Wisdom Oak Winery (WOW) Sprint is a 750 meter open water swim (OWS) in a lake, 16.6 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run that is hilly.

For those of you outside of the Virginia area, the race is actually in Walnut Creek Park located “… in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and just a ten minute scenic drive outside of the City of Charlottesville…”1, with the primary sponsor Wisdom Oak Winery (hence the title of the race).

My race plan was to just stay calm. My killer at Colonial Beach was during the swim, and my issues were all mental. As I pulled up, I met three ladies all doing the Sprint distances too, and this was their first triathlon. They were asking me questions and I would try to answer to my best knowledge, but little did they know they helped me stay calm. Plus I was able to spread a little positive triathlon vibe!

Swim

  • Prior to the Sprint start, the Olympic distance male and female racers started first (as they had to do two laps vs. one)2. This helped because I could watch and get a comfortable idea of sighting cues (ability to find the next buoy) throughout the lake course, but also to size up my competition (it’s a race, hello!). This helped me alot! I kept myself calm. Another bonus was the water temperature was measured at 77 degrees prior to race start, which meant I could use my wetsuit FOR THE FIRST TIME! Usually you never try something new during a race, but I wasn’t looking at WOW as my “A race”, but a learning experience for OWS and hopefully how to use my wetsuit during a race. What I found out is sighting is so much easier when using one of these things! I did have some slight issues with breathing around the 600 meter mark, but I think that was due to a poor morning nutrition plan of a second 1/2 bagel and peanut butter.

Bike

  • I always love the bike, and this time we have hills!!! I used every single ring during this race as climbing up the hills required me to drop to the lowest ring on the crank (violating rule #90), to not having enough gears on the rear cassette for the downhills to get full top speed (even though I had a top speed of 45 mph for two seconds).

Run

  • OMG the first 1.2 miles is all up hill. So I don’t like running up hill as much as I like biking up hill. At one point I simply power walked as I didn’t think my “run” was any faster. After going up, there was a short flat spot to get to the half way point, then you turned around and return where you started by going down the same hill. This was nice to have some speed where I was pacing a 7 min mile for 800 meters. The bad thing about downhill is it really beats your feet and knees. I need to improve on this for next year.

Post Race

Here are my thoughts after reading the results.

  • Overall 13 of 132. Top 10 percent, but only a third of the racers when you compare it to Colonial Beach. This does exclude the Relay teams and the Olympic racers in the total account (so there were more racers present en mass), just measuring myself to the Sprint racers.
  • Males 40-44 was 1 of 7. Yup, I won, but again the depth of racers was not that deep. If you look closely, the individual who won 2nd beat me in the bike and run, but the killer was he had a bad T1 of 4:17 where I only took 1:44 (which is long for me but I’ve never had to get myself out of a wetsuit)
  • Swim was 14:31. Amazing what happens when you are relaxed and can see the buoys.
  • T1 was 1:44. This is is all due to getting out of the wetsuit, and that added an additional 45 seconds for me to get out of transition.
  • Bike was 55:11 to cover 16.7 miles averaging 18.2 mph. The hills really killed me towards the end, as I was almost wishing for a compact crank (only for a second, I swear), but then I wouldn’t have been as fast on the down side of those hills.
  • T2 of 0:42 is nice!
  • Run was 25:38. Not the best, but between a high heart rate from the swim AND the bike, with a mile uphill I would only be able to shave off another 45-60 seconds at most. The run was hard.
  • Total time 1:37:48. Now this is slower than Colonial Beach, however, the bike distance was four miles longer so I actually beat my padded expected time!
    • padded time was calculated by 2min for 100m pace (SDI of 1.07), 18 mph bike pace, 8 minute mile pace; thus 17:20 + 55:40 + 24 (+ 4 minutes for transition time) = 101 minutes.

Footnotes

  1. Taken from the WOW website, available at charlottesvillemultisports.com/CMS/WOW_Tri.html

  2. I don’t know if I would do the Olympic in the future as the swimmers had to exit the lake, run on the beach to get a clear spot that was not obstructed by life guard equipment, and then jump back in for lap #2. It seemed odd. 

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