There was plenty of room in transition. The more intelligent racers decided to stay home due to the heat. The predicted high temperature in Richmond was 104 F and a heat index of approximately 1 million. The announcer said this, “I have a bottle of salt tablets up here; I highly recommend that you come by and take some. Take eight. Four before you start and four when you get off the bike!” Oh boy.
This wasn’t the best tasting water I ever gargled, but so far, I don’t have the scoots. For about 50 yards, the water was literally warmer than my shower. There may be an undiscovered uranium deposit on the eastern edge of the James. I will let you know if I get stomach cancer.
We swam upstream for about a half mile, went around a big rock in the middle of the stream, then came back down to a little dock to get out. Some people griped because there was only one ladder. Too bad – just walk one less time on the run and you’ll be fine.
I stared into the sun the whole way up river, which was about ten minutes longer than the downstream leg. I suppose there was a current, but as I explained to my wife afterward, “When you are actually in a current, you can’t feel it, because…” then she drifted off to sleep.
This is the best bike course I have ridden. It has some hills, but not really big ones – enough for variety, but not so many that it gets annoying. The scenery is good -- farms and cows and some nice shade. And there is very little vehicular traffic.
The only thing I didn’t like was the railroad tracks at miles 1 and 24. I am very paranoid about getting a flat tire. Mercifully, there were zero potholes on the entire bike course. I know this because I did not hit any, and there is not a pothole anywhere that I can avoid.
By the time I started the run, the sun was high enough to hide the shadows directly under the trees. The run is as interesting as an out-and-back course can be. Here are the features:
1. A paved trail run along a Civil War era canal and under a train trellis.
2. Through a flood wall!
3. Down the canal walk…
4. Down a sidewalk…
5. Up 2 flights of stairs…
6. On top of the flood wall for about a mile…
7. Down the stairs on the opposite side.
8. Along a dirt trail and up a switch-back to the turn-around. WOW!
Under the trellis, I ran with my head in the shade. After the trellis, I ran with my head baking in the sun. It smelled like a sweet potato. One phrase kept me going:
If you can’t find it, grind it.
And so I ground it. Like many of my fellow competitors. It seemed there was a conspiracy afoot to just wait this thing out and hopefully nobody gets hurt. Running on the sun.
I second your comments on the bike. That is now one of my favorite bike courses I've ever raced. A few rollers, but mostly flat, well-paved roads with lots of varied scenery.
The run would have been fun and challenging, but the heat detracted from the novelty of the course. You forgot to mention that the turn around is up a good sized short hill with a challenging grade, probably 10%.
And the water was 85 degrees, so it was warmer than the air at the start. Could not be finished with that swim fast enough.
I heard that this race would be the club championship race next year. If that's so, should be a good time. The organizers did a great job with limited volunteers, and the beer garden and P.F. Changs food afterwards were awesome additions. Can't help the weather, so in all I thought this was a great race, much better than Northeast and Philly.
Agree 100% that the Richmond Tri Club did a great job with this race. I thought the venue was really good, and there was plenty of water, ice, and sponges on the course.
Hopefully, next year, the current will be as mild and they won't have to change it to a Duathlon for the club championship.
This was such a fun event! - not just an interesting course but the people (would say 'competitors' but they weren't snarly or anything) were really friendly. I did the duathlon (not up to snuff with swimming yet!) and passed people, then recognized them as they passed me on the bike, then saw them again on the final run. By that point we were yaking up a storm. My husband did the aquabike (his 1st ever event since knee surgery did in running about 15 yrs. ago) and loved the swim. Best part?? Blue Moon beers afterwards!
Bumping this thread as it's a great race report for all those racing next week...
Glad to hear the bike ride is a good course! And it sounds like it could be pretty fast too! Plus a small transition is always good!
What's the deal with a ladder instead of a ramp to exit the swim? And a few staircases on the run?
Large concrete staircases that take you up to the top of the floodwall. Rockett's is different than most races. I concentrated on the heat in my race report because it was HOT. If it's going to be hot again, get ready. Either way, you'll have fun.
I had forgot about the ladder, but I now remember that it did get a bit bunched up at the swim exit. Nothing you can do about it because it's only one person out at a time. I guess the best advice would be to beat everyone to the ladder!
One other piece of advice from someone who has done this race before. After the swim, it's a pretty steep hill with steps to transition. I remember feeling super gassed after a hot swim, and going up those steps was tough.
The forecast is for 93 degrees, down some from the 100 forecast for Friday there, but 71 degrees humidity. I hope they don't start the race really late like two years ago, which resulted in a brutal race comparable to last year's sweltering EagleMan.
99* by National Weather Service, 93* by Weather Channel...
Regardless, it will reach temperatures near that of the sun's surface.
Train hard, race smart.
Anyone want to throw a bag of ice at me during the run?
Weather.com is calling for a Saturday high of 97... and a Friday overnight low of 78. With race start at 7am, I'm thinking it maybe in the mid-80s for the run. Start hydrating now!!!
You should have received an award for the best race report...ever! Simply awesome.
Thanks! It's easy to compose good race reports when you are out there as long as I am.
Did anyone go to the pre-race briefing last year? Its at 10am this Saturday. Is it worth it to get up early and go? I rather catch some extra zzzzs, but if I'd be missing out, I'll make the effort.
For 2011 I'd say Brad's RR is still pretty much spot on.
The swim this year was 91-92F, and truly bathwater-like.
The bike was nice and fast with a couple rolling hills.
The run was steamy, low-mid 90s w/ high humidity. Not PR friendly, but an interesting course.
Well run overall, I thought. Aid stations were stocked, transitions were not jammed up, and things seemed to flow pretty well.
As a newbie, Brad's RR helped me a lot in knowing what to expect. This thread should get bumped up every year.
For future reference, the only thing I'd add is that in the middle of the run there is a staircase to a bridge over a rail road track. I am trying really hard to suppress the memory because it almost killed me, but there has to be at least four flights of stairs up. There are other stairs at various points throughout the run, but the RR tracks are by far the worst.
Keeping as cool as possible was key. Swim cap optional = no swim cap. Shirt optional = no shirt. Insulated water bottle with ice cubes. I passed a lot of guys on the run that were overheating. Both the bike and the run had a decent amount of shade so combined with SPF 30 sunblock I was fine. Now if only I could swim better than my dog I'd be set ;-).
Definitely adding some stairs to my training routine. Loved the bike course! Volunteers were awesome!
I wrote up my race recap on my blog, feel free to check it out:-)