Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Culpeper Sprint Triathlon

Continuing on writing about my Triathlon experiences thus far I am back tracking to August 1, 2010. Ryan and I packed up our Swim, Bike, Run gear and drove out to the Blue Ridge Mountains for the Culpeper Sprint Triathlon. It was a nice get-a-way from the city with a quaint small town and my dear mother even met us there to support us and cheer us on all the way! After making the couple hour drive out there Ryan and I checked into out simple hotel room, got Subway for lunch and met up with my mom in the small quaint town of Culpeper. I must add I have been wanting to do Culpeper for a couple years until this point. Culpeper was my first triathlon experience ever in 2008 - I cheered my brother on a couple days before my last preseason of college soccer. Ever since seeing him and all the others swim, bike, run I knew I had found something I could and wanted to do when soccer came to an end! I am so blessed to have fallen in love with everything about multi-sport.
We spent a wonderful afternoon with my mom - she even drove us to the race site and drove the bike course and the run course for us. Before checking out the race course we went to packet pickup at the local bike shop, which is worth checking out if you are ever in town. This was our first experience checking the course out intentionally before race day. It's a good thing we did and I definitely recommend scoping out the race course if it is was one you are unfamiliar with. We hadn't realized it until the drive but it was a very hilly course-duh it was in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

We all retired early so we could wake and arrive at the race site with plenty of time to prepare ourselves! Morning came and we enjoyed some good continental breakfast ( a la my own Special K Red Berries) before heading to the race site. To our surprise crazy triathletes on a tight budget had popped tents in the parking area! The transition area was clearly marked and set-up so the morning went smoothly.

After setting up our transition areas we got in our race spandex and headed to the lake for a warm-up swim and the National Anthem. We were happily surprised by my mom shortly after our warm-up, with her camera in hand of course! As the usual Ryan's wave was before mine so I was able to cheer him on at the beginning! Soon enough it was my turn, lined up in the water waiting for the GO. Alas, we were off, I chose to start near the bouy and in the front, may have been a mistake, but it worked! I was able to find some toes and draft another swimmer-allowing me to stay on course and improve my swim time by 3:10! I must admit some of this also has to do with the previous open water experience and the training I had been doing.

I ran out of the water and up to my transition area. I had a smooth transition and was off on the bike in no time. The bike course was hilly! There were enough people that you were most often near or in sight of another racer which was nice, and fed my competitive fire to catch people from behind. I took my PowerGel toward the end of the bike to get my energy back up for the run.

When I came in to dismount my bike there was mom right at the corner with the camera cheering me on! Another smooth transition and I was off on the 5k run! The run was hilly as well-it was an out back with 2 little out and back off-shoots down side roads. I saw Ryan on his way back on the first off-shoot and I never looked back! I pushed myself the whole run just trying to catch him. At each aide station I took 2 waters-one to drink and one to dump over myself. I read this in a Runner's World I believe and I do love the tactic. I was about 2.9 miles into it and headed around the big turn with all the fans and racers back to the finish shoot! I got such a boost when I got near the finish line-I started running as fast as I could while licking my chops and trying to catch anyone in front of me!

An awesome finish, with Ryan and my mom to greet me! Needless to say, I never actually caught Ryan. The finish line offered us pizza, pretzels, fruit, sports drink, water, etc. Nothing too special tho. We enjoyed the fresh air while basking in our accomplishment and waiting for the results and rewards. The results were posted and my first words out of my mouth to Ryan were "My name's above yours! I beat you!" I couldn't contain my excitement but he did great and I only beat him by 30s or so. We stayed around to see the awards-which in themselves were disappointing as they were folding blue camping chairs. I guess Models or Dicks had a sale.

Overall, Culpeper was a great race with great company. Challenging for the sprint distance due to the hills. I would recommend this race if you have never done it but I may be looking to try a different one this year during that time frame. The finish line festivities and awards were sub-par compared to what I had seen 2 years previously.

Final Culpeper Results:

750m Swim: 14:50
16 mile Bike: 56:58
5k Run: 24:46

Finish Time: 1:40:18 ( Good enough for 6th in the age group)

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