Tag Archives: nockamixon

Race Review: Independence Sprint Triathlon 2012

Race Name: Independence Triathlon – Piranha Sports

Race Distance: Sprint – 1/4 mile swim, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run

Race Location & Country: Lake Nockamixon State Park, Quakertown, PA

Date: June 3rd, 2012

Race Category: Male 40-44

Why did I do this race?  I had a free race credit with Piranha Sports due to the closing of the bike course(freshly oil * chipped road) at the Patriot Triathlon(Bath, PA) the year before. This was close to home and was the only race I could fit in my schedule.

The Swim

One lap lake swim. Clockwise rectangle. This was one of my fastest swims ever with a 6:23 for 0.25 mile(01:27/100yd pace). I was going hypoxic towards the end. It was wetsuit legal. I would suppose it would be at this time of year unless it was unseasonably warm.

DGPA_Swim_Parking_PacketPickup

The Bike

1 quick loop. Follows same road as Steelman course but a bit shorter. This was over before I knew it. Bike exit was a decent little incline and I got my shoes stuck under pedal and one popped off. Lost some critical time dealing with that. Ended up with a 18.8MPH avg, which should have been more in the 20’s.

 

The Run

A 2 mile blast! Follows the same path that Steelman uses, but again much shorter. ~7:00min/mi pace for me is pretty good.

Transition

Pretty roomy. They stagger the people on each side pretty well so there was plenty of room.

Race Organization

Very good. My only gripes were that there was no vegetarian or vegan food options at all and the line for bodymarking and into transition were too long. They only had one person bodymarking and another checking everyone into transition. Could have used a couple more people to expedite things. Food options at the end were just meat hoagies and chips. Room for improvement there.

Top Tips

  • Go hard and fast. This race is so short you cannot afford to “leave anything on the table.”
  • If you are a decent swimmer, get to front and just outside. It is so fast you don’t want to get trapped behind anyone.
  • Make sure bike is in a easy gear to get out of transition.
  • Either rubberband the bike shoes or wear them.
  • Start comfortably easy for first .25-.5 mile to get legs moving, then let it rip. It is only 2 miles!

 

How did you do?

I was pretty happy with my effort(54:38-46/299). I missed 3rd in my age group by 1, so that was a little disappointing for a few minutes. My only screw up was the bike exit when my bike shoe popped out of the cleat. Lost a minute there. Would have pushed a little harder on the bike too.

Verdict

Fast, fun race. Well organized too. I would do it again if I was free that day. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about doing their first triathlon. It is so short that most people with some decent fitness could do this.

Race Review: Steelman Olympic 2012

Race Name: Steelman Olympic 2012

Race Location & Country: Lake Nockamixon, PA US

Date: August 12, 2012

Race Category: Male 40-44

Why did I do this race? Close to home. Very well organized. Third year I have done this race(1 year Sprint, 2 year Olympic), so provides good test of fitness and improvements for me. Challenging course.

The Swim

0.9 miles. Shape is kind of a rectangle and goes in a counter-clockwise direction(see image below). Usually a non-wetsuit swim since it is typically very hot in August in SE PA. Although previous 2011 was wetsuit legal. Lake is pretty clean and I typically enjoy swimming here. This year I overate at the vegan buffet the night before and paid the price during the swim. You can usually find clear water after the first or second turn buoy. Exit is on a boat ramp which can be slippery, but there is always tons of great volunteers here.

image

The Bike

24.6 miles. Steep little climb out of the marina right from transition is always a rude awaking to the quads. After that it is mostly downhill to rolling until the first turn. Course is a two loops of the park road(RT 563) for Olympic and one for Sprint. There are several pretty good climbs on this course with ~1300 feet of elevation gain overall. Road is totally closed to traffic during the race, but can get congested with athletes. Doing two loops causes you to run into the slower triathletes on your second loop. There is usually around 1000-1500 entrants in the race, so it can get a bit congested despite the full road. I usually end up out in the middle close to the yellow lines on my last loop. The southwest end of the course has some pretty good uphills and downhills that keep the legs in check. The lane back into T2 can get crazy with overeager athletes. This year one guy went flying past me as I was coming into T2 and took out a bunch of other triathletes dismounting their bikes. I had a first hand view of the carnage and then just tip-toed through them to the racks.

image      image

The Run

The run is probably my least favorite part of this race. It is run on a paved walking/bike path that parallels the shoreline of the lake. The path is only around 5-6 feet wide and supporting 2-way running traffic on here is extremely congested. Trying to pass a slower runner while not taking out another runner coming the other way is difficult. I have frequently had to turn sideways while passing someone. The Olympic race is 2 loops of the path and again running into more slow runners on the second loop is extremely time consuming. Path is mostly shaded, but can still get very hot and steamy. Must be from all the body heat in a confined space. Course is fairly flat with a few undulations along the way.

image

Transition

Racks are assigned by wave/age group, but there are no bib number assignments on the racks which kind a stinks. If you get there late you are most-likely at the end of the row. Things can be a bit cramped too if you are in one of the big age groups(M 35-39, 40-44, 45-49).

Race Organization

Race is very well organized and communications are great. You can count on play-by-play emails the week leading up to the race. Swag is good. Good food post race. Usually pizza, fruit, bagels, cookies. Not a lot of vegan fare though. Plenty of volunteers and they do a great job. Port-a-potty line was huge this year, so get in line early. They also have an expo the Saturday before with some decent vendors if you come down for early packet pickup.

Since they close the main road into the race area. You and any family/fans have to be in the race area by 7 AM and you are trapped there until around 10:30AM. The 10:30 exit is usually not too bad if you are doing the Olympic distance, but if you are a faster sprint triathlete you could be hanging out a while. The early arrival for any fans and family is a big detractor to getting any additional fan support. I don’t really have any fan or family support other than my wife, so this is not an issue for me either.

Top Tips

  • Be prepared for non-wetsuit swim.
  • Put your bike in an easy gear heading out of T1 and easy spin up the hill out of the marina. You legs won’t have much blood in them from swim yet.
  • Save some legs on the bike there are some good climbs on 2nd half of bike loop and you have to do them twice.
  • Practice your running crossovers(grapevine)  for the run. You will need it on the run course.

How did you do?

Very good. This was my second time doing the Olympic course and I shaved off ~13 minutes from the previous year. My swim was a couple minutes slower due to no wetsuit and stopping to dry heave occasionally this year, but my bike and run were both faster. It was also not quite as hot and humid this year.

Verdict

Fun local race. Good indicator of your end of season fitness and relative to most of the local tri scene in the Philly-Lehigh Valley area. If you are looking for a smaller race(entrants-wise) this may not be for you. If you like to test your meddle against most other triathletes in the area, do it up.

Steelman 2010 Triathlon Race Report

SteelmanTriRun638 It’s hard to believe I have embarked on my third triathlon already in the last year. The Steelman was one I had steered away from last year due to a longer than usual swim. The Steelman Sprint consists of a 860yd(0.5 mile) swim, a 15 mi. bike and a 5k(3mi) run. This year it seemed to be the missing piece to my puzzle. I am preparing for my first Olympic distance tri, The Quakerman, this September which is also at Lake Nockamixon. I had attended two open water swim clinics at Nockamixon earlier in the summer to hone up on my weakest sport of the three. The clinic left me with good amount of confidence in the swim. So in order to keep that rolling, I thought the Steelman sprint was the perfect event to parlay that confidence. The Steelman sprint swim is a half mile which is only a tenth less the Quakerman Olympic swim and all other sprints I had done previous were only a quarter mile. The only bad thing about the timing of this event was that I pulled a calf muscle(soleus) about a week and half before the event. I had laid off it totally after it occurred and babied it with ice and rest, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to last the whole run or not. The worst thing would be if I totally ripped it and could not attend the Quakerman. So if I got any pain it would be a walk event.

The Steelman event is very well organized and has been recognized by Triathlon magazine as well as good reviews from competitors. The coordinator had sent a slew of emails out notifying everyone of every little thing came up, in addition to an 80+ page Athletes document with full instructions. No lack of communication here! I decided to head down there on Saturday to do my packet picket and do an easy ride of the bike course. They had a little mini-expo setup so I picked up a few things for my new bike.

The athlete instructions said that sprint distance athletes must be in the park by 5:30AM due to the closing of the main road(RT 563) for the race. We would also not be allowed out of the park until at least 10:30AM that morning. That is a bit of a drag especially for any spectators that want to see you race. Due to this restriction I told my only fan, my wife, that she did not need to attend this one. It is just a training event for me anyway. I thought being there by 5:30AM would give me plenty of time to warm up in each discipline, but the long line at the port-a-potty consumed alot of time and they also closed the transition area at 6:45AM. This was really annoying since my wave of swim didn’t go until 7:45Am! A whole hour of standing around. Fortunately my swim instructor was there to watch the event and I shot the breeze with him for a while.

After standing around for an hour, they finally called my wave for the swim start. When we all got in the water everyone was hanging back from the start buoy except one guy. The announcer made a funny comment about it and we all moved up. The water temperature was 80 degrees, so wetsuits were not USAT legal. I really was prepared for this and had practiced this in the swim clinic. I started out staying to the inside of the buoys. This was nice since there wasn’t any traffic to contend with, but when I tried to get in to round the first turn buoy things got a little congested. Course was a bit of a rectangle with a counter-clockwise direction. Things got a little better after the second turn buoy and everyone started spacing out. I did take a couple breathers on my back, but this was by far the most consistent swim I have had as well as my longest(0.5 mi). The open-water swim clinics I had taken earlier definitely increased my swimming confidence and my ability to relax in the water. Swim Time: 17:50 (Pace: 36:23, 232/537)

T1 was ok. A long jog into the transition got my bike and out of there. Biggest mistake here was running out of transition while being on right side of my bike. I didn’t realize this until I tried to get on my bike and then I had to move  around to the other side. This was also my first tri with my new bike, a Quintana Roo Caliente, and I had not practiced any transitions with it. This became quite evident with both T1 and T2. Something to work on for next time, which is the main reason I did this race. One other note is that my Swim Instructor, Scott, was there cheering in the transition area which was pretty motivating. T1 Time: 2:02

I was pretty excited to get out on the bike course with my new tri bike. The Nockamixon bike course on Rt 563 is fairly hilly compared to the past two tri’s I did in NJ, but not that different from what I usually ride at home. I was hoping that this may be a bit of an advantage for me compared to some of the flatlanders in my wave. Coming out of the transition in the marina the first thing you hit is a little steep climb out towards the road. That really wakes the legs up after swimming for 20 mins. I think a couple guys passed me going up it but I ended up passing them before we got out to Rt. 563. This one guy in the Olympic race and I kept jockeying back and forth the whole time. I would pass him on the hills and he would pass me on the flats. It kind of helped keep my motivation to stay with him. Bike Time: 41:12 (Pace 18.6, 45/537)

T2 was a little bit of a rough time. First off I came flying into the dismount area and almost flipped my bike over when I got off. The bike is much lighter than my old bike and I didn’t distribute my weight properly. Nothing a little transition practice cannot cure. Then I could not find my stuff in the transition area. I was a row over and just could not see it. I even had my Austin Powers towel hanging there which I thought would be really noticeable. Apparently not. Despite these hiccups, my time wasn’t too bad. T2 Time: 1:28

The run was the part that I was most wary of due to my calf injury. I didn’t know how long that I could last running without that coming back again. I surely didn’t want to make it worse, so if it did start hurting I would probably be walking the rest of that leg. I started out very slowly making sure I was in my best Chirunning form. My calf felt really good and I started thinking I might be able to run the whole time. Then came the halfway turnaround.  About a tenth of a mile after that it felt like someone stabbed my in the back of the leg! Shit! How could that go from feeling fine one second to piercing pain the next? I walked a little bit, but kept giving it another try…nothing. Then I somehow found a form that I could run and it didn’t hurt. I think I was basically keeping that leg straighter, kind of like I had a leg cast on, and was able to make it the whole. It wasn’t fast by any means but if I could salvage my overall race a bit it was worth it. Run Time: 28:16( Pace: 9:07, 321/537)

My overall time was 1:30:45 which is ok. Hey it was only a training  race anyway, so I am happy with it. I definitely got some things to work on for my Olympic race which is my high priority. I finished 14 out of 39 in my age group which puts me solidly in the top half. The only thing that kinda stinks is that a solid run could have put me in the top 5 or at least close. But there is always next year. The post-race food was pretty good. Tons of fruit and some pizza and cookies to satisfy my post-race junk food urge. Hung out for a bit, talked with a couple I knew and eventually they let us out of the park.

 

 

 

 

 

Race Result

Place Bib#  D Name                   Age G City    St Rank 860ydsw Pace  Tran1   Rank 12.8mbk Rate Tran2   Rank 5krun   Pace  Penalty Final   Div/Tot  Div     Gen/Tot  G  
===== ===== = ====================== === = ======= == ==== ======= ===== ======= ==== ======= ==== ======= ==== ======= ===== ======= ======= ======== ======= ======== = 
122    638  S Brian Schwind           42 M ALBURTI PA  232   17:50 36:23    2:02   45   41:12  18.6    1:28  321   28:16  9:07         1:30:45  14/39   M40-44   82/291  M 

Links:

Sprint Order of Finish Results

Spring Award Winner Results