Musselman Half Iron

Race Report: Kristi Paradis

Musselman 70.3 is a destination race and has and entire weekend centered around it in the adorable town of Geneva, NY. Geneva is in the Finger Lakes, Lake Seneca being its lake. They have a micro-mussel race on Friday complete with costumes and big wheels, a sprint on Saturday, then the half on Sunday. Becky and I were in a “dorm” of Hobart and William Smith College that over looked Lake Seneca. The view was nothing but breathtaking. The house was filled with awesome people and I walked away with a new friends!

Our day started at 5:15 am (a bit earlier for Becky) with coffee and breakfast. We rode over to the start as it was only ~3 miles from our “house”. Water temperature the day prior was 77.2 so we’d both decided to forgo wetsuits! This made packing a bit easier. As it turns out the water was over 78 degrees and not wetsuit legal. This was the first time in my 12 triathlons that this was the case! The day was in the 70’s at start time and overcast, storms threatening. The water was clearly choppy. We dove in at 7:15 am. I situated myself smack dab in the middle front this time. I was feeling confident in my swim and was worried that I would have to dodge womyn who were walking rather than swimming. The water was very shallow for ~500 or more yards! Even I could have walked had I wanted to. Immediately I felt the challenge of the swim and knew this was going to be tough. It was a rectangular course that led us into a channel where we swam another 750 yards. I kept hoping that the current/chop would be with us at some point, but it continued to restrict rather than aide forward momentum. I kept chugging along and appeared to be sighting on track! I felt strong through out despite the fact that my time was nearly 3 minutes slower than any in the past. And not once did I panic wit the rough water. Oh, how far I have come!

Up and out of the boat launch aided by volunteers to prevent slipping and stepping on mussels and onto Speedy (with brand new pink bar tape). The air temperature was increasing and it was more humid, so I decided to take it slow the first 10 miles. I felt good and was confident that I would have a good ride. At some point early on I saw Becky and we chatted for a bit before we parted to continue racing. Around mile 18 it began thundering, lightening, and down pouring. The rain was coming down so hard that it hurt my skin and it was difficult to see.  I was thankful for all the time spent riding in the rain. I fortunately had light glasses on so my eyes were protected. I maintained my speed and may actually have accelerated. I felt in control on my bike and my body! As the course went on I felt better and better and made a conscious decision to push it. The bike course was deceitfully difficult. There were lots of false flats with few fast long descents. There were a few short hard climbs. Oh, and then there was the 3-4 miles section of “road” that was an old army road (no wider than a bike path) that was riddled with grass…yup grass! I chicked a lot of guys and got passed a fair amount too. I laughed in the rain and handled my bike like a pro.

Back into transition, popped my Newton Distance U (pink!)and I was off. Legs felt ok and I maintained some good speed throughout. We ran up a short grassy area,through someones back yard I believe, ran up a long hill on loose wet gravel, and then there was the short and step descent on gravel! I felt good over all on the run until my calves started yelling at me. No hamstring pain this time though. After that fast step descent both calves cramped up and left me with L sided lower leg pain. I managed to stay on track but did not accelerate as I had initially planned. I passed a lot of people on the run, including lots of walkers. I walked through two or three aid stations but otherwise ran the entire 13.1. The finishing shoot seemed the longest ever, but I saw Craig (Becky’s husband) and his mom as I was rounding the last corner and that gave me the boost (along with the crowd) to ramp up and sprint to the finish!

The volunteers and spectators were awesome. Residents were out there with cowbells, hoses and snacks for us. There were African drummers at the top of the steep gravel climb and a few random musicians throughout (maybe an accordion in a tunnel…was I hallucinating for that one?!?!) Kids and adults alike were at the aid stations with liquid, snacks, sponges, and ice. This race was like no other I’ve done before and challenged me in unexpected ways. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone!

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