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Race Result

Racer: Kevin Kunkel
Race: Culpeper Triathlon
Date: Sunday, August 7, 2005
Location: Culpeper, VA
Race Type: Triathlon - Sprint
Age Group: Male 30 - 34
Time: 1:23:59
Overall Place: 35 / 431
Age Group Place: 3 / 43
Comment: Crash & burn literally

Race Report:

Let's preface the report with the cardinal mistake that I will never make again: always survey the bike course before the race! I'll have to remind myself of that. I headed down the early morning of the race, this time with my whole family (wife and 2 boys) which is not a usual occurence. At the race site I saw my good friend Will Waskes and he tells me right away, "Kev, the bike course is technical." I should have heeded his advice more. Another point, because time was short in the morning I didn't adequatley check out the transition points well; for instance, I never realized that the bike mount and dismount would be on the top of a steep gravel hill. I highly doubt Steve could have gone for his flying mount here. Back to the race.

SWIM: The water was 85 degrees, so no wetsuits. Although swimming is my weakest link I was OK with that. I was looking forward to the experience. Will and I were in the first wave (M 35 and under) and I knew he would leave me fast. There was a pretty think blanket of fog on the lake at the start and it made seeing the buoys difficult. I'm ususlly pretty good at this. Heading for the first buoy I kept trying to go right to get to the first buoy but everybody kept slamming into my right side. For some unknown reason to me the group kept pushing left. I ended up getting dragged 15M wide of the first buoy because that's where everyone was going. Once I made it around the first buoy of the clockwise rectagle measuring 750M I was able to get into my "crappy" stroke. I managed to pick it up over the last 100m or so and finsih with my best swim time yet, 13:40. That's 1:20 faster than my best wetsuit swim. I guess the wetsuit doesn't always make you faster.

BIKE: Here we go! The course was either going up or down the whole 17mi. Once I made it onto the bike and hit the descent from hell on gravel we made a right onto a nice, smooth, wide two lane road for about a mile. The came the turn from hell. My mistakes are numerous here. First, I came into the turn after a steep descent probably going about 30mph. I thought the turn was a 90 degree turn from one two lane road to another. Nope! Make it a 120 degree turn to a one and half lane road. They had a cop there but he did nothing. The turn was littered with pea gravel and onec I got about a third of the way through and got into the drops it was too late. I like to think of myself as having pretty good bike skills from racing motorcycles as a kid, but pea gravel on a road that is damp I could only hold 45 degree lean angle for so long. The front tucked at about 25mph and i went skidding about 40ft off the road leaving part of my tri shorts and my right thigh on the ground. My water bottle came off and dunmped, My right forearm pad broke off and my right shoe had a whole the size of a penny burned through. I managed to jump back up as the cop was aking, "are you alright?" I said I will be when this is over. I took off bleeding from both knees and my wrist which i used for braking. I had 16 miles to go and I was pretty uncomfortable. I sucked it up and managed to cover the rest of the course passing about 15 and getting passed by two. Those of course being Dave Casio and his uber thighed biker friend from Leesburg. As always I manged to catch Will right at T2. It's strange, no matter how long the course or triathlon, I always manage to catch Will at T2. My time: 48:17.

RUN: My T2 was a little slow because I had the right forearm pad from my bike stuck in my shorts and I only remememberd that it was there as I ran out of transition. Now the run course was apparently switched at the last minmute due to a lack of police to marshall the course. The course was fun and different becasue it was a classic X-country course. Will said it brought back bad memeories from college and HS. I probably would have worn different shoes if I knew this was going to be the case. My flats were slipping all over the place. Will and I managed to practically run in together. I usually hold my own on the run but I actually got passed a 2 runners. I still managed to run sub-20:00 on a difficult course.

In the end I managed 3rd in my AG which is OK considering I fell. I have to tell you all I'm still disappointed with my first season of tri tarining and racing. You see, I've been running for the last 5 years and every year I made significant time improvements in distances from 5K to the marathon. I felt like I never really plateaued. My tri times don't really seem to be improving at all! The guys I've been racing in my age group are all improving and I'm just staying the same. I hope this changes. I'm all ears for advice.

I hope you enjoyed the pain in my report. The wounds are starting to heel now. I'm heading our for 80+ on Skyline Drive tomorrow. I hope I don't bite it up there.