Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Culpeper Sprint Triathlon

I am finally getting around to doing a write-up on this race. I am such a slacker! It was on August 7th, 2005.


I decided to sign up for my 3rd Triathlon of the season a few weeks ago and it was a brand new race called the Culpeper Sprint Triathlon, just outside of DC in Culpeper, VA. I was going to Norfolk for 2 weeks the night of the tri, so I decided to make it a weekend get-a-way with AD. We went down to Culpeper on Sat. about noon and found the Bed and Breakfast that we were staying in. I thought that it would be a good idea to check out the location of the race and see what the course was like, so we headed straight there. It looked like they had changed a few things from the maps that they had on the website, so I was really glad that we headed there before Sun. morning. The swim to bike transition had a little challenge as we ran up a hill with our bikes before jumping on them, and then rode about 200 feet on a gravel road. As a mountain biker, this didn’t really bother me, but I heard some people complaining about it. Also, the run course was changed slightly and was more on grass and gravel roads, which I actually liked better.

After checking out the transition area, I decided that instead of riding the bike course, we would drive it. It seemed like a pretty good course, on country roads with some nice rolling hills. Nothing really bad, and most of them you could get some speed going downhill to work up the next hill. From the race site, we went to get the race packet from the bike store and then head to check in at the Fountain Hall B and B. It was a really neat little place. We were in the Victoria Suite and it had an old Queen bed and a little sitting room. We decided that we would go to a vineyard before heading to dinner. It was the Prince Michel vineyard, south of Culpeper. It was very good and I think our taster, who was really great, had recently bought the place. He gave us some free jellies because I was doing the tri the next morning. We also bought a bunch of bottles of wine. After we left there, we headed back to dinner at a restaurant right near the B & B. While we were eating, it decided to start pouring, and we had to run back to the house with no jackets or umbrellas. It wasn’t too late yet, so we decided to start a movie, Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang. However, after about 45 minutes, I started to fall asleep, so it was time to get some good rest before the race.

We woke up about 4:45; I got all ready, and then headed down to get a little bit of food before heading to the race site about 5:30. It was still pretty dark at this time, and there were a bunch of people also heading to the race site. We got there with plenty of time for me to get body-marked, all set up in my transition area, and had a bit of time to relax before things got going. 7:00 was the official start time of the race, much much earlier than the off-road tri I did about 3 weeks before this! It was very foggy from the rain the night before and hard to see the buoys as they were putting them out in the water. I was getting a little worried about the swim, but it was only 750 m, so not too bad. The water temperature was very warm though, at 84 degrees!

Swim: 13:56 - 197th

A few minutes before 7, the under 34 men, the white swim caps, all waded our way out into the lake for the water start. The lake had a somewhat rocky bottom until you were up to your stomach, then it started to get a bit squishy, with what I hope was mud! As we were all waiting in the water, someone near me saw my DC Tri jersey and said hello. I was prepping myself, getting ready, and off went the gun, or whistle, or whatever it was that signaled the start of the race. I was not really prepared for what was about to happen. I started pretty well, I thought, until my face got kicked, and my goggles dislodged. I struggled a bit to get them back on and get the water out of them, but the water kept leaking back in. On top of that, I was having a little bit of trouble finding the buoys. I finally located the first one and realized I was off course. Also, the water was an awful shade of brown, and you couldn’t really see anything other then feet or hands around you. About halfway through the swim, I finally got my goggle sealed and was able to get into a rhythm, but then the temperature of the water was getting to me, it was so hot! I finished in just under 14 minutes, which I felt ok about, because of my issues.

Transition 1: 1:59

This transition was pretty good and much better than the off-road one. I had my jersey on already, so I didn’t have too fool with that. I dried my feet, put on my shoes, grabbed all my gear, threw it on, grabbed my bike, and took off up the hill to the bike mounting area. It was pretty quick, but because of my slower swim, I was going to have to make up some time.

Bike: 53:29 - 126th

After mounting my bike, it was off on the 200 feet of gravel road. As I said, I wasn’t too worried about this and cruised past a few people on the way down. Then we got to the road, where we did a big 17-mile loop. The course started to the right and finished from the left. As soon as we hit the pavement, it was up a pretty big hill, probably one of the biggest on the course. It wasn’t too bad, but tough since we had no momentum to carry us. I got stuck behind a few people who did not get a good start up the hill, but managed to get around them ok. From there on out, it was just up and down the hills. Some of them I should have gotten more speed for, but I wouldn’t have known that unless I rode the course before hand. I will remember this for next time. The one main problem I had was with my glasses. It was still foggy and I put on my yellow lenses, since the sun wasn’t out. They kept fogging up the whole first part of the ride, so I finally ditched them in my jersey for the rest of the way. Overall, the biking was pretty good; I just didn’t spend enough seat time before the race preparing. It all came down to my conditioning.

Transition 2: 1:21

As usual, this transition went very smoothly. I was up the gravel road before a few people, off the bike, and then ran down the hill to the racks. Put the bike away, off with the bike shoes, on with the running shoes, number on, hat on, and away I went. I even stretched my legs very briefly.

Run: 22:49 – 127th

I felt pretty good on the run. As I said earlier, they changed it a bit from the map, but I was fine with it, because I like running on softer surfaces better than pavement. It was a bit hillier than I expected, but not bad at all. One section, the grass was a little uneven, despite the fact that from farther away, it looked flat. Fortunately I didn’t twist or do anything to an ankle, which is always a possibility in uneven terrain. The last section of the run was downhill, so I was very happy about that.

Post-Race: 1:33:34 – 122nd

I was happy with my time and place for the race. I wasn’t expecting anything really good, since I hadn’t been concentrating on training all that much. My overall time was 1:33:34 and I finished in 122nd place overall, out of a total of 431 finishers. I was 10th place in my age group out of 26. We then met up with a few of the other DC Tri people who were there, and Eric was nice to bring the club tent down to support us.

After the race was over, AD and I went back to the B and B to have some pastries they said they would leave for us. Then I went up and showered and took a bit of a nap since I was pretty tired. Then we decided that we would head to the other vineyard in the area on the way back to DC. That was a good time and we bought a few bottles there too! On our way back to 29, we passed by a sign that said Brandy Station. In some of my reading about Culpeper, I came across info that said that Brandy Station was a big Cavalry battle in the Civil War. There was also a house there that was called Graffiti House, because there was writing on the walls from Civil War soldiers. We stopped off at this house and got a nice tour by one of the volunteers. It was very interesting hearing some of the stories that he had to tell!

Then it was back to DC and I had to pack up all of my stuff for my 2 week trip to Norfolk.


Alison said...

Good job on the race T! But seriously, you watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? Please please tell me there were no other options and you did not voluntarily choose this movie :-)

Tyler said...

It was definitely not voluntary! I was pursuaded to watch it...