Friday, June 17, 2011

Old Point TRI Race Report - A Tale of Victory, Near Drowning, and a Sticky Tire

June 11, 2011 - Hampton, VA - Partly Cloudy, mid 80's

Seven members of STC raced in the Old Point TRI. The event was Promoted by Setup Events, and included a 1k (Somewhere between 1k and 1500M, depending on how far the buoy drifted), a 21 mile bike, and a 8k run. 

The race started at Buckroe Beach, and headed into the Chesapeake Bay for the swim. The water temp was 78.2F, so no wetsuits. There was a steady 10-15 mph SW wind, and out-going tide, which made the swim very challenging.

The bike leg ran through Pheobus, and into Fort Monroe, with a 180 deg turn at the six mile mark. Each rider had to complete two loops of the course. The course was flat, and windy.

Finishing up the event was an 8k run. The course started on the boardwalk, wound through a neighborhood, and u-turned at the 2k mark. Again each racer had to complete 2 loops of the course.

Full results can be found here - RESULTS

Below are race reports submitted by STC members. Some reports are funny, some are inspiring, and all are entertaining. Enjoy!

Ashley Stanley - 1st Place - Women 30-34 -  4th Overall

Bobby Smits - 3rd Place - Men 35-39

Jimmy Parrott - 4th Place - Men 35-39

Someone once said. "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times." I did not major in philosophy, but this statement epitomizes the old point triathlon on June 11th. After an early morning departure (5:15) Rob, Shawn, and &
Jimmy arrived with what appeared to be plenty of time. However, a long packet pickup line contributed to some nervous energy.  Luckily, the trio was able to utilize their very own port a john to speed up the process. The weather was beautiful, but alas for poor Shawn and Jimmy, the water temp was above 78 degrees, eliminating the equalization benefits of the wetsuit. This, coupled with a severe current and a strong wind that delayed the start due to bouy non-compliance unknowingly doomed the swimming challenged. Rob, the rest of the team, and those creatures that have gills seemed to handle the swim in stride. Unfortunately--per after race conversations between Shawn and Jimmy--one thing was certain, they both unintentionally "hydrated" during the swim!
About halfway through the swim was where Jimmy realized this would not be his best race. Starting off in the first wave with the white caps, it soon looked like a rainbow with all of the various colors of caps passing him by. After finally getting out of the water, the bike and run were like finding your conjoined twin who was seperated from you at birth. The rest of the race went fine, and Shawn was able to complete his first triathlon despite the most difficult swim I have ever undertaken. Rob came in a solid 4th in his age group, with the other STC'ers "representin."
That is it from this racers perspective, now how much longer to the next duathlon?

Rob Riek - 4th Place Men 40-44

I am not as nearly as entertaining as Jimmy but here is my race report (or litany of excuses).  The day started out poorly as the back hatch of Jimmy’s Durango came down and cracked Rob over the head while loading the bikes (excuse #1).  The race was delayed as the buoys were not in place. In fact, the first buoy was still moving when the race started!  Jimmy and Bobby went off in the first wave.  Jimmy misread the course directions and thought the swim was 1 mile instead of 1 kilometer.  He spotted Bobby 8 minutes on the swim.  Rob either kicked someone in the head or was kicked in the foot during the first ten strokes of the swim sustaining a contusion over the 3rd metatarsal head (excuse #2).  He swam slightly less than a mile and managed to exit the water before Jimmy. Bobby, Ashley and Todd all had very respectable swims.  Shawn got the swim workout of his life during his triathlon initiation.  Rob ran over some rubber sticky substance that stuck to the front tire on the first mile of the bike and dealt with an annoying click for the rest of the race (excuse #3).  He also made the mistake of adjusting the angle of the seat prior to the race and ended up with a self-adjusting downward tilt of the saddle after every big bump, of which there were many (excuse # 4).   Jimmy smoked the bike course posting the fasted split for the team and age group.  The whole team had very respectable bike splits.  Todd got his money’s worth on the new P2 purchase, posting a 51 and some change bike split!  Jimmy was still blazing fast on the run, posting the fastest run in his age group (29:05) but that was not enough to chase Bobby down as he also posted a very respectable run.  Bobby finished 3rd and Jimmy was 4th in the 35-39 AG. Todd had a great run as well but unfortunately got edged out by a mere 5 seconds at the finish (ouch!!).  Still very solid splits and 4th in the 45-49AG!  Ashley chased down the leader in her age group with the fastest run by over four minutes to take the age group win.  Rob and Shawn were just happy to finish the run.  Rob finished 4th in the 40-44AG and Shawn is now officially a triathlete.  Overall the Southside Tri & Cycle team had a very strong showing for the first tri of the year. 

Jerry Berman - 5th Place - Men 40-44

As a half-ass member of the group (thanks to Chuck) without a team
jersey, never attended a meeting, and a really slow bike...I thought
I'd contribute anyway.  I'm also at work and bored right now.

First - fine race and some nice finishes to all you speedy bikers!
The STC tri suits look great.  I'll have to get one next year.

I've spent the majority of my life in the water and 
on Saturday, I
spent the majority of the race in the water too.  I still contest that
I was caught in a 
rip current that no one else swam through.  Even
"snorkel man" beat me out of the water...probably because Todd and I
laughed at him before the race.  That'll teach us.  Screw Zipp wheels
and a new bike...I'm buying a snorkel!

The bike ride was a bit bumpy and a little breezy, but overall, a
great ride for this non-biker.  Unlike the rest of you, I did decide
to go off road TWICE at the turnaround.  My 60cm frame just doesn't
turn on a dime.  Jimmy - I'm pretty sure that was your yellow streak
that blew by me like a ferrari outside of 
Fort Monroe.  Thanks.  I
think I got about 0.4 seconds of draft off you.

I was really looking forward to a good run after a winter of running,
but that all ended about 4 miles in...right about the time Rob chased
me down and opened a 15 second gap that never closed.  I guess 16oz of
gatorade doesn't cut it for a two hour race.  You live and learn.
Lots of fun!

I'll see you all at Allen Stone...without your bikes.

Todd Holwick - 4th Place - Men 45-49
After spending all day chaperoning my daughters 7th grade field trip to Busch Gardens on Friday, the 5:00am departure Saturday morning came very early. An 8:00am start time would have been nice instead of the 7:00am. Arriving with plenty of time, I awaited the water temperature report. While most were hoping for temps at or below the 78 degree mark, I was hoping for warmer temps. 78.2 degrees, great!!! no wet suit to deal with. That started things off a bit better for me, as I always struggle to get the dumb thing off me feet. I have read several articles that claim, with practice, it should take no more than 8 seconds to get it off. For me, it seems more like 8 minutes. Well, with a slight delay, off went the first wave. Then suddenly, we see the first turn buoy starting to move making the course shorter. Seemed like a good 100 yards. I guess the current was a little stronger than they initially thought after the first wave plunged in. Then just before the 2nd wave, Jerry spots someone with a snorkel. Is that legal??? Apparently it is. Turns out the guy was a pretty good swimmer. Getting to the first turn buoy wasn't too bad, but then getting to the second turn buoy seemed to take an eternity. There was a time when I felt like I swam 500 yards, looked up, and the buoy did not seem any closer. The water didn't seem too choppy, however, I think I drank more water on this swim than any other race. In fact, once I had to stop as I gagged for a several seconds to catch my breath. A few times I lost sight of the second turn buoy, but fortunately "Snorkel Man" was slightly ahead of me and I could just follow the snorkel.  It may have been a 1000 meter swim as the crow flies, but I felt as if I swam 2000 meters. Now it is off to T1. I exit the transition area on my new bike only to find out that my Garmin is dead. I usually gage my bike and especially my run based on my heart rate. Well, going to have to "wing it" today without the aid of the Garmin. Turns out that I had a pretty good bike split, even though a few times I found myself in a "trance" and had to speed things up. Not quite as fast as Jimmy, but 10th fastest overall. Also, with a new bike, Ashley told me she was expecting a good bike split and I didn't want to disappoint her.  I thought that the bike course was a little bumpy. I'm surprised that I didn't flat somewhere on the course. On the second lap it was easy to spot the big bumps. Just look for areas littered with water bottles and other cycling goodies. Nice job with the plywood covering the speed bump entering the Fort this year. Much easier to cross than last years massive speed bump. Very tight with the turn around. Some folks decided it would be fun to slide out in the sand or take the scenic route through the grass. Of course, as a STC member, I was able to execute the turn perfectly. As for the run,  much faster than I anticipated. I would be curious to know if the distance was accurate. As always, the run is my weak leg. For once, no one in my age group passed me,... so I thought. With about 1/4th mile to go, I slowly picked up the pace. I turned and glanced over my shoulder and no one was closing in on me. Bobby is cheering me on before the finish, but then, out of nowhere, with less than 50 yards to go, some dude in my age group flies passed me seconds before the finish line. Of course that was the 3rd place spot. The guy deserved the 3rd place spot as he ran so fast at the end, that after he crossed the finish line, I think he had a near death experience for a minute or two. I think the paramedics were standing by. I thought that I still might have a chance for the podium if someone was plucked out for the masters, but all three masters came from the 40-44 group. Still, it was one of my best tri's. 21st overall. I'll take it. Oh, forgot to mention. I tried to start a new running fashion for our STC group as I almost left T2 with my aero helmet still on my head. Congrats to all. I think the STC did well in the Tri. Special congrats to Shawn for finishing his first Tri. Welcome to the party! I think he said the swim alone was worse than the marathon. To sum it up for me, hard long swim, bumpy ride, and a hot run, especially the second lap.

Shawn Buddenhagen - 24th Place - Men 30-34

This was my first official Triathlon. I had not planned to race this event, but my competitive juices got the best of me. The last race I participated in was the Shamrock Marathon in March, and I was itching to race again. After some reinforcement from my teammates ( I knew they would say to go ahead and race, I was just looking to reaffirm my craziness), I purchased my USAT license, and dove head long into the event. I am now a registered Triathlete, which gives me license to wear arm warmers with sleeveless jerseys, decrease my bike handling skills my 50%, and worry constantly about water temps.

Race Day

The race had a 7am start, so I arose from my beauty sleep at 4:15am to be at Mr. Jimmy's by 5:15. 4am get a bad wrap, it very peaceful that time of day. (Check out this Ted video for more 4am facts.) Jimmy graciously volunteered to shuttle us to Hampton, so we loaded the bikes on his functionally obsolete bike rack. (Note to Jimmy's Family: a great father's day gift would be a new hitch mount bike rack). We arrive at the race site, swing into a sweet parking spot next to a private bath house. We set off to find registration, and find this:

- Notice the people with buckets in front of me. None of them had the proper ID or papers, and held up the line for 20minutes. Note to bucket people: please put your ID and License in the bucket next time.

On to the action...

This was my first long open water swim. My plan was to survive, any means necessary. I would use my Swiss army knife of stroke techniques to complete the course. I was surprisingly relaxed at the start, ignorance is bliss. Some concern did creep into the group, as the race officials were still pulling the buoys into position as we were start. The countdown began, I positioned my goggles, and we were off. A sea of swim caps, arms and legs overtook me. My goal was to stay smooth, and conserve energy. First buoy can relatively quickly, and I sighted toward the second. As I turned the wind and current hit me in the face. The next 20 minutes were a blur of swimming and controlled drowning. The last 20m to the buoy took about 2 minutes. (I later learned the marker was actually floating away, nice.) I will not recount the last leg of the swim, because it was very painful, and I have put it deep in my memory, along with bad first dates, Vanilla Ice, and that halloween witch that scared the crap out of me when I was 5. I emerged from the water tired and dizzy, and headed for T1.

The bike was was pretty uneventful. After my consciousness was regained, I felt at home on the bike. I passed about 30 people on the first leg, and 40 or so on the second leg. That felt nice. Many people had trouble with the turn around. It was tight, but there was no reason to go flying off the road. (I may start a bike handling class for triathletes - I will call it "making a turn with both feet on the pedals in 15 easy steps.")  One of my water bottles was lost during the race, as I tried to eat a GU, drink some water, and take a turn at 24mph. I need a little more practice on that move. On to T2...

Run - (jog)
I threw on my running shoes, and headed out for a blistering 8k. By blistering, I mean sweltering, and actual blisters. Within the first 500M, my body temp went up and I had trouble cooling down. I had to shed the tritop of awesomeness, and run free. The next 8k were a mix of jogging, running, and lots of water. I managed to hold off a guy in the full leg brace, and I think he was trying to run me down. As I heard this strange cadence of stepping and shuffling behind. I crossed the line to the cheers of my teammates, who finished with enough time to shower, eat brunch, and read "War & Peace", before greeting me at the finish.

I had a great time, and look forward to the next Tri. (Rocketts Landing) My swim needs to improve immensely, and I have a secret plan. I can crush it on the bike. For the run, I just need a crew to follow me with a portable AC unit and keep me cool. Also, STC has the best athletes and most supportive people I have ever raced with. Thanks for all of your support, and advice with my first Tri.

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