Friday, August 11, 2023

Maine 70.3

I hadn't planned on doing two 70.3 races this year, but after signing up last summer for Oceanside, I was one of the lucky winners of a complimentary entry to a IM 70.3 race (exclusions apply) at the Tri Scottsdale holiday party. Augusta, Maine was the farthest race from Arizona on the list, both in distance and in latitude north, so I picked it. And as it turned out, we picked about the best week of the summer to be in Maine. It was hot and sticky on the Friday we traveled and on the Saturday before the race, but that afternoon, it rained for 4 hours, and all the humidity went away.

The race was very nice. It just seemed nicer somehow than Western triathlons, with more spectators and variety of scenery. The swim in the Kennebec River was great, we weren't just swimming downhill, there was a pretty good current - so that my swim was 22 minutes faster than in Oceanside harbor. The water was also very warm; while it was wetsuit-legal, the temperature was about the same as the pool at Gainey Village when the place opens at 5 am, so I went without a wetsuit and saved another 5 minutes in transition not wiggling out of one.

The bike course was hilly, at least by Eastern standards; it actually had greater total elevation gain than Oceanside, but none of the hills was very long. The electronic shifters on my tri bike went out of tune, so I only had 6 gears, but it wasn't a big deal to power over the relatively short hills. The transition area seemed smaller and more manageable than other races I've done, and the run course was pretty nice. We were on a trail for much of the first half, and about half the race was in shade. The other half took us through downtown Hopewell and downtown Augusta (peaking at the former site of the state mental hospital), with diners out, toasting us with their beers, and urging us to finish to join them. I managed slightly more than a minute faster on the bike than Oceanside, slightly less than a minute faster on the run, 20 minutes faster on the swim, and 8 minutes total faster in transition, for a time 30 minutes better than O'side. You don't usually get 30 minutes faster at my age (or else I was really, really slow at Oceanside).

Of course, that made me 16/20 in my age group, those darn fast 65-year-olds again (16/21 if you count the DNF). But a fun day - topped off by driving from Augusta after the race to the Portland (Westbrook) REI to turn in the tri bike for shipping back to Arizona, then lobster rolls at The Lobster Shack at Cape Elizabeth, then a long drive north through Bangor (stopping for ice cream) to Gouldsboro, where we spent 3 days tooling around Acadia National Park, then a great day-and-a-half in Portland. Just a beautiful time, and each lobster and lobster roll we had was the best one of the trip. H/t to both Eventide for their lobster roll with brown butter and to Sarah for the recommendations for The Lobster Shack and Eventide.

Plus I got to have a beer and bar food at Coppersmith Tavern & Table in South Portland (walking distance from our hotel). Not a relative but the beer was cold, the fried pickles crisp, and the burnt ends very nice indeed.

Maine 70.3, July 30, 2023
Swim 20:48 (no wetsuit)
T1 9:55
Bike 3:28:14
T2 5:32
Run 2:46:07
Total 6:50:36, Div 16/21 (20 finishers), Gender 1046/1197, Overall 1455/1814, IM points 1657 (so Tri Scottsdale finished 161 out of 200 clubs).

More pics here; I've never been photographed in my tri bars as much as at this race. I may have to actually buy these.

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