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Challenge Atlantic City - Aquabike

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Atlantic City, New Jersey
United States
80F / 27C
Total Time = 7h 42m 7s
Overall Rank = 38/95
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 7/9
Pre-race routine:

Ride down to AC from Long Island was 3.5 hours on my navigation. With traffic, leaving 10:30 AM on Saturday it took 6 HOURS! Mental Note: Leave earlier.

Stayed at Caesars on the boardwalk which ran me $360 bucks for Saturday night alone! I was told it had to do with Lady GaGa performing that night next door. And believe me, her fans were out in full force. Half dressed and crazily "decorated" women everywhere.

Up at 4 AM and drove over solo to Bader Field. Let the wife and kids sleep in. I've gotten them up at the crack of stupid and dragged them to way too many events in the past 7 years.
Event warmup:

Challenge event was extremely well staffed, from parking attendants to volunteers in every area. Porta-potty's were a plenty and I never had to wait on line more than 15 mins, and didn't have to wait at all early on. With 1,000 racers total (or so the announcer said, between Aquabike, Relay and Full) it was a packed event but low-key and kinda grass-roots at the same time. More like a high class grass roots race, if that makes sense.

High Class references: Three Navy Seals jumped out of a plane at 6:20 AM, at 16,000 feet, and synched parachutes, and then a larger-than-life American Flag streamed out 10,000 feet above us and The Star Spangled Banner played. (Are you kidding me!! This was the most awesome thing ever!!)

Other high class bullet points: Full name and number stickered on transition pole; floating swim dock was brand new plastic (unlike plywood ramp at Ironman Poconos); race bag goodies included tire levers, clean bottle (screws off both sides) and a few other original items; full carpeting in and out of transition; Police at every intersection of the bike; plenty of big name Pro's racing; well-marked bike course - including neon tape in front of every bump and crevice.

Negatives: Honestly, the negatives were very few. Yes you signed up for a race in Atlantic City, so YES you're gonna see seedy neighborhoods on the outskirts. If this is a surprise to you, well, it shouldn't be. So for me, this was not a negative, just a reality.

Other legit negatives: The swim buoys were a mess. There were Red and Orange Triangle buoys and Orange Cylinders, and some were placed with no rhyme or reason. This swim was more like a triangle attached to a trapezoid. Very bizarre and not enjoyable. There were also a few parts so shallow, my hand hit the bottom and I had to walk, especially around 1.7 miles.

Now on to the RR.
  • 1h 35m 31s
  • 3862 meters
  • 02m 28s / 100 meters

I'll caveat with I started swim training May 5th, so with only two months back in the water, and no wetsuit, I had a good swim. The pre-start was good too because I finally found Wynn and Susan. Was good to hang with my training homey's :-) *Kudos to Susan who finished 3rd in her AG!*

The water was very salty which helped with buoyancy but there were just crazy currents at various points. The worst was a 'slack current' at the furthest buoy by the furthest bridge. It was like there was a black hole under the water and a bunch of us got trapped and couldn't swim around the buoy. Kind of frightening.

This swim took forever.
What would you do differently?:

I felt good physically the whole swim, with lots of energy and thought my form was good. Unfortunately my navigating was terrible and I either found myself swimming way outside the mainstream of swimmers, and when I was with the mainstream of swimmers I was dodging breastrokers and elbows.

Obviously I would have liked more swim fitness. I did do a non-wetsuit swim at Ironman Louisville and finished with a 1:22, but that was a point-to-point straight course. I liked that course, much-much better.

MY SUGGESTION TO THE RACE DIRECTOR: Bader Field was a good location for T1 & T1, but the Swim is way too crammed. Make this a 2-loop 1.2 mile swim.
Transition 1
  • 00m

Forgot this was an Ironman-type event and ran past the transition tent and then realized, oh, I can go inside and sit down. Went in the back door.
  • 6h 02m 1s
  • 112 miles
  • 18.56 mile/hr

The bike course for me was gladly uneventful. In the first 15 miles I saw two athletes crash into the guardrails on the Atlantic City Expwy. Not sure how as it's flat and straight. My only guess is they were dizzy from the swim still, or not used to eating and drinking on the bike?

The first 30 miles were pretty much tailwind, the next two loops to mile 60 and 80 are a mix of crosswinds, head and tailwinds. Mirandae Carfrae ("Rinny" on her tri-suit) passed me at mile 60 - her mile 80. It was actually very cool to be passed by a Kona Champion.

The last 30 miles of this bike were HORRIBLE. My neck was aching. My head was aching from the hot sun beating on it for 5+ hours. And it was a straight shot into non-stop headwinds. It was the very definition of torture. Not too mention, my left IT band/ knee was in considerable pain and was offering almost no power from my left leg. So basically I 'pulled the plug' around mile 100 and just limped home. With two miles to go, I got back into aero position and started putting in some power again.

What would you do differently?:

Not much I would or could do differently. Despite a two-minute pee break and phoning it in 10 of the last miles, I'll never complain about a 6 hours 112-mile ride.

My longest bike ride was 66 miles this year so I'm thrilled with the fact my endurance held up for 90% of the distance. Although I did do a lot of power work on my Wahoo Kickr over the winter which helped tremendously.
Post race
Warm down:

I had a bit of heat stroke. I was dizzy, wobbly, yawning and bordering on passing out. No way I could have run a marathon. A volunteer suggested I got to he Med Tent -- not the first or last time that will be suggested to me. I just don't do well in the heat.

Was nice to see Wynn a the finish line, but he looked like I was feeling -- wrecked.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Too much traveling and late nights working; not enough tri -specific training.

This is my first time racing in the 40-44 AG and I got my ASS KICKED. I am so Not used to being in the BOP for my AG. The good news is I'm 39 still; not 40, and I have time to redeem myself. Coming in 7/9 was a wake-up call for me.

Event comments:

Challenge threw down a successful, high class inagural event. What stood out for me the most was refreshing, grass roots kind of vibe. I chatted with a lot of racers before, during and after the event, and everyone had a pleasant non-competitive attitude. At many Ironman races I've encountered the 'win and beat everyone at all costs" "Type-A" tri-snob attitudes. I did not experience any of this at Challenge. The whole experience was welcoming and refreshing.

Last updated: 2014-06-11 12:00 AM
01:35:31 | 3862 meters | 02m 28s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/9
Overall: 45/95
Performance: Below average
Suit: No Wetsuit
Course: Need an advanced degree in geometry to explain the shape of this course.
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 80F / 27C Current: Low
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:
06:02:01 | 112 miles | 18.56 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/9
Overall: 39/95
Performance: Good
Wind: Strong
Course: Lollipop course, very similar to Ironman Louisville.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2014-07-04 11:06 AM

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Subject: Challenge Atlantic City

2014-07-04 10:01 PM
in reply to: #5021569

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Subject: RE: Challenge Atlantic City
Nice nailed the explanation of the crazy currents out there.......i did the full and got through it but it was hot and windy.....nice report
2014-07-04 11:41 PM
in reply to: #5021569

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Melon Presser
Subject: RE: Challenge Atlantic City

Laughing at the running past the transition tent Great aquabike, have done a few, and the last 20-30 seems to be miserable no matter what. Top notch perseverance.

2014-07-05 3:54 PM
in reply to: IndoIronYanti

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Mastic Beach, NY
Subject: RE: Challenge Atlantic City
Bobby congrats again great job man! You had a great swim especially considering the course and the conditions for the swim. Same for the bike. I'm impressed, I don't know how you do it on the limited training schedule but you pulled it off. I hope you can continue to keep it up only 6 more weeks to IMMT and I'm looking forward to seeing you out there.
2014-07-06 1:51 PM
in reply to: strikyr

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South Windsor, CT
Subject: RE: Challenge Atlantic City
Great report! Great race-despite your unhappiness with your ranking...tough day in the water.

I know I would have had big issues with crazy did well, and will continue to get better with age.
It's been a challenging year for you with the job and time commitments, but enough was done in training to achieve a solid 6hr bike ride.

I laughed at your transition slip-up as I could easily see myself doing that too.

Congratulations, Bobby.
On to IMMT!
2014-07-07 8:47 AM
in reply to: dtoce

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Middle River, Maryland
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Challenge Atlantic City

Great race, Bobby...way to slug through it.  Good luck at IMMT!

2014-07-08 8:11 AM
in reply to: jmhpsu93

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Crab Cake City
Subject: RE: Challenge Atlantic City
Good job out there in tough conditions. I too did the Aqua/Bike as a tune up for IMMT. The swim sucked and the last 30 miles of the bike made me want to cry. Hopefully, we dont encounter those same obstacles next month.
2014-07-11 7:21 AM
in reply to: #5021569

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2000500100100100100 home in The ATL
Subject: RE: Challenge Atlantic City
Hey Bobby - really enjoyed your report, as always. Wake-up call, I don't know - seems to me you did very well seeing as you have been burning the candle at all 7 ends! You will be fine on the bike and be ready to run at IMMT - it will be cooler, and I will bet you will pace the bike a little easier just knowing you have to run afterwards. At least I know I would be cooked at the end of an aquabike ride - that's kinda the point right? You really are a role model for getting it all done.
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2008-10-20 8:19 AM michael2_19030
date : January 14, 2008
author : dr_forbush
comments : 0
In addition to writing your race number on each upper arm, they also wrote your age on your calf. This allowed me to see who was passing me by in the bike section of this race.
date : November 28, 2007
author : Tri Swim Coach
comments : 0
Question and answers on swimming strength challenges, is kicking important, 'runners kick' with ankle inflexibility and the usefulness of fins, pool buoys and paddles.
date : October 9, 2007
author : dr_forbush
comments : 9
The boat was being tossed around. Someone noted that there were whitecaps on the waves. Another guy said, “This is going to be challenging.” I began to wonder what he meant by 'challenging'.
date : July 10, 2007
author : Ontherun
comments : 0
Having three seasons under my belt I thought I knew what I was doing. That all changed with a few new challenges and a bunch of new friends.
date : January 7, 2007
author : Ontherun
comments : 4
We were all there once, a beginner. Time to take the challenge and help a beginner triathlete!
date : January 29, 2006
author : lv2teach
comments : 1
It’s a challenge to push yourself a little harder and a little further. Be proud of every workout that is accomplished and every step-even the baby ones-that you take on this course to the finishline.
date : November 27, 2005
author : AMSSM
comments : 0
Try to view your injury as another athletic challenge and an opportunity for personal learning and growth. Identify the skills that help you succeed as an athlete.
date : September 3, 2005
author : infosteward
comments : 0
The Boulder Peak bike course is legendary. It is, literally and named as such, one of the toughest bike legs in the country.