Below is my race report for the Duxbury Beach sprint triathlon that occurred this past Saturday. This is such a well-run race on a beautiful course and I recommend it for anyone looking to do a September sprint in the future.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Duxbury Beach Sprint – 2017
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” – King Solomon
This will be my last triathlon of 2017. It was a good day for racing. My friend, Trent, was also participating. We’ve been friends since college, but race day is race day and today the race was on. We faced off on this same course back in 2014 and it was close and today I expected nothing less. Trent’s a swimmer and an excellent one at that. My strategy was simple, don’t get too embarrassed in the water, and then chase and chase and chase. It’s a .4 mile swim, 12.75 bike and 3.1 mile run. If I felt comfortable at any time, that meant I wasn’t pushing hard enough. I entered the race with 5 goals: (1) race well, (2) break 1:10:00, (3) swim less than 11:00, (4) get on the podium, and (5) beat Trent.
The swim was a point to point going West to East along the South side of the Powder Point Bridge. I love the point to point swim (no turns). It’s just under a half mile. The water was flat with a light breeze and a small surface current going from right to left. It was also foggy making the swim look longer than it was. There was talk of the race director cancelling the swim because of the fog, but as the morning progressed, the fog continued to lift. We were in the 4th wave which meant there were a lot of racers ahead of us. As our wave hit the water I was able to navigate on the South side of the pack and keep a relatively straight line. I was fortunate to spend about 5 to 6 minutes drafting off another swimmer who just happened to want to stay right in front of me. I felt good, however, I kept thinking that I’m losing. I knew Trent was ahead of me, but I didn’t know how far. As I exited the water and crossed the timing matt I looked at my watch and saw I was under 11 minutes and smiled. Ok, the swim is over, now it’s really time to race.
Swim time: 10:52
The transition area was long (almost ¼ mile from the swimming timing matt to timing matt exiting T1. We all had to run completely along the fence from South to North to enter to where the bikes where located and then back out of T1 from the South. The purpose was to make sure everyone had to traverse the same distance no matter where your bike was located. As soon as I was at the South end of the fence I saw Trent running out of T1 to mount his bike. This was such deja vu because the same scene happened in 2014. By my guess he was a least 2:30 ahead of me.
T1 time: 2:49
The bike course was a lot of fun! Because we were in the 4th swim wave there were a lot of people to pass. The course goes over the Powder Point Bridge and then a straight shot for about 6 miles with some nice rolling hills. There were a few sharp turns for the next mile or so as we went around a small circle and then back the way we came with a small variation for the last mile or so which took us along the water before going back over the Powder Point Bridge. It was a beautiful ride. About a mile before circle the first bikers from the Elite group (first wave) were coming the other way. I kept looking for Trent’s orange shirt but I didn’t see it. When I started the circle I knew I was less than a mile back and was hoping I was closing. The entire bike course was spent passing someone. I was constantly either saying, “on your left” to racer or “thank you” to a volunteer. There were police at all the intersections, but still there were a few cars trying to push their way on to the course in spots. The police and volunteers did an excellent job, though. As I approached mile 9 I still didn’t see Trent’s orange shirt. This is about the time I saw him in 2014. Chase, chase, chase! I was biking hard and pushing past the other racers but I began thinking that Trent has upped his biking since we last raced and I may not see him until we enter T2. With about 1 mile to go we took the right turn to take us along the water and that’s where I saw him. I pushed as hard as I could and then gave him a, “hey Bud, nice race,” as I passed and he did the same, but at this point, there was less than a mile to go and I knew there would be no time to extend any sort of lead entering the run. There was no passing allowed on the bridge and that helped me gain a few seconds as I pushed in front of racers just before entering and Trent got stuck behind them.
Bike time: 32:17
Everyone runs the same distance again. You enter with your bike from the south, drop off your bike, put your running shoes on then out of T2 to the north before turning around and heading south again and back over the bridge. As I exited T2 and headed south, Trent had his shoes on and was heading north. We gave each other a high five and a smile and we both knew it was going to be close.
T2 time: 1:13
The run course was great. Again over the Powder Point Bridge, and then a 2 mile loop and then back over the bridge to the finish. The air was a little muggy, but wasn’t bad. I lost my triathlon GPS watch the week before and I couldn’t get the touch screen to work with the GPS watch I was using for this race because my hands were wet with sweat. I hit a pace that felt like racing but I couldn’t see any of my heart rate or pace data for the first half mile. After crossing the bridge I finally got my watch to work and settled down into an effort I knew I could keep for remaining 2.5 miles. I just didn’t know where Trent was and I didn’t want to look back. I kept telling myself to, “race my race” and “don’t let up.” I also wanted to see if there was anyone else from age group that I could catch. My goal was to run under 7 minute pace or better, but as I passed the 2 mile mark I was slowing down. My heart rate effort was still at 171, but my pace was slowing during a half mile section of elevation gain. I hesitate to call it a hill, as it wasn’t steep, but it was still going up. At the 2.5 mile I could see the water and that it was all downhill from here, literally. I was able to lengthen my stride and picked up the pace and passed a few more racers and hit the bridge. The whole time I kept imagining Trent was only 2 steps behind. Although there was no way for me to pass anyone else, I couldn’t let up. If I did, I knew he’d get me.
Run time: 21:45
As I crossed the finish line I was too tired to smile, but I was happy. Trent followed only 13 seconds behind me. If the swim course was 100 yards longer, and everything else was the same, he would have won. We were both in the 50-54 age group and seeing that we were both under 1:10 I thought there was a chance we both secured a spot on the podium, however, that was not to be. The top 4 finishers were in the Elite division and 3 of the next 4 were males in the 50-54 age group. Whoever said the competition gets easier as you age up is obviously too young to know better. I ended up 4th in our division and Trent was 5th.
As for my friendly rivalry with Trent, I can honestly say I would not have raced as hard as I did if he wasn’t there. Trent had the 6th best swim time of the day which pushed me to have the 4th best bike split and, for me, that may not have happened if I wasn’t so driven to catch him. We definitely pushed ourselves and as a result we both improved on our times from 2014. At the end of the day were both happy with how we raced and it was a really a lot fun. The following day we enjoyed a little scotch and reflected, like good friends do.