USA Triathlon National Championships with Deuter’s Spectro AC 38
This past weekend, I traveled up to Buffalo, NY with my family for the USA Triathlon Elite National Championships. The 1.5K swim, 40K bike, and 10K run event was held in and along the scenic shores of Lake Erie on Saturday, September 15th, 2012.
Since the event was scheduled for Saturday, I arrived with my family in Buffalo on Thursday night to give myself a little extra time to do some course reconnaissance. The nature of my competition demands that I prepare 100% both mentally and physically. I had all of my competition gear packed in my Deuter Spectro AC 38. It helped to give me peace of mind knowing that everything I needed for my race (except my BLUE bicycle!) was in one spot. The bag was perfect as it had enough compartments for my equipment needs. This is a considerable task considering my equipment list for a triathlon includes: bike shoes, running shoes, swim cap, goggles, energy gels, sport drink mix, a wetsuit, rubber bands, electrical tape, a bike helmet, water bottles, and a few other odds and ends.
On race day, I arrived at the site with all my equipment in tow and the bag on my back. I mention this because it is extremely important that I do not put too much strain on my neck and shoulders before my competition or it will affect my performance. Olympic swimmer Dara Torres famously wheeled her equipment bag to and from the pool to alleviate this problem. I, however, compete outdoors on various different terrains--where having a wheelie bag is not practical. The Spectro AC 38’s AirComfort FlexLite’s back carriage system is the next best thing to ensure my shoulders and back are not stressed.
The race started at 2:30pm with a field of 50+ professional triathletes, and I used my collegiate swimming experience (Boston College) to make my way to the front of the race. I exited the 1.5K swim with the leaders and began the 40K bike. On the bike portion, the group of 9 men who exited the water with me worked together and opened up a 1:30 gap on the next closest competitors. Yet, in the bike’s final moments, I made a critical mistake—I lost control going around a corner and toppled over!
Given the choice to call it a day or to get back up and claw my way back into the race, I made what I thought to be the obvious choice—to fight my way back! I made up the 20-30 seconds I had lost in the accident on the bike portion’s final 5K, then ran a 33:38 10K to take 5th place overall. Though designated as the US National Championship, the race was open to international competitors as well. Two of the racers who finished ahead of me were not from the USA, so I finished as the 3rd American in the field and took home the bronze medal for the US Elite National Triathlon Championship.
To celebrate, my family and I ventured up to Niagara Falls the following day and toured the park. Feeling the power of those falls was absolutely incredible--a must for any adventure enthusiast! Oh, yea, I took my Spectro AC 38 there too. It was a great way to cap off an exciting weekend.
–Joe Maloy (Outdoor Ambassador).