This weekend presented another sprint triathlon in beautiful Stone Harbor, New Jersey, and this time I was IN IT TO WIN IT. I was ready to GO HARD OR GO HOME. Because IF YOU’RE NOT FIRST, YOU’RE LAST.
Ahhh, who am I kidding? I was there for the beer and donuts.
New friend Susan with some hangers on, preparing for what she thinks is summer’s final race. Nope. You’re coming to Wildwood for #6 of 5.
The Manland Invitational Triathlon is in its thirteenth year. I was invited four years ago by His Royal Highness George “Buzzy” Meagher, King of Manland (the coolest converted garage ever.) Buzz and I met at the Cedar Island 5K swim (still some spots remaining!), which is the brain child of myself and The Race Director. I guess he was impressed enough with my complete insanity to deem me worthy. And I am forever grateful.
Manland starts with a 1/4 mile swim in the bay in Buzzy’s backyard. Well, it’s supposed to be a 1/4 mile, but the second turn buoy seems to float away every year just as the race starts, thus lengthening the swim course. It’s very suspicious, but the King is a very good swimmer. And it’s good to be the King. The bike course is 4 loops (about 11 miles) on the southern end of Second Ave. It’s blessedly quiet and nearly free of the Saturday morning donut brigades. The run is 2.9 miles, out and back. Easy peasy.
Manland is a small race at about 50 participants. Team WBTU showed up fierce, with Mrs. Donovan in first, The Reverend Roberts in second, and The Jelly Bean in third. The Race Director just did the swim, and then later stood in Buzzy’s driveway and yelled at me throughout my T2. I’ll admit it. My T2 was slow. I probably could have made a sandwich in that time. (Full disclosure: I’m a pretty good sandwich maker.) Our final teammate, Snarky G., was landlocked in Pennsylvania. Ouch.
The overall winner was Mark Brace, who slaughtered the Manland field and set a course record. He said something before the race like, “I’m just here for fun. Gonna take it easy.” Yeah, that’s what I always say, too, right before I set records. What was most impressive about Mark’s morning was that he had enough leftover energy to pull off this brilliant photo bomb:
The King is first from right. Here he is posing with his loyal subjects. Later that evening, he had the photo bomber beheaded.
The best part of the Manland tri for me is the post-race breakfast. Insane amounts of delicious food, Bloody Marys, and camaraderie.
We always huddle around Rev. Roberts for some post-race inspiration. She seems to be stuck on “Jesus never said shut up.”
It’s a race for a bunch of people who like each other’s company. Elite athletes and first timers alike. We are all there for laughs, for food and drink, and for a little bit of competition. There’s not a whiff of E-ttox at Manland. And we owe it all to the King’s (and Queen’s!) generosity and welcoming spirit. I’m so lucky to be a part of their Royal Court: