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Race Result

Racer: Erik Melis
Race: Make-A-Wish Sea Colony Triathlon
Date: Saturday, September 20, 2008
Location: Bethany Beach, DE
Race Type: Triathlon - International Distance
Age Group: Male 50 - 54
Time: 2:28:01
Overall Place: 230 / 340
Age Group Place: 19 / 40
Comment: Another triathlon becomes a duathlon... :(

Race Report:

Race report - Sea Colony Make-a-Wish Triathlon
Saturday, September 20, 2008


Just like Reston two weeks ago, another Olympic tri that was turned into a duathlon due to the cancellation of the swim. The wind-driven surf (wind gusts to 20-30 mph) surf didn't appear as bad as last year when the swim was allowed but apparently there was a riptide/rip current that made it unsafe to swim. At least they said that the Coast Guard and the Beach Patrol concurred with recommendation to cancel the swim. The swim was replaced with approximately a 1-mile sand run.

Run #1 6:51 (32/40 AG, 325/340 men)

We were walked about a mile up the beach from the Sea Colony resort to start teh run. The run was done in swim waves. I was in the first wave (men 50+) so I told myself that at least the beach wouldn't be as touch to run on for us as it would be for subsequent waves. Well, I don't know if it was or wasn't but I do know that even running in "harder" sand was not a lot of fun in preparing the legs for a windy, albeit flat, bike ride. I decided to run this piece in a pair of running shoes different than what I would run the main run in only because I didn't want to have to worry about residual sand in my shoes for the 10K run. I was watching my heart rate during the run and I was definitely way into Zone 4/zone 5 just trying to find traction in the sand. the last little part of the run was in very soft sand leading back up to the resort and T1.

T1 2:32 (19/40 AG, 130/340 men)

Except for a mandatory nature call, this transition was faster than it would have been from a swim transition. I changed shoes and changed socks since both were full of sand. I was racing a new pair of bike shoes this race and new Look Keo carbon cleats so was hoping for a good ride despite the wind that we knew was waiting for us on the course.

Bike 1:17:22 avg spd: 19.2 mph (9/40 AG, 156/340 men)

For the first half of the 41K course, I felt pretty good considering how trashy my legs felt after the sand run. I was keeping my average speed at over 22 mph and was passing a lot of folks that I started with and a number in my age group. Everything was going pretty smoothly dealing with what at that point were mostly crosswinds with a few bonus tailwinds thrown in. Then about mile 16, we made a turn and, boom!!, headwind right in the face. Tried to remain in aero as much as possible and just make myself as small to the wind as I got get. There were some riders on the course that decided to deal with the wind by riding in illegal pace lines...got passed by one that was four or five riders together and can only hope that they got caught and penalized. The problem with being a big guy like me is that you can only make yourself so small before it just isn't practical to do any better. I just keep plugging away trying to maintain a good rhythm and cadence but I could definitely see my average speed dropping off. The other thing that was making this ride tough was the overwhelming aroma of chicken manure along the course route. It's hard to pedal into the wind or otherwise when you really don't want to breathe. Despite these challenges, I ended up finishing the bike with an average speed of 19.2 mph which made for a top 25% AG bike so was okay with that.

T2 2:47 (32/40 AG, 281/340 men)

Second transition went pretty smoothly and headed out on the run with the goal to just keep the kegs turning over.

Run 58:31 - 9:25 min/mi (26/40 AG, 258/340 men)

The run is a very flat and mostly straight out and back 10K. The fact that it is flat is nice. The fact that is mostly straight is a little disheartening sometimes because you can look ahead and see just how far you have to go and see all the other runners heading back. There was a tailwind on the way out and a headwind on the way back. Try as much as I could, I was unable to master the ability to run in some kind of aero position. Finished the run with a strong sprint at the end.

Lessons learned:

- I still don't like duathlons (didn't like doing at Reston and didn't like doing it here) even though my swimming is not my strong suit. There's just something encouraging at the start of a race when you get on the bike after the swim with relatively fresh legs.

- If I continue to do these races and hope to improve, I may seriously need to consider a true tri bike instead of my Specialized Roubaix Elite with clip-on aeros so that I get a little more aggressive in my aero position. Big sails like me don't do well in wind unless they were to allow tacking a jibing on the bike course.

- There seems to be a difference, for me at least anyway, between putting body glide on your feet prior to the run and have your bike/run socks slathered in it ahead of time. With the former I have only minor issues with blisters while with the latter the issues, as they were today, are more significant. Maybe if I just learned how to run properly it would not be such a big deal.