ITU Worlds Sprint – Rally in the Valley

August 27, 2014 in Members, Racing


ITU Worlds this Friday

Three of our athletes have the prestigious honor to represent USA in the ITU Worlds Sprint triathlon this Friday in Edmonton Canada.  Bill Marut, Barb Thomas, and Desiree Thomas all will be racing Friday and instead of wearing the distinctive colors of team BAFF will be wearing the ole’ Red, White, and Blue.

The trio earned their world spot qualification last year at USAT nationals in Milwaukee.

Good luck to all 3 of our racers!!


Thomas Doubles Up at AG Nationals

August 20, 2014 in Members, Racing, Results

Desiree doubled up and raced both the Olympic and Sprint distance triathlons two weeks ago at USAT Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee.  She had the following race report:

After my 1st overall in my age group placing at USAT sprint nationals last year I decided to sign up for both the Olympic and the sprint this year to try and qualify for both at worlds next year since it will be held in Chicago. I had a great weekend with my mom and bother racing as well. I also got to see a lot of other CTC friends which was awesome.

The Olympic
One of my goals this year is to get better at this distance and after completing it I feel like I have accomplished that goal. It wasn’t a perfect race but it was pretty close. For the first time in my short triathlon career I felt slow in the swim I was 8th out of the water in my age group! Even though it is a really tough age group I felt like I am capable of better. But everything after that was great. My transitions were quick and my bike felt great and my run felt even better! I finished 13th in my age group with a PR which qualifies me for worlds next year.

The Sprint
I was much more relaxed on Sunday knowing I only had to do half of my race from Saturday. I felt fast on the swim 2nd out of the water and caught up a little to the 1st girl during transition.

Then I go to mount my bike. (Now I have been practicing a flying mount the past couple races and it’s not perfect but it’s a lot faster than what I used to do) so I go to do my flying mount and I hop on my bike but can’t get my feet on my shoes and I’m coming up on one of those guard fences if it wasn’t there I probably would’ve been able to recover but it was there and I fell into it and knocked it over. I’m lucky my bike wasn’t hurt and neither was I so I tried to gather myself and try the mount again. This time I got one of my shoes on but the other one the rubber band was broken and the shoe was caught on the pavement so I almost fell over again but I was able to unclip my one shoe and dismount. I then took my other shoe off and put it on, then finally got on my bike and clipped totally in. By this time at least 2 girls had passed me and a minute or more had gone by which is huge in a sprint!

Needless to say I had my fastest bike ever trying to regain the time I had lost (however my bike split doesn’t show it because I fell after I had crossed the t1 timing mat) I quickly passed the two girls that passed me while I was knocked down. Then two other girls passed me. Once I was on the run I was back to chasing girls down. I passed those two girls who had passed me on the bike and had my sights on the girl who I thought was in first place. I made up a lot of ground but then she was probably 400 meters in front of me an we had to be going the same pace the entire last mile because we stated the same distance apart. And when I crossed the finish they announced that I was the 3rd girl for the 25-29 age group. I was very happy to come in the top 3 despite racing the day before and falling during my flying mount. And I qualified for worlds in the sprint too!

Overall it was a great weekend of racing and fun. I learned a lot of valuable lessons and I look forward to my A race next week in Edmonton, Canada at the ITU Worlds Sprint Championship!

Thanks Desiree for the recap and good luck in Edmonton!!


Vermilion Oly Triathlon

August 18, 2014 in Members, Racing, Results

My Vermilion Oly Dave Runcountdown and preparation to Kona continues with a tune up race at HFP Vermilion Olympic Triathlon.  Training for Kona has been going well and I felt that I needed some tune up races prior to the big race.  The day before I was out in Sandusky doing the Rev 3 preview day put on by CTC.  A good number of participants showed up to the event, totaling just shy of 100.  With a solid day of training in my legs, I wanted to see how I would react in a shorter distance race, a stark contrast to what I have been working on in the long distance.

On race day, the weather was not going to cooperate and rained the entire time at times a heavy downpour.  Challenging and adverse conditions to say the least.  The lake had several people on nerves because of some slight waves.  Standing on the shore I was watching several swimmers just start out into the lake chop and turn around coming back to shore.  I was eyeing each one that turned back to shore.  Yep, he’s back OK. Yep, him too.  Then one guy stopped and started yelling ‘HELP’.  My old days back lifeguarding at Edgewater beach kicked in and I immediately started sprinting out to him.  He really wasn’t too far out, only a few yards past where someone couldn’t touch anymore.  I propped him up in the water but he was a fairly big guy and with no floatation, was very difficult to hold above water.  I calmed him down and had him lay on his back so I could tow back to shore.  We got back to shore without issue and I helped him out of the water to the beach.  The older man was fairly disappointed and mad about missing the opportunity to race but remembered to thank me for the assistance.  It was a little off putting though that no-one from the race organization said a single word to me.

Finally, after things had settled it was finally time for my race.  The swim was fairly difficult and I had to work hard in areas so not to get thrown around in the wake.  I came out of the water with the top split just ahead of 2nd place by about 30s.  I had a poor transition and gave a lot of that time back.  Swim Time: 18:51

It was a monsoon for the entire bike segment.  Constant rain with it at times being fairly blinding.  The course was a two loop route with long stretches of horrible rad conditions with broken sections and gravel.  Compound
that with the rain and not knowing if you were going to run into a crater size pothole, made everyone cautious on the bike.  My quads were screaming from the hard work I put in the day prior and I could not push them into the next level for the relative short distance and speed required.  The competition road away from sight by the end of the first lap.  I just continued to push the pace that I could manage and was preparing for the run by being diligent and strict in my nutrition.  Finished the bike with one guy up ahead, time to see if I could run him down.  Bike Time: 1:08:13

I was given a split that I was 3min down starting the run and laughed sarcastically because that would be a fairly unrealistic margin to make up on a 10k.  The course was simply an out and back so there were no points to judge the distance except for at the turnaround.  I felt great on my run and continued as strong as I could.  At the turnaround, I saw the leader and was a distance ahead but no longer 3min, I was sure of that.  In the end, I made up a lot of ground and came in only 39s behind the winner.  I finished the run in great shape and strength.  Run Time: 37:03

Final Time: 2:05:50

The race was a great tune up for my Kona preparation.  It was a big confidence boost that I was only 39s back with the work load I had the day earlier.  I have one more race, Great Buckeye Challenge Half-Ironman, till Kona.


2014 Ironman Steelhead 70.3 Race Report

August 14, 2014 in Members, Racing, Results

Steelhead 70.3 Ed AwardA race report from Steelhead 70.3 by Ed Slovenkay:

It is race morning on the way to Jean Klock Park, the race venue, when my friend asked me whether I still get butterflies in my stomach on race day.  I told him that I really didn’t get them but usually that feeling comes on slightly just before the gun goes off when the race is about to start.  As I began to reflect on the day and figure out a topic for my race report, I began to ask myself why I really don’t get nervous anymore before races like I used to.  After 9 years of racing triathlons I think it comes down to having confidence as you toe the line.  Confidence can be defined as the belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities.  I believe confidence in triathlon comes from preparing correctly for the race you’re training for.

Nine years ago I taught myself to swim while doing laps in the Brunswick Rec Center indoor pool.  At the time swimming was a nice cross training event for the marathon training I was engaging in.  A friend of mine convinced me to sign up for the Cleveland Triathlon in July which made swimming a staple in my weekly routine.  I had no idea what I was in for on race day as I could barely swim down & back on the 25 yard pool lane without stopping to gasp for breath.  Needless to say I was almost a statistic during the swim of that first race.  I was ill prepared for an open water swim let alone one that featured crowds of people in multiple starting waves and all of the chaos that follows.  I did survive that race though and was hooked on this sport immediately as I wanted to figure out how to get faster at it.

Steelhead features a point to point swim which means you have a rather long walk from transition to the swim start.  Based on my age and the first initial of my last name I began the race in the final wave start of 2,087 participants, shortly after 8:00am.  With 288 participants in the 40-44 age group they split us into 2 waves.  There was some chop to the water but the sky was fairly clear of clouds and the sun was peeking through just enough to justify using tinted goggles.  It is a beach start and I was lined up right at the front as my plan was to hammer this swim.

Once the horn sounded I easily entered the water and was with the lead group making the first turn.  It seemed like right away I swam up on the slower swimmers in the previous wave.  This pattern continued for the entire 1.2 mile swim as I passed each buoy I was noticing a wide variety of swim cap colors and really had to work to find clean water.  Some people were breast stroking, back stroking, and even hanging onto the buoys for a rest.  I felt great throughout the swim and felt that I swam well despite the somewhat rough water, but as I reached land I was devastated to see that I had over a 33 minute swim.  It wasn’t until after the race that I discovered I was 14th in my AG and 125th OA for the first leg of the race. 

My shoulder surgery from the bike crash was just 13 months ago.  It wasn’t until 9 months ago that I was able to swim freestyle and complete a meaningful swim workout.  My focus over that time shifted from the obligatory pool session workouts to figuring out proper swim form and how swim form causes you to go faster in the water using less effort.  The more I focused on form, the quicker my threshold pace got back to pre-crash times.  The more I focused on form, the longer I was able to maintain threshold pace during interval work, something that was elusive to me 13 months ago.  The more I became able to hold pace during intervals the more confident I became as a swimmer.  This confidence translates into better open water swim times as I feel that I can relax in the water and focus on going faster as opposed to worrying about current, other swimmers, sighting, etc.  The key to racing this leg of a triathlon is pacing.  You must establish your threshold pace in the pool, train often at that level and sometimes beyond, and then race without exceeding your threshold for any length of time.

Once out of transition and on the bike I was again facing a similar challenge as in the swim with passing groups of people.  My race strategy for the bike was similar to the swim, I wanted to hammer it.  By hammer it I mean that I wanted to race at an intensity that was comfortably uncomfortable for me for all 56 miles.  I race with a power meter and I know what my threshold is.  I do steady state training sessions at percentages of threshold enough to know what going too hard feels like.  This is key because going too hard will cause you to have to slow down faster than taking in the wrong nutrition will upset your stomach.

Just like focusing on form in swimming translates to faster swim times, form in cycling pays dividends since the time spent on the bike during triathlon is at least half of the time you spend racing.  The more efficient you pedal, the less energy you use and consequently the longer you can hold a pace.  I began using a computrainer in 2009.  One of the biggest benefits to using the computrainer is the spinscan feature.  Spinscan is a graphical representation of your pedal stroke where you can see any deficiency you may have in real time and address it accordingly.  The biggest deficiency triathletes have is they tend to be mashers on the pedals.  This is a very inefficient way to pedal and since we need to run off the bike, mashing is recipe for disaster when done during a triathlon as you’ll likely walk most of the run due to leg fatigue.

I managed to navigate the crowds of other participants well on the bike crossing the timing mat at 2:20:52, 6th in my AG & 56th OA.  The bike pace was just under 24 mph, avg cadence was 93, avg heart rate was 156, avg watts 231, normalized watts 239.  To translate, I raced comfortably uncomfortable by cycling 56 miles at 80% of my threshold, keeping HR in upper zone 3 and efficiently pedaling as evidenced by the 93 avg cadence.  The delta between avg watts and normalized watts means there was very little wattage spikes throughout the ride and I rode the entire 56 miles at a very consistent effort.  Again, the key to the bike leg of triathlon is proper pacing and execution.  Confidence on the bike comes from establishing your threshold (FTP), training at that level and often times beyond, and then race without exceeding your threshold for any length of time.

I never considered myself much of a runner.  I grew up playing football and loved to lift weights but hated to run.  My first two marathon finishes were over a four hours & forty minutes.  Nine years ago at that first triathlon I was almost 200 pounds, today I am under 170.  Being lighter is a huge factor when it comes to improvement in this area of triathlon.  The other aspect that helps you improve is the ability to suffer.  I know that might sound strange but the reality is the guys and gals that are bringing home hardware have physical talent yes, but they also have the ability to push on when their body wants to cave in and stop.  I’ve often said that this sport is often times more mental than it is physical.  For so many years I put so much time in week in and week out training only to come out on race day and underperform which results in severe dissatisfaction with my finish times.

Today in this race by behaving myself in the swim & the bike which let me get into a zone on the run, I ran a 1:30:10 which completed my race in 4:30:37, good for 4th in my AG and 45th OA.  Given the fact that I’ve never run that fast in an open half marathon I couldn’t be happier with the results.  The run course was not flat, there was little to no shade, it was hot, my legs and feet hurt and there were several times I wanted to slow down or stop.  I made the decision well in advance of this race that fatigue on the run is voluntary and unless I’m injured there will be no walking.  By making this decision I practice mentally in my training by going through the thought process of wanting to stop and figuring out ways to work through it.  Altering cadence, remembering a song, thinking about past races and how I want to get better all factor in on my mind blocking out the fact that I’m suffering on the run.  Having developed the ability to suffer helps my confidence which enables me to hold pace longer and ultimately run faster.

A famous person once said “whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.”  I can find no better way to describe a method for executing an improved race day plan within this sport.  Thinking you can begins with confidence.  Believing in yourself and your abilities as you prepare over the days and weeks leading up to your event.  If you’ve put in the work there’s no reason you should doubt yourself on race day.

Train smart, train hard, and GO FAST!

Ed Slovenkay

Thanks Ed for sharing and congrats on the great race and podium finish.  Keep up the hard work!!


Ironman Coeur d’Alene

July 11, 2014 in Racing, Results


I picked Ironman Coeur d’Alene because it fell in very nicely in between my other big ‘A’ races, Boston Marathon and Kona Ironman.  The goal of this race was to really train my body enough to have the Ironman distance race second nature.  Not to say that I took the race or competition lightly, but I knew going into it that I already had my World Championship ticket punched.  It helped take away some of the stress that can go into training and lead up to race day.  My goal for the race was to take the day as it came and what my time was in the end, I will be pleased with.

The swim was crazy tough.  There was a nasty southerly wind that prevailed all day and made life difficult for the swim and bike.  Overall, I am not a fan of the time trial start that Ironman is starting to implement across select races.  This way, no one knows where each others are standing.  I was in the water early enough to get a head of the major packs of swimmers.  There were some guys out there that tried to keep up for the first few hundred yards but then things started to settle and I extended a pretty good gap.  Not the optimal conditions for me but my strength the water is something that I focused on this spring.  I ended with a good swim time with the conditions but was in phenomenal position as the First Age Grouper out of the water and second fastest swim only behind superstar Andy Potts.  I know I would not be able to hang with him on the swim but I wonder how much closer our times would have been if I had some feet to follow.  SWIM TIME: 51:26

One of my biggest concerns for the race was the temperature.  The sun was shining but the temp was only in the upper 50s and the wind was strong.  I took my time in transition making sure to strip cold wet clothes off and layer up putting on not only a dry tri jersey but arm warmers and a short sleeve bike jersey.  I was eventually out on the course and riding hard.  It is easy to feel good on the bike during the first half of any Ironman.  The trick is riding strong but keeping everything in check.  Easier said than done when you know you are currently the top overall amateur.  The course was a 2x Loop with 2x Out-and-Back Sections with the longer out section taking you south towards hills and climbing.  Unfortunately, that was the way the wind was coming as well.  The wind was very strong at times that made any slight uphill seem like you were riding no-where.  Though it has significant climbing at over 5000ft gain, the course has potential to be very fast if conditions were optimal.  I managed to stay at the front of the race on the bike up until about mile 95.  On the final climb and descent, two other age group athletes passed by me.  I was very pleased with my bike finish as 8th fastest amateur bike split and starting the run in 3rd place with first and second within sight.  BIKE TIME: 5:12:38

I have been working on my long running since January.  With multiple 20mile runs under my belt this year I was hoping to have a strong marathon time.  I started pretty close to my goal pace of 7:20s.  I made it to the first turn around but things started to unravel there.  Bathroom breaks, stomach cramps, and kidney pain prohibited me from running consistently.  I managed a shuffle through some miles and then a consistent run from aid station to aid station.  RUN TIME: 4:21:16

FINISH TIME: 10:31:29
Overall Place 104, AG Place 11

I accomplished what I had hoped for in the race with great fitness in the early summer and a great understanding for what I am capable in training.  My recovery from the race has been very quick too which is needed as I start my Kona Training Block next week.

I suggest Ironman Coeur d’Alene to anyone looking for an Ironman Race.  I don’t think it is a PR course but the site is amazing and the support is encouraging.

Bryan Prack


June 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

BAFFletes will be spread out this weekend racing across the country.








Ironman Coeur d’Alene

Coeur d’Alene, ID

Dave Duecker looks to put on a pre-Kona assault this Sunday.

Tracking his progess Bib#249


ITU World Triathlon

Chicago, Illinois

Sprint Distance

Barb Thomas

Desiree Thomas

Olympic Distance

Bob Bryan



Dam Tri

Meadville, Pennsylvania

Dustin Thomas

Nick Glavac


Back Closer to Home….


Lake Milton, Ohio


Em Prack

Bryan Prack

Melanie Sudetic



Jeff Ebner

Nate Loman

Bill Marut

Tony Marut

Patrick Payne

Ed Slovenkay




 Good Luck to everyone!!!



GWRT Pictures

June 20, 2014 in Members, Racing

Images courtesy of d allen johnson photography.

More photos of GWRT race can be found HERE.


Sombrero Winners

June 18, 2014 in Racing

With great speed the “Z” couple won the Hermes Cinco de Mayo Sombrero Shuffle this past weekend. Just before the start they were given the locations for each checkpoint and they quickly decided the shortest route. They stopped at five checkpoints picking up sombreros, serapes, and maracas, downing a couple of drinks, covering 1.5 miles in 12:27. It was a fun event with a little exercise on top!


Cinco de Mayo Sombrero Shuffle


Weekend Recap

June 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

Another weekend packed with BAFF racing. This past weekend we saw athletes take on the Champ Racing Munroe Falls sprint Triathlon, HFP Racing Maumee Bay Triathlon, and BFAST Sprint in Mayport Fl.

Results are in the table below:

Name Race OA Place / Division Place Time
Bill Marut Munroe Falls 1st Overall 0:57:32
Bryan Prack Munroe Falls 10th / 1st 1:02:02
Jeff Ebner Munroe Falls 29th / 7th 1:06:16
Melanie Sudetic Munroe Falls 61st / 3rd 1:11:05
Gary Pitzer HFP Maumee Bay Olympic 19th / 5th 2:21:16
Patrick Payne HFP Maumee Bay Olympic 68th / 3rd 2:50:04
Dustin Thomas HFP Maumee Bay Sprint 2nd / 1st 1:05:14
Nate Loman Mayport Navy Station Sprint 11th / 2nd

Bill Marut took top honors in the Munroe Falls Sprint Triathlon. Bill contributed this:

I managed to take the overall at Munroe Falls. Very grateful!! BAFF did very well, you all are awesome.

Bryan Prack also raced and had this to say:

Munroe Falls- 1st tri of the season for me. Overall happy with the AG win. Didnt seed myself correctly in swim and lost time swimming over people. Guess that happens when you dont swim much in 6 months. Bike was okay, car traffic slowed paces of many. Run felt good.

Jeff, who raced just the previous weekend at the GWRT Half Ironman competed in the sprint race too:

Great race overall.  Very different racing a sprint vs. a half.  Had my best 5k run ever for a short legged T-Rex armed guy and a decent swim.  Props to Gregg G for getting me in the race last minute!  

Our lone female racer this weekend was Melanie Sudetic. She competed at Munroe Falls for her first race of the season and contributed this:

I didn’t do as well as I’d like to due to lack of training, but on the positive side my swim was almost a minute faster than the last time I raced the Munroe Falls tri (in 2012), run felt good, and placed third in AG. Good job to everyone who raced that weekend!

On Sunday, the HFP Maumee Bay races took place. Dustin Thomas competed in the sprint while Patrick Payne and Gary Pitzer raced the Olympic distance.

Gary had this to say about his day:

It was a beautiful Father’s Day at Maumee Bay.  The Olympic swim was a straight line out and back.  Temp was pleasant and no waves in the inland lake.  The bike course was windy as usual.  The run seemed long and painful.  Not sure if it was because it was my first full Olympic tri (I usually just swim, bike and done (aka Aquabike)) or I just need a lot of work on the run. I’ll get back to work when my knee recovers. I was able to meet up with Patrick Payne who had his army of kids donning custom “Run Daddy Run” shirts – very cool on Father’s Day. 

Nate Loman also raced while on his summer vacation down in Florida.  He competed in the BFAST Mayport Sprint Triathlon taking home 2nd in his age group.

Congrats to all our racers and finishers!!


Weekend Recap 6-7 to 6-8

June 11, 2014 in Racing

A lot of racing this past weekend with BAFF representing at Great Western Reserve Triathlon and USAT Long Course Nationals.

One of our great local race organizers, Champ Racing, put on a trifecta event offering Sprint Distance, Olympic Distance, and Half Ironman Distance Triathlons.  BAFF was well represented in all 3 races with athletes taking top honors in 2 out of the 3.

Results are in the table below:

Name Race OA Place / AG Place Time
Dustin Thomas GWRT Sprint 1st / 1st 1:04:47
Bob Bryan GWRT Olympic 2nd / 1st 2:10:30
Bill Marut GWRT Olympic 4th / 1st 2:15:47
Tony Marut GWRT Olympic 6th / 1st 2:16:02
Rich Slovenkay GWRT Olympic 22nd / 5th 2:30:44
Patrick Payne GWRT Olympic 48th / 8th 2:52:52
Dave Duecker GWRT Half 1st 2:45:35
Ed Slovenkay GWRT Half 4th 2:57:23
Jeff Ebner GWRT Half No result found.
Nick Glavac USAT Long Course Half 9th / 3rd 4:14:19

*Official results of the GWRT Half was taken as Swim/Bike.  Run was not concluded.

Dustin Thomas crushed the sprint triathlon in training preparation for his Olympic distance race in a few weeks:

The last two weeks and this upcoming weekend I have been racing myself into shape just doing sprint triathlons in anticipation of my 1st Olympic tri at the DamTri June 29th. Edinboro was a great opener to work out the kinks and to get use to that racing feeling. This past weekend at the GWR Tri sprint I wore a wetsuit for the 1st time and it was a noticeable difference. The run felt a lot better than at Edinboro which is promising. I will be heading up to Toledo this weekend to participate in another sprint tri with hope there will be more competition than there has been the past two weekends. Training is going great too!

Some of our Olympic racers had this to say.

Bob Bryan:

The race morning started out perfect.  Great weather.  Not to hot or cold with no wind and barely a ripple on the lake.  My race started great.  I loved the swim course because I could track white caps ahead of me to gauge my positioning.  The bike course was mostly flat and fast, although somewhat monotonous.  It was great until the last two miles when the monsoon hit leaving the roads slick and glasses foggy.  In T2, I was greeted with puddles in my running shoes, which made the transition slow.  The run was a grind through the pouring rain.

Tony Marut:

I raced the Olympic distance in the Great Western Reserve Triathlon. 6th overall and 1st in AG. Felt good, happy with my nutrition throughout the race and did not get anaerobic.  Great racing with everyone.

For most, the Half Ironman race was cut short due to inclement weather.  Dave Duecker finished just before the real heavy rain and storm begin.  He contributed this:

I was extremely pleased with my result on the Half Ironman, a new PR for that distance and also set a new PR on Half Marathon.  All the hard running work that I had done in the spring is really paying off.  Next up, Ironman Coeur d’Alene.

Nick Glavac traveled up north to Grand Rapids Michigan for the USAT Long Course Nationals.  Nick had this to say about his race:

Long Course Nats was a great experience.  I learned a thing or two about smashing the watts too soon on the bike and also pacing through the first few miles of the run.  Even pacing throughout would be better than burning the matches too soon – which I think I did.  That last mile of the run, OH MAN!  I was happy to make it to the finish line.  Live and learn.

Next up, Munroe Falls and Maumee Bay!!  Good Luck to all!!