Monday, August 1, 2011

Rockett’s Landing Triathlon


It’s July and the heat wave is in full swing…Perfect time for endurance racing. So, I headed about 100 miles south of DC to Richmond, VA for the Rockett’s Landing Olympic Tri…The Mid-East Regional Club Championship.

My goal this year, after I figured out how to swim, was to finish an Olympic tri before MCM training got into high mileage weeks. I probably should have picked a better race. I had originally picked this race since my g/f’s friend was going to do it as well so I figured it would be fun for her to hang out with her and watch both of us. She wimped out, I had no plans to. So, the g/f and I headed down to packet pick up on Saturday before the race on Sunday.

Packet pick up was a good 10 miles from the “race hotel” and the race start was about 2.5 miles from the hotel…not convenient. Although, since the tri store was a sponsor I understand why it was there. I also managed to forget/lose my water bottles and had to find a Dick’s since I didn’t like the ones at the tri store where packet pick up was.

After packet pick up we went back to the hotel and then had to scramble to find the g/f a bike to rent (she was watching) since I wasn’t clear on how far the race was from the hotel and she said she didn’t want to rent one in DC and bring it down. We got the bike from Conte’s in Richmond which is surprisingly different from Fresh Bike’s (formerly Conte’s) in Ballston (Arlington). The people in Ballston are pretty arrogant and the cheapest bike is around $1,500 which makes sense considering the clientele. The Conte’s in Richmond is run by a very nice guy who asked me a lot about the race upon renting and returning the bike. They also have a wider selection of brands in Richmond.

Then we at pizza and went back to the hotel and spent the rest of the night relaxing before the race.

In the morning we woke up and rode down to the race, got there a little after 6 and I set up my stuff in transition. It was pretty cool around 6:30 am but that would quickly change. During set up they announce the water temperature…91 degrees! With the P.F. Chang’s swim caps being optional.

swim cap 1swim cap 2

I chatted with the g/f for a bit and then walked down to the start. I was in the first wave and got into the water to tread for a few minutes, it was amazing how many people didn’t want to get into the water since they had to tread. A lot of people held onto the dock. I swam around a bit to try and get my face used to the warm water. It’s by far the warmest water I’ve swam in and it was difficult to breathe for awhile.

The start was uneventful as a stay outside and didn’t run into too much trouble. The course is sort of curved down the river but, if you swim a straight line you can probably shave off some distance. The swim out was longer than the swim back with the swim back being downstream. Strangely, I swam the out part in 16 minutes and the back part in 17 minutes.

Swim time was 33:37


swim finish

There I am all the way down there. The next part was a 300 foot walk then a climb up two stories of steps and maybe another 2-300 feet to transition. My transition times were slow and I was not a happy camper. The g/f said I completely ignored her at the top of the steps. This was probably due to the bath water wearing me out and then having to climb stairs…this wouldn’t be the last star climb of the day.



The bike started off great, it was mostly rolling hills and seemed to go by fairly quickly. I wasn’t passed by too many people on the bike but, managed to pass a decent number of people. Right around mile 14 or so I was passed by two girls, one in a blue tri suit and another with “pink” tires. Blue liked to block and draft while pink just liked to draft. I stayed behind them most of the race, passed them at one point and then they passed me again on a hill. The last mile or so was a big down hill with railroad tracks at the bottom. I didn’t see them until it was too late and just prayed I didn’t wipe out. I tried to bunny hop but that didn’t work and my chain ended up coming off. I coasted mostly to a stop flipped my bike over and put the chain back on all while taking a nice slice out of my pinky. I have no idea how I managed to do that. I was not in the mood to pick it back up so the rest of the mile was fairly slow.

Bike time was 1:22:26

T2 was around 3 minutes.

It was starting to get hot and I knew I would suffer on the run so I took my time in transition. I didn’t know how much I would suffer. My PR for a 10K is 57:50 in the winter but, I didn’t think I would be that much slower. My first mile was under 10 and then after going under a bridge UP SOME MORE STEPS and directly in the sun, I had to slow down. Right after the second picture below I had a nice fall and took a chunk of of my palm…my first fall while running.

Run 1             Run 2

The remaining 90% of the run was in the sun at about 2.5 miles there were a lot more stairs to go back up to a path across the river. I’d love to go back and run this route on a cooler day since it seems like it’s a very scenic run for a city. At this point I had a coldish cloth underneath my hat and would soon add a sponge inside my top and a towel around my neck. The rest of the “run” was walk/run and I actually stopped at the water stops, mainly to ice the clothes. I managed to smile in all the pictures which are courtesy of the g/f who toughed out the heat to watch. (Note the clothes and sponges below.

Run 3

I finished the run at the snails pace of 1:15:44.

Finish time 3:19:44

Post race was great, there was a water shower tent with chairs and people spraying hoses. I sat there for a couple minutes, packed everything up and went to get my two free beers and P.F. Changs. I only drank half a beer but made up for it in Oreos and two times through the food line. It was a well organized race with fancy towel at the end.

My goal was 3 hours but, I can’t complain because I DO NOT do well in the heat at all. I think my girlfriend’s chants of “No more triathlons in the summer!” sums up how I feel about this triathlon. I think I’ll be taking July and August off from races unless I happen to be down under.

Is there an Ironman Antarctica?

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