Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Dance Floor" Lamperski's trials and triumphs at the Ironman

2011 Busselton 70.3 Winner

Trash Talking the day before
    It’s Thursday around lunch time and the mystery remains the same, “how am I getting everything to Busselton for the race?”. The last thing that needs to be on my mind is how to arrive at the race, but that’s the only thing that concerns me for obvious reasons. Thankfully some friends offer to assist me, my bike leaves with the Angell family on Thursday, I am set to leave with Lisa Seen on Friday morning and Katrina “the hurricane” is my race wheels, aero helmet, suit and computer. It may sound like a lot of stuff but after all, it’s an ultra triathlon event essentially and I opted to take more than enough for the trip.

     Friday afternoon we arrive at the race expo extra early, hang out a bit with everyone who set up retail shop at the race. Hit the water for a solo 15 minute swim to make sure the wetsuit is fine and everything is just right. Katrina arrives sooner than expected and I go for my 20 minute shake out run while she moves her car so I could grab the remainder of my goodies. The Specialized bike mechanic transfers my cassette to the Zipp 909 disc Justin Ghosh let me use for the race, accompanying the Cosmic Carbone front wheel I swiped from Troy Main, thanks guys! Bike is checked in, wow this event is legit, and there are so many bikes in transition that have mega price tags! The event tops any triathlon I have ever done with the organization, maybe even better than the Duathlon World Championships that I competed in 2 years ago.

Busselton house backyard
Lil Wayne
    Night comes, we all arrive for the “mandatory” meeting in which they mostly discuss the new drafting policy which has been extended to 12 meters, something of which everyone has been discussing for months anyways. I am freezing my butt off and head home for the final checklist of items, lining up my nutrition for race day then it’s off for a good night’s rest in my bunk room. 5:30am text from Raf wishing me luck and I am up, eating toast with cream cheese along with one perpetuem solid and 3 glucose tablets. Janna, J-murda and I pack the car, hit the road and arrive at 6:15am to hit the transition before the 6:45am closing time. Macka, Johan, and Sean O’Neil start at 7am with the Pro’s and the open field including Bean, Lajos, Big Brynt, Matt Illingworth, Katie Gibb and Rachel Smith leave just 2 minutes behind at 7:02. It was a huge boost watching my training partner/coach Paul Mackay jump out of the water in the top pack of pro men in 24 minutes, my focus was centered to understand my fitness levels and to finally rise up.

     Its 8am, time to jump in the water for a quick splash, take a few pictures and then to start the race. Jason Rhine darts out in a blaze of glory as someone yells and he mistakes it for the horn, no worries J, I won’t DQ you! The horn sounds and we are off, guys throwing blows left and right, it’s a mass of chaos, I am swimming over people, I am getting kicked, it’s crazy. After about 400m, the waters clear a bit more and I begin to finally press on and make my way up my group a bit. At one point I could not tell if I was way off course or not as the buoy seemed directly ahead but I appeared to be the only one taking the same line, except the one guy who keeps zig zagging, bad mistake #1. I hit the beach and look down at my watch, 31:01, ahh not too bad, I had hoped for about 30:00 but it was my new best time by over 2 minutes for the distance anyways. Time to show the work I have been putting in on the bike, I remove the wetsuit, grab all of the nutrition in my helmet (flask, extra gel and powerbar) toss it in my tri top, toss on my helmet, sunglasses and rush out of T1. Everyone is stopped at the mount line with no forward progress, so much for my stellar running mount that was planned. Nonetheless, I am on the bike and moving finally, passing people right and left.

Just after my 100m warm-up
     I notice one of the guys that frequents the running centre and rides the hills with our group is just in front of me. I quickly pass by him and begin my assault on the course, or so I thought. 5k into the bike when I am finally settled I decided to go ahead and have a sip of my roctane flask to stay on top of my nutrition so that I can actually negative split the course as planned. Wait, nothing is in that pocket, S#*t!!! nothing is in that pocket either, what happened? I lost ALL OF MY NUTRITION at some point between T1 and the 5k mark apparently, what to do now? All that races through my mind is the video of Luke Bell at Ironman Hawaii when he dropped his nutrition bag and continued anyways, ultimately passing out and being rushed to the hospital. Should I keep attacking with just water or scale it back? Ok, just stay with these guys at a safe distance, then try the E3 sports drink offered on the course at 35k, check. On the way back my average jumps since we finally don’t have the mega headwind, thank the lord! I hit the E3 station at around 35k and take a big swig of the bottle. This stuff sucks, I have never tasted it before but it’s my only option, another sip, 3 minutes go by and then it all comes back up. Sweet, I am vomiting on the bike, only have water and can already feel my glucose levels starting to plummet. The 2nd loop is a forgetful sight, I was somehow passing people the whole time but I felt like a turtle, I had no cadence and just felt like I was in some insomnia daze just wishing for T2 to get closer.
Trying to finish strong

     Note to self, next time you decide not to tape extra gels on the bike, change your mind!!! All of those hard earned miles on the bike in the early morning hours, totally wasted, I cycled faster in my 1st half ironman attempt last year with one month of cycling under my belt! Staggering into T2, I knew the run could be very very iffy, so I Took my precious time to inhale a few glucose tablets I laid out “in case” along with some endurolytes. The lights are coming back on!!! Ok Chris, those long bricks you worked so hard at are going to come into play, relax and keep it consistent. Legs are burning a bit, lungs feel quite good actually, and energy seems to be coming around. I am afraid to look at my watch once the 1st K split beeps but I do anyways, “3:43”, wow, how did that happen? Keep it going buddy, maybe your race isn’t blown, you can still PR even though everyone is out of sight. As I pick people off on the course, I hear some remarks about my pace and how I will soon die, but it only motivates me. I fluctuate between 3:48 & 3:54 each K through 10k’s when I begin to slow a bit hitting mostly mid-upper 3:50’s until a random 3:46 at 15k which looking back was another bad mistake. After catching up to a younger guy who was a relay runner, he just tucked behind me to block the wind, I eventually asked that he perhaps jump up front since I had been racing well over 3hrs and he had been out there for 20 minutes but he refuses, so I drop the hammer for about 200m to break him, success, ahhhh yea that doesn’t feel so great now.

     Nearing the finish of my 2nd lap, I noticed Steve Gleeson up ahead and surge to catch him, he is rolling and I throw some encouragement his way and tell him to jump on board. Mr. Gleeson had a heck of a race and he rolled past me with 300m left in his race to finish very strong, but I had another lap remaining! As I make the final turn past the finish line, I turn back to look for my race rival, Jason Rhine, expecting him to be well behind me, he literally is about 60m back! Surge or slow down and let the race come to me? I kept pace for a bit then decided that it may be best to slow it back a bit and just push in with Mr. Rhine. 6k to go and we are swerving in and around people on this narrow path along the beach stride for stride. Stay relaxed, we are hitting low 4:00’s, not too bad but slower than I wanted. As I hit the 2nd loop I could feel my upper left quad really begin to cramp and I kept telling myself anything I could to not give up. “USA, USA, USA, come on brother!!!” Here Jason and I were having pretty much awful races for both of our standards but we found enough deep inside to give whatever we had left to test our limits.

Macka and I

     Several times I drop a surges thinking I would lose him but he always fought back stronger each time. Wow, this guy has some guts, I need to make sure I dig deeper than ever to pull this day off the best I can, hopefully winning this classic duel down under in Busselton while most of the athletes had no clue what was taking place. We begin to push the pace harder and harder hoping to break each other at this 4+ hr mark into our race but no one gives an inch. Less than 1k to go, come on Chris, all year this is one of the guys you have wanted to beat, dig dig!!! The crowd was fantastic, but as we approached the finish, many athletes were continuing on for their remaining laps and Rhine shot out like a dart when he saw his opportunity down the Shute as I mixed between people. I knew this would happen, but I also knew I had another gear I had been holding back and as we hit the grass I gun it. I was flying down the home stretch for my disappointing 4:30 finish, but in delight that I at least conquered one goal on the day. Somehow I was able to stagger home enough after my hamstrings massively cramped 5 meters from the line just in front of Jason. Looking back Jason and I dropped the pace from 4:11, 3:57, 3:49 and 3:43 on our last 4k’s in an effort to break each other, our own “Iron war”.

Institute of Sport celebrating
      What a day, it let me reflect on so much in general, here I was concentrating so much on this day and look what came of it. One tiny mistake, if you call it a mistake even, mishap, misfortune or bad luck, either way, one small glitch in the system and things shut down on me, crazy. After the race, I thought about how running literally was so much easier, no swimming goals, or long cycles, just running, it’s simple. You can’t flat, your goggles won’t break and you won’t need to pack a lunch in your cycling jersey to complete a day’s training. After a warm shower, some much needed junk food and a nap, I felt much better and prepared to take on the next goal. I am not done with this 70.3 distance until I have conquered my goals of finishing a race the way I should, solid in every discipline. Today’s race was an ultimate failure in so many aspects but two components were in place, I finished and I even finished with a 7 minute PR.
Men’s Top 10:
1) Tim Berkel (Port Macquarie, NSW) – 3:51:27
2) Matty White (Magill, SA) – 3:52:50
3) Tim Reed (Lord Howe Island NSW) – 3:53:59
4) Josh Rix (Glen Iris, VIC) – 3:56:05
5) Jamie Whyte (Auckland, New Zealand) – 3:57:10
6) Guy Crawford (Napier Hawkes Bay, NZ) – 3:58:15
7) Mitchell Anderson (West Melbourne) – 3:59:55*
8) Leon Griffin (Kangaroo Flat, VIC) – 4:00:09
9) Lajos Varga (Perth, WA) – 4:01:14* - Worked his way through the pro field
10) Paul MacKay (Wembley, WA) – 4:01:28 - cracked the top 10!

Janna finishing
      The night was wrapped up with, a chance meeting with some stoners next door, then to Varga’s for a funnel entry, before heading to the awards ceremony with a fashionably late entrance to swipe up a hot plate of food from the buffet! Congrats to so many people who competed on the day, but most importantly to the Mackay Institute of Sport athletes Janna Angell and the man himself, Paul Mackay. Janna knocked out an amazing bike split of 2:50 in her 1st attempt at the distance, and Macka defied all the odds to wrap up a stellar season with a 4:01, earning him Triathlete of the year honors and 8th in the Pro field. Shout out to Matt Illingworth who took out another stellar field with a 2:06:09 bike split! After the awards presentation, the real party ensued with the DJ pumping the tunes for a few more hours. Everyone hit the stage including “Dancefloor” Lamperski himself, suited up, skinny tie, stunna shades and dancing shoes. It was just a blast to see so many hardcore athletes finally letting loose and having a blast. Some of the events of the night will never be forgotten, some may not be remembered but it was truly epic in every sense of the word.

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