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Race Result

Racer: Dan Frost
Race: Lums Pond Triathlon
Date: Sunday, September 28, 2003
Location: Bear, DE
Race Type: Triathlon - Sprint
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 1:25:37
Overall Place: 14 / 428
Age Group Place: 3 / 39
Comment: There's a new Frosty in town!

Race Report:


Advertised as a 0.5mS/19.5mB/3.1mR
Swim: 14:32 / 19th Overall
T1: 1:24
Bike: 49:26 / 19th Overall
T2: 0:52
Run: 19:25 (Out 9:59, Back 9:27) / 46th Overall Total: 1:25:37


Less than three days after completing an eight-day transcontinental drive to my new hometown of Arlington VA, I'm back in my 1995 American-made Eclipse making the drive up to Northern Delaware for the Lums Pond Triathlon. I'm curiously eager to race here...in part, because it's my first East Coast triathlon and want to get a feel for what triathlons are like "out here". Also, in part, it's my only chance to get in a race before Ironman Florida six weeks later. But really, Lums Pond is a chance to stretch out my body after driving over 3000 miles during the past week+.

I had a very good season back in the Pacific Northwest, so I didn't come to Lums with a hungry desire to race superfast. The drive across the country didn't do much to help my "training" either. One of my bike's training wheels blew up on me during a ride in South Dakota, pretty much killing all exercise until reaching Virginia. So, to catch up with the Ironman training that I had lost, I did back-to-back bricks on my first two days in Virginia. (The two days immediately before the race) That sums up my attitude going into this race...enjoy the experience, but don't expect any miracle finishes on the podium as tired as I was.

I had no problem getting up at 3AM to make the drive in time for check-in at 5:30AM for a 7:45AM race start. Since the sun doesn't come up until close to 7:00AM, a flashlight is handy to navigate through the dark to unload and stage your gear.

The first thing resembling an "EastCoastism" was the bicycle inspection. It had been almost two years since I was in a race where there was a mandatory pre-race bike inspection. Someone around here will have to tell me why y'all still have them.

Although not an EastCoastism, a distinctive but unwelcome feature of this race was the mosquito-breeding area converted into a triathlon transition zone. It didn't take long for the bloodsuckers to zap me and many others. For a while, I wondered if I was going to come down with the West Nile Virus. Yes, it's been a wet summer and it had rained overnight, but it would have been nice to know beforehand to bring some insect repellant.


Right away, when I looked at the swim setup, I could tell that it was longer than the advertised half-mile. For me, longer swims are usually a blessing. My problem on this day is that I hadn't done any swimming at all since leaving Washington State two weeks beforehand. The rain had subsided, but the low clouds in the early morning made this a clear-lens goggle swim.

I was in the second wave, with 30-39 aged men, trailing the first wave by five minutes. I found clear water quickly enough, but realized just as quickly that my form sucked. I got it together soon enough, although I realized that I couldn't sustain my usual stroke rate.

After the first turn of this triangular course, I was able to see both the next intermediate course buoy as well as the next turn buoy. The intermediate buoy had been placed well inside the triangle, so I set my course straight for the turn buoy in the distance. Some of the leaders in front of me did the same, but most everyone else did not and made a bee-line towards the intermediate marker. This gave me mixed feelings...I'm making time by saving distance, but it looks really wierd when I'm in complete no-man's land and the main line of swimmers is nearly out of sight to my left.

Soon enough, we all approached turn #2 and the swim was uneventful after that. I plodded through the mud to reach T1, made a quick change to cycling gear, unracked the bike and was about to move out into the traffic flow when, out of the corner of my eye, realized that I was going to collide with another racer. I stopped and cleared him to go by before I resumed...good thing I did, the other guy happened to be Troy Jacobson. Colliding with him at T1 would not have been a good way to introduce myself to East Coast racing!


The bike course is flat, aside from a highway overpass, with a variety of road surfaces. A little bit of wind and some subtle grades can play with your mind a little here, but it's a pretty fast track.

I started out feeling that my legs were only going to give me around 90% today. After a few minutes, however, they seemed to feel better and I was able to make some good speed. The wet roads made the turns trickier to handle, but I didn't mind. If there's anything good about coming from the Northwest, it's that I have a good feel about how to maneuver my bicycle on wet roads.

On the return portion, I was caught by a fellow 35-39 division competitor whom I engaged in a leapfrogging duel. I'd pass him, then he'd pass me a minute later, then I'd pass him again, and so on. Usually, I don't "win" duels like that. My opponents usually gain an advantage and pull away, and that happened here as well. The leapfrogging, though, pushed both of us to race strong, and my deficit to this competitor coming into T2 was minimal. I wasn't sure how many other 35-39s were in front of us, but since I've been accustomed to leading my AG at this point in sprints, I had a small feeling that was indeed where we were here.


Across the mud again and onto the run...a mixture of soft, muddy grass, wet pavement, and a little bit of gravel trail. This year's run course was different than in past years because the old course was even sloppier. As long as I didn't slip, I didn't mind running through the muck...a slow track equalizes the situation a bit for me.

I felt like I had good speed on my feet this day, despite the wet surfaces. Nonetheless, it wasn't enough to put me in front of my known AG competitor and wasn't enough to hold off another who passed me early in the run. After that, I didn't have much to worry about. I was pleased to reach the turnaround and start heading back to see a very wide gap between me and any potential pursuers.


A few surprises here. First, that I really did finish third in my AG...not bad for a race I hadn't cared much about going into it. The plaque was a nice housewarming gift for my new digs in Arlington. Even more surprising, my leapfrogging competitor was an old acquaitance that I hadn't recognized. James "Lunar" Webster and I were both members of the Naval Academy's varsity swimming team. Actually, Lunar was one of the best backstrokers that Navy ever produced...while I was the longest-tenured manager/Gatorade-mixer/statistician in Academy history. Not surprisingly, Lunar became a SEAL and, now that he's not on active duty, started racing triathlons just this year.

What wasn't a surprise was the results in general. They proved my axiom that in order to sprint well, you must bike well. 18 of the top 20 finishers overall were also among the 20 fastest cyclists. As an unusual side note, the top three in my AG were also the AG's three fastest swimmers. On this day, it certainly paid to swim well, too.

The post-race food is excellent! Good thing the East Coast knows how to feed a starving hoard of triathletes! With some insect repellant, this is definitely a race worth coming to again...after all, we just go to these races for the food anyway. Right?!?!?

Best wishes,
Dan Frost