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Nashvegas Olympic Triathlon - Triathlon

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Ashland City, Tennessee
United States
Start 2 Finish Event Management
90F / 32C
Total Time = 2h 04m 54s
Overall Rank = 1/197
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 1/34
Pre-race routine:

I came into this race after doing a hard effort century last weekend, a mud run/obstacle course the weekend before that, and a sprint two weekends ago. Aside from the general fatigue, I bashed both knees really hard on one of the mud run obstacles plus some big rocks in the river. The knees were aching so much that I was icing them every day and only managed to run once the week leading up to this race. I had already decided that the smart thing to do would be pull the plug on this run if I started to have issues.

That said, I took two days completely off and headed down to Ashland City hoping for the best.
Event warmup:

I didn't do this race last year as it conflicted with another, but I did in 2011. Similar to that year, there was a heavy fog over the river in the morning and they had to push back the start time until the Coast Guard was confident they could see and stop boat traffic for the swimmers.

Although the race start had to be pushed back, there was a deadline for all athletes to be out of the water, so the planned gaps between the start of the half distance, olympic distance, and sprint distance races had to be reduced. Overall not a big deal but it did get interesting (more on that later.)
  • 20m 44s
  • 1640 yards
  • 01m 16s / 100 yards

What a crazy summer it has been temperature-wise. I did a race in June and another in July that should never be wetsuit legal but were. Then this race in September turns out to be 1 degree above legal temp. I was actually pleased to hear this for two reasons- 1) I got a great deal on an Orca Swimskin earlier this year and haven't had a chance to race in it, and 2) I usually have a decent swim split and I thought this would help me relative to the field.

Once the fog lifted enough to see shapes on the other side of the river, it was time to go. Our first turn was a couple hundred yards straight across to the other side at a triangular green buoy. I could barely make it out and worried once I was in the water it would be next to impossible to see.

I started with the first of three waves (Male 39 and under) and went out with a medium-hard effort to ensure I didn't get caught up. I made it out of the pack and it appeared I was the first swimmer; at this point I started searching for the green buoy. It didn't take long to find it and the turn was uneventful.

The rest of the course went well and I basically just used the river banks to guide me. There wasn't any way to spot the turn buoys until I was within a hundred yards or so, but my worries about sighting turned out to be nothing.

I did a little math in my head while swimming and figured that with the 12 minute spacing between my wave and the first wave of the half distance I would end up exiting the swim with the front of the HIM pack. Before I rounded the final Oly turn buoy I saw a couple swimmers go past.

Finished the swim alone with around a minute gap to the HIM swimmers in front and the next Oly swimmers behind.
Transition 1
  • 00m 51s

Per my usual I jogged at a medium pace up the hill to T1 while unzipping the swim skin, removing cap and goggles, and putting my garmin on my wrist.

Found my bike easily and shucked off the rest of the swim skin, helmet on glasses on and away I went. The next Oly competitor ran past on his way to his bike just as I was getting ready to leave so I knew I didn't have a huge gap.
  • 1h 03m 55s
  • 24.85 miles
  • 23.33 mile/hr

I put my head down and rode fairly hard for the first few miles; average speed was over 24mph and I was feeling good. There were a couple 90 degree turns where I took a look back and the next riders were pretty out. While most people at this race were an unknown to me I felt like it I could hold them off until T2 I would have a good shot at winning.

5 miles into the course we hit a long uphill grind, and from there until the turnaround it was a pretty continuous up/down roller coaster. I didn't expect this based on the course elevation map, but it didn't seem to have a negative impact.

Just before the turnaround I counted two half distance riders in front of me; they both were looking strong. I was very surprised however, to see two Oly riders at the turnaround just as I was accelerating back up to speed. I got a little concerned that they had made up what seemed to be around a minute on me in 12.5 miles, and I may not have enough run speed to track them down.

It took them a mile or so to pass me. Both went past fairly close, and after the second rider was clear I found that I had no problem staying within 6-10 bike lengths. One of the riders was a little inconsistent and I went past him on one of the hills when he backed off. For some reason this guy did not want to be passed, and came right back past me. This happened multiple times throughout the remainder of the ride.

When we got to the last 3-4 miles I tired of the passing game and resolved to soft pedal a little bit if needed but just stay behind the two riders at a legal distance so I could recover a little before the run.

As I mentioned earlier, the race distances were compressed in order to get everyone out of the water in time, and there were only two half distance riders in front of us. For this reason, the volunteers .5 miles before T2 tried to direct the two guys in front of me onto the remainder of the half course rather than towards the finish of the oly course. They didn't seem to believe the volunteers but slammed on the brakes and hesitated. I pulled up and shouted "olympic distance goes straight?" and they confirmed. Crazy passing guy hammered past me and the other rider must have been content to ride into T2 behind me.
Transition 2
  • 00m 47s

After the adrenalin rush at the turnoff, I completely forgot to take my feet out of my shoes. I was about 50 feet from the dismount line when I realized this and somehow managed to get it done but it was messy.

I went into T2 in second place and didn't want to take any chances getting left behind starting the run, so threw my socks out of my shoes and decided to go sockless for the 10k. This proved to be a good decision from a transition standpoint as I passed the other racer in transition by a good margin.
  • 38m 37s
  • 6.21 miles
  • 06m 13s  min/mile

As I ran out of T2 I thought that it would be possible to hang onto the overall lead with a sub-40 10k, but to be safe I would probably need 38:xx. I didn't know the running capabilities of the two guys behind me.

I started out fast (probably too fast) and ran the first mile in 5:45ish pace. After this pace without shade I knew I had to back it off. I did get a look back at a 90 degree turn and thought my eyes were playing tricks on me but I couldn't see anyone.

I confirmed the gap after the turnaround and was happy to see I had at least a couple minutes on the 2nd place runner. I felt pretty good for the next 1.5 miles then came to the sprint distance turnaround. Just like we had mixed with the half, now the sprint was mixing with the oly and I began running past many many sprint competitors. This was concerning as I didn't know if I would spot the 2nd place runner if he made a move. Sooo... my only choice was to pick up the pace.

I pushed hard until the final turn, probably .3 mile from the finish line. I got a good long look behind me and couldn't see anyone that I recognized as an oly competitor, but started a slow kick towards the finish.

As the finish line came into sight I glanced at my watch and saw 2:04:30 and thought "wow I might be able to finish sub 2:05 if I hurry!" I opened it up at that point and crossed the line just under, and subsequently staggered to the side and collapsed onto the grass for a bit. This was nice but I was too hot to stay, so immediately transitioned to the water which was about 30 feet away :-)

From this vantage point I was able to hang out with large groups of sprint competitors with the same idea, and watched for the next few olympic finishers.
Post race
Warm down:

Nothing. Sat in the cool water for at least 15 minutes and tried to do a little stretching. Thankfully my knee didn't complain too much on the run and I felt relatively good throughout. Maybe the rest helped... I pushed myself hard for this race and was very satisfied with my performance on all 3 legs.

Event comments:

This is the 2nd time I have done the Nashvegas race (now know as Riverbluff Tri) and I have to say that Start 2 Finish put on a good race. They do the full finish line treatment with finishing chute and announcer calling out your name, great transition setup, and a good food spread afterwards.

Last updated: 2013-02-10 12:00 AM
00:20:44 | 1640 yards | 01m 16s / 100yards
Age Group: 1/34
Overall: 8/197
Performance: Good
Suit: Orca RS1 Swimskn
Course: Rectangular. Possibly a little short?
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 79F / 26C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 00:51
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
01:03:55 | 24.85 miles | 23.33 mile/hr
Age Group: 4/34
Overall: 6/197
Course: Out and back course. Flat first 5 miles, then hilly all the way to the turnaround.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 00:47
Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
Jumping off bike Below average
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:38:37 | 06.21 miles | 06m 13s  min/mile
Age Group: 1/34
Overall: 2/197
Course: Out and back. Hot and un-shaded for the first 1.5 miles, then shaded path until the turnaround.
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]

2013-09-08 4:23 PM

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Subject: Nashvegas Olympic Triathlon

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