Cycling off the Beaten Path in Denmark

This post has been delayed for the longest time but without further or do, here it is! This past August I took a “trication” to Scandinavia to compete in the KMD Ironman Copenhagen, 4:18:4 and the ITU World Olympic Triathlon Stockholm. A few days after competing in Copenhagen (race report to come soon) I took a day trip to the island of Møn to get off the beaten path and explore the Danish countryside by bike. It is quite a lot for one day but can be done.

Møn is an island south of Copenhagen that can be very easily reached by train and bus in just under 2 hrs. You can take the ICE train south to Vordingborg (a very cute little town) and transfer directly to the 660 bus to Stege outside of the train station. The buses and trains are extremely easy to use. Buses accept cash on board then you board the bus as a method of payment so you dont have to worry about getting a card.



Arriving in Møn the bus drops you off in the town of Stege which is the largest town on the island and is a base for all activities on the island. We arrived around 11:30 or so in the morning at Stege which gave us a little bit of time to explore the town. A beautiful little town filled with restaurants, craft shops and art galleries the town also features some stunning Danish architecture as well as one of the only surviving city gates in Denmark. Møn is a place that attracts a lot of artists which is evident by its stunning landscapes. Thus, if you are into the arts, I highly recommend checking out some of the galleries in Stege. Liza’s Gallery, located just off the main strip in Stege (a few blocks from the bus station) is an excellent art gallery to visit which features a nice variety of art from glass works, to textiles to painting from local artists. We spent a good hour in this place as I just wanted to buy everything. I purchased a beautiful painting of Møns Klint, the famous clay cliffs, by Rupert Sutton who is one of the co owners of the gallery .

To rent/hire a bicycle head to Point S Stege a 10 short minute walk down Storegade (the main road) past all the shops. Point S allows you to rent bikes for the day or days if you are staying longer. Opening hours are from Mon-Fri 7:30 to 17:00, Saturday 9:00 to 13:00. The shop also allows you to return the bike after hours which was fantastic for us since we wanted to maximize our day on the island.

Møn in route to Klinthomn Havn

Møn in route to Klinthom Havn

After picking up the bikes at Point S we cycled east along Klintevej stopping at Keldby Kirk for some photos in route to stop at Kaj Kok, a traditional Danish restaurant for lunch. To our disappointment the restaurant was closed. Continuing on, we took a right at Sondre Landevej (across the street from Kaj Kok) toward Klinthom Havn. Klintholm Havn is a small port town that features a beautiful beach for relaxation, a couple restaurants, and an art gallery. The town is also the launching point for boat tours to visit the popular Møns Klint. In route to Klinthom Havn we passed many beautiful traditional style houses and farms. I found myself stopping numerous times to snap photographs. The terrain is a gradual down hill to Klintholm Havn. We became aware of that on the return ride as it felt slightly harder to peddle back. For the most part the terrain here is pretty flat. If you are peddling along at a gradual pace the ride is just under 10 miles (about 15km) and will take you no longer than 45 minutes to get there from Stege. Arriving in Klintholm Havn we had lunch at Hyttefadet which features delicious seafood specials. Special note that the menu is only in Danish. The service I must say was fantastic though. Pressed for time we trying to eat quickly to make our boat tour to go to Møns Klint. The manager of the restaurant was so gracious he called the tour company and held the boat for us. Peddling over to the docks he locked up our bikes at the dock and boarded the boat.

Møns Klint

Møns Klint

Taking a boat tour of Møns Klint is a great way to see the cliffs and learn about its history if you are pressed for time. Sejlkutteren Discovery runs boat tours a couple times a day out of Klintholm Havn. The boat tour is about 2 hrs and costs 175 DKK per person. Beverages can ice cream can be purchased on-board which was a nice treat.

After the boat tour we poked around the gallery in Kintholm Havn which featured numerous paintings and photographs by local artists as well as a large antique collection on the down stairs. Definitely worth the look if you have some time.

The ride back to Stege was a little more challenging than we had anticipated. The gradual climb back to Klintevej combined with the increased cross wind was a little more challenging on the touring bike. Since the terrain is pretty much open farm land on this route it can become very susceptible to higher cross winds. It was nothing crazy just something to consider. We made a pit stop at the Elmelunde Kirk on the return to admire some traditional Danish church architecture and take a glance inside to see the ceiling paintings. Elmelunde is noted to have some of the most beautiful Sistine “chapelesque” paintings inside. We, however, arrived a little too late to take a look inside. The exterior of the church and its grounds are still quite remarkable and worth the stop to gander at.

After reaching Elmelunde the ride back is a flat 4.5 miles back to the bike shop (approximately a 20 minute ride). Arriving back in Stege I was a little surprised that everything for the most part was closed on a week day in August. It was difficult for us to find a place to eat on the return before catching the bus back. I ended up running to the supermarket (which i just made in time as it was closing) to grab some food, or so Mon-Is in my case.

I highly recommend checking out Mon and the clay cliffs if you have a free day in Copenhagen. It is definitely worth the trip to experience the Danish countryside off the beaten track.

Møn by Bicycle (Stege, Kirks and Møns Klint) Itinerary and Route – 1 Day

  • Early or mid morning train from Copenhagen to Vordingborg where you will transfer to bus to Stege. Approximately 2 hrs.
  • Arrive in Stege late morning with an 45 minutes to an hour to walk around the town and visit shops and galleries. Recommended places include; Liza’s Gallery for local Danish fine art, David’s for a morning coffee, shopping along BLANK.
  • Hire a bicycle from Point S – Stege located a 10 minute walk from downtown Stege.
  • Cycle Stege to Klintholm Havn via Keldby Kirk to stop for a photo op: 10 Miles, 45 minutes
  • Lunch in Klintholm Havn at Hyttefadet and check out the Gallery a block down the street before catching a boat for a two hour boat tour of Møn Klint.
  • Cycle Klintholm Havn to Elmelunde Kirk : 6 miles, 30 minutes
  • Cycle from Elmelunde Kirk to Stege: 4.5 Miles, 20 minutes
  • Depending on the day and time you arrive back in Stege have dinner downtown before catching the bus back to Vordingborg.
  • Catch an early evening/late afternoon bus back to Vordingborg to transfer to the train back to Copenhagen. Arrive back in Copenhagen later in the evening.

Trip Duration: 12-13 hrs (from Copenhagen)

Cycling: 21 Miles, 1h 35 min

Stay tuned for my full detailed cycling and travel guide of Møn to come soon complete with maps and more photographs!


Triathlete to Swim, Bike and Run South East Asia and Develop Endurance Travel Guides

This year I have been giving things a lot of thought and I have decided to move forward to pursue my passion with multisport and travel. I am approaching a pivotal point in my life where I will have an opportunity to try something new with my life and pursue my dream of becoming an entrepreneur. This October I will embark on a journey to south east Asia for five months where I will swim, bike and run from Singapore, through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and develop endurance travel guides from my experiences.

There are many travel guides out there today which provide copious amounts of fantastic information about countries and places for people who solo travel to people who travel with families. However, as an endurance athlete who loves to travel and spends a lot of time training, I often ask myself when arriving someplace where can I run?, where can I get a swim in?, where can I bike safely and where can I eat on a racing/sports diet? With my experience with travel and being an athlete it would be nice to have a guide when I am traveling to race or on vacation and need to train that can provide me with good area information on training routes, places to swim, cautions to take in a particular area, and healthy places to eat for example. These guide books will strive to answer those questions that we all have when traveling for business, to a race, or to a vacation spot and we want to train. The guides will include but not be limited to detailed route maps for cycling and running, discussion of good places to swim, cautions to take, provide recommendations of places to eat healthy on an athlete diet, and make recommendations of places to base yourself out of depending on your life style.

Thus, to make this dream into a reality I ask for your help with a small donation. Every little bit helps. The money will be used to cover necessities: international air travel, ground transportation between cities, food, lodging in guest houses, hostels or airbnb and visas.

To make a donation click here.

Thanks a lot in advance.

Monticelloman Race Report

The week leading up to Monticelloman I came down with yet another cold. This was number two in a row this spring. I was not pleased as I had just gotten over the first and then caught a second. Hence I took it easy on my workouts that week. I had happened to be on a rest week with workouts too which was good because it would allow me to recover better from the cold. I took Friday off completely from workouts and then did a 45 minute ride on Saturday morning with 20 minutes or so at race pace. Later that afternoon after we arrived in Charlottesville at the race site to pickup our packets. Parked at the race site, I went for a 3 mile run at a 7 minute mile pace, on the run course to check it out. I debated going for a swim as they had the beach open for a swim practice. However, I  decided not too as the water was rather cold and I did not want to be in a cold wet suit the following morning when it was 45 degrees out!

Pre Race

That night I got some good sleep at Alissa’s friends house and I woke up around 6:30 to get my things together have some coffee and some breakfast  I had my usual oatmeal with honey and blueberries and a banana before the race. Arriving at the race site is when disaster struck. After we parked the car and unloaded our stuff I started to put my bike together. It turned out I had screwed in my cassette too tight after I had taken it off to clean it the day before. If you screw in your cassette too tight to the wheel it basically becomes stuck with the rear wheel as it rotates so you cant glide down hills or around turns. I could believe this. Basically my bike had become a fixie. I could still shift still which was good. I just could not stop peddling or I would crash. Frustrated, I took my bike to the bike tent at transition hoping that they would have a cassette wrench. Turned out they didn’t  I was screwed. Really nervous now, we were also running a little behind so I began to become stressed about getting everything set up in transition and get body marked. I then proceeded to move to transition thinking about what I could do. I did not bring a cassette wrench with me and I doubt anyone else did either. Transition was a full at this point and it was hard for me to find a spot. The numbers were done in groups so there was not an individual spot for me. I managed to find one after looking for 5 minutes or so. I began to set every up and started to ask around if anyone had a cassette wrench (I know weird question, who brings one to a race?). Turns out no one did, no surprise there. Not to self: always check your wheels to see if the cassette moves on the wheel and don’t screw it in really tight or bring a cassette tool and wrench to races. Whoops! At this point I decided well I am going to have to make due with this. Live and learn. I began to smile and think about positive things. The bike was ride-able it was just going to be a very interesting bike portion of the race. After I got all set up I went to get body marked and get my timing chip. I then slipped on my wet suit and headed down to the beach for a little warm up swim. At this time the first half swimmers were coming in so we cheered them on in.

The Swim


We had a beach start to the swim which was rather exciting to me. I have never had one of these in triathlon and have always wanted to do one. I positioned myself to the front line and to the right a little so I could get out front and not have to trample over people as I am a strong swimmer. The air horn sounded and we all sprinted in. The swim course had 2 buoys we had to go around on our right hand side. The first was straight ahead from the beach then we turned west down the lake to the second then a turn for home. The water was flat, not choppy which was good and there did not appear to be much current. The temperature was a little over 60 so a wet suit for me was a must. I had difficulty breathing and settling into my stroke the first 500 yards or so. I am not sure if it was the cold water or my sickness. Could have been a combination of both. I was really struggling with my breathing around the first buoy. Nearing the second buoy I began to settle in to my groove finally. There were a handful of people ahead of me. Sighting was easy around the second buoy however after we made the turn it appeared they were still moving some guide buoys for the olympic race. A few of us stopped for a minute dead in the water looking for guide buoys since the second turn buoy was rather far out. There was a guy on a jet ski moving one guide buoy. I saw other swimmers going off to the left toward it but to me it didn’t make sense. I then noticed it was being moved. I continued on my course as I was able to spot the swim out buoy. Where they ended up dropping the buoy was right in my path, excellent. Feeling good at this point I began to pick up the pace. Exiting the swim my body felt good and strong. However, I glanced at the clock and it said 24 minutes. Eeek… That was a bit slow for me. However after analyzing my swim results I realized that my swim was actually 1.09 miles according my my garmin and my sighting seemed to be a bit off after the second turn. My full technical swim race report can be found here.


T1 could have gone better, but since my body does not move as well in the cold I think it went ok. I had some difficulty getting out of my wet suit even after body gliding my legs. I quickly slipped on my bike shoes and helmet and took a swig of water and gatorade and headed out to the bike course. Not the best but I’ll take it. I was becoming more nervous at this point also about the bike.

The Bike


The bike went very well given my situation with my cassette. Running the bike out of T1 I was feeling a little slow, down and nervous all at the same time. I was praying to god that I would not crash on the course. I have never ridden this course before or driven it so I didn’t quite know what to expect. The only part I was familiar with was a steep sharp, quick downhill near the beginning of the bike. The olympic course is a one loop course that circles Lake Monticello. Beautiful and scenic it features numerous rolling hills with a nice challenging one here and there. I found the bike course to be challenging but yet very fast. I went close to the my bike split I got at Lobsterman last fall which I was stoked about and not being able to really handle downhills and turns made me more happy with my bike fitness level for this early in the season. We had a bit of wind on the course around mile 15 or so which I thought was bizarre since most of the bike course is lined with trees and there were not many open fields that you crossed. It was puzzling to me where this strong crosswind came from. The air temperature was perfect for me with the biking. I had been worried that it was going to be really cold on the bike and that I may need arm warmers. That was not the case, I was perfectly comfortable the whole time. One thing I should have done is drink more of my water and Heed that i had carried with me on the bike. Usually I go through the two bottles on an olympic on the bike. I probably has half that, which came back to bight me later on the run. When the temperature is cool out I have a tendency to not take liquids on the bike. Its a habit I have been trying to break for years now. I managed to hold my place well on the bike which was surprising for me as well. I only went down one place on the bike. Usually I get crushed on the bike. The last few miles of the bike course is great, its all down hill. With only a few turns left to go I glanced at my watch and saw I was averaging about 20 mph on the hilly course. I was very pleased. I began to get a second wind so to speak in the last few miles. I took a Clif Shot around mile 15 which helped out. I had planned to take it earlier but it seemed to work just fine here. Coming into T2 I was a little disappointed I could not try out taking my shoes off before the dismount line  as I had been practicing. Arriving at T2 I looked a little silly “winding down” my peddling. Needless to say I was glad the bike went that smooth. Its a little bit of a jog into transition after crossing the dismount line. You basically dismount at one end then run around the transition area to get into it with your bike. My full technical bike report can be found here.


T2 was an interesting experience on many fronts. After dismounting off my bike and slipping out of my bike shoes I had the most awful cramp in my thy’s and my upper abdomen. The cramp was so tight you could see this long bulge protruding from my chest that was solid as a rock. I could not stand up it hurt so bad. I had to stop for a moment to let it pass. This had never happened to me before. I concluded it must have been from the lack of water I had been drinking on the bike. Once it passed I was able to get my other shoe on and make my way out of transition jogging slowly being cautious of any other cramp that could emerge.

The Run


Once I was out on the run the cramping began to go away and I began to gain speed. I went out at a sub 7 minute mile pace which was great for me and given it was a hilly course I was feeling great. I managed to pace off of a gentlemen who departed T2 the same time I did for the first 2.5 miles or so. The course is a 6.23 mile lollipop loop along the lake through residential streets. The hills were rolling and challenging but I did not find it unbearable. It did seem more rolling than the profile on the map had shown. I continued to maintain a 7 minute mile pace which was great for me with the hills. Once you round the lollipop it is downhill for the most part. People in the neighborhood had come out to cheer us on which was great. I smiled and waved as I passed by. I seemed to have been doing pretty well at this point. One person came flying by me around mile 3 but besides that I managed to keep my place. My pace started to fade a little bit toward the end. There was a little climb to the finish line. My full technical run report can be found here.

Post Race

I felt good after finishing the race. I definitely brought the run in as fast as I could. The race offered a nice spread of pizza, fruit and snacks for the finishers. After taking in some food I went to look at the results and noticed that I placed 5th in my age group and two of the guys that beat me placed in the overall top 3 pushing me up to 3rd place in my age group. I was psyched. This was my first award. However, the results they were reading off were very different than the awards printed for racers to see. There seemed to be many mistakes. They were even calling up women for mens awards. There was also a mess up in my age group. One of the guys got an award for both overall and age group bumping me down to 4th place. I questioned it as I thought I was eligible for an award. They apologized to me when they recognized it but didn’t do anything to correct it. Everything was screwed up. In all this was a nice low key race but a little disorganized.

Monticello and its Wines and Food


Post Race Celebration Wine Tasting at Trump Vineyards

This past weekend my friend Alissa participated in the Monticelloman Triathlon which is a race that features both a half-ironman and olympic distance that takes place in and around Lake Monticello just a few miles southeast of Charlottesville, Virginia. Home to Thomas Jefferson and of course the birth of The Dave Matthews Band, Charlottesville has many cool attractions and activities to partake in if you are in the area. It makes for a great little getaway weekend from Washington, DC as well.

Filled with history and vineyards you can visit Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello and then go wine tasting at Jefferson Vineyards. Jefferson sits on the site of Thomas Jefferson’s original vineyard he built when he settled there. However during the Revolutionary War the vineyards were destroyed. The vineyard remained farmland until 1981 when grapes were replanted and the Vineyard reopened as Jefferson Vineyards. I highly recommend their Meritage wine there. Fantastic bold red with lots of flavors. Jefferson’s wines tend to be on the dryer side just FYI. A tasting is just $10 and you get to sample 11 wines and a crystal wine glass! Just not more than ten minutes down the road is Trump and Blenheim Vineyards (owned by Dave Matthews). We had managed to stop in at Jefferson and Trump for a tastings but didn’t make it to Blenheim Vineyards due to the late start time that we had following the triathlon. Trump is a fantastic winery that offers incredible views of the valley and has a lovely outdoor tasting area. It is a great spot to spend a nice sunny afternoon with a glass or bottle and relaxing. If you are into ports and whiskey I highly recommend the Cru. Its an after dinner white wine that is made similar to port and has a strong Jack Daniels flavor to it. Its great on the rocks, straight or even in a mimosa. The bottle is rather large and does only have a 10 day shelf life unlike port. The sauvignon blanc is lovely too. I had a glass of that following the tasting. We hung out at the Trump tasting room until they closed since the atmosphere was so great.

Following our wine tour we made our way into downtown Charlottesville in search of some good cuisine. There is a lovely pedestrian mall that stretches most of the historic downtown area called East Main Street. The closed off street features dozens of restaurants ranging from Chinese to American to Indian cuisine. Following the race we were craving carbs and something different with lots of flavor. We felt like we needed to indulge a little. In the end Alissa and I decided on Indian. We ate at Himalayan Fusion, which is located on the eastern end of the East Main Street has a nice menu of Indian and Tibetan cuisine (some Chinese too). The vindaloo and the garlic naan was great. Very flavorful and moderately priced! In all we wish that we had a little more time here but we definitely made the most of it with the time that we had. I am planning a return trip this fall during the foliage season to hit up more wineries and visit some sites that I missed along the way this time. Stay tuned for my full race report on Monticelloman!

A New Year with New Goals

After exceeding my expectations for last year by not only completing my first full Ironman but completing it in over an hour and a half faster than what my goal, I was eager to begin to plan the 2013 season. Last year was such an incredible year, very long season but incredibly rewarding by accomplishing things I never dreamed I would be able to do. I also got to check off a couple of races I had been dreaming of doing for some time now.

Coming into 2013 I decided I wanted to go for another full (I know crazy right?). I had been thinking about it for quite sometime. Even before racing  Cozumel. One thing I have realized about myself over the years is if you think about it constantly, go for it. It is what you want and your destiny. I did however, want to make the season much shorter than my 2012 season. I had a blast last year don’t get me wrong but racing and training from February to Thanksgiving was a looooong time. I would like some more downtime this year. Thus, I made my plan for my next full.

Last spring I came a cross the KMD Challenge Copenhagen in Denmark when some other fellow DC Triathlon Club members had told me they were competing in that race later that Summer. I immediately became intrigued. Having fallen in love with Ironman and my strong desire to travel I became really interested in this race. Not to mention I have been wanting to go to Denmark for the longest time. Scandinavia has always been a place I have had a strong desire to visit and spend some time. This was my chance! I then decided to cash my Star Alliance Miles for a round trip ticket to Copenhagen to begin my quest for Ironman number two and my ultimate “trication.” Doing to prelim planning I knew I wanted to spend a bit of time in Denmark traveling, however, I was also wanting to go to Sweden and get up to Stockholm. Norway was a must for me but that would have to be a completely separate trip since there are too many thing I want to see and do there. So I planned out 2 weeks (unfortunately thats all I have…sucks) in Denmark and Sweden, ending the trip in Stockholm. I like killing two birds with one stone. Traveling to a beautiful cool new place and getting a race in. It always makes me feel better on indulging after the race as well.

After cashing the miles (60,000 miles) and getting my vacation time cleared I registered. Gulp….Im in! Here we go…number two…. Now it was time to pick some other races. After looking at my finances from last year on how much I spent in triathlon (gear, races, travel) I went a little overboard. This year I decided to scale it back. Maybe this year I will do 3 races and not 6. I stated to look for a good half ironman I could do leading up to KMD Challenge Copenhagen. I chose Rev3 Williamsburg in the end because the timing was great where I was about 7 weeks out and Williamsburg I a great place to make a nice little weekend trip.  The countryside is beautiful down there with lots of historical sights to see and fun activities to take part in like mini golf and Bush Gardens. I also wanted to get an Oly race in early in my season plan as well. I came across ITU San Diego which I thought would be cool. Our tri club got an awesome deal with tri bike transport the previous year if we got a large group of members to compete. They came back at us this year with the same deal. I was intrigued. Then I noticed that ITU Stockholm (which was linked to the San Diego website) was happening the day I was planning to be in Stockholm. Hmmm…. I started to look into it. It was a week after Challenge Copenhagen. Would I be crazy for signing up for this? An Oly a week after an Ironman? I just wanted to do it for the heck of it since I would be there. I asked around to some of our tri club coaches and they said “well your 30….you should be fine”. Done. It was only $125 for ITU Stockholm as opposed to about 250 with all the fees for ITU San Diego. Call me crazy but its the plan. Two weeks, two countries, two races. BAM! Let the training begin!


Its been a while since I posted about my races and now I finally have had time to sit down and write about Musselman with all of my training recently. The Musselman triathlon takes place in mid-July every year on the north shore of Lake Seneca in Geneva, NY. Situated on the largest Finger Lake in upstate New York, the triathlon is Half Iroman distance race as well as a sprint and a “super super sprint”, I guess you could call it.

Overall Musselman went well despite the stormy weather and my physical conditions. The course is very challenging, especially on the run. About 4 days before Musselman I crashed my bike at Hains Point as a driver ran me off the road. Miraculously, I was ok. I only walked away with a bruised elbow and knee. I was able to direct my fall into the grass which saved me. Over the next few days my knee had been bothering me so I had been taking it easy on my workouts.

The Friday before the race, my friend and fellow club mate Bryan and I drove up together from DC to Geneva. The drive was about 5 and a half hours from DC that actually didn’t feel that long. Driving up through Central Pennsylvania we came across some interesting places and people I will say.  Arriving in the Lake Seneca region we drove up Route 50 through Watkins Glen along the west side of the lake where we made a stop at the Fox Run Winery which had a fantastic selection of whites and a great Merlot. You can receive a free tasting if you check in on Facebook. Following the wine tasting and splitting a bottle of the Merlot we continued our way to Geneva to get prepped for the micro mussel race.

Micro Mussel

The micro mussel is a super sprint triathlon (if you can call it that) that takes place the Friday before Musselman on the edge of Lake Seneca near the Hilton. The race is composed of a 100 yardish swim, .2 milish bike and a 100 yardish run. There are two heats for the event. The first being a serious time trial race and the second, which everyone comes to watch, is the costume race. People come dressed in an amazing aray of costumes. Some of my favorites are shown here. The catch for the costume race is that the bike portion has to be completed on an unmodified tricycle. It was absoultely hilarious watching grown adults compete in costume on tiny tricycles. The race is $20 to compete in. I am totally doing this next year. My face hurt from laughing so hard watching these people. Absolute blast! If you are planning on racing Musselman it is worth getting up there the Friday night before to see this.

Pre Race Day: Mussel Mural and Packet Pick Up

Saturday I went to pick up my packet for the Half Iron on Sunday and to my pleasant surprise there was some pretty good swag. We got nice cotton Musselman Grocery Bags with shampoo, conditioner, a jar of peanut butter, a mussel baby (a little Musselman stuffed animal) and a car decal. I was really getting excited about this race hearing people in line talking about the course. That morning Bryan and I hit up 2 more wineries before the information session. Probably not the best thing to do right before the race but you know, “when in Rome” I guess. Following the information session we hopped across the street to the Mussel Mural. The Mussel Mural is a large 4 paneled concrete wall that had been taken over by Frazz creator and cartoon artist Jef Mallett. Jef, an avid triathlete, competed in Musselman in the past and was now back again for the race this year racing and painting a mural that we could all sign our names on. I of course went to leave my mark on the Wall of Mussel. What a fantastic lunch we grabbed a bite at the near by BLANK which offered a nice variety of cheap healthy eats. They also had a nice little welcoming to all Musselman competitors. The triathlon art and photographs in their shop were also fun to gander at. That evening we all gathered at my triathlon clubs presidents house in Geneva for a pre-race pasta dinner. Ryan’s parents cooked this fantastic meal where we all managed to stuff ourselves full of pasta, meat balls, fruit and of course some cookies.

Leaving my Mark on the Mussel Mural

The Race

Waking early Bryan and I loaded up the car and headed down to transition. The weather called for storms today which put us a bit on edge. The predicted timing of the storm was a toss-up of hitting us on the swim or the bike. I was hoping it would hold off for the bike as I did not want them to cancel the swim. It looked to be good. Off we went into Lake Seneca in a u shaped point to point swim course. The swim was rather unique as the start was very shallow were you became tempted to stand up and walk the first 200 meters or so. The swim then went out into the lake and took a left turn into a marina canal that lead all the way around to the opposite side of transition. It was a nice swim given the weather conditions. The first half of the swim was the hardest, we had quite a bit of wake and we were fighting the current. However, when you make the turn for the marina its smooth sailing as the strong current became in our favor. I came out of the water into T1 at 31. I was hoping to go under 30 but the currents would not let me do it that day.

My T1 was a little slow as I struggled to get my tri top on over my wet body. I was feeling good at this point, not too drained from the swim.

The bike course was a beautiful +56 ride through farmland and stunning views of the Lakes with well equipped aid stations along the route. There were also a lot of horse and buggies we passed along the bike route as well which was really neat. In terms of the terrain the bike course had a lot of false flats with one big hill at about mile 27 which was where the thunderstorm hit at full force. Dumping sheets of rain on us I had a hard time seeing the road with my shades on. I had to remove them which was a bit painful trying to bike as fast as I could with sheets of rain hitting your face that felt like pins and needles flying into my face. The rain let up in the last 15 miles of the ride where it became all down hill. At this point in the bike ride I was in a lot of pain, my stomach and bladder was not happy. I think it was from the Powerbar I ate it just did not sit well with me. I had never had this much stomach pain before in a race. I had to stop peddling at one point because it caused so much pain to my bladder and stomach. God it was painful. I was debating stopping at a port-o-john but I said screw it I made it this far, I can wait until transition. There was one part of the course in the last 10 miles that took you onto uneven pavement on military roads which made things a bit interesting to bike across at high speeds and my bladder.  Coming into T2 I was in a lot of pain and really needed a bathroom. I was afraid of what might happen when I got off the bike to run.

Coming into T-2 it was a full-out sprint to the port-o-john. I had been holding this for the last 20 miles there was no holding this back whatever was about to come out of my stomach. I will spare those details. After using the bathroom I felt like a new man and fresh for the run.

Heading out onto the run I felt good. I was a bit concerned about my knee from my crash the week before so I was being cautious. The first 3 miles of the run are flat along the shoreline of the lake to the Mussel Mural. You Rounding the mural there is a short but very steep hill, I walked it since I started to feel my knee speaking to me. At the top of the short climb the run becomes nice and flat through town along the lake passing some beautiful houses. The course then takes you into a park and onto some residential streets where everyone in the neighborhood was out cheering us on. What fantastic support by the support by the community I must say. I have never been to a race where so many people from the community were out cheering us on and showering us with sprinklers and handing us sponges. At 7 miles in is where the run started to get tough. My knee started to act up and my body was slowly draining on the hills. The largest hill was to come on the dirt path at this point. I struggled up it but the African drummers situated on top of the hill kept me going. Their beats definitely gave me that extra lift i needed to get over this hill. After rounding the top of the hill I started walking a bit due to my knee. It was giving me some sharp pains. I could continue to run but I knew if I did I was at a big risk of injuring myself for the rest of the season so I backed off and had some coke and some electrolytes at the aid station and continued on when I could. The plus side at this point in the course was it was pretty much all down hill now. I stopped and walked a couple more times as I made my way back to the lake. I became concerned about my knee again rounding the steep downhill (this time) by the mussel mural around mile 10. My knee held out though going down the hill. I walked a couple more times in the last 2 miles of the run because my knee was not having it. I was over 2 hrs on the run at this point. A bit disappointing but given the terrain and my physical conditions I would say I was ok. The finish line never felt so far as I wrapped around the lake looking at the distant white tents on the side of the lake that seemed to not get any closer. Coming into the finish was the greatest thing as all the club tents and people lined the finish shoot. I ran by a bunch of club members in my final steps of the race hearing them cheering me on. After crossing the finish line I proudly accepted my finishers medal which was quite cool (the medal was made of recycled bike parts) and took a swig out of my new finishers water bottle they handed out at the finish line, which stated “Paddled, Peddled and Prevailed” and thats what I did. What a great race and course.

Post Race

After finishing the race I recouped in the DC Triathlon Club tent where I just relaxed for about 15 minutes or so looking at everyone’s food that looked to be very appetizing but my body was just not feeling it. After a while I finally made myself go get food to put in my body. The post race food for athletes was quite good, some of the best I have seen where Wegmans (local grocery store) catered the event. They had delicious pulled pork sandwiches with sides of potatoes and fruit. Mr. Twisties, a local ice cream joint, was handing out free ice cream to athletes as well. I recommend the black raspberry flavor which was to die for. The flavor did not last long at the ice cream stand as athletes quickly snatched it up.

Later that afternoon a bunch of us from the club gathered at Murphy’s on Main Street in Geneva for a post race celebration. Murphy’s is a popular pub style restaurant that serves a wide range of food and offers a nice selection of local brews. If you are feeling famished, as some of us were after that race, you can order the “man vs. burger” which is a pound of meat with a huge side of fries. That evening we continued the celebration watching the sun set from one of my fellow club members houses porch with some beers and pizza.

The Wine Tour: What We Really Came For

The next day we played tourist in the finger lakes properly with a wine tour down Route 14 on our way back to DC. Most of the wineries in the area are along the Route 14 corridor heading south of Geneva and Route 414 on the east side of the lake. We started on the east side of town at Three Brothers Winery.  Three Brothers has three different wineries and brewery in one place each with a different theme. The deep south back country-style winery in the back is a must see for the experience. The wines I found to be very bit sweet and tasted like juice but the names are quite a hoot.  Continues the tour stopping at Prejean Winery (one of my favorites which had a fantastic Foch), Four Chimneys Organic Winery, Herman J. Wiemer Winery, Glenora Winery (more commercial winery), Pompous Ass Winery (great place to poke around and you can’t beat the name), Fulkerson Winery, and Lakewood Vineyards Winery (my personal favorite with an excellent selection of Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Reds). As our wine tour ended we ended up in Watkins Glen where we stopped for some pub grub at the Cocked Rooster in the downtown area. Granted I was not at 100% for this and despite the weather this by far is one of my most favorite races and race weekends. The course was beautiful, the race director was probably one of the best race directors I have seen yet, the support from the community was fanatic and for the price point makes it an amazing event. Plus you can make a nice letter long weekend out of it by visiting some fantastic wineries. Though this race did kick my ass a bit, I am definitely coming back for this one again.



View of downtown Philadelphia from the bike course

This past weekend I competed in the Philadelphia Insurance Olympic Triathlon in Fairmont Park in Philadelphia. The course hugs the Schuylkill River in and around Fairmont Park. Leading up to the race I was feeling great and hoping that all the crazy heat from the week before would disappear. Fortunately, the weather cooled off a little into the mid 80s with low humidity.

I arrived in Philly on Saturday afternoon around 1pm to pick up my packet from the expo at the Please Touch Museum. I was hoping to make it into town a little earlier to catch brunch with some fellow club members who had raced the sprint earlier in the day but I got stuck in a little bit of traffic. The expo was nice where they had lots of vendors and representatives from local food establishments handing out samples of their foods and products. After picking up my packet, which was so quick and easy I went to the hotel to check in. I stayed at the host hotel, Crown Plaza Philadelphia on City Ave which is a few minutes from the race site and just off I-76. The hotel was nice, very clean and had excellent service. However, the $50 late checkout option I was not a huge fan of.


Arriving at the hotel to check in and found out that my room had not been ready yet so I decided to go into the city and check out the new Barns Foundation on Ben Franklin Parkway downtown near the Philadelphia Art Museum. The building itself is spectacular with its modern open design and is only a 20 minute drive from the Fairmont Park area. I highly recommend checking this place out if you ever get the opportunity. The museum is filled with beautiful collections of Monet’s, Cezanne’s, Renoir’s, Pennsylvania German, asian and african art artifacts. Word to the wise, you MUST buy tickets in advance and check the timing for non-members if you are not a member of the foundation. They limit the tickets and give you time blocks to get into the museum as a result of the confined spaces inside. The tickets for non-member are $18. This is a great way to spend an afternoon between packet pick up and dinner if you have a few hours to kill. I would recommend at least 2-3 hours in the museum.

Saturday evening I returned to the hotel briefly to drop off my bags in the hotel and meet some of the tri club members in Old City for dinner. We ate at La Locanda de Ghiottone which is this incredible little italian place right on the corner of Cheery and N 3rd. The menu has a nice variety of food options suitable for athletes ranging from pasta, salad and meat dishes. The dishes are easily modifiable too which is nice. In all the food was at a very reasonable price point, very fresh and the service was incredible.

Race morning came as I was a little nervous because I didn’t think I got the best sleep as I didn’t get to bed quite as early as I had hoped. I made it down to transition a little after 5am which was great as it gave me plenty of time to get set up. I drove my car to the Please Touch Museum and got into the lot just in time as it was becoming full.  The hotel is close enough that you could bike to transition if you wanted to. Once I had set up in transition I hopped on the bus to head over to the swim start. We had to do a u-turn at one point on our way to the swim start because our bus could not make a right hand turn due to the cones marking the course. Arriving at the swim start I had about an hour to chill before my wave started. The race allowed you to take a special needs bag with you to the swim start where you could drop it off when you were finished with it and pick it up at the expo after the race which was great. I met up with a couple other DC Tri members at the swim start and chatted for a bit. It was nice talking to them to be able to relax my mind a little about the race and help me relax before the swim.


Fellow club member Theresa and I after racing Philadelphia

The swim begins at Joe’s boat house and is a point to point swim all downstream. I actually almost missed the swim start as I was in the bathroom. I didn’t realize that my wave was going so soon. When I walked out of the bathroom to head over to the water I heard them say M-30-34 are in the water. I then quickly sprinted through all the girls in the wave behind us to get into the water. I ran past the announcer as she said to me “where were you?” I replied, “in the bathroom”. She then helped me quickly to get into my suit with 30 seconds to spare on the clock before my wave. Despite being a little disheveled and tense from sprinting across the parking lot into the water to catch my wave, the swim went well. The course is fantastic and was one of my most favorite swims where its a straight shot downstream from Joe’s Boat house under the Columbia Railroad Bridge to transition in the Schuylkill. I felt great in the water, very powerful and fast and managed to to get kicked or kick anyone. I kept good pace with 2 other swimmers in my wave. The water temp was 81 so no wet suits were allowed. That didn’t bother me though. The swim out was nice on a little sandy beach. I felt good coming into T-1 where I began to pick up my running pace to my spot.

Heading out onto the bike I started to feel a little tight in my legs and upper body, probably b/c I didn’t stretch much before the start. I drank some electrolytes and took a salt pill and started to feel better. The olympic bike course was also one of my favorites as well. It is a two loop course that hugs the Schuylkill and is flat and fast with 4 fun hills evenly spaced throughout the course.  The hills are short and fast on the way down with some sharp turns. I had to watch my self a couple of times as I was worried about crashing into people as the roads are curvy, narrow and filled with a lot of people. The picturesque urban course begins on Martin Luther King and heads up to Falls Bridge then turns onto Kelly drive. The course takes you by a few Philadelphian icons such as boathouse row and the art museum. You can also catch a nice glimpse of the skyline on the bike course as well if you know where to look. During the second loop I saw a beautiful old school looking balloon floating over the river and the boathouses which was really cool. My goal was to do the course in 1:10:00 but I just missed it. Coming into T-2 I was feeling good and not too tired for the run. I was a little worried I was pushing too hard on the bike. The final turn down the hill into transition is a little tricky as you gain speed and then have to veer to the right to dismount.

20120702-142938.jpgGoing into the run I felt good. My legs did not feel like I hit the wall. The course is completely flat and does a 3 mile loop out from transition in the shade then a 3 mile loop past transition  in the sun with plenty of aid stations with water and Gatorade. There is also a Cliff gel station at about mile 2 on the run which was nice. I ran the 10k in 46 which I was pleased with. I did feel like I could have gone a little harder in the run though.

In all this is a fantastic course and a great race. I placed better than I had ever placed before in a triathlon. People where incredibly nice as I found many people cheering me in transition and through out the course even though they didn’t know who I was. The race and it was very well run and well stocked with food and liquids. The finish line festival had decent food with grilled chicken a few different pastas, fruit and cookies. I can’t wait to sign up for it again next year. I raced the DC Tri last year around this time and enjoyed this race better (for a comparable urban race). I would definitely recommend this course to people. I had a blast racing it and a good time making some new friends. I can’t wait to sign up for this one again next year.


The week approaching Columbia I was a little nervous about the race since it was my first race of the season, trying to shake the first race gitters away, and I had been under the waether for about 2 weeks prior.

The day of the race we lucked out and had incredible weather for the triathlon. It was clear skys and in the 70s with low humidity. We arrived at the race site around 5:30am to set up and parked at the host hotel about 10 minutes away. I thought the lot at the race site would have filled up by now so we parked at the host hotel and took the shuttle down to the race site. When we arrived at the race site there was still plenty of parking. Rookie mistake….

The race went well despite the unexpected challenging course. I did not PR in this race nor was I really expecting to due to the challenging terrain on the run in particular.

I felt a little sluggish and tight in the swim although my time was better than I had thought. The swim takes place in Centennial Lake starting at a boat ramp about a 3 minute walk from transition. From the boat ramp the swim course leads out toward a dam where and makes a u turn back in the direction of transition.  Coming out of the water into T-1 I felt great. It was actually probably the best feeling T-1 I have ever had. I did not have that heart throbbing, blood rushing feeling I usually get coming intlo T-1. I felt fresh.

The bike course was beautiful and challenging. The bike out is a straight uphill to the start of the course which at first glance looked real intimidating but it was not as intense as it actually appeared. My legs started cramp a bit on the beginning of the bike which concerned me. I popped some salt pills earlier which seemed to have helped a few minutes later. Out on the course there were many challenging hills. I had a blast bombing some of the hills.  There were two water stations on the bike course which was nice to have in an international distance race. The roads were also open to traffic which became a little annoying at times as cars stopped on the road causing me to almost come to a full stop on the course. Coming into T-2 I made an attempt to try to slip out off my shoes to run my bike into transition prior dismounting. I waited too long to do it and almost crashed into the fence a few feet away from T-2. Near death experience of the day, check! Maybe not today. Maybe I should practice this more, I said to myself. Coming into T-2 my legs were feeling good for the run.

I started off with a quick pace, much faster than I usually start. The run course was probably the most challenging part of the race. About 200 meters into the course you go into an uphill and then wind around centennial lake across a pedestrian bridge. The course then heads north of the lake into a lollipop off shoot up into an adjacent neighborhood. After crossing the bridge into the lollipop loop the course becomes much hillier with a gradual hill up to the top of the loop. My pace had slowed significantly at this point. I almost had to walk up one of the hills. I kept pushing through though. Many locals were out cheering us on and set up sprinklers in their lawn on to cool us down. It was great and much appreciated.  After coming off the lollipop loop it was a downhill run to the lake again with one large uphill then it was flat to the finish as we ran across the dam. The last .2 miles was all downhill after peaking on a small uphill. The finish line and last .2 miles was right on the waters edge which was beautiful.

In all I was very pleased with the race. The course was very challenging and beautiful and I thought Tricolumbia did a great job putting the event on. Not to mention the schwag I got was quite good. Besides the usual t-shirt I got a large overnight/transition bag, water bottle and visor. I would definitely do this one again.

My race results:

Overall Place 398 of 1683 Top 24%
Division Name M30-34
Division Place 42 or 127 Top 33%
Gender Place 340

Swim Time 23:55
Swim Pace 1:36
Transition 1 3:03
Bike 1:19:09
Bike Rate 19.0
Transition 2 2:08
Run 52:19
Run Pace 8:27

Finish Time 2:40:30.67