Disclaimer: Ok, its not the shortest race report ever. If you get tired of reading, you can always petition Cheaper than Therapy to revoke my access :-)
Brigantine Island Triathlon
August 4, 2006
Swim .25, Bike 11, Run 4
This race is about at close to a home course as you can get. My parents live in Brigantine, and I’ve spend plenty of time training on the roads that the course used. I also anticipated seeing lots of South Jersey types that I knew from my high school days. So I should have been really excited for this race, but the whole week leading up to the race I was flat. I think it may have been the post A-race letdown after New Jersey. I’d had a few really good weeks of training, I did a good taper, and I raced really well, exceeding my goals for the race. So there wasn’t a lot of mental energy left for Brigantine.
I finally started to get excited about racing on the drive down to my parents’ house on Friday afternoon. Race morning we slept in (relatively speaking, or course) til about 6am. Got up, ate some breakfast, threw the transition bag over my shoulder and (get this!) rode my bike the 1 mile to transition. No loading the car, no looking for parking… it was great.
The water was warm, but the RD allowed wetsuits anyway. I decided not to wear mine because I was already feeling pretty buoyant in the salty water. The swim was basically a trapezoid with the first leg into a strong current. My plan was to go out hard and take advantage of the tough conditions.
Waiting for the swim to start, I experienced what seems to be a common theme in the races I’ve done. You’ve got a bunch of guys in their twenties and thirties, all fired up and ready to race, and acting like meatheads in the water. Invariably I end up thinking to myself “oh man, these guys are hard-core maybe I should start off to the side in the second or third row…” So the swim starts and everybody takes off and typical swim-start craziness ensues.
I had a pretty good swim and found some feet to follow after the first turn. After the second turn we were swimming with the current and moving quickly. The final turn was into the swim exit and required swimming across the current. I made it to the swim exit and saw your host Cheaper than Therapy standing along the fence waiting for her wave to start. She yelled to me that I was fourth out of the water. Fourth?!? What happened to all those guys meatheading it up at that start? Anyway, it was a good swim and I was happy with it.
T1 was a fairly long run down a narrow transition area. I saw my parents as I was running up to my rack, that was pretty cool. Put the helmet and sunglasses on and I was outta there.
After the typical craziness of the swim, the bike was the total opposite. Starting at T1, it was a lonely day out there. I got passed by a guy who looked pretty strong in the first mile of the bike. After that, I was alone. I hate starting in the first wave.
The first couple miles of the bike course was into the wind, and I just tried to keep my cadence up. After the turnaround at the southern end of the island, I was able to put it in the big ring and really crank for a while. The bike went by quickly and next think I knew I was back into the windy section of the course with only about a mile and a half to go.
Time: 29:33 22.3 mph
T2 was nice and quick. I was surprised to see how many people were just coming into T1 as I was running through T2. Saw the parents again, its nice to have a cheering section.
Time: 1:13 (consistent, eh?)
Off onto the run course and still nobody in sight. My legs were feeling ok but not great, and I told myself to just treat the first half of this run like a 10k. The sun was hot and the canting of the road was brutal. I got through the first aid station and still nobody around. I kept thinking that I was probably gonna get run down at some point, but nothing yet. Sometime around the aid station, the bike course turned and joined the run course. That was definitely the coolest part of the run; I was really surprised by how my people shouted encouragement to me as they passed on their bikes.
I made the turn in 13:30. I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t moving faster, but why should I be; I spend the whole run telling myself to treat it like a 10k. Immediately after the turn I was on the lookout for guys behind me. Passed the closest guy going the other way at 14:15. So I had him by a minute-thirty. And he was gonna have to run 6 flat to catch me. This was not the stimulus I needed. Instead of pushing the last 2 miles like planned, I backed off. That welcoming invitation of easing off the gas was too much to resist.
The last two miles still went by slowly. Every few minutes I’d give a glance over my shoulder to see if anyone was coming. No one did. Making the right hand turn into the long finishing chute was actually pretty cool. I started in the first wave, so I was 4th person to cross the finish line.
Time: 27:23 6:51 min/mile
Rank: 18/501 overall, 1/38 age group
Despite being almost alone out on the course, I have to say that the fan support was awesome. For such a low key race, there were a lot of people out there. And the volunteers were great too, apparently there were 200 of them. Every turn on the bike course had 3 or 4 volunteers telling people where to go. And getting the age-group win was pretty nice, too. So all things considered, a pretty good race on the “home course” which I’ll definitely do again.