Vermont Sun Lake Dunmore Sprint Tri by 1K2GO Coach and 1K2GO-ORS Racer, Dave Connery
This race, run for over 20+ years, starts out of the Branbury State Park south of Middlebury. Race distances are a 600 yd swim in the lake, 14 mile bike loop, and a 5K run. This has been a perennial meeting place of top locals to meet some traveling MA/CT/NJ/NY racers up for vacation in our fair state.
The day started hot and humid, as we have had such a great run of good weather lately. Hot enough to not have to worry about any clothing choices, and humid enough for, you guessed it, fast air. This is not a USAT race, so even though the water was warm, wetsuits were still OK. That is good, because any help I can get on the swim is appreciated. I lined up on the outside, as usual, but this time I discarded my HR strap, thinking it was contributing to constricted breathing in the wetsuit. I also did a much longer warmup to hit the line HOT. It worked and I never felt better in the swim, getting around the first left buoy in minimal traffic, and starting the long straight in what looked like minimal company. I finished the swim in 8:13, out of the water early in the wave, 13th. 15 seconds faster than ever.
I came out of the water like a scared cat with a stolen diamond necklace. I was determined to go “Doug Clark” on this transition and had really thought it out. Nothing but the absolute bare essentials. No glasses, no socks no drinks in transition, nothing but off with the wetsuit, put on the helmet and shoes and GO! out of the water in 13th, but out onto the bike in 6th or 7th.
Right away I passed two guys with the cyclocross remount. Then up the road I passed the new kid from Middlebury, Dustin. We played cat and mouse as I tightened my Specialized S-Works Shoes, and then it was off to the races towards Fern Road. Shortly afterward, on the crossroad to Rt 7 I passed Luke Moore. Th0-is is important because he usually picks up his game to chase me. So, I hit the rollers and put it on the 53×11 on the descents and dropped him at 41mph. Up ahead I saw two guys in the distance, and started reeling them in all the way on the long Rt 7 section. I was trying to hit 270-290W on the ride. Here on this section, I was going 300+ on the uphills, and then holding the right zone on the downhills. There is one significant climb on this course, and it was here that I reeled in John Spinney, after a little cat and mouse, I rolled past him in the last 2 mi as we passed Keewaydin, into 2nd. Jason Franks was up the road, visible, but he was not getting any closer. Bike splits after the race would show he went 32:59 and I went 33:01 for 1/2 on the bike time. I loosened the Boa laces on the shoes as we entered the park, and rode full gas until the last second at the dismount line.
Again, it was Doug Clark time and I sprinted off the bike, into transition, unclipping the helmet on the run and zeroing in on the rack. S-Works Shoes off, Brooks Green Silence on, number belt on, and BAM off again!
I beat Spinney out of T-2 and ran out of the park uphill hard. John catches me at the top of the hill at roughly .5 mile mark, and I go with him. I am breathing hard, but nothing hurts. I ride him so close, I am careful not to trip him. We run stride for stride through mile 1 at 6:09 with a pretty significant climb. Mile 2 goes 5:57 and we hear there is someone coming from behind and see them at the turnaround. We are now running a 5:50 and get passed by a 20 year old Middlebury Crew Team player, John goes with him, and I start running, averaging 5:11 over the last bit and cannot stay with them. Dustin Weigl passes us both and runs a 17:06 for 2nd, spinney runs an 18:17 for 3d, and I go 18:33 for fourth, and 6th fastest run split. This is the third fastest 5K in the last 10 years for me, open or off the bike. The last time I had a faster 5K than the winner is, well, never. My previous 18:07 and 18:20 were straight up 5Ks on the road. More exciting is that the time of 1:00.58 bests my previous times on this course by 2 minutes! Jason Franks went 1:00.16 and said after that the course record of 59:03 is highly attainable.
A good, confident swim, coupled with crisp execution in transition, and some serious progress on the run while not sacrificing bike power gets me this time. However, one downside, I lose a beer to Spinney in the Coaches Cup! Moral to this story? I spent a year working hard to take a minute plus off my run at 5K. I spent 10 minutes reading Doug Clark’s transition tips, plus 20 minutes thinking of how I was going to use them, and there we have it:a savings of 30 seconds for 30 minutes of thinking, a savings of a minute with 100s of miles in the snow and on the treadmill!