This year’s installment of the annual NH tradition known as the Timberman Triathlon Festival included more than a dozen NEMS racers split between the Sprint Tri on Saturday and the 70.3 on Sunday. It was a weekend full of great performances, new accomplishments, PRs, one hard bike crash (Fortunately, Jessica is healing quickly and already looking ahead to her next race.), and a fabulous pre-race dinner hosted by Chris Stevenson (who apparently races as well as he makes Bruschetta). In fact, Chris went into the weekend looking for a PR and a bit of early-season redemption. Here, in his own words, is how the race played out.

Timberman was my main focus this year, I wanted to be mentally and physically focused for the race.

A few weeks prior I was talking with coach and wanted to somehow hit sub 5 hours, with the hills I knew it would be a challenge but moving here for work this summer was a blessing in disguise as I was able to ride parts of the course almost every week. In 2011 patriot I finished with a time of 5:56, pretty happy with my first 70.3 performance. 2013 patriot was a lot better at a time of 5:10 but walked about 2 miles on the run, getting me really discouraged. However, this pushed me to train a lot harder until timberman.

Pre-race meal was great to see everyone and talk about the sport, nutrition and goals. Kevin, the bruschetta recipe is extremely easy!

The pros went off at 7am and I was in the last wave at 8:13… But the time actually flew by. Felt ahead of the pack until I got into a rhythm but forgot to sight, then made my way back to the buoys and sighted often. Winnie was good to me and was not very choppy and I felt great exiting the water.

Nothing exciting for T1, made sure I grabbed fuel and hydration for the ride.

Biking has been my slowest leg so I worked on it as much as I could in the winter months and did a lot of hill rides when I could get outside. Felt very strong and focused primarily on my cadence. Marsh hill (mile 10) had the biggest incline and I was ready to tackle its every move, felt fantastic cruising up the hill passing many as they were either miserable or walking their bikes up the hill, I was just smiling. Flatter portion of the course should have been my main refuel time but I neglected the first aid station and dropped some aid bonks and gels from the 2nd, I was able to grab a bottle of perform. Around mile 45 is when I could feel my pace slowing down, so I focused on my favorite part: running. However, dismounting was not pretty. As I clipped out from my right foot and was ready to swing the bike into transition my left foot would not unclip and the female rider behind me came in too fast. Barely nudging my bike the pedal jolted forward and into my right ankle. Adrenalin was thriving so I yelled and then kept going through T2.

I did not want to look at my ankle as my limp was not just due to riding a fast (for me) 56. Putting on my running shoes forced me to look at a massively swollen and dripping with blood ankle. I was not pleased.

Very painful and very slow first 4-5 miles, probably around 45 minutes. However, in hindsight was a decent pace so I wouldn’t hit a wall like last 70.3. Mile 6 was faster and downhill into first loop turnaround. The best part was seeing all the NEMS smiling and pushing through, while I would try to catch some. At mile 10 I realized I had the potential to hit my goal and increased my cadence, I would have to run a 7:30 pace, attainable in my mind..and in the end I had 5 minutes to spare 🙂

Swim – 29:34
T1 – 2:20
Bike – 2:40:39
T2 – 2:35
Run – 1:40:25

Total time – 4:55:32

Great race, highly recommend it. As always plenty of room for improvement.

Chris en route to his first sub-5:00 70.3!

Thank you, Chris, for the great write-up, and congratulations to all our NEMS members who rubbed elbows with the pros in and along Lake Winnipesaukee.