Race Report: Neil Beck Races the Speedway at CLASH Endurance Daytona
By Neil Beck
My sometimes training partner, Carolyn Classen, and her husband, Mark Rescinti, chose to get out of the cold and damp in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and came down to our house in New Smyrna Beach, Florida and race a 70.3-distance triathlon (or “Middle Distance” as they call it) at the Daytona International Speedway. Not having to get a hotel was a luxury for all of us, and my wife Sue and I had the pleasure of hosting our friends just two blocks from the beach.
CLASH Endurance Daytona was formerly known as the Challenge Daytona. Held on the Daytona International Speedway, the venue was incredible. We swam on a spring-fed lake in the middle of the Speedway called Lake Lloyd, biked around the track and on partially closed roads around Daytona, and ran around the Speedway and parking lots with many places to see friends and family.
Ever the “girl”, Carolyn wanted her fingernails to look good for the race and suggested I might cast good vibes her way if she could just paint my thumbnail the same color and she did. The name of this nail polish is ‘Can’t Be Beat’. I must admit to laughing out loud looking at that painted thumbnail, especially while riding the bike while aero during the race.
The weather was cool in the morning and the water temperature was sixty-six degrees Fahrenheit which meant it was wetsuit legal. The pre-race ceremony was awesome with fireworks after the National Anthem. I got in the proper pen for swimming and Carolyn got in hers.
Swimmers started every three seconds, and I was off. Within ten yards, several people were panicking and causing a massive pileup/bottleneck. I swam around and started looking for a draft partner. I thought I found one, but he wasn’t sighting and was zig-zagging all over the place. I dropped him and reminded myself to just cool it. The course was an out-and-back and I was surprised by the chop on the way back. The last quarter of the swim was calmer, and I held back my speed because of the old adage: “You can’t win the race in the swim, but you can lose it.” I got out of the water feeling good and had a good Transition #1.
I started working with Coach Coach Laura Henry in August, when I was just recovering from a calf injury and when I had not run for two months. She knew that CLASH Endurance Daytona was an A-Race for me and she worked around the injury while increasing my mileage.
Having said that, my bike split was ten minutes faster than I have ever done in a 70.3 event and I felt fully prepared. Coach Coach Laura Henry and I made a plan for the bike segment of the race, and I was able execute that plan. Transition #2 went well and I was glad to be running.
My run leg went as planned. This run course was hot with no shade. While this run split was not my fastest time, I had no injury pain. Once again Coach Coach Laura Henry and I had discussed a strategy for the run leg (a run/walk plan) and it worked well.
Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.