Aaron Landeryou- Rev3 Quassy
The day started overcast and cool, mid-50s or so with low humidity. The breeze made it feel colder, but not entirely unpleasant. It had rained the night before which left the air fresh and clear of pollen. Pre-race jitters were at a minimum despite the difficulty of the course ahead!
I did not do a swim warm-up for fear of coming out and freezing while I waited for the HIM start and resolved myself to start off easy so as not to repeat 2017 Pumpkinman (stopped 100 yds into the race to get my breathing and HR under control). This was a self-seeded start, so I positioned myself between the 1:30 and 1:45 sign posts since my previous three OW workouts were in the 1:30-1:35 range. With three racers starting every three seconds, there is much less jostling and bumping, or least until you start passing or being passed, or in my case when I got wedged between Trevor and another guy. If you have a choice between an old pair of goggles and a new pair, go with the new. My old standbys fogged so much I couldn’t see the buoys and had to flood one side to see where to go, twice! That kind of stroke interruption is not good for pace. Somewhere in my mantra of “reach, high elbow, pull” I recall thinking what perfect temperature the water was. Once I found the second turn buoy and headed back to the beach, the sun came out. Decision time: do I leave my clear lenses fogged for glare protection and hope to swim straight or do I try to clear them a third time? All in all, it was an enjoyable swim, albeit not as fast as I should have gone.
T1 was eerily quiet and the person who was supposed to be racked next to me was a no-show, so I took advantage of the calm and took my sweet time (5+ min). Having paid little attention to the forecast, I assumed there would be cloud cover most of the day. While this assumption was wrong, the course offered a generous amount of tree shade and the sunburn was minimal. It turned out to be a gorgeous day with clear skies, moderate temp, low humidity, and light-moderate breeze. And yes, it is a beautiful course. There were only a few sections where the pavement was marginal, but I found them easy to avoid. Yes, there were quite a few up-hills (nearly 5,000 ft elevation), but it just reminded me of training in Harvard. [My vision of a Harvard, MA cycling jersey would be an Escher-style road with the motto “For every uphill, there’s another.”] I made up time on the downhills and satisfied some of the thrill-seeking speed freak in me. I was able to average 19.1 mph.
T2 seemed like a less interesting version of T1, so I didn’t linger as long. The run course winds through rural forest roads and upscale residential neighborhoods, is mostly shaded, had lots of aid stations (including an orange T-Rex, a blue T-Rex and a panda bear… or was I just hallucinating at that point?), and almost no car traffic. As I was approaching the aid station at the bottom of the first hill, BPC rockstar Kim Webster blew by me going the other way to capture first place (“Go Kim!”). While I can liken the bike course to Harvard, the run course, with its nearly 6,000 ft elevation, was a beast. I had passed Trevor somewhere mid-bike, but fully expected him to pass me on the run. As I started to regain something like a normal stride after cresting the final hill and with only 300-400 yd to go, I was thinking I might actually get in before him. That’s when he trotted by me, gave me a fist bump and invited me to run in with him. If only I could. With a run time only 2-3 minutes slower than last year’s Pumpkinman (my first HIM), I think I did OK.
Yes, Quassy has some hills, but it was a beautiful course and Rev3 were good hosts.