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Race Result

Racer: Kevin Kunkel
Race: Luray International Triathlon
Date: Saturday, August 18, 2007
Location: Luray, VA
Race Type: Triathlon - International Distance
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 2:23:54
Overall Place: 11 / 288
Age Group Place: 3 / 40
Comment: Great Day. Excellent bike course!

Race Report:


I knew I had to do the race this year. Last year I registered for this race and then got called to Afghanistan on work so I knew this year I had to finally participate in my first race managed by our own EnduranceWorks owner and fellow winter time running buddy, Dave Glover. He and Greg from SetUp put on a great race, but more on that later.

I attempted in vain to find someone to room with the night before since my wife had the night off. Our own Keith B. and Stacy Taylor made attempts but nothing too promising. Apparently all my seat angle and bento box posts on this list-serve have warned people to stay away from me! All kidding aside, Iím glad I drove up the morning of the race. It only took 1:40 minutes and I got there well over an hour before the race. I think this meets pre-race arrival standards as established by our own Shawn Clark.

While getting set up in transition I saw so many people I havenít seen in a while. I also managed to meet a lot of new folks. Richard Rostant of Reston Triathlon fame was racing. I also was racked right next to a buddy from Worldgate, Rob Colburn who recently competed at Ironman CdA. I also had the fortune of meeting Bill Wren from team Z who at 59 is kicking some major butt. It took me a while to pass him on the bike. All the other usual characters were there: Cascio, Katie, Clark, Taylor, and Fabrice. This race almost felt like a Reston race away from home.

1500M Swim (non-wetsuit), 29:30 (72nd of 288/14th of 40 AG)

I havenít raced all that many multiple loop triathlons in my time. I have to admit I was getting sick of them at Triple T this year. There is one nice thing about them. You can really monitor your pace and it gives you an ITU feel to the event. I was also hoping to test my new Blue Seventy zero.3 swim skin that I will end up using next week in Louisville since the water is currently 85 degrees there! No luck. It was on backorder. Thankfully, I got it yesterday. Back to the race, once the gun went off I attempted to get in my rather sluggish stroke and hang on until the real race began and that with me clipping my shoes in on the bike. This one was tougher than most. Usually after 2-300 meters Iím in a no mans land and can just settle in. I donít know if it was because I was in wave 4 or what, but I never got any clean water. I got bashed over the back of the head countless times. Only in the last 200 meters did I see a lady who just passed me with her pink swim cap. She looked real quick and strong and I managed to get on her feet the rest of the way in. Where was she the whole race? I could have gone 2-3 minutes faster in her draft.

T1, 1:12 (5th of 288, 2nd AG)

I managed to run quickly to T1 and saw Fabrice. I ran past him on the stairs to transition. My transitions have been very slow this year, especially when compared to my placing in the actual three events. I decided this time to leave my shoes clipped in on the bike and boy did that make a difference. I had one of the fastest T1s on the day. It seems to also save me time jumping on the bike. I still havenít quite got the hang of actually getting my feet in the shoes and strapped inómore on that in the bike.

26+ mi Bike, 1:13:05 (10th of 288/2nd of 40 AG)

Now on to the fun stuff, I had a heard a lot about the bike course but made the cardinal mistake of not previewing the course. I paid for this dearly two years ago at Culpeper when I took a nasty spill. This time my objective was to go hard but not reckless. I do want to make it to the starting line in Louisville without a cast. My one and only problem with the bike was that one of my shoe straps and come out of itís buckle and it took me the better part of the first mile to finally get it fixed. I probably lost 10-20 seconds but I made that up for it with a faster than usual T1.

As I told some others after the race, this bike course was probably the best I have ever raced on. I say this because in its 26 miles it had a little of everything: short steep climbs, fast technical descents, slow and medium speed turns, good long false flat climbs. The course was a true test one ones cycling capability. I really have no idea how fast I went. I forgot to clear out my bike computer from Culpeper two weeks before. Oh well. Right before I came into transition I saw Jon Anderson coming out on the run. I know heís a much better swimmer than I and we are comparable cyclists, but Iím a stronger runner. I knew he was the guy I should key off, especially considering he was the kind who finished just ahead of me in my last Oly distance race (Montclair). I knew he wouldnít be hard to see because heís a big but fast Clydesdale.

T2, :53 (30th of 288, 7th AG)

I had a very normal T2. At least I found my transition area quicker than I have in a number of races recently. I had a slight problem with one of my quick laces but no big deal.

10K Run, 39:16 (16th of 288, 5th AG)

As I exited the transition I saw the lead runner coming in, I stated to think am I really that slow today? Am I really 10K behind the winner? Only then did I realize this was a multiple loop run. I really should look over the race materials before I race. I wonít make this mistake in Louisville. Within less than Ĺ mile I had caught Jon Anderson so he must have had some issues because I know I wasnít running that much faster than normal. From then on my goal was to not let anyone pass me, which is my usual strategy, and try and pick off people in front of me. I never really kept count this time around since it was a two loop course I really had no idea where everyone was. The one person that I knew I was behind was Dave Cascio. I got to seem him 4 times and I always shouted some words of encouragement his way. The run course was some simple rollers but coming back they took the wind out of my sails thatís for sure. In the last 200-300 meters I saw a couple guys in front of me and nailed it managing to pass them. I met one of the guys after the race (Kyle Scott).

One big goal I had for this year was to break 40:00 in the 10K of an Oly distance race. I did that, but something tells me the course was a little short. Oh well, no biggie.

Finish, 2:23:54 (11th of 288, 3rd AG)

After the race I finally got to meet Steve Meineger. Heís the only guy in front of me in the VTS this year. Once again he was in front of me this time. I guess at best Iíll have to settle for second place this year. Iím going to have to make some serious improvements in my swimming this off-season if I want to go for the AG title next year. I canít keep giving away 4+ minutes and expect to be bailed out by my bike and run combination.

At the race awards I ended up getting 3rd in my AG and a nice acid etched glass. Then the announcer stated that I had been randomly selected for a month of free Bikram Yoga, which is interesting because I told Dave how much Iíd like to win that in the weeks leading up to the race. I donít know if there was any funny business in there?!?! Dave swears there wasnít.

All in all a great race that I will make it a staple in years to come. There was great food and camaraderie to be had. The weather couldnít have been better and it was truly great race and day to be had by all.

Having this race 8 days out from my big race was excellent. It allowed to me get some quality miles in with enough time to recover for the big race--at least, that's what I'm hoping.

Next up: Ironman Louisville. Shhhh...can you hear it? I can hear the banjo from Deleiverance in the distance.