Apparently VTS/MTS races and myself have an issue, and the issue is RAIN! Similar to last year’s Colonial Beach Sprint (although not as bad of a downpour and no open water swim with gasoline fuel on the top), we were challenged with Mother Nature… and she did not disappoint.
The Smithfield Sprint is a pool swim start, because this in early spring in Virginia most lakes/bays/ocean is simply not warm enough for people to go out in open water (unless you are REALLY crazy and thik something like Norseman would be a good time). With a swim start you have to stagger swimmers in hopes that you won’t be impeded (slowed down because there is a large group in front of you, or force to let someone pass yourself thus holding on the wall) while everyone is in the pool. This dictates a one person start every 10 seconds. With over 520 people starting every 10 seconds, you can imaging that the first people will definitely finished before others get into the pool. Thank goodness this year I was able to do with fellow teammates from Speed Sherpa! Between Madi, Melissa, Peyton, and Will; we were able to pass most of the time (for me a 1 hour and 41 minute wait) chatting in the hallways while trying to stay warm and dry.
Now that I’ve began the race (officially starting at 11:41.45), here are my thoughts on each part:
- The water was warm, but not bath water temps. The line was well organized and people fell into place without any issues.
- OMG MUD! From the Rain that has not stopped since I arrived (around 8:00 am), there have now been almost two hours of racers going in and out of transition with their shoes and bikes destroying the grass and thus the ground is a mud pit of which “mud runners” would swoon. For how small the transition area is between the swim and the in/out parts for the bike and run, I should have been closer to a 1 minute transition, however, I decided to put on my water proof jacket for the bike because I’m a wimp when it comes to being cold and wet.
- It felt a little windy, guessing around 5-10 MPH winds as I constantly felt that I had to lean one direction or the other on the “out and back” bike segment. The route was good in that most of the uphills were at the beginning, which allowed you to hammer it home on the back half.
- HERMAGERD MUD!!! Just when you thought T1 was bad, T2 was MUDiculous. I almost lost my shoe TWICE just in transition for how much thick gooey mud was on the ground. Again my transition was slow, because now I had to remove the wet “waterproof” jacket.
- I enjoyed the run. We zigzaged through downtown Smithfield to catch a road that led out to the country while passing a few subdivisions. The route peaked at the half way point, so again get half way and then it’s relatively downhill to the finish line.
After the race we were served some excellent Carolina Style BBQ (as there was no sauce but only a hint of vinegar) with some beans and slaw. The Speed Sherpa team found each other and shared some highs and lows (one crashed) from each other’s race experience, but quickly knew that one of the “sherpettes” was going to place in the top three of her age category. I decided to stick around so I could snap a picture of her on the podium, while she waited for the remaining racers to crossed finish line. Little did I know I placed third! I’m really surprised by this as I know VTS/MTS has some excellent racers and the Male 40-44 category is one of the toughest to compete (hello fellow mid life crisis friends). When I was looking at the results for my category, I thought I was fifth vs. third. What I then later discovered was the gender/age categories did not separate out the “Masters” and Aqua Bike racers.
I don’t believe I place again this race season so I won’t let this get to my head, but greatly appreciate the support from my coach, teammates, and family to get me this far. Here is to the next race, my first Half at Kinetic!
- Overall: Placed 80 out of 521 (top 15%, and that is with College kids race teams and “Masters” (Age Group Pros) catgory).
- Gender: Placed 67 out of 293 (top 23%, but still the above applies).
- Male 40-44: Paced 3rd out of 18.
Among the Male 40-44 category, I was able to compete at a high level across all three sports for the first time:
- Swim: Ranked 6th
- Bike: Ranked 4th (1st and 2nd were “Masters”, and the 3rd was Aqua Bike)
- Run: Ranked 2nd (by one second)
If you want accurate pace info for races I’ve had been using Running Free Online’s, but that is now offline.
|Smithfield||300m Swim||T1||10 Mile Bike||T2||5k Run||Total|