I've heard the reviews on this race, and I can't say any of them are fantastic (hot, flat, windy, etc.). The timing and location for a 70.3 are perfect, however, and I'm seriously in need of some advice.
My goals for next year include doing an "official" M-Dot 70.3 and then trying to go fast for the rest of the season. Anything beyond end of June seems too late for me.
I have to decide quickly.
Well if you "must" do an "official 70.3" eagleman is a perfect one for the following reasons.
1. its a qualifier for hawaii if you are fast you have fast people in it, meaning good quality racers and if you qualify in this race it means you are racing against fast people.
2. it has a long history, something like close to 20 years of a tradition of racing
3. its early in the season so its a good test to see where you are fitness wise in early june so that if you want to go fast in august and sept you still have all of june and most of july to tweak your workouts in good weather.
4. the reviews of it being windy/hot/boring and overall a terrible race experience to some is completely true, its usually windy/hot and there is almost no shade and its normally very humid also. The race rarely has optimal conditions. So if you want "an easy" 1/2 IM race this is not the race, sure its "flat" but that does not mean its easy.
5. If you like doing long course triathlons and want to do what some call one of the "classic" races to be done then this is one that normally has to be included on the short list of must do races for all the reasons above.
6. Like you say, for dc area people its very convenient to get to.
good luck with whatever you decide.
Not going to qualify for Hawaii at this race or ANY OTHER. :)
Mainly, I don't want to be focussed on endurance/long course training all season. I want to switch to working on speed at the Oly distance, and going later in the season means less time to focus on that.
Part of me wants to experience this as a right of passage for a DC Tri people who enjoy this distance. I do want the "M-Dot" experience just to see what a sh*tshow actually looks like.
Thanks for the advice. I'm leaning towards...
I raced Eagleman 4 straight years before skipping this year. When weather conditions are okay, it is a fast course. I set my Half PR on it. When it is mega hot, the race becomes a death match, but it makes for some good vignettes afterwards. Like many races, I do think that has too many competitors adding to the logistic challenges and I seem to get stuck in the last waves or two. Perhaps the worse part is the drive home with all the traffic heading over the Bay Bridge. Nevertheless, I am heading back for 2012 ready to conquer the non-wetsuit swim and lower my PR! It is great too "race" with the pros.
Well, here's one more opinion: I've done Eagleman twice and have decided that's it for me, mainly because I find the course boring (and yes, I'm not a big fan of headwind...). I'm just not a fan of pancake-flat races, I prefer a bit of variety to the terrain, but that's obviously highly subjective. Also, while the pre-race logistics are manageable and there's a way around the jacked-up hotel prices (camping, just hope it doesn't rain!), as Kevin said, the drive back home over the bridge is a nightmare and looms large over any post-race plans. I'm not sure I share your view that an 'm-dot'- branded race is a 'required' rite of passage for triathletes. If you can shake that belief, consider the Lake Anna Half which is in early May, or the Rev 3 Quassy which is in early June. Both are very well managed, and that'll still leave you with plenty of time to go shorter and fast for the rest of the year! Whatever you decide to do, enjoy :)
one thing i might not have made clear.
while its true that only a few will have a real chance of qualifying and at eagleman truly you know who you are if you are going to qualify due to the quality of the field, i can't qualify either, those that do literally know the names of the 3-4 people in the ag they are in when they sign in to see who their competition is.
the reason i say its cool to do the race is that since it has such a high quality field, its part of the racing experience to goto a race that has such a "serious" or "racing" vibe to it. the dctri/nations tri, though great races are by no means the same vibe. the only races that are similar are M dot IM races in a way.
so its that vibe that makes it fun in a way.
i personally love the race, it was the first triathlon i ever did so i'm a bit biased.
There are only three things that I find fun at Eagleman
1. Lots of DCTri folks racing and volunteering
2. Bitching with fellow racers about the hideous conditions afterward
3. Closest M-dot race to the local area.
The race will most likely be non-wetsuit. In years that is has been wetsuit legal, it has been borderline with the old rules. With the new temp rules, I can't see that race being wetsuit legal in the future. There is also a good chance of running into jellyfish during the swim. The wind can be brutal.
You can PR that race if you can handle sun, heat, and humidity on the run. If you can't then forget about it. Because it's so hot, it tends to help smaller people more than bigger people. The run is 6.5 out of town and 6.5 back. The 6.5 out of town seems like it's 20. You see people running, but you never see a turnaround point until you are literally right on top of it.
I've done it twice and volunteered at it once. If I were to do it again (which is never), I wouldn't do it as an A race. I'd do it for the reasons that I listed above. Needless to say, I'm not a big fan of non-wetsuit races :)
Mooseman is also an M-dot race during the same time period. I see high traffic on the DCTri forum every year from DCTri folks who are doing it. That's another option if you are looking for an M-dot experience.
Thought I would add my two cents about Mooseman. Did the race this year (week before Eagleman) and think its a very well run race and a pretty unique location. If you have never been to New England, its a great chance. As far as comparisons go to Eagleman, it couldn't be more different. The water temp on the swim will be somewhere between 58-63* most years and is clear enough to see to the bottom of the lake in some sections. The bike is definitely not flat with four or five difficult climbs (think riding up Skyline Drive) where 4mph is really hammering it but the scenery is amazing as you roll through the countryside. The run is challenging as well but the majority of it is along the lake so its a great view. Unlikely the temps will get out of the upper 60s for this run so no need to worry. For being as remote as it is, the volunteer support was excellent in my opinion however the expo wasn't as big as some other M-dot races. The drive up is probably a 10-11 hour trip for most folks. We stopped in Hartford on the way up and Boston (2.5 hours away from the race site) on the way back. Lodging isnt an issue as there are plenty of lake houses to rent in the area and Plymouth, NH is about 30 minutes away if I remember correctly. Camping was available but it will definitely be down in the low 40s or upper 30s that time of year so pack accordingly.
Note: qualified for AG Nationals and plan to race in Vermont in August; not sure I have the time in my calendar to go all the way "up there" twice next year.
Abby- I am in the SAME boat. Looks like we might be having the same race schedules! After reading all kinds of race reports, Eagleman just doesn't sound too appealing. Looks like all the cards have to be in order for it to even be enjoyable :(
I did my first HIM (Patriot's) in Sept and training long distances in the sweltering heat wasn't fun either. I'm a fair weather person :) aka wimp. I want to do M-dot this year too.
I really have no idea what I'm doing in 2012... if you find a race in that June timeframe, let me know.
Elaine! Ha, awesome. Another training buddy. My friend Laura pulled the trigger on Eagleman already and I want to train with her... ugh, what to do?
There's also this: http://bicyclespokesman.com/half-ironman-triathlon-coming-to-dc-in-2012/ which is SUPER convenient, but the idea of a 70.3 in DC in JULY sounds a little wretched... and the swim will probably get cancelled. ;)
Here are all the currently available "M-Dot" 70.3 races... Italy and the UK look good to me! http://ironman.com/events/ironman70.3/#axzz1Z6sRR7TG
Racine is about 45 minutes from my parents' house...
I reiterate: ugh.
And back to my initial question: Eagleman?
Do it so I can say I did it?
I don't like to do things for that reason.
haha... or that other reason, "do it because everyone else is doing it". I tend to fall for that one all the time (see?... wimp).
There are a few MoCo'rs that have signed up for EM too, but I'm holding ground strong and not signing up!
HIM in July in DC? lemme think... ummm, no thanks :) haha
I might resort to doing Kinetic Half and saving M-dot when I get the guts to do a full IM! just to say I did it ;)
I'm not sure I could make any race in June/July/August in this area (or further south) my A-race. Plus I got put in the hospital by a serious Florida jellyfish when I was younger and can't handle swimming through even the little ones now. I'm thinking I'll go over to cheer people on at Eagleman and race the new Rev3 Maine in August. New England summer weather is usually near perfect for endurance events if you ask me (though you've got that covered with the Vermont race).
But if your goal is to do a WTC 70.3, hard to beat Eagleman for proximity. Maybe Pocono Mountains 70.3 in October? After those two you are looking at 8 hour drives or more.
well you could look at things like wildflower out in ca in early may that is a great race another classic race in the true sense, not M dot but awesome race.
something to keep in mind, any and all half IM distance races will be a bit challenging, i have never heard of anyone saying a half IM is ever easy.
sounds like you have a bunch of friends doing eagleman, its location convenient, its an mdot race, and its early in the season for your training. yes it will be a tough race even on a good day.
I personaly say do it, if fits all your criteria except for the fact that it may be hot/humid/windy/tough race day, which in the grand scheme isn't a bad tradeoff.
you don't need to do a half IM to get faster in olympic distance racing, you can accomplish that with just focussed olympic distance training.
"I do want the "M-Dot" experience just to see what a sh*tshow actually looks like."
I went out to cheer at EM this year. It was my first trip out there & my first time at an M Dot event. I was totally underwhelmed by the expo & the overall setup. It was just another race - nothing spectacular to set it apart. If you want to experience the show, go to another race. Friends who have done other M-Dot races say the expo & everything is much better elsewhere.
At vatriathlete: I've done the HIM distance (DiamondMan and Kinetic) and I *like* it. It's not easy, no, but it's fun. As for the speed thing, I don't have time to train for both speed and endurance at the same time (nor the energy!), so I like to spend part of the season on endurance (hence, wanting an early HIM) and then focus the rest on fastness.
Many clear benefits to EagleMan:
1. Enhance buoyancy from wetsuit-illegal swim due to boiling temperatures.
2. Improve stroke in swim course made unexpectedly long from extended buoys.
3. Build patience from cycling endlessly through flat, desolate swamp.
4. Save on hairdryer bills thru exposure to incessant, hurricane-like winds.
5. Acclimate from running on exposed, hellishly hot asphalt.
6. Bolster immune system from jellyfish stings and mosquito bites.
7. Complete de facto 70.3-mile swim from 100 percent humidity during bike and run.
8. Strengthen digestive system by stopping at SONIC after the race.
9. Sharpen driving skills by negotiating traffic jams over the Bay Bridge during return home.
10. Good practice for having all this fun for twice the distance at ChesapeakeMan.
Eagleman is a well-run, professional race that is extremely well supported by the community and volunteers. Most triathlons are raced during the summer months when the weather is hot so you really can't escape the heat. I raced Timberman in 2009 where, much to my disappointment, it was hot and humid in August up on New Hampshire. Also raced Rhode Island twice where again it was a very hot run.
My additional observations on Eagleman:
> The expo is as good (or better) as any other race with a few vendors and typically the professionals hold a panel discussions.
> I miss the wetsuit swim, but more and more it seems that the swims are going non-wetsuit. In four races, I never got stung by a jelly fish.
> I never found the bike course boring and the wind adds a challenge to the flat course.
> Yes, the run is where the heat gets tough but it favors the well-conditioned runner. It is on the run where I really make up ground in my age group.
> Hotels are fairly cheap and available in Salisbury, maybe a 30-45-minute drive to Cambridge.
Abby there is always Ironman 70.3 Florida in May? Who doesn't like Florida. I'd do it in a second. Just did IM Augusta 70.3 on Sunday and loved it, but it's not even remotely in the time frame you're looking.