Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stonewall Jackson Triathlon

So I'm taking a little different approach to this blog post: it's about a triathlon and not a cycling race! Yes, yes. I realize this is a "cycling" team. But JR told me I could! Anyway, just this past weekend I had the pleasure of doing the Stonewall Jackson Triathlon at Stonewall Resort. Overall, Setup Events (which is based in the Carolinas) runs an excellent competition and I've never been let down by their organization. The event was sort of a mutant of a sprint distance and an international distance with a 1000 meter swim, 26 mile bike and 4 mile run. I'm a fan of longer events but I won't turn down a nice triathlon just because it's shorter. Nonetheless, the venue was very beautiful and is probably the best triathlon we have in West Virginia.

I felt a little rushed all morning prior to the race and barely managed to make the 8:00 AM start time for the first wave. Men under 39 would go out first. My swim, which was largely a straight out and back course, would take 14:36. While there was a little rough contact during the swim, I managed to drop several people after the turnaround point, which is good for me because I'm a non-swimmer. I ended up having the 5th fastest swim of the day, which was positive for me in that short of a distance.

My first transition was slow at 1:23 because I was being clumsy with my equipment but once out on the bike I always start to feel a little more comfortable. Initially my girlfriend informed me that I was 90 seconds behind the leader, which I thought was favorable. Almost immediately I began to ride up a gradual and longer climb, making the early transition to cycling a little tougher. I passed two people in the first mile. After that though, I didn't see a single competitor until I was returning at the end of the rolling bike loop. Typically, in large races of 2000-3000 people I'll pass athletes from the start to the finish of the bike ride so to be alone for the entire ride is a little frustrating and makes one question if they are being successful. Ultimately, my ride time would be 1:11:31, for the 4th fastest bike split.

My second transition went much better at 29 seconds. I knew I would have to take the run out hard to have any success. The first mile was somewhere under 6 minutes but didn't feel great. I saw race leader Thomas Wood with a sizable lead prior to the turnaround and realized his gap was to large make up in a such a short run. I caught Andrew Cochran just after the turnaround. My run time would be 23:42, for the 2nd fastest run time and a 2nd overall finish in 1:51:39. Next month I'll be at Ironman Augusta 70.3, which I'm looking forward to because I had a PR for that distance there in 2010.