Rolling Thunder Cyclocross Race November 3rd

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Brendan Halpin's Wildflower Report

*Note: The AVIA Wildflower Triathlon is really three separate, fiendishly difficult triathlon events, wrapped around a fun exposition and some great camping. The first event at the AVIA Wildflower Triathlon, held Saturday, is the "long course" event, also known as the "half-Ironman." The second, the Mountain Bike triathlon, could be called a "super-duper Sprint," as it's a little longer than a Super Sprint and a little shorter than a standard Sprint. The third, held Sunday, is an Olympic-distance triathlon. All take place on a rough, tough course that will test the mettle of any triathlete. At the AVIA Wildflower Triathlon, be prepared for hills, hills and more hills when you're not in the water. -

After a couple weeks I finally feel like I can give a good race report from Wildflower. It was a mix of old and new faces that made the long journey down to the Wildflower triathlon festival. The long course race was truly a who's who of triathlon. The only major players not at the race were Macca and Crowie, other than that there were it least 10 pro's capable of winning the race. It was fun to watch the newbies in awe of how big Wildflower actually is, and Matty drool over the professionals that he reads so much about. At one point I almost had him convinced to touch Bjorn Anderson. I was excited to race and unleash some demons on this race from last year. The swim went well and I was in a good group and exited the water in 28 minutes and change. I headed out along the lake and saw the crazy UM folks cheering like crazy and Matt let me know I was only 3 minutes down on the wave leaders. The bike felt awesome and I found a good rhythm and passed a bunch of folks and was quickly passing the women's pro field. I caught 1st and 2nd in my wave with about 10 miles to go and passed them putting some time into them. At that point I new I was leading the amateur race so all I had to do was hold it together on the run. Coming back into the park I encounter the UM folks again and Matty Ice was going crazy. I entered t2 with Victor Plata and he was in awe because I had started 10 minutes back from the pro men's wave. I took off on the run and my legs felt great and running was feeling effortless. I passed a bunch of professionals and new that I was going to be close to the amateur course record. I saw Adam at the run turn around and all he said was, "are you kidding me." After the race he was not fully convinced that I started 10 minutes down on him. The long downhill took its toll on the body and I crossed the line in 4:17 and change two minutes off the course record, but I had the 4th fastest run overall. I was stoked on the race and especially the run. I knew that I was running well when at mile 9ish Matt informed me that the only person running faster than me was Andy Potts. I ended up winning the amateur race by a few minutes and was 16th overall. I was super happy with the race and excited to return the favor the next day and cheer for the UM folks in the Olympic distance race.

After racing so many times I sometimes forgot what it is like to have the full on pre race jitters. Adam and I were entertained watching the newbies scramble in the dark to get there race equipment in order. I ran through a few quick bike mechanic lessons with the crew and adjusted about half of their brakes so that they did not continue to rub. After Adam and I tucked all of the kids into bed we reminisced about how clueless our crew was when we got into triathlon. Race morning included some nutritional advice for the team, including convincing one individual that it is actually a good idea to drink some water while racing. Most of the team was off to the races and Adam and I noticed one panicked newbie. The person had locked their bike to a tree and could not find the key. We pulled out a leatherman and attempted to saw through the lock. It was not doing much to the lock so the search was on for the key. This occurred about 45 minutes out from the race start so the pressure was on. We found the key and the last newbie was off to the races. Michael, Adam, and I strategically placed ourselves on the infamous hill. We cheered on the team and Matty Ice, and Jen were looking strong. We greeted them as they came back into the park and Matt had worked his way up to 3rd in the collegiate race and Jen was in 1st with a 4 minute lead. The rest of the crew was scattered but looked good. We rode the run course backwards to make sure that Matt was running hard, and Jen had not passed out. Matty was in the pain cave but looked strong and held onto 3rd place. Jen had not passed out and was looking like a real runner. She won the collegiate race and the overall for the Olympic race. The team finished well and many of them completed their first Olympic distance race. UM made the podium in the collegiate competition with a 3rd place finish.

Overall it was a great success. Everyone was excited about racing and wanted to throw down some Montana domination throughout the country. See everyone at the races and good luck!

Brendan Halpin

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