Monday, July 18, 2011

STL and The Big Shark Tri


Since my g/f lives in St. Louis and I was going to see her this past weekend, I figured I’d see if there was a triathlon…and there was. It’s sort of in between a sprint and an oly…1k Swim, 20 mi bike, 4 mi run.

I took a flight to STL a few days before and decided to use my Garmin on the plane. It was pretty interesting. On the way there we were around 500 MPH at 29,500 feet and 560 MPH at 36,000 feet on the way back. For some reason it didn’t save the flight there but here are some pictures from the flight back.


I didn’t feel like packing up my bike or shipping it there when I could rent a bike from the Trek Store for $40. Seemed like a great deal for a Madone 5.3…a bike worth $2,000 more than mine. After riding it, I definitely regret not shelling out more for a bike. I took the bike out for a spin the night before the race to see how everything was working. It turned out to be a very good decision since the crank arm was not tight and it came loose and I slammed my foot into the ground. This would have been horrible if it happened during the race.

After fixing the bike and keeping myself from throwing the bike through the store’s window in the middle of the night we were off to the race the next morning. It’s an interesting place to have a race, it’s in the middle of a giant neighborhood that’s supposed to be like a little town. Inside the neighborhood there are shops, restaurants, churches, pools and even a town hall and of course the lake/pond we were swimming in.

We got there about an hour before the race and I listened to the annoying announcer while I set up transition. “Why do we have to do this?” “Because we said so. That’s the only answer you need.” Although I was happy they were threatening to give out 2 minute penalties to anyone having someone accompany them into the transition area.

I hung around with the g/f for awhile before the race and then got in line for the numbers in order time trial start. The numbers were by age group, unless you signed up late, then you’d be at the back. The start went very quickly with 3 seconds between each person. I’d hate to be the guy saying “3..2..1..go!” 750 times. That would get old.

The swim was surprisingly easy. I never ran into anyone but I seemed to get passed by a decent number of people. Everyone seemed to be swimming 50 feet or so from the buoys so I just swam right in line unimpeded the whole way.

I’m in the white cap.


The swim took me 22 minutes which was a little longer than I though it would take and T1 was slow as usual.

The bike was the best part of the race for me. I could easily hold 22-25 mph on the flat course until the last 4 or 5 miles when there was a wicked headwind. The course was 20 miles and I finished in about 58 minutes. There isn’t much to say about the course other than I passed a lot of people, a few people passed me…only one woman.


Only bike pic.


The run was the worst part of the race. When I got off the bike the computer said 89 degrees but it probably felt like 105. I managed to keep a 9:45 pace for the 1st mile but after that it was run walk. I was in heaven when I reached the cold sponges. It’s not like it mattered since they only helped for about 10 seconds. A lot of people had sprinklers spraying in the street, that was a nice treat…It’s too bad the whole neighborhood didn’t do it.


The rest of the race involved me grabbing two sponges at each water station and putting one in my hat and one down my back. P7100044\

This was the last turn before the finish…notice the sponge in the back. I’m really glad I kept it. I spent 5 minutes at the finish line dunking the sponge in the water and pressing it on my head. It took forever to cool down.

There was a great buffet at the finish, sandwiches, cookies and pasta salad. I spent about 30 minutes eating and drinking packed up transition and walked back to the car. We were going to stick around for the awards but, after thinking about sitting in the hot sun for another 30 minutes it was an easy decision to turn the AC on in the car and head home.

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