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Full Vineman Triathlon - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Guerneville, California
United States
Vineman, Inc.
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
  • 00m
  • 4224 yards
  • / 100 yards

Transition was set to open at 5:30, with my swim wave (the first) going off at 6:30. With our rental house only a ½ mile away from the start, we planned to leave our house at 5:30 and walk our bikes over to T1. Our alarm went off as planned (thankfully), and after having breakfast (mini bagel with peanut butter and honey, banana and a bottle of HEED), we suited up and headed out. Because T1 was on Johnson’s Beach, there were carpets running on both side of transition for athletes to avoid rolling their bikes along the rocky shore. The downside to this- the carpets were only a few feet wide, and with over 1000 athletes in the transition area, it was slow moving to get to your rack. The racks were set up like T2, no assigned slots, just racks divided by age group. They limited bikes to nine per rack, and finding a spot was a little tricky showing up when we did, but still manageable. After racking bikes, it was time to toss on our wetsuits (with body glide) and head off to the beach. I was in the first swim wave, and apparently time flew by racking my bike because I had to weave through spectators to get down to the water as the announcers let us know the race started in 90 seconds! Given the air temp was in the 50’s, the 74ish degree water felt fine and I didn’t need to get acclimated to the temp. A rinse of my goggles, toss my Garmin in my cap, and the next thing I knew the swim had begun.

The swim in the Russian River was fairly uneventful compared to the mass swim start at Ironman Arizona. The swim took place in waves, three minutes apart, and in the first wave I had the luxury of not having to weave past slower swimmers (with my times it isn’t usually a problem anyway, but knowing there wasn’t a huge mass of people do deal with all at once was nice.) The river is very shallow, approximately 3-7ft. deep, a fact the race staff informs the athletes of many times. My swim itself was average as usual, and there were two spots, one on the outbound portion and the other at the turn, where it became so shallow I stood up and walked a little. This worked out well because I was able deal with my foggy goggles, and still make forward progress. There is a slight current in the river, and I could definitely feel the extra boost on the return leg. All told my swim was better than I expected, and I shaved off a good chunk from IMAZ.

Transition 1
  • 00m

After exiting the swim I took advantage of the wetsuit strippers, and quickly found where I had racked my bike. I leave a small water bottle in T1 at most races because there is usually sand/grit I have to run though and I‘ve found a quick squirt of water on my feet saves me from any possible irritation/blisters I might get in my bike shoes. After wiping the water for my feet with a small towel I had left, I quickly put on my calf sleeves as well as arm sleeves to provide some extra warm because the temperature was still in the low 50s. I grabbed a Hammer Gel to provide some extra calories, then grabbed my bike from the rack and headed out of transition. One thing missing, or not obvious to me from T1 was a changing tent. There were restroom facilities you could change in, but they were not convenient to get to. While most athletes had their tri kit on under their wetsuit, there were athletes stripping down and changing out in the open next to their bike.
  • 00m
  • 112 miles
  • 0.00 mile/hr

Bike Course- The bike mount zone begins at the base of a small hill leading up to the main road. Rather than deal with a quick climb to start the bike, I opted to quickly jog up the hill before mounting my bike and heading out. The ride out from T1 took us down River Road east bound out of town. This first portion of bike course is relatively flat and fast and lets you fly down the road to get warmed up… until approximately mile five where there is a sharp downhill turn that was discussed at length during the athlete meeting. The turn is more than a 90 degree turn downhill, followed by another quick, sharp turn. It is very much worth taking this portion of the course slow to ensure rider safety. After clearing this portion of the course we began what would be a multi-hour ride through rolling hills taking us past several wineries in vineyards. The road conditions were less than stellar with many potholes and bumpy spots leading to many ejected water bottles and lots of nutrition lying on the side of the road. In spite of the road conditions, the course was very scenic and included passing through several towns including Windsor, Geyserville and Healdsburg. The aid stations were well stocked with water, Gatorade, bananas, Clif Bars, etc. The stations were approximately 10 to 20 miles apart depending on the portion of the course. There is also a bike special needs location at approximately mile 55. The special-needs station was manned by volunteers, however you are required to retrieve your own bag. There were very few, if any flat portions on the bike course. The course included many rollers and a constant shift between up and down hills. The only true hill on the course that we were warned about by previous racers was Chalk Hill. This is a steep incline gaining 400 feet over three quarters of a mile. It appeared at approximately mile 60 and mile 100; keeping you honest before heading into run transition. The bike course is essentially a two loop course and as I began loop two, a definite headwind began to pick up. In addition, the first loop felt like a big group ride, with lots of cyclists passing and getting passed. On loop two however, there were stretches where I felt I was riding solo for good portions of the ride. Near the end of each loop you entered the town of Windsor seemingly reentering civilization after previously riding for hours through the vineyards and country roads. This was an exceptionally welcome feeling on lap two as I knew my time on the bike was nearing the end. The dismount area is just outside Windsor high school, and once dismounted from your bike you had a run of approximately 100 yards with your bike into the transition area. Luckily my transition spot was located right at the entrance so I didn’t have to run too far with my bicycle once in T2.
Transition 2
  • 00m

Transition 2- The transition area was located in the large courtyard/quad of Windsor high school. Inside of transition there were restrooms as well as small changing tents which some athletes used to change into traditional running shorts/shirt. Like most athletes I opted to run in my tri kit which meant all I had to do was rack my bike, put on my running shoes/socks, grab my race belt and head out of transition to start my run. Just outside of transition is the first aid station. This aid station, like all the others on the run course, was well stocked with water, ice, Gatorade, Coke, cookies, bananas and other fruit, and Clif nutrition products. Having felt like I bonked near the end of the bike, I plowed through cookies, bananas, and a few cups of Coke at this first aid station. While perhaps not the ideal plan, it got me the calories I needed to feel better almost immediately and my stomach never felt the slightest bit off during the run.
Located right next to the first aid station were the run special needs bags. The bags were self-service and lined up according to race number. The convenience of these race bags was fantastic given that this area would be passed by runners leaving transition as well as at the completion of each run loop. The bags were dropped off race morning, so if by chance you forgot to leave something at T2 the night before, you could place the item in your needs bag and have it available to you at the start of the run. (Sunscreen and eye drops were two such items for me…). Race directors warn participants that they will not be able to retrieve their special needs bags after the race and to not leave anything of value (that you want back) in them. We found this to be true with the bike special needs but realized that we could have left more in the run special needs because it would have been easy to get it back or hand it off to a supporter on the last lap.

  • 00m
  • 26.2 miles
  •  min/mile

Run Course- Before addressing the course itself, let me say there are some messed up people running Vineman. The run is a three loop course, which is fine and enjoyable as far as I’m concerned. The only problem is in order to reach the turnaround point for each lap, you start to run down the finish chute, but turn around approximately 30 yards before the actual finish line. At this point, a volunteer hands you a colored bracelet to keep track of your laps (you also go over a timing mat) and you head back out onto the run course. So you get to see the finish line within your grasp twice only to have to turn and head out and keep running.
As to the course itself… it was very, very, hilly. There are very few truly flat portions on the run. For extended stretches, you're either heading up or downhill. And a good bit of those hills are steep… “walking steep” as the miles go by. There are aid stations located approximately every mile and they were well stocked during my time on the course. The volunteers at the aid stations did a very good job of helping the athletes get whatever they needed as they passed by. There were porta-poties at multiple locations, possibly located at each aid station. Given the number of stations, and the out and back loop nature of the course, we passed a station over 25 times! There were volunteers at various stations with hoses offering to spray athletes down in order to keep cool, something many folks were taking advantage of. The only thing I didn’t notice on the run course was a medic/sports doc tent. At IMAZ, there was a spot on the run loop where you could get some Dr. Hoy’s/Biofreeze/IcyHot/Whatever you call it. This would have come in handy for those with trouble spots while out on the course. Even just some sample packets in lieu of a dedicated tent would have been nice.

The location of the run course meant the majority of the course had tall trees lining the roadway, which provided ample shade for athletes. This helped me keep cool and avoid sunburn - something rare for a mid-day marathon. As a side note, the course was not very well lit for those athletes finishing after sunset with only two portions of the course lit. This left athletes not finishing during daylight with the added task of dealing with small potholes and slanted roadways, as well as avoiding running into other athletes. The aid stations were not lit up either and race directors began picking up cones as it got dark – this made it seem as though the race was over even though there were still a couple hours to go. Several runners came prepared with headlamps – something I would recommend putting in your run special needs bag if there is any chance you will be out after dark. In addition, the temperature drops quickly when the sun goes down so you may also want to put a jacket or long-sleeved shirt in the bag as well.

After finally collecting my two bracelets, I was able to complete my third lap and continue straight down the finishing chute to where two volunteers were holding a finishing line up. It was a nice touch to be able to break the tape, something they were trying their best to do for all the athletes.

After getting a medal hung around my neck, a volunteer removed my timing chip from my ankle and I was intercepted for a finisher photo (usually a photo with a big smile), then it was time to have some food. While I’m not normally very hungry after a race, I was pleasantly surprised to see a real nice spread for the athletes. At Ironman Arizona, finishers got pizza, french fries, water and maybe soda? The Vineman spread was much better as far as I’m concerned. As much as I remember -grilled chicken breast/buns and the various toppings for sandwiches, chicken soup, grapes, strawberries, watermelon, cookies, water, ice tea, and Sun Drop soda. All were delicious, and I had plenty. It was nice to have some healthy, fresh food after a race. (Even better that I didn’t have to prepare it!)

After the rest of our group finished up their respective races, it was back to the house in Guerneville where, thanks to a smart member of our group who did Barb’s Race, pizza and beer was waiting! Climbing into as much compression gear as I could find, it was time to lay back in the recliner and starting thinking about our upcoming races…. and enjoy the fact we can say we’re multiple 140.6 finishers (with new PR’s)!

Post race

Last updated: 2011-08-04 12:00 AM
00:00:00 | 4224 yards | / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 00:00
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
00:00:00 | 112 miles | 0.00 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 00:00
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:00:00 | 26.2 miles |  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2011-08-04 9:58 AM

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Subject: Full Vineman Triathlon
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