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Great Floridian Triathlon - TriathlonFull Ironman

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Clermont, Florida
United States
Sommer Sports Managements
95F / 35C
Total Time = 13h 26m 27s
Overall Rank = 95/322
Age Group = M 45-49
Age Group Rank = 6/27
Pre-race routine:

Woke up way early, toasted a couple of whole wheat English Muffins, and headed out into blinding crazy fog. The official hotel of the event was over 30 minutes away from the race, so it was quite a haul.
Event warmup:

Parked near the finish line, so that gave me a .25 mile walk to the start.

Otherwise, did a lot of sitting around, watching people get ready. Bikes and gear bags were placed in different locations, and it was logistically pretty complex.
  • 1h 22m 38s
  • 3862 meters
  • 02m 08s / 100 meters

Not clear if this was fresh water, salt water, or coca-cola. I've never swum in black water before, and it's pretty strange. Goggles were kicked off early in the race, but because the strap was under my cap, they didn't go anywhere. Decided to swim the course wide as a result. As the sun came up it really messed with sighting, so I just sort of prayed and followed the others.

I understand there are aligators in Florida, and I couldn't help but think they were laying in wait to munch on one of the slower triathletes. Maybe that's why I shaved nearly 10 minutes off my time from last year's full distance triathlon.
What would you do differently?:

I could fill our backyard pool with warm Coca-Cola and swim in it, I suppose.
Transition 1
  • 08m 11s

Came into the changing tent and all the little chairs were taken, so I just sat on the grass and ended up taken a lot of it with me. Lathered up with sun screen, which turned out to be a good idea, although I must not have applied it right; as I was heading out on the bike someone said, "look at his war paint." Age group transition ranking was 13th, so I must have been having more fun in there than I remembered.
What would you do differently?:

I could have sped this up a bit if I had a place to sit.
  • 6h 40m 18s
  • 112 miles
  • 16.79 mile/hr

This was one wild bike ride. First, it was hot as Hades (record high temperature), with hills and humidty to boot. I kept cool by dumping freezing water on my head at the rest areas, so I was soaking wet for the entire ride.

At one point, a racer ahead of me fell, and got back up, just a bit shaken. Within ten minutes, a car raced past me within about a foot, and I saw the guy ahead of me a bit to the left in the lane. WHACK! The car's passenger mirror hit his drop bars and lifted him up. He was an amazing rider, as he recovered without falling. The car pulled over (hit & run isn't cool), but the rider waved them on -- he had a race to finish, I guess....

Sand in the road, hot blasts of wind from trucks screaming by, some narrow shoulders, and some gnarly hills made this a beast.

This was one of the most challenging rides I've dealt with because of the conditions. Pleased to have spent most of the ride in the aero-bars, which I wasn't sure if I could handle.
What would you do differently?:

I would set up my indoor trainer in a steam room, and turn the thing up as high as it goes (which probably isn't as warm as Florida, but maybe it's close).
Transition 2
  • 06m 41s

This time there were chairs, so I was able to shave some time off the transition, but I needed some extra water and cooling off, so I poured it on myself naked in the tent, which felt good, but my running gear was immediately soaked.
What would you do differently?:

Age group transition ranking was 8th, so I guess I can change clothes faster than some other guys my age.
  • 5h 08m 41s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 47s  min/mile

The run pretty much stunk. I couldn't get my legs for the first six miles, and the heat was stifling.

Some poor chap missed a clear turn, and at about mile 7 asked me where the turn-off was. I told him it was about 2 miles back, and he groaned, turned around and started trucking back. So, he had a 30 mile run, I guess. Ouch.

At about mile 14, some guys in a car swerved really close to me so that they could spit all over me. Just rinsed off at the next aid station. Welcome to Florida. Parts of this run were on a road with a tiny shoulder, and I can see where this could get a bit dangerous.
What would you do differently?:

I had no idea what to do about nutrition and fluids. I either felt parched or sick, so I never quite figured out the right combination. I think that if I trained in a steam room it might help.
Post race
Warm down:

I left the finish chutes and went straight to the car for the 30 minute drive back to the official race hotel. I was so worried about the drive that I didn't want to stick around at the finish line.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The heat and humidity were brutal. I really need to figure out how to handle pacing and nutrition in these conditions if I'm going to race in the tropics again. Also, next time I'll bring some support folks. I managed this entire event by myself, with no friends or family, which was a great mental challenge, but it was exhausting. These things would be much more enjoyable when shared with loved ones.

Event comments:

The Great Floridian is a classic race for good reason. It's well-run and extremely enjoyable.

I'll certainly never forget this race in record high temperatures where I had my goggles kicked off, saw a guy get hit by a car on his bike, and was spit on during the run. While that doesn't sound like too much fun, the Great Floridian was executed in a way that was just superb, and the stories become numerous.

Overall, I can't thank the Race Director, his staff, and volunteers enough. They did an amazing job in horrible conditions. I just hope they'll return the iPod that I left in my warmup bag to me....

Last updated: 2006-10-01 12:00 AM
01:22:38 | 3862 meters | 02m 08s / 100meters
Age Group: 11/27
Overall: 0/322
Performance: Good
Suit: Ironmonkey Full
Course: Off a beach, the first 30 yards of water was less than waist deep, so it took some time to get ready to swim. Others, who dove early, did a funny sort of face-plant thing in the dirt. Then an inverted triangle route that was 1.2miles to accommodate the Half-Full folks, so we came out of the water for gatorade (I wanted gatorrepellant) and jumped back in for a second lap.
Start type: Run Plus: Shot
Water temp: 78F / 26C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Average Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 08:11
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
06:40:18 | 112 miles | 16.79 mile/hr
Age Group: 8/27
Overall: 0/322
Performance: Average
Avg. HR -- 142
Wind: Some with gusts
Course: Two giant loops around Florida. The course climbed the only mountain in Florida (something called "Sugar Hill") where the engineers probably should have considered a lower grade, but felt like it should just go straight through. Tough climb. Course toured some small towns, went through some scenic areas, and asked riders to defy death on some highway sections.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 06:41
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Good
05:08:41 | 26.2 miles | 11m 47s  min/mile
Age Group: 9/27
Overall: 0/322
Performance: Below average
Course: Blistering heat continues on a trail out and back, before returning to Lake Minneola for three gnarly laps. Part of the course carries heavy traffic, which makes the run quite a thrill, really.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2006-10-23 7:54 AM

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Subject: Great Floridian Triathlon

2006-10-23 9:03 AM
in reply to: #575220

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Atlanta, Georgia
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Great Floridian Triathlon
Way to go! That's really quite a strong time considering how hot it was! Spit on? I think I would have had a stroke I'd get so angry - Your attitude is awesome.

I agree wholeheartedly, despite some logistical issues with the run course, this race is great.

Congratulations on a huge day!
2006-10-23 9:10 AM
in reply to: #575220

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molto veloce mama
Subject: RE: Great Floridian Triathlon
congrats, ironman! major kudos for just finishing in those conditions. it was a very tough day to try and race. i know there were lots of dnfs because of the brutal conditions. glad you finished, and finished healthy.
2006-10-23 9:51 AM
in reply to: #575220

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Subject: RE: Great Floridian Triathlon

Cars hitting cyclists, people spitting on you....and you kept a great attitude.


2006-10-23 1:19 PM
in reply to: #575220

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Tampa, FL
Subject: RE: Great Floridian Triathlon
Great job IRONMAN!!!
Sorry about the spit, seems to be a Florida tradition. I once had to avoid a snot rocket fight in a half marathon...
2006-10-23 4:45 PM
in reply to: #575220

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Subject: RE: Great Floridian Triathlon

Wow I underscore your whole race report except for the spitting on thing... ewwww


Sorry that happened


Good race though

2006-10-23 4:50 PM
in reply to: #575220

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Virginia Beach, VA
Subject: RE: Great Floridian Triathlon
Great race!!! I was out there so I know how brutal those conditions were; great job with a great finish!!! And I ageee; it is a great race.
2006-10-23 5:38 PM
in reply to: #575220

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Great Floridian Triathlon
Congrats!  Finishing in great time, with your sense of humor intact!  
2006-10-23 5:42 PM
in reply to: #575220

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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Great Floridian Triathlon
Awesome job!! It was totally brutal hot out ther. time just contact you friendly FL BTers and We will hlep you out  
2006-10-23 7:34 PM
in reply to: #575220

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Extreme Veteran
Mountains of Colorado!
Subject: RE: Great Floridian Triathlon

man i have to say after being out there sat.,,, "you are my hero!" your time was awesome and when you consider the race conditions... you rock!

2006-10-24 7:59 AM
in reply to: #575220

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Chesapeake, VA
Subject: RE: Great Floridian Triathlon
Awesome, awesome job considering the conditions. 

2006-10-24 10:50 PM
in reply to: #575220

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Kodiak, Alaska
Subject: RE: Great Floridian Triathlon
WOW! I am just checking up on how you did--PRETTY AWESOME! The Alaska athletes that went down to this said it was HOT, HOT, HOT.

Congrats on doing so well!
2006-10-25 6:37 AM
in reply to: #575220

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Subject: RE: Great Floridian Triathlon

Wow impressive race!

Nice take away....bring loved ones plus I love your attitude about the difficult circumstances.

Congrats Ironman!

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