strategy –

1.) Swim fast
2.) Don’t get kicked in the face
3.) Kick hard and keep your feet up so no mf’er tries to swim over you and, finally,
4.) Don’t lose the feet in front of you.

Also, make sure those feet in front of you are following point 4. If not, find new feet. If boxed in, hopefully someone’s slacking on point 3 and you can get over them without getting kicked in the face, or worse...

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For me, I stayed on the feet in front of me and it was FAST. In hindsight, I could of swam closer but there’s a balance between slapping the feet in front of you to stay close and hitting those feet to the point where they slow down. I hung with the group and we left the water about 2 min down from the main pack. Not terrible, but I really aspire to be in the group for the rest of this year’s races and beyond. You burn too many matches trying to bridge up vs. just being there to begin with. To do this, I will be more aggressive within the start and maintain my position through the first buoy.

Bike

I was super excited for the bike. Beyond excited and confident too. They had a bike bonus where if you were the fastest on the first lap, there was a $1k bike bonus. I was 100% confident I could get this. To the point where I asked Starky if he was going for it knowing he was the only person rouge enough to go for it and contest me. To set myself up for success, I didn’t mount my shoes per usual. I planned to slip them on in transition then hit the mount like and be on my way in full attack mode.

This went to plan and I was off to the races after getting on my Dimond. I went pretty hard and crossed the bonus line and tried to recover a bit, but man I was pooped. After getting this under control I went back to my planned cruising watts and it was very very labored. Hoping I’d clear this stupid bazooka lap out of my system I trucked on. After coming by Dani a few times on pit row, it became apparent I did not win the bonus. *sigh*. Additionally, power was falling – fast. Finally, I was getting lapped. All these things just made my head spin. I felt like a looser. Like I had the world stage set up for me to put in an amazing performance and here I was – in the middle of blowing it.

What can I do? What can I do to turn this thing around? I took inventory of what I had. The super power of biking leg strength was gone, so what I had was taking the shortest distance around the track and staying as aero as possible – not that I wouldn’t if I had all the strength in the world, but it just gave me something to focus on. So that’s what I did for 90 minutes while getting lapped. It was hard to not pull off but I’m glad I didn’t.

 

Run & Summary

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So here’s where things turn around, but not quite yet. Leaving transition my hips were pretty locked up from being in aero that long without breaks. It took me about a lap around the speed way (1.5ish miles) to loosen things up. After that lap, things loosened up & I was free. Free from feeling like I blew the race, free from whatever the hell happened on the bike. It just felt so good to run. Some friends Ben Deal & Ernie Mantell were a lap ahead of me and we ended clumping on the track (also all stayed together in the AirBnB). For the rest of the run, I paced off them. Ben for a bit then Ernie came by both of us. I crossed the line in who knows what place (29th).

In summary, I think the positive is I’m getting to a point where I can be in a super deep field and feel confident my speed can contest with a top 10 on a great day. It’s not a oh shit moment as much stomach drops when looking at the entry list. It’s a hope everyone shows up and I prove myself as one of the guys to race at the front. Also, it’s amazing having Dani there. We have so much fun doing this together and hearing her cheering every lap was just what the soul needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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