Name: Eric Bansbach
How long have you been involved in Triathlon and what made you take it up? After high school, my running went from trying to be competitive, to just being recreational. I enjoyed running for mental relaxation. About five years ago, some friends tried to convince me that triathlons were fun. I watched Green Lakes one year, but didn’t understand the concept of swimming in an orgy of thrashing bodies (at least not in the context of racing……..). I went to the Y and sort of learned to swim, and tried Green Lakes the next year. I am not sure I was hooked, but definitely intrigued. The next year, I did Green Lakes again, then Cazenovia. After that, I started meeting lots of club members and became hooked on both the personal athletic challenge and also the social rewards.
Who is your Hero? I don’t have a hero, but I do appreciate people who are open, honest, and who remain true to themselves. These kinds of folks provide inspiration by being real, and honest. There seem to be a fair number of these folks in our triathlon community.
What is your athletic background? I ran cross country and track in high school, and was just average, definitely not a star runner. During track meets, my coach would force me to run the 3200m. That event was just before the final relays, and he wanted to give the fast distance runners as much time to recover between the 3200 and 3200-relay. Hence, “Hey Eric, run the 3200….” My slow time gave the fast runners more time to recover. I was a team player…..
What are your Triathlon strengths and weaknesses? I started out without any strengths, except T2. Since I used to wear my running shoes on the bike, T2 consisted of dumping the bike and helmet, without even stopping. For my first couple of tri’s, my T2 time ranked me 1st overall in that category. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any medals for those performances. Ironically, I think swimming is now my strength (relatively speaking), with biking being just ok, and running being my weakness.
What was your first triathlon and what do you remember most? Green Lakes. I wore a baggy, royal blue, beach-volleyball style bathing suit. No wetsuit. My bike was a 30 year old 10 speed with what felt like a cast iron frame. The speedometer was a cable driven one with a big circular display, and looked like it came out of an old Ford pickup. Only half of the gears worked. The lake water that year was frigid, so when the race started and I first submerged into the ice-water, my entire chest cavity shrank by 30% and I couldn’t breathe. I did about 1/3 of the swim on my back, and had to walk my bike part way up the hill from route 5 into the park.
What were your favorite races and why? I had two favorite tri’s, and both were last year. At Lyme, I managed to have a respectable swim and a decent bike, and I managed a third place age group award (I won’t tell you the number of racers in my age group….). It is a smaller race, but good venue, and I had fun with a bunch of close club members.
The other favorite tri was Green Lakes 2012. We had everyone from our workout group there, and all had successful results. Despite leaving T1 barefoot with my bike (i.e. without my bike shoes), my time was decent, but more importantly, had fun.
I usually try to find positive things that happen during races. My recent half marathon was not a favorite, but had some interesting personal stats that give me hope that my running might be improving. The first five miles were well under my target pace, a pace which I haven’t been able to run in quite a while, even during a 5K. My 10K split time was almost a minute faster than my previous PR for a 10K race. Despite a slightly slower second half, I ended up knocking a full 2 minutes off of my previous best ½ marathon time, and learned that lime power gels are disgusting.
What was your worst race and why? I am not sure that I had a “worst” race, but Syracuse 70.3 sure had its challenges, namely the run. Turning that into a positive, I learned lot during my first 70.3, and can identify LOTS of areas for improvement for this year.
What races are on your race calendar for 2013? I have already run the Shamrock and Syracuse Half Marathon so far this year, and am looking at the Mt. Goat, Skunk Cabbage Half, and a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot, which I always run with my three daughters. For tri’s, I am planning on Du the Lakes, Green Lakes, Syr 70.3, Lyme, Cazenovia Olympic and Appalachian Triathlon (http://www.appalachiantri.org/) , which is a fundraiser triathlon for a biking/family friend of mine who passed away from Pancreatic Cancer last year.
Perhaps the most anticipated race is one where I will be volunteering. A group of us will be spending a week in Lake Placid to eat, train, play, eat, swim, eat and eventually volunteer and cheer on numerous friends who are racing Iron Man Lake Placid (IMLP).
What are this year’s goals? My biggest goal for this year is not a race time, but rather a training level to justify me signing up in July of this summer, for IMLP in 2014.
In five years you hope to …be able to continue doing triathlons, and other races at a level where I continue to have fun. Unfortunately, the next higher age group doesn’t get any easier! I am hoping for attrition to improve my rankings!
Something most people don’t know about you: I used to work as a cook in a rather high-end seafood restaurant. Ever since, I have loved to cook, try new recipes, experiment with my own recipes, and now I am experimenting with different brewing and wine-making recipes.