Thursday, April 30, 2009

Life in the Fast Lane

Since it's fairly rare that our members do a cycling race, the crack NETT news crew gathered up some detailed accounts of the great success three of our members had at the recent Quabbin Reservoir Race. Here's a few notes:

Here's a report from Paul Miller, winner of the category 4 race:

So much more goes on in a bike race than a triathlon: here are just a few of my memories of the event.

On the major downhill heading out of the start, I was uncomfortable so sat near the back and had a great view first of one guy shaking/vibrating so much as his bike picked up speed, then 30 secs later, of two guys going over the wall. One skidded out on a turn and took out the guy behind him. Not sure which one was the worst off, but one was totally motionless on the ground. Freaked me out, so I stayed out of the middle of the pack, hanging at the back (then the front) thereafter.

First 9 miles was kind of jolty from the back: when the front hit an uphill and we were going down we had to brake hard. When the front hit the downhill while we were still going up, we had to work hard.

Overall I found the early pace moderate, not easy, so thought our idea of picking up the pace at mile 9, the first big hill, to break up the field, maybe unnecessary. However I gradually started moving up when we hit the hill and noticed the pace was picking up. I looked ahead and saw a few guys off the front and noticed the guy leading was NETT. Probably hit my highest power in the race closing that gap as 75 riders makes for a big distance to close --- and at times spread across the road so I'd have to brake on the uphill.

Group of 5 or 6 away, including Joe and Jerry, but we got pulled back fairly easily, so I figured no chance of breaking away at this stage. However, next hill Jerry pushes it again so I go with him and by the end of the next hill there are 6 or 7 of us away. Some confusion in my mind as our break passes the peleton in front of us (M55+ but gaining 5mins in about 30-40mins of riding shows the early pace was not idle) and looking back I did not know who was in our race, who in the other, and felt like one of them had joined our break for a while (he had gray hair so I asked him if he was 55 -- he did not respond :-) ).

The break increased to 9 for a while and we just ticked along moderately for 30 miles, but basically Jerry, Erik and me doing the work. Always hard to tell how it feels to others when you're on the front, but as a control, when I was drafting it was always easy, except when Jerry was on the front :-)

A few times on uphills I tried to drop some of the hangers-on who were not working, but they always managed to stick back on.

I heard some comments on "Track and Trail" and that one team had decided to "leave us alone" whatever that means (they figured we did not know what we were doing maybe when we jumped off the front?)

My biggest worry from half-way through the race onwards was that my crank arm would come off. The creaking got louder and louder, giving dangerous sounds, especially if I got out of my saddle -- made me stay in a low gear and spin more, but gave me concerns about a possible hard finish :-) Luckily the support car was right behind us and I was trying to figure out if there was an optimal time I could stop off the back, quickly use a wrench to tighten the crank shaft then regroup (and who knows, if Jerry was on the lead he might hold the pace up for me :-) ) There never seemed a good time, and luckily it made it through (a couple of guys said they were keeping well clear of me on the finish hill).

By 15miles to go I decided the race was between the group of us for sure, so went easy when I knew a "nice" hill was ahead and only went hard if I thought there was no draft advantage for those on my wheel and I might lose some other riders.

Almost did this at mile 47-8, gaining a bit of a gap with one then two others, but an accident on the road held us up. Both Erik and I were inexperienced, Matt yelling to keep going, but when I saw the motorbike ahead of us stop I thought we had to stay behind it ... Jerry was first to regroup, which makes me wonder if without that incident it would just have been 4 of us on the final stretch. However the other caught back on too.

Jerry led much of the first mile of the final 2.5miles of uphill, I did a break early and lost nobody to my worry. Returned to the rear of the group for a gentle downhill stretch, then went again --- down to 3 -- thought I saw the line, so went again for the finish, got away but it wasn't the finish, just a photographer and parking spot. No choice but to keep going and stayed ahead.

Overall it's probably the most fun road race I've done -- would have been happier with no bike issues and especially if Joe was in the break -- I'm sure he would have been stronger than the 3 hangers-on."

Thanks Paul. Now, we'll hear from Jerry:

We started downhill out of the park and within 1 mile garmin had me at 38mph! Just ahead and off to my right two guys overcooked a hard left turn and slammed into some big boulders lining the road on their way completely over the embankment, hope they are OK and what a crappy way to start/finish a race. Oh, did I mention that was part of the "neutral" start?! Guess I learned something in that first two neutral miles!

We got out on Rt9 to start the racing and promptly slowed down as the road rose. After working my way into the top or so of the field for a few miles I went up and joined Erik on a steady uphill (gee do you think Erik was pulling?) and took a pull myself just to see how the legs felt. Matt Mitchell (switched out of 4/5 to our race just before start), Ray, Paul and Joe were also close by. Then by mile 8 or so ~8 of us had a gap on a good sized uphill. I looked around and was pleased to see at least Matt, Paul and of course Erik in our bunch.

By ~mile 15, I heard a familiar voice in my ear, Joe had helped lead a group of ~30 (?) riders back to us, I think Ray was in this group too. For a while the groups yo-yo'ed back/forth up and down the hills. I think it was about mile 27 or so a final selection was made with Erik, Paul, Matt and myself as well as a few guys who seemed mostly interested in just trying to hang on.

From here on we rode strongly and did our best to make the break stick. Kind of cool when I looked back to see the SRAM car just behind. A fair amount of suffering and some banter (basically politicking by the random dudes hanging on ("... please take the pace down, I'm not a threat, we're not going to make it to the finish like this!" Ya! Right!) over the next 30 miles or so and finally we were screaming downhill and heading into the park, 3.5 miles to go.

While I had good energy the quadriceps were cramping when I tried full gas. I could do nothing but ride a decent tempo to the finish and watched as Paul had a few digs, finally moving ahead to take the win followed pretty closely by Matt (2nd) and Erik (3rd in his very first race!). Our hangers-on finished ahead of me (big surprise.) and I finished last (7th) of our breakaway group. Not too much time passed and Joe (8th)led the first chase group across and Ray (10th) was right there too.

What a great race! I'm fairly new to the road racing scene and I enjoyed myself tremendously, from the tactics to the banter to the terrain and oh yes, riding the bike is fun too, it's all good!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Despite the Heat, NETT takes wins on the roads, trails and...WHEELS!

Despite record-high temperatures this weekend, there were some extremely impressive results from NETT, with members taking part (and winning) trail races, road races and cycling races.

First, the roads. On Saturday a couple NETTers were out at the LiveRight 5K for Hepatitis Research in Brighton. Eri Verter was helping a friend promote the race and, always the good samaratin, Mary Smith came out to support the cause. Well, apparently, Mary did more than just support the cause--she dusted the women's field with a 19:45 to take her first win since...the high school 2-mile. And Eri also ran very strong, matching Mary's pace in the scorching heat. Here's Mary's report:

"I think we both had strong performances (especially given it started at noon on Saturday when the temperature was over 80 degrees). There were somewhere between 150 - 180 runners & walkers and the course was a big Figure 8 loop along the Charles and you could say it was a "no-frills race"--no mile markers or split, no time clock, no chip timing, etc. (but I'm not complaining - it's nice to run small races).
I think it's the 1st race I've won since the 2 mile in High School Track, when there were only 3 or 4 girls that got suckered into running the longest event at the end of the track meet. Even though it was only a 5K and it wasn't a HUGE race, it was still exciting to actually win. Plus, when Dustin dropped me off he reminded me that he was making me a Peruvian dinner...and he told me that if I didn't place in the Top 5 - No Dinner!! (Obviously I knew he was kidding, but nonetheless I was in the Top 5 & earned my dinner, no questions asked!)"

Congrats to both Mary and Eri for not only running well, but supporting a worthy cause. We old farts can learn a lot from our youngest NETT members.

Now to the news from the trails. NETT had a fantastic showing at the Blue Hills Trail Races in Milton on Sunday in the scorching heat. Teammates Pat Dwyer and Crazy Dave ran together and tied for the win in the 10-miler Fox Trot (the officials had to declare one the winner, so Pat got the nod in the results and prizes, but he and Dave split up the booty between them). Also in the 10-miler, Karen Ringheiser won the women's masters and second woman overall (six days post-Boston)and Marshall Randolph won the 60-69 category (another in a long string of age-group wins for this stallion!) and Dima Feinhaus (also six days post-Boston) cracked the top 10 as well. Jack Burke finished 27th overall in the scorching heat.

In the 3-mile Bunny Hop, Dima's son Isaac won the 19&Under category (get that kid a singlet!) and Dave and Jack's better halves Doris and Jenn both get huge props for finishing their first trail race of the year in sweltering conditions!

UPDATE: Also hitting the trails this weekend was the father-daughter tandem of Jim and Katherine De Zutter, who crashed the party and took SECOND overall in the relay at the Rockbuster Off-Road Duathlon this weekend in 55:45.

And lastly, news from the world of cycling. Three NETTers headed out to the Quabbin Reservoir Road Race, a 63-mile haul in Western Mass. on Sunday with very strong results. Paul Miller took the win in the Category 4 race, finishing in 2:42. And less than a minute back was Jerry De Zutter and only a place behind Jerry was Joe Hardin, finishing 7th and 8th.

I defy anyone to find not such diverse success from a single club on any given weekend! Congrats to all.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

NETT runners fastest in their towns!

A couple of the NETT ladies were listed in the Boston Globe today as the fastest Boston Marathon finshers in their towns--congrats to Tina Wang and Karen Mahoney-Ringheiser!


Monday, April 20, 2009

UPDATED: NETT at the Boston Marathon

Despite some chilly temps and a strong headwind, the NETT squad running the Boston Marathon produced some soild results.

Here's some early reports from the field:

Karyn Miller-Medzon (4:02) had some company when fellow Mini-Ponyettes Mary and Chrissy jumped in with her: "It was actually my slowest marathon to date. But I feel GREAT about it! I ran well and hard until just after the hills and then started getting cramps in my side and in my calf. I didn't walk, but I slowed down to nearly 10-minute pace for a few miles and lost the 2 or 3 minutes I need to sneak in under 4 hours for a qualifying time. (I missed it by about a minute and a half). But I felt like I finished strong and feel so psyched to have done this 10 months after my surgery. So no complaints here! I had one minor problem when I sort of fainted at the finish, got brought into the med tent, and was quickly diagnosed with hypothermia (the headwinds were cold and I didn't realize how bad the combo of wet and cold would be...) So my temp was down to 94 and my blood pressure was described by the doc as "um..VERY low". They warmed me, gave me an IV, and released me back into the wild when my temperature was back to 98. And I was none the worse for the wear. Chrissy and Mary were AWESOME running partners! And Mary went the extra mile (figuratively) waiting with Noah at Au Bon Pain while Ron was with me in the medical tent. Is that loyalty or what?"

Karyn's training partner Peter Evers finished a very good run in 4:00:59, his fastest marathon to date. "I'm incredibly happy to have run with him for 19 miles," Karyn said. (You can see Peter in the picture to the far right in the grey hat).

Tina Wang (3:31): "I sort of surprised myself today. I felt good all the way, except for some soreness in my gluteal muscle that started early, around mile 10. I stopped at mile 17.2 to see Frank and again at mile 23 to see my colleagues, so considering stopping a couple times, I am happy with the result. Thanks to all the NETT folks for being out there today. I saw Frank, Ron, Noah, Adrienne and quite a few friends out there today cheering. It was fun (can't believe I said that)."

Brian Scanlan ran a very impressive 3:08. "My legs just felt incredible thanks to a solid three-week taper. Thanks also to all the help from NETT in training and cheering."

And despite his prior trash talking with his bully of a sister Claire, she in fact turned out to be his biggest ally on race day. "Claire deserves spectator of the year honors. She went with me to the start and dropped off my dry clothes bag on the bus. Saved me about a mile walk. Then she took my folks to cheer me on at different points along the route."

Dima Feinhaus (3:01 the HARD way): It was quite a race for me. I haven't been in so much pain since I ran 50 miles 4 years ago unprepared. But now that pain is behind me and I'm in peace with my result: 3:01:12. My goal was 2:55 and I was thinking that if lucky I can do as well as 2:50-2:52, or...retreat to last year 2:58 if things don't go so well.

The first 5K was as planned and a bit ahead of last year time. I knew that something wasn't right, because it took way more effort than it should. I scaled expectation a bit but pushed on. Somewhere around Natick I realized that I'm getting dehydrated and I increased my fluid intake. I entered Newton slightly ahead of last year schedule and in a tad better shape. But my situation quickly deteriorated at that point though. I got cramps, legs felt stuffed with something heavy, I stopped paying attention to the watch, people around me and concentrated on managing the pain and running as lightly as I possibly could. Somewhere near City Hall the cramps got really bad and I would occasionally scream from pain (I hope it wasn't too loud).
At Coolidge corner it got so bad that I even made a couple of walking steps, but then I thought better of it. Last two miles were actually not that bad. I guess I got used to the pain. Last stretch along Boylston was a blur as everything after that. A kind female volunteer helped me to put my pants on. I think it was the first time after my mom stopped doing it ... I wasn't alone in that sorry state and it was soothing. A guy next to me got help with pants too.

I still wonder what did me in. Last year theory was electrolytes. That theory was disproved with vengeance. I theorize that weather was pretty misleading and I got really dehydrated, running against the wind wasn't helpful either. Thanks to all those people who cheered to me, I heard you! Better training next year.

Karen Mahoney-Ringheiser (3:30): I started out the day with double the amount of coffee as usual the morning of the marathon, which later proved to be too much for my system. The gun went off and I started running. Usual crowds at the beginning, didn't weave, just ran. Effort seemed more difficult than anticipated early on. Effect of coffee and first Gu w/caffeine, made me feel sick. By Framingham, I hadn't settled into the race, just felt sick and heavy legs. Also, actually had a headache the entire race from the noise level. Newton hills my legs were feeling pretty tired and new at that point, I wouldn't make my goal time of 3:15.

I didn't expect to see anyone else on the course at that point, but happily saw Doris at the top of Heartbreak Hill who spotted me on the opposite side of the road, and yelled my name. That helped. Hard to say how, but seeing supporters that you know, really does help. Struggled the last three miles and I had to walk some. I knew it wasn't my day, but it was just about over. Glad I ran such an amazing race, but such a tough course. Even with all the hill training I did in preparation, it still didn't feel easy. Oh well, made it through my 7th consecutive Boston. Placed 63rd in division. Thanks to all the NETTers who cheered, and thanks to all that helped with my training.

Other NETT results of note:

Jean Dany Joachim: 4:34 (had to walk a good part of the way from mile 18 due to severe cramping, but true to the spirit of the marathon, he did get across that line).

Rick Cleary: DNFY (did not finish yet) but plans to go back an finish from where he dropped out. He was, however, fortunate enough to make the TV coverage at the start of the second wave.

Interesting note: Dima Feinhaus (CSU) and Vlad Luppov (Shamrocks) both ran 3:01 (must be a Russian thing)

And if mom running the marathon and winding up in the medical tent wasn't enough excitement for the weekend, Noah "Little Skittles" MM had a great run on Sundayat the Heartbreak Hill International Youth race and came 3rd out of 49 kids in the 11-year-old race. (Note the B's hat--this kid obviously likes WINNING!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Good luck to the NETT Boston Marathon runners!

NETT held its first ever "Good luck dinner" for our members running the Boston Marathon on Monday. A big crowd of marathoners and just hungry people showed up the Chateau in Waltham for the "last supper" of sorts. As a special surprise, the new NETT shirts were handed out to those in attendance. (Shirts are ready folks, so get in touch with Crazy Dave to picks yours up--emails will be forthcoming this week.)

NETT all over the Wrentham Duathlon

The multi-sport year kicked off this weekend and the ever-evolving NETT multisport squad gave notice to the other tri teams. Here's Frank KJ's report on the very successful day:

No less than 8 mini ponies raced the season opener and with great success as always. Jerry showed great form taking 3rd overall and 1st in his new “advanced” age-group. Chris was a bit ahead of Jerry into T1, and Frank just a few seconds behind but none of them could keep up with Jerry on the bike leg. Frank managed to move by Chris on the bike to secure 3rd in the M40-44. Chris held off veteran duathletes to take 4th. Nice work by Chris who rode a good old steel frame road bike. Bruce had a solid race all around and checked 10th in the age-group. And Eri did his first ever duahlon (I believe) and why not debut with a 2nd place finish in the M20-24; yes he’s that young and single (I believe).

The De Zutter family was all over the place. Katherine wanted her share of the podium and took 1st the teen age-group – improving her time from the fall race by no less than 15 minutes. Imagine taking 15 minutes of you 10 mile PR in just 4 months!!! Jim Jr and Jim III shared a family relay team which placed them a solid 6th place. And of course wife/mom was there to cheer on. Also thanks to Jim Sr and Tina for coming to out cheer and take pictures.).

Results at

Grand Prix standing has not yet been updated but I am sure we raked in a ton of points today.

Monday, April 13, 2009

NETT Runs the Rivah Wicked Fast!

It was a strong showing for NETT at the 18th annual Merrimack River Trail Race up in Andover, Mass. Overall as a team, NETT finished third thanks in large part to very strong performances by Pat Dwyer (1:05:57) and Chris Smith (1:07:09). Crazy Dave and Big Ben lumbered in behind them in 1:18 and Jack Burke cranked out a season-opener 1:28.

Coming out of the woodwork literally was Extra-Irish Dave Burney, who emerged from semi-seclusion in the woods of central Mass to run a very encouraging sub-2 hour time. And of course, NETT pal Marshall Randolph continued to defy all laws of aging and physics by running a downright ridiculous time of 1:16.

On the ladies side, Chrissy Durden took her first trip up the Rivah in a speedy 1:39, winning the bloodshed award.

Some Photos Courtesy of Jim Johnson, others Chris Smith.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

NETT makes an assault on the 2009 FIRM Grand Prix

And, a word from Frank KJ on NETT's 2009 multipsport season, which kicks off this month:

One week to Wrentham Duathlon and we may have no less than 8 mini ponies racing. I have finished registering 25 people from NETT for the FIRM GP Series. So far about 172 people have registered in total (deadline in 4/15) so we are accounting for one of out of 7 racers. Furthermore, we are almost meeting the goal of having at least 3 people in at least 5 GP races which mean we will be eligible for price awards. I have attached a matrix that shows the races in the series and who have committed to what so far.

Green colored races means we already have 3 people but the more people the more points we are likely to score
Yellow colored races means we are close to having 3 people.
Don't worry about the colors on the names for now.

Please review the matrix and see if you would be able to do any of these races. And if you can then please let me know. Plus, I will of course keep sending out reminders in advance of each GP race. Editor's Note: You can zoom in on this document and scroll around by using the tools at the top. "Toggle full screen" might be the easiest. It's the only way to post a big PDF on blogger.