by Wendell Scott
Chuck and Kristin Dunlop always put on good, well-managed events which are usually hosted at Georgia State Parks, but the Blaylock Lakes location is unique in that instead of a state park, it’s actually staged at a lake in a neighborhood near Newnan.
The area is quite remote and seems less busy than some of the State Park locations. At least in my estimation, this is likely due to the fact that it’s not a destination for boaters and fishermen. Being a neighborhood, it’s more likely the place people are leaving from instead of going to on a Saturday morning.
This is the third year I’ve done this event and I’ve always liked the bike course here. It’s rolling and has long stretches with no entrances onto the highway, long swooping downhill’s let you get a good head of steam to attack the next hill. In fact, I think this is the type of course that, comfort permitting, you could probably stay on the bars for the whole race.
The swim goes as planned and I’m out pretty high up in my wave. I check the bikes on the racks near mine and only see a few empty slots, which means my AG competitors are mostly behind me at this point. As I run out of T1, I’m really pumped to get going as I’m riding my new Zipp 404 Firecrest wheels and I’m using a PowerCal for power monitoring for the first time in a race. I’m particularly interested in how the PowerCal reads compared to my two previous years with a hub mounted PowerTap.
I’m really surprised as I make my way thru the bike ride how much of a difference I can feel between my old 808/404 setup and the carbon rimmed 404 set that I’m riding. The bike sometimes feel as though its lurching forward and it really rolls thru small hills and rises much better than ever. I’ve also adjusted my tire pressure (another thing I learned from the Zipp product manager during the presentation at Podium MultiSport).
There aren’t a lot of bikes in T2 when I return, which is good since I’m worried about the run. This is a rolling course and my limited running will make the hills a challenge. Surprisingly, I run better up hills than down. With good bike strength and consistent lifting, the uphill portions are workable. Running fast down the hills tests me mentally as I always worry about the stress I’m putting on my less than perfect right knee.
Wendell on the run
I work my way to the turnaround and on the way back, I spot the AG guys I know are looking for me. Fortunately, I have a good (but not great) lead, so I really can’t let up. On the second half of the run, people from the younger age groups start passing me occasionally. On the uphill’s, I try to stay close to them, downhill not so much.
As it turned out, I had a pretty good day. My best so far at BL, but I finish second to former Olympian Jeff Galloway.
A Podium Finish
On the way home, I stop at a roadside barbecue joint. (Seriously, it was a pull-up trailer, so it really was roadside.) Made my day that not only did I come home with hardware, I also had some really good barbecue. Can’t beat that!