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Florida Challenge Triathlon - Long Course - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Clermont, Florida
United States
Sommer Sports, Inc.
60F / 16C
Total Time = 5h 40m 26s
Overall Rank = 35/120
Age Group = 50-54
Age Group Rank = 3/12
Pre-race routine:

Up at 4 so I could be at the race site when transition area opened. Was first in transition area and set up in light rain. Left my shoes in bags to keep them dry then retired to the warmth of my girlfriend in a heated vehicle and watched the frenzied activity of the late arriving athletes.

Event warmup:

lots of stretching and an easy 10 minute jog
  • 25m 45s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 13s / 100 yards

Great swim. I was dropped by the 2 leaders and fell into a comfortable pace. Passed by 1 more after 800 yards.Felt strange wearing a wetsuit for the first time. It was a loaner from a friend. I am a competent and experienced open water swimmer and I feel that wetsuits are used un necessarily far to often just to make up for lack of swim practice. The air was chilly though and with the rainfall I opted for the rubber for the right reason: so I wouldn't lose excess body heat.
What would you do differently?:

Transition 1
  • 03m 30s

Fair transition. A dab of baby oil on my lower calves helped the suit come off easily. I opted for socks as thats how I train so that cost me some extra time putting them on.
What would you do differently?:

Go sockless and have bike shoes pre cleated to save time.
  • 3h 14m 18s
  • 56 miles
  • 17.29 mile/hr

Horrendous bike. Really odd because thats usually my best leg in a race. No volunteers directing us out of transition and confusing first turn location. No volunteers at a few key corners that were manned by dis interested police officers. On the backside of the course one officer was reluctant to get out of his car to stop traffic for the cyclists so we were timing our turn with oncoming traffic. There were some bored looking volunteers listlessly ringing a a cowbell on one of the hardest climbs. There was a nasty little crosswind that seemed to be from the nose out and back. I was hesitant to push to hard on the flats for fear I'd hit the wall and Was passed by 30 good riders. Felt great on the climbs and closed ground on cyclists in front of me on each climb only to be dropped again on the next flat. I live in flat south FL but trained really hard on bridges and some steep mini hills. I expected to climb well but was shocked that I couldn't comfortably hold more than 18 on the flats. I was averaging 19.5* on my training rides so I might have overtrained prior to the race. Dranks to much water and gatorade in fear of dehydration so I had to stop twice to pee. I had a borrowed bike and shoes and I couldn't bring myself to soil a friends equipment. That cost me 5 minutes. Slipped the chain in a bad shift at the base of one climb. Never done that before. Another minute lost. I was stopped by police that were paying attention at one intersection near the end of the bike because an emergency vehicle was coming. 2 more minutes lost. By that time I knew I was having a horrific bike so I didn't care about time. Even though I was slower than expected I had a blast riding those hills. They are great fun and I plan to go back there to train and play.
What would you do differently?:

Next time I'll be on my own bike, Do more speed work, hydrate correctly and if I gotta pee by gosh I'll do it while rolling!
Transition 2
  • 01m 35s

Nice transition.
What would you do differently?:

  • 1h 55m 20s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 48s  min/mile

I had feared a meltdown on the run but felt good coming off the bike. I sipped water or gatorade at every aid station. I had expected to run between 8:30 and 9:30 pace so my 8:39 average was good. Felt very good and held myself back from pushing the pace early. I figured that if there was anything left I would use it in the second half. This was a good strategy because fatigue crept in at 8 or 9 miles and it was a mighty struggle to maintain my pace. My hamstrings and quads were painfully sore the last 2 miles so it was by shear will that I held my pace but I was mentally prepared to will myself to the line. The athletes were pretty far apartat this point so there were few people to race. My biggest competitive encounter was at mile 11 on the bike trail beside lake Minneols when I was fighting for every footstep of progress and trying to stay focused. There was this 5 year old on a bike with training wheels who refused to let me pass him. He kept looking back at me with a steely gaze as if to say "you are never gonna beat me old man" but I pursued him doggedly and finally wore him down after a few hundred yards. I gave him a victory salute and thumbs up as I went by. LOL!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, I am pleased with my run.
Post race
Warm down:

I hobbled to the massage table only to discover that they wanted to charge me and I had no cash.What happened to complimentary 10 minute post race amssage? Went back to the hotel were they had a jacuzzi tub and I had requested a late late checkout. The folks at the Holiday Inn Express are the best!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Was sidelined for 2 weeks by the flu about 8 weeks before the race. Took me 2 more weeks to feel normal again. This limited my training and I wound up rebuilding endurance when I should have been doing speed work.

Event comments:

This was my return to Triathlon racing after a long hiatus and I was really looking forward to this event. Although I placed in my division I left with very mixed emotions about it. With so many race choices these days I'm not sure if I will come back. The Florida Challenge is billed as a unique and challenging half ironman with great athlete amenities and a beautiful course. The course did not dissapoint but I got the distinct impression that the race organizers "Sommer Sports" is spread to thin. On saturday they ran a half marathon, 10k, and 5k at the half ironman site. They should have had an expo, athlete's dinner, race instructions and bike check in with overnight security (the main reason race organizations don't do this is to save money). This always inceases the quality and safety of an event and makes race day much less chaotic and more enjoyable. They had a sprint tri on the same morning of the H.I.(the main reason that race companies will do this is to make more money and it always makes things more complicated) On race day they had minimal volunteers/ employees to assist athletes, answer questions and watch the transition area. I coulda easily have walked with someones gear,or even a bike, if I was dishonest. I entered and exited the transition area carrying stuff several times without receiving a glance from the ONE guy that was watching the entrance. There was a sequence of 10 numbers completely missing from the transition area. When it was raining 15 minutes before the scheduled race start time I asked one official with a radio if the event would start on time, that person said that they didn't know. They had a support boat on the swim that was up wind of the swimmers. Result: lovely exhaust fumes to breath for a couple hudred yards. There was minimal help on the bike course.Athlete safety was adequate on the swim and run but lacking on the bike. Decent support on the run. The awards party was a low budget/cut corners affair with a menu that included grilled hot dogs. Really? hotdogs for long distance athletes? I think that Sommer Sports should step back and consider cutting back their race schedule and focus more on quality.

Last updated: 2013-01-03 12:00 AM
00:25:45 | 2112 yards | 01m 13s / 100yards
Age Group: 1/12
Overall: 10/120
Performance: Good
Suit: Yes
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 76F / 24C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:30
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
03:14:18 | 56 miles | 17.29 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/12
Overall: 0/120
Performance: Below average
Wind: Cross-winds
Course: The best thing about the bike was the fun hills to climb and the beautiful scenery. It was still a bit wet from the rain so my turns were conservative.
Road: Rough Wet Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Below average Hills: Good
Race pace: Drinks: Too much
Time: 01:35
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:55:20 | 13.1 miles | 08m 48s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/12
Overall: 0/120
Performance: Good
Course: 2x out and back on a running trail. Some nice cloud cover and shade trees in a lot of areas.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? No
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? No
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Bad
Race evaluation [1-5] 2

2013-04-29 9:02 AM


Subject: Florida Challenge Triathlon - Long Course

2013-04-29 5:24 PM
in reply to: #4718686

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Boynton Beach, FL
Subject: RE: Florida Challenge Triathlon - Long Course
That is a tough tough course.   I did it a few years back and it had fitting name of "Intimidator"...   I luv my flat South Florida roads and it was shock and awe when I did the course.   Looks like you dominated it, especially the run.   Nice race.
2013-04-30 11:04 AM
in reply to: #4719758


Subject: RE: Florida Challenge Triathlon - Long Course
thanks, I am just beginning normal training again after 10 days of recovery. Looking forward to the next race with hills! Might settle for the Riviera beach triathlon which goes over the blue heron bridge.
2013-04-30 1:23 PM
in reply to: #4720707

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Boynton Beach, FL
Subject: RE: Florida Challenge Triathlon - Long Course
Thats right in my backyard and has been a few years since they held it due to construction etc.   Fun race though and nice course.   I swim there every weekend for long OWS. 
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