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No, there are no bridges actually burning, it’s just the rubber on the wheels of the Bridges’ family bikes from their extensive adventures in racing this summer!
On June 28th both Katie and Kevin tackled the Lumberman Triathlon presented by 3Disciplines Racing in Cadillac, Michigan.
I raced Lumberman Triathlon as a Half Iron distance, 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and a 13.1 mile run. This was my first tri of the year and I have been biking a lot so I thought my swim and run would suffer.
The Lumberman Triathlon is held in Cadillac. I was impressed with the whole race: a great swim, the bike is on good roads with scenic views of northern Michigan, and the run around Lake Cadillac is very flat with ample water stations and cheering spectators. And as a 3-D event it is very well run.
I was happy to PR this race with a 5:35. My swim time was 38 minutes, which is good for me, and I averaged 19.7 mph on the bike. I was hopping to be over 20 mph, but the bike course had some nice climbs so I’m OK with it. I was able to run in under 2 hours and that’s been my long run pace for a long time. I ended up with a 4th place age group finish, I’m happy with the result, but I know with more work I can get faster.
Race morning was probably the most perfect race weather for a triathlon. A hint of chill in the dawn, but warming up for the bike. We were greeted by a sea of bouys in the mirror-calm lake. I would swim past the sprint and Olympic distance bouys to the farthest yet: the Half IM distance. I took this in during a quick course meeting and we were off and on our way. I swam in a small group, until it was just two of us working our way across the course. It was a loooong swim, but I stuck to it and didn’t really need rest or have any problems. I had the energy to run up to transition to the bike!
The course started out in town, a few turns and we were out in the beautiful countryside. The course was flat for the first few miles, and I had to remind myself: this is a long ride, don’t go out so fast. I kept my head and remembered to drink. Once the sprint and Olympic athletes had turned around, the course began to get interesting. Hills, lots of hills, fun roller coaster hills I never see in Calhoun County. I’m glad I saved some energy for those hills. Just past the turnaround, I started passing athletes on the way back in. I worked a little harder and put everything I had getting through the rest of the course. Nearing the finish of the bike course, I was riding all-out around 21-22mph. I was lucky not to have that 13.1 run to do, and I dropped the bike in T2 to cross the timing mat to finish 2nd.
I learned a lot from doing the Aqua Bike, which I’ll take into my next race, Steelhead. Proper hydration and fueling is key, and I nailed it perfectly this race. And I probably will save a little more on the bike so I can run. But maybe Steelhead won’t be so hilly…
July 11th, their adventures continued as both Katie and Rose led out the Strut for Strays 5k, a local run to raise awareness and funds for the Humane Society of South Central Michigan.
While they had the lead down for the runners, Kevin, Marie and Scott were racing the Miller Energy Criterium.
The Miller Energy Crit or BTR Crit was my first crit race, I was very nervous because I’ve always had issues with my cornering. OAM Now offered a race clinic on Friday night where they taught crit skills and techniques. The cornering drills were very helpful and Frank Andreu gave us tips, which was really cool.
I ended up finishing 22nd not as well as I would have liked, but I was on the lead lap and had all my skin at the end of the day so I can’t complain.
The Miller Energy Crit was my second crit. I did the junior (which was the state crit) and the cat 5 races. Taking some notes from a previous race I was more comfortable. Since it was a crit the juniors could race elite men, in their respective category, and the junior race. So my plan was to hang on and not burn too many matches to save my legs for the cat 5 race 30 minutes after. When the race really picked up I sat up and took it easy saving my legs for the races I had a legitimate chance at. After that it was a quick number repining and a refill of the water bottle, and headed to the start line once again. The first prime of the race came early, I was in a great position, and it would not have taken much effort so I went for it, and got it. I snagged a XL Bontrager jersey, very big on me, but I’ll still wear it in a group ride or two. After that I tried to save as much energy as I could until the finish. I hung on for 11th after using a lot of energy to get in a good position on the final lap. That’s bike racing!
The BTR Crit was my first crit race. I did the cat 4 women’s race, which turned out to be a pretty small race. It was a beautiful day and it was a good race for a beginner. Right when we started out, we had to turn hard and it became hard to navigate around others for a second. After that, it became impossible to catch back up to the peloton. So I just went as hard as I could and managed not to get pulled. Overall, I think it was helpful to just learn more about the crit and how it goes. I went to Team OAM’s race clinic the day before and learned a lot about bike handling, how to sprint, and how to race a crit in general.
And as if that wasn’t enough, on Sunday both Kevin and Scott headed to the Maple Hills Race for the Wishes.
Maple Hills Road Race was the day after the BTR crit, I went into this race feeling I needed to be more aggressive and stay closer to the front. On the first of two laps a two-man break went up the road a little ways. I hesitated at first, and then I noticed one of the riders was Adam Cefai. I thought maybe I could bridge up and make it a three-man break. I took off after them and right as I caught them I looked back to see our gap on the field only to see the whole field right on my wheel. So instead of joining a break away I pulled one in. I feel bad kind of bad, but he does not race for the team anymore. The second lap was a little calmer but I was getting tired from climbing. At the finish I was able to beat out a few riders in the final sprint for a 7th place finish, my best so far in a road race.
I raced cat 5 35 and under. Tristan Greathouse, good friend of mine, also a strong junior rider for team OAM now/athletic mentors, hatched a plan. We would both breakaway up one of the courses’ hardest hill with 10 miles to go. We did that, we got away with one other rider, established a pace line. Then we quickly dropped back to the peloton and focused on the sprint finish. The pace relaxed a bit but with 5 miles to go it got faster, knowing now important positioning is in a bunch sprint, I got up to third in line with 2 miles left, soon I found myself in the middle again, the effort wasted. With one kilometer to go I was about tenth in line and the pace slowed a bit down. The last turn was in sight so I went for it. Attacking when nobody wanted to pull the field and everybody was coasting going slower and slower. I got to the turn quick, looked behind me and saw a nice gap, maybe 5 seconds, with the finish line in sight and a roaring group behind, I put my head down. Lactic acid up to my eyeballs, I was suffering. 250 meters to go the group came around; completely gassed, I sat up and rolled in. I was not afraid to lose.
It is clear that this family embraces the concept of staying active! After all, a family that plays together, stays together! Race on, Bridges and don’t let your fires go out!