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Race Result

Racer: Kevin Kunkel
Race: Outback Big Lick Triathlon
Date: Saturday, September 24, 2005
Location: Smith Mountain Lake, VA
Race Type: Triathlon - International Distance
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 2:23:41
Overall Place: 67 / 431
Age Group Place: 5 / 33
Comment: Good race, despite horrible swim

Race Report:

This was to be the ďAĒ race for my first year. In some ways it lived up to it, and in some ways it did not. First, Smith Mountain Lake is a beautiful place to escape with the family for the weekend. My family, along with fellow RAT Will Waskes and his girlfriend Rhonda roomed together in one of the State Parkís cabins. Not a bad way to go. They are about $80 a night and you get a full 2 BR cabin with a full kitchen and bathroom. They are quite nice.

Swim (32:12 11/33 in 30-34 AG)

I knew at packet pickup the day before that this was going to be a tough race. The water temperature was 79 and the air temp reached 94 so it was highly doubtful this was going to be a wetsuit legal race. Sure enough the next morning it was announced that the race would NOT be wetsuit legal. I thought no big whoop. I managed a decent time at Culpeper, and it wasnít wetsuit legal. I was in the 3rd wave 7:00 behind the first wave that included all the collegiates vying for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships, as well as Will. Right as the first wave took off a cold front started sweeping in. The skies went gray and the winds whipped up to about 20-25 mph. I realized then that this was going to create some surface current but I thought well, weíll all be in it together. The clockwise triangular course was good for the first two legs but once we turned cross current for the last 500 meters the chop was bad and you had to crab to get to shore. I managed to motor along but I didnít realize until I got out that this was the slowest Iíve ever swam for the distanceóand that includes in training! My time 31:39 and that doesnít even include the 200m you had to run back up to transition. That was nearly 2:00 slower than Reston and it was 109m longer! Ouch!

T1 (1:09)

T1 was simple considering I didnít have a wetsuit to pry off. I made a mistake and ran down the wrong aisle. I figure that cost me at least 3 seconds. I managed to get the shoes on and head out. I didnít mount right at the mount line because itís on a steep hill and I fell at that exact same spot in May at the Sprint race there. I learned from Will to run the 30m to the top of the hill and mount. I was off

Bike (1:07:24 4/33 in AG)

This was my longest bike segment in a race to date: the first full 40K. Those of you who think Reston has a hilly course should do this race. Itís not mountainous by any means but the rollers do roll and thereís one climb about 15 miles in that goes for about a mile straight. I managed to get in my pace and I felt quite comfortable. I was making sure to make the most of the downhills as well.

At one point with about 5 miles to go this one guy came up to pass, I have to admit he was only the 3rd to come past me, and since I started in the 3rd wave I must have passed at least a hundred cyclists, this guy passed me and then cut me off and parked in front of me. I was so pissed that I whizzed right passed him. I ended up getting the last laugh because I noticed he was drafting on a guy for a while and here comes the USAT official on the motorcycle from behind. They got that guy with a 2:00 penalty, although I know he benefited more than that.

All in all, the bike went well. It was a pretty tough course but my goal was metónot to be wasted for the run.

T2 (:48)

This was quick and easy. I put some body glide on the inside heel of my shoes so that theyíd slide on. They did with a little coaxing. I was off.

Run (42:13 2/33 in AG)

I started picking people off right away. I felt pretty fresh, especially after a mile passed. I noticed Marcus Wright (the guy Iím behind in the VTS points series) was in front of me about 300m. He passed me at about mile 8 on the bike, which was pretty good for me because heís beaten me out of the water at the last couple races. I figured he did the same here since I had a poor swim. I guess I wasnít the only one. I knew that if I ran steady I would catch him. The course is quite hilly which is OK with me. All this biking has made my legs stronger thatís for sure. At about the 5K mark I passed him. I thought for a while I should sit on him but since this was my ďAĒ race I thought I should forge ahead. I did just that. I saw Will a couple times on the numerous out and back portions. I noticed I was gaining time on him. I didnít realize until afterward that he had to stop for over 2:00 with some stomach ailmentósuffice it to say, that itís TMI. And he apparently has a run in with a cyclist. Weíll let him get into those details on his report. I do not know exactly how that could happen but it did. With all of Will's problems, I did manage to beat him by a little more than he beat me at Reston.

I managed to finish pretty strong, but like Reston, I felt I could have gone harder. If I would have been in the first wave I probably would have run with faster runners and this would have pushed me more. Iíll take 2nd fastest in my age group and not complain. All in all, I feel good with my performance. I came in 67th overall and 5th in my AG. That right there tells you there were some fast college kids there.

One last side note, I realized that my time at this race, which is run on much the same course as the sprint race there in May at exactly 1/2 the distance, was more than twice as fast. In May I did the 750mS/20KB/5KR in 1:13. Today I did the 1500mS/40KB/10KR in 2:23. I should take confort in knowing that I have improved over the year.

Only one race left, Sherando Lake Sprint. I hope to see some RATS out there for that!