Category: Race Reports (page 1 of 2)

OBX Triathlon Race Report (2017 Half) Part 2- Vacation

Racecation! There is nothing better than combining a vacation to an awesome destination with a race weekend! This is the second year in a row I’ve come to the Outer Banks Triathlon for a racecation. The Outer banks are a great place to vacation, and Outer Banks Sporting Events puts on a great race.

This is part 2 of my “racecation” report. See part 1 for all the details of the race portion of the racecation. Here in part 2, I’ll go over some of the things you should look at when planning a racecation and how things went for us this year!

Timing

This year we decided to arrive a day earlier than we did last year. For a Saturday race we got in to town on Thursday afternoon to give us a half a day to get settled and then a morning to relax and enjoy the beach before focusing on pre-race activities like packet pick-up, naps, dinner, etc. we also back loaded the trip with a few extra days to enjoy the beach and the sights before we had to head back. We prefer back loading the trip instead of front loading it so that we can enjoy time off as a family instead of spending most of the trip thinking about the race that is coming up.

Accommodations 

This year we went with a VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) instead of a hotel. This was the right move. First of all, sharing a hotel room with small children is a nightmare for sleep. Second, being able to cook your own food is a must. I don’t think I’ll do it any other way for a race ever again (I know I know… never say never!) The rule of thumb for a race is to be as comfortable as possible and keep to as close to a normal routine as possible. Being in a house instead of a hotel made a world of difference in that department!

Plan for the worst 

Nothing new on race day is always the biggest rule for an A race. Practice everything! I had everything down and practiced, but I wanted to make doubly sure, so I went for a bike ride in my race gear the day before the race. I’m so glad I did! Somewhere in transit between the bike shop and the beach, one of my tires started to run AND I had a bit of brake rub too! I spent a good 30 to 45 minutes getting that all worked out and went for my ride. On the ride, my power meter was going haywire! Dropping to 0 and then never really getting over 200. S bit of troubleshooting that afternoon and I decided the best thing was to replace the batteries. I didn’t bring any so I went to the grocery store and bought the LAST PACKAGE OF BATTERIES they had that fit my power meter. Altering replacing those and recalibration etc. things were as good as new.

Lessons learned… bring extra batteries (and change them before a big race even if you think you don’t need to). Also, check everything and bring extras. I had a back up plan if my power meter was shot, but it would not have been fun at all. Thankfully I was able to get it all worked out without taking it to the local bike shop. But that’s another lesson: know where the LBS is before you go on your trip!

Unwinding

Like I said, we backloaded our trip with real vacation days after the race. The OBX is a great place for a family to visit! I’ve been going there since I was a little boy and now I get to take my family and keep that tradition alive!

We spent most of our time beaching it up… so basically… spending a hour getting all the kids changed and sunscreen on, loading the car, driving a block to the public beach access, and setting up on the beach. Then we spent about 1 1/2 to 2 hours trying to keep the little ones happy and especially keep the littlest one from eating any sand. It’s great fun!

In all seriousness, we love the beach and even the slight hassle of taking small children to the beach is worth the memories.

We also hit up some of the local restaurants like Sugar Creek Seafood. This one of our favorites… you have got to try the Shrimp and grits! It also have an awesome sunset view over the sound! We also found a sweet little coffee shop that we took a couple of trips to over the weekend. It’s called the Front Porch Cafe and it is wonderful! They roast all the coffee locally and have a wonderful environment to just hand out including a little play area for the kids! Score!!

Obviously the Outer Banks is known for 2 main things: Lighthouses and the Wright Memorial/ Jockey’s Ridge. We spent one afternoon seeing lighthouses and another flying kites at Jockey’s Ridge. Pro tip: park at Kitty Hawk Kites and walk across the road to the park. It’s a long walk if you park at the actual state park parking area. Plus, you can also buy a kite right there if you need it!

Final Thoughts

We had a great trip with the family all around. There is just nothing like going to the beach and enjoying time together, and to add in a race and the fact that it was not peak beach season makes things even better! I hope you have been able to pick up some pointers on planning a racecation and that I’ve inspired you to plan your own. The OBX Triathlon is a great place to start, but any destination race would be awesome to bring your family along and enjoy time together after a successful race!

What are you favorite places to “racecation.” I’d love to hear about it! Hit my up in the comments below or on Twitter!

OBX Triathlon Race Report (2017 Half) Part 1- Race

There’s just nothing like a racecation! A race combined into a family vacation in a wonderful destination. The last two years I’ve been taking a “racecation” to Nags Head, North Carolina for the Outer Banks Triathlon. Last year I raced the Olympic distance, but this year I decided to take on the half iron distance race!

As I started to write this report, I realized many of you may not have done a racecation before, so I’m going to do this in two parts. Part 1 (what you are currently ready) is all about the race. Part 2 (coming out later this week) will be all about coordinating a vacation with race week and how we did it.

So with that, let’s take a look at the best fall triathlon on the east coast!

Pre race

The people at Outer Banks Sporing Events have this thing down to a science! They organize races all year long and they really know what they are doing. Packet pick up on Friday was a breeze! I was in and out in around 15 minutes including the time I spent talking to a few guys about the course and finding out what the water temperature was.

Race morning was easy. Transition is set up between a small airport used for flight tours of the area and the aquarium in Manteo. After the disaster that parking was last year, things were a lot smoother this year. Good on OBXSE for learning and improving year after year! I got set up and ready to roll in no time. Except for all the sand that got wedged in my front brake wheeling into transition. I had to totally take my front wheel off to clean everything out.

The thing I love most about setting up in transition is how much everyone in the triathlon community helps each other out. We are completing against each other but have no problems giving tips and tricks to new athletes and helping calm each others nerves. We are also accepting of any and everyone! There was a guy on my rack doing his first race… a half iron distance triathlon… on a beach cruder with a basket on the front! I think the USAt official made him take the basket off, but other than that we all applauded him for his grit to get through a race like that on what bike he used!

Swim 45:09

This was the best swim of my life! Going into it I had one goal… swim straight! Last year I swam almost the same distance as a half iron swim but I was on the Olympic course… it was bad. This year, I slotted neatly into the second pack and, for the first time, I actually was able to take advantage of a draft for the first 800 meters or so! It was at that point that I pulled ahead of that pack I was in and got caught in no-man’s land for the rest of the swim.

T1 2:00

Coming out of the sound you have to run a good 200-300 meters or so to transition. It’s not a fun run though sand, concrete, grass, and then concrete again. The up side is if you can find your legs in a decent amount of time it is an opportunity to gain a few positions in transition.

I felt like I took my time, but it was still a pretty fast transition.

Bike 2:36:03

Lead up to this race, everyone had tigger eyes on the potential of Hurricane José making landfall somewhere along the east coast. OBXSE did a great job with communication on that by the way! The good news is that José stayed away… the bad news was he was hovering right off the NC coast. This made the bike course super windy!

For the half iron distance race we did two laps of the course which meant going over the bridge to the mainland 4 times! Going out was a tail wind, coming back was a head wind. With the wind at your back you just fly over that bridge! I set my top speed there going close to 40MPH! Coming back into a head wind… I was doing good to get 15MPH.

There was another first for me in this course and that was working with some legal drafting on the course. I came out of the water in 27th place. I made up a few spots in transition and went to work reeling people back in on the bike. I passed a group of 7 or so people within the first 6 Miles. From there I was counting people at every turn around and really started making up positions. Going back over the bridge I caught a guy who was taking it easy on the only up hill section of the race. Going into that headwind made it really hard and he passed me back once we got to the mainland. At that point I was a little spent and was content to sit at a legal distance in his draft. I was amazed that in the legal draft I was able to ride 20 watts less and keep my same speed! It was also helpful that he was in my age group so I wanted to keep him close.

I sat there for a few miles until the start of the second lap. We got to the turn around and looped around the sign making the turn around point. Except… that wasn’t the turn around. We were suppose to go around a traffic loop AFTER the turn around sign. 3 of us made the mistake and had to turn back around to get the loop. It was all of 75 feet or so but we lost a lot of time turning around twice.

In all of that I made up one slot and once we were in a tailwind I made my pass on my draft partner before the bridge. I went hard for about 30 seconds and made my gap. I also kept that going over the bridge and never saw my friend again 🙂

It was on the bridge that I actually passed the SAG car (an ATV they used to pick up the cyclists who dropped out of the race for whatever reason). The problem was that he was taking up the whole lane on the bridge. I couldn’t pass on the right because there was a concrete barrier and I couldn’t pass on the left because you are suppose to go over the double yellow line. I yelled and yelled but he never heard me. I threw up my hands and the race official coming the other direction got his attention and he pulled over so I could pass. That was a bit frustrating and another place I lost time on the bike.

I ended up with the 3rd fastest bike split and I came off the bike in 5th. From 27th to 5th… not bad 🙂

T2 1:45

Coming into transition I took my feet out of my shoes before getting off the bike like I normally do. That is when I knew there was a problem. I cramped. Bad. So much I had my right leg sticking out to the side unable to pedal or more at all. It was all I could do to keep coasting and not fall over. I got it loose enough to jump off at the dismount line and jog to my rack.

I had taken a HotShot before the bike, but I needed another one and couldn’t find it in my bag. I sat down to put my shoes on and took a big gulp of water. That was enough to get my mind back in the game and run out of transition.

Run 2:10:25

I thought I just needed a little food and water and I’d hit my stride on the run. Sadly, that never happened. I ate and drank as much as I could on the run and I couldn’t make it back up. My theory is that I didn’t drink enough on the bike. It was a warm day, but I think it was deceiving because of the wind on the bike. I only used the 3 bottles I brought myself and never grabbed any extra. I probably should have had at least 4 if not 5 for the bike.

I started running at 8:00/mile. I started taking walk breaks every mile. That turned into every other mile. Then my running was only 9:00/mile. Then I was walking every quarter mile and running 10:00/mile. It was all I could do to keep the cramps at bay. I’ve honestly never gone deeper in a race. Ever.

I was still towards the front of the race and I know I had a top 10 coming into the last mile. Then it felt like every muscle in my leg was cramping. That last mile is along the open field at the end of the Manteo airport, totally exposed to the sun. I got passed by 2 people (ladies no less…) and it was there that I lost my top 10.

I was able to limp along to where I saw my family at the beginning of the long finishing chute. I knew I had to run past my awesome fan section, but once I passed them I cramped again. I limped for a bit and then was able to run across the finish line. I’ve never been so happy to finish a race in my life!

Post Race

The post race was a little disappointing compared to last year. I guess all the Olympic athletes took all the good food and drinks. I was left with only a sprite, but at that point I really wasn’t complaining. Oh… and there was pizza too 🙂

Checking my results I realized I got 2nd in my age group. First place was the guy I (legally) drafted for a while who then passed me around mile 3 of the run.

I think there are really only 2 things I could have done better. 1) drink more 2) knowing I was towards the front of the race I should have stayed with the pack and benefited from the legal draft. That may have saved me some more energy for the run and let my muscles work to their full potential.

I ended with a 5:35 finish time. My plan was 5:05 after a 1:45 run. So the extra time was all in the run. And I think the conditions really wanted a slower time. The overall winner finished in 5:06. At the end of the day I am very pleased with that race and I think I made a successful jump up to long distance triathlon. I may have found my distance sweet spot 🙂

Stay tuned for part 2 of my report on the vacation side of the “racecation!”

Race Report- Bridge to Pier Triathlon

Your first triathlon will always hold a special place in your heart. Somehow, we feel a special connection to the place we first cut our teeth in the sport. The first time we put Swim, Bike, Run together in a single event. For me, that was on Oak Island, NC at the Bridge to Pier Triathlon.

I had this event marked on my calendar this year, but through a series of random events had decided not to register. Then, the monday before the race, I get an email telling me this was going to be the final year for the event. “I have got to do this” I told my wife. So… We did. I signed up at 7:30am on thursday, 30 minutes before online registration closed. At 4:30am Saturday, with the car loaded down with food and toys for the family (oh… and my triathlon stuff too lol) we started the 2+ hour drive to the race.

Pre Race

We got a nice view of the sunrise over the lovely North Carolina farmland. I ran over an opossum trying to cross the road. We made 2 potty breaks… 1 along the side of the road, and our 2 year old didn’t go back to sleep at all in the car. But we got there with plenty of time for the family to change out of their PJ’s and for me to pick up my race packet and set up in transition.

I figured out pretty quickly why this was the last year of the race. less than 100 people were in transition. A big thanks to Jones Racing Company for not canceling the race. I hope they didn’t lose money on it. On the flip side, my whole rack in Transition was first timers. Something I love about the sport and this race in particular. I shared some encouragement and got all my stuff in order. They announce that the official water temp was 76 degrees… Wetsuit legal! This would be my first race with a wetsuit, and only my 2nd swim in one!

Swim- 1/3 mile 12:16

The swim was rather choppy. Being in the ocean I had expected as much, but it seemed a little more so than usual. I was in the first wave with about 12 or 14 other guys. Going out to the buoy was rough! Once I made the tun I couldn’t see the sight buoy over the waves, and it didn’t help that our swim caps were red and the sight buoy was orange! I had to strategically time my sighting so I was at the top of a wave to get a good sight on the buoy. As is normal for me, I couldn’t swim straight and had to swim most of the course alone. I made decent time though, and I even think the course was marked a little long. My time 3 years ago for my first tri ever I did was 10 minutes. I know I’m a better swimmer now, so that would be why my swim was over 2 minutes slower.

The other obstacle was the rocks right along the edge of the water. I got out way off the mark from the flags they put down, so the rocks hadn’t been cleared. I still ran as much as I could to get to the timing mat up the road about 100 yards or so.

T1- 1:15

Another 50 yards from the timing mat and I was in Transition. It’s a little weird that they put the mat for Swim end and run start so far outside of transition. That would explain the long T1. I was very pleased with how fast I got my wetsuit off. For my first wetsuit race, I was thrilled actually!

Bike- 16.25 miles- 43:13

cycling has always been my strength! since I’m in the middle of building towards the Half-Iron distance, I didn’t quite have the short course speed I wanted, but I rode at about 95% of my FTP as much as I could. That high-end sustained power just wasn’t there. Still, I biked down about 3 guys in front of me and was the 5th guy off the bike. (Once you count the other waves, I was the 6th fastest bike split of the day). I was thrilled with that again.

I had some tought mental issues at the start of the bike when my power wouldn’t come up, but I eventually got it there and by the time we crossed the bridge again I had passed the only guy I knew  would be competitive in my age group. I knew he was a decent swimmer and a poor biker, so I planned to catch up and put as much time as I could into him on the bike. I got about 2 minutes on him, but I also knew I couldn’t match his run.

T2- 0:57

Not much to say about my transition. Again, this is pretty slow for me for a T2 time since the run start timing mat was a good 50 yards up the road.

Run- 4 Miles- 29:02

Like I said, I didn’t have the short course speed. and I hadn’t done a brick since my last race in late April. So my run suffered. I struggled to hold 8:00 and had horrible side stitches. A mile in a started to feel better, and 1.5 miles in I got passed by the guy in my age group. Right before that, as I saw the guys up the road and started to feel better I had a thought of running them down, but that all faded. I did my best and held on for 9th place overall! I’ll take a top 10 when I can get it!

Wrap-up- 1:26:40

I love this race. It may be because it is the place of my first race, but they just do sch a great job making it family friendly and encouraging first timers. I thought my 4:30am wake up and 48 hour prep time was spontaneous (I am not spontaneous at all!) but there was a guy there who woke up at 2am and decided to race and made the drive from even further than me that morning for his first triathlon ever! They really went out of their way to encourage him. It was awesome!

Some takeaways for me personally is- Run more! I know your bike pacing is key to a good run, but I really havn’t pout the speed work in that I need, even for a 13.1. Also, my open water swims need help. I should put more time into that.

A big thanks to Trisports for keeping my kitted and equipped. I also felt great in my Brooks shoes and a HotShot before the race kept me cramp free even with red-lining the whole race! Of course, Honey Stinger filed me race from start to finish.

Next on the schedule is hopefully an olympic sometime in August and then it’s off to the OBX tri for the Half-Iron Distance!

What’s your next race?

Eagle 5k Race Report

I feel a little silly writing a race report for this race since it’s going to take me longer to post this than it did to run the race, but I’m really excited about this race.

The Eagle 5k was a local race to support none of our local schools. It wasn’t a big deal. The timing was done on the school administrators phone (with some fancy app I’m going to have to find out more info on…). The serious competition was the school’s own cross country team. But… I set a PR!

I’ve known for a while that I’m capable of breaking the 20 minute mark in the 5k, I just have never been able to do it on race day. Continue reading

Cary Du Classic- USAT Long Course Duathlon National Championships 2017- Race Report

My first “A” race of the season is now complete! There is nothing quite like the feeling you get after a solid block of training, a perfect taper, and stepping up to the start line with great form. I’m pleased to say I was able to do that this year at the Cary Du Classic!

This race has been on my schedule for the last 3 years in a row. The last 2 years it has been the host of the USAT Long Course Du National Champs. Each year the race itself has gotten better, and each year I have improved on my previous year’s performance.

However, this year’s course was significantly altered from the previous years, Continue reading

Race Stories from the Northeast Park Duathlon 2017

This past weekend I got my first race of the season under my belt. It was good to get out there and compete again and get that fire back in my belly for race season. After having a baby and changing jobs and cities, training has been tough to squeeze in. This race helped get that little extra motivation needed to get “up ‘n at ‘em” each day.

Since this was a fairly laid back race, I’m going to take a bit of a laid back approach to the race report. So here are some of the best stories out of the 54 minutes of racing. Continue reading

Race Report: Goldsboro Family YMCA Turkey Trot 5K

If you’ve been having around the blog the last few week, you know about my 5K Beginner’s guide. The last 6 weeks I’ve been putting out my tips and tricks for 5K training and I even put out a 6 week training plan to go along with it.

Well, what would all this thank be worth if I didn’t actually do a Turkey Trot myself? That’s why I did! I ran the Goldsboro Family YMCA Turkey Trot 5K. It was a great race, mostly because I got to run it with my Dad!

Continue reading

OBX Triathlon Race Report

The only thing better than racing… is a destination race!

For my last race of the season I decided to take a swing at the Outer Banks Triathlon. I grew up going to the Outer Banks every summer so this was the perfect opportunity to take my family along on a short vacation and get some racing in too!

Continue reading

My First Triathlon Story

As I’ve been updating my blog, and specifically the About Me page, I realized I’ve not yet told you all my story from the first triathlon I ever did.

I didn’t get into the sport until I was out of college and actually living in Germany. I was a kids camp director and my work had a certain ebb and flow around the camping season. I was downright board a points in between camps and I had a lot of freedom to work on special projects like redesigning the website etc.

One of the things I discovered to fill my time was jumping back into riding bikes. I had ridden a lot in college (as a touring rider… not a racer) and I rediscovered my love for the bike. My natural inner competitor took over and I wanted to race. I realized that I wouldn’t be able to do a cycling race due to the steep learning curve, so I got with a coworker and we signed up for a triathlon together.

On this journey to my first race, I learned a few things about the sport. Continue reading

High Point Sprint- Race Report

I love racing. The race day experience is so exciting! I absolutely love it! And the team at Trivium Racing does an awesome job which makes it even better!

High Point Sprint Swim Start

A nice warm swim… the water was 84 degrees

Pre-Race

After a season and a half of Duathlons, I made the switch back to Tri’s to keep things interesting. The High Point Sprint was well organized and everything was awesome. I got there way too early, even with having to do packet pickup on race day. I got a good spot in the transition area and was able to take my time setting up (read: kill time and act like I was busy “getting in the zone”). Continue reading

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