Tri Louisville Race Report

I’m going to give a condensed (by my standards) race report, but after that I’m going to go on a bit of a rant about cheating. So, if you don’t care about how my race went, feel free to scroll down to the bottom of this post for the afore mentioned rant.

Ok, so here we go. This race has been around for a long time in one form or another. In 2012 I raced it when it was known as the “Southern Indiana Tri”. In 2014 I participated in the same race that was then called the “Race The Bridge Triathlon”. The past two years it’s been titled “Tri Louisville”. Last year I was racing on a bum-ankle, but this year I came in feeling healthy and fit and ready to rock and roll!

My swim times have been slower this year and I can directly attribute that to not swimming with a Masters group. In seasons where I’ve been in the pool with a group, I always get faster. I’ve been trying to get over to the pool once or twice a week since January, but up until now, I haven’t found a time that I can get in with a Master’s group…so my swims are solo. At this point, I’m happy if I’m just maintaining my swim fitness/speed.

Me with some good friends before the race - Photo credit to Carlos Mendia

I say that to tell you that my swim split in this race was lousy. Not only should the time have been faster, but my sighting was off as well. I also have to mention that the swim start volunteers were awesome! You know who you are. After going out from the shore, there was a large pyramid buoy where we made a left turn to head down river. The buoy’s after that were small circles and I just couldn’t find the first one after the turn. I was in the first wave, so there were not many people around and I saw I kayak and started making my way toward it assuming it was close to a buoy. It wasn’t. I ended up out in the middle of the river, pretty far off course. You can see my route below. The swim was supposed to 1500 meters (1640 yards). According to  my Garmin watch, I ended up swimming 1835 yards (1677 meters)…just a little extra!

1500m Swim

28:27.3 (1:54 / 100m pace)

9th out of 30 in Age Group

79th out of 259 Overall

So I knew that I had a poor swim and as always, I tried to make up a few seconds in transition. I had my wetsuit stripped off by the “strippers” coming out of the water, so all I had to do in T1 was put my helmet on, grab my bike and head out!

T1

0:39.3

1st out of 30 in Age Group

5th out of 259 Overall

I’ve never been a fast swimmer, so I’m always playing catch-up on the bike. This 40K course consisted of four loops with two turn-arounds. This is good when you are trying to catch people. Since we were the first swim wave, I could count bikes as they went past me in the other direction on the first turn around. I counted five guys that were out ahead of me. Pro-tip: on a course like this, you can use your watch to see how far back you are by checking the time as someone passes you going the other direction and then see what the time is when you pass that same point. I did this with the guy leading and knew that I was a full 7 minutes back! Damn. The fact that I was making up some time on a few guys and even passed one or two in my age group gave me a little bit of encouragement as I pushed through the bike segment.

40K (24.8 miles) Bike

1:06:15 (22.5 mph)

Normalized Power – 249W

4th out of 30 in Age Group

20th out of 259 Overall

I’ve never tried to run anything over a 5K with no socks. Doing so might save me a few seconds in transition, but having to deal with blisters on my feet for the next few weeks isn’t worth it. T2 consisted of racking my bike, taking my helmet off, putting on socks and shoes, grabbing my race number belt and hat and heading out.

T2

1:04.95

7th out of 30 in Age Group

41st out of 259 Overall

Although I wasn’t sure of my place at the time, looking at the results, I was in 5th place in my Age Group starting the run. I can always tell how the run is going to go within the first half mile or so. This course is 95% in the sun and it was starting to warm-up by this time. I was encouraged that I felt good right out of the gate and I was clipping through pretty even mile splits through the first of two laps. I was trying to check out people’s calves (no, not a fetish) as I passed them to see if they were in my Age Group. The course was crowded with Olympic distance, Sprint distance and Duathletes, so it was hard to keep track. I started to feel the leg fatigue once I got into mile 5, but I pushed to hold my cadence and pace. I felt like I had left if all on the course and managed to run my fastest mile last.

10K (6.2 mile) Run

45:22.2 (7:19/mile pace)

7th out of 30 in Age Group

37th out of 259 Overall

When I race, my goal is to always try and place in the top 3 in my Age Group. This race has become pretty big (over 540 participants in all race formats) and the competition is tougher each year. Despite having one of my fastest Olympic Distance races, I still only managed to get 7th in my Age Group. Looking at the results, our Age Group was very close! There were less than two minutes separating 4th place from 8th place! Overall the race was great and kudos to the organizers. They also put on a kids triathlon the day before which my 7 year old daughter participated in and had an awesome time!

Total Time

2:21:58

7th out of 30 in Age Group

22nd out of 259 Overall


Everyone ready for the rant?!?

When you think of cheating in sports, most people think athletes of taking a PED (Performance Enhancing Drug). But let’s be honest, as far as I know, there aren’t many non-pro’s in the sport of triathlon that take drugs to try and win a plaque or trophy at a local race. Maybe I’m naive, but I just don’t think it happens. However, there are other ways that one can cheat and I’ve seen it happen way too often…so I think it’s time I get up on my soap box!

When you go inside a turn buoy instead of around it on the swim – that’s cheating!

When you knowingly cut the bike course short – that’s cheating!

When you run on the sidewalk or through someone’s yard instead of staying on the street when turning a corner during a run – that’s cheating!

Don't get me wrong - I’m all for running and riding the tangents as that’s actually how the course is certified (the shortest distance between two points on the road). In some races (like this one), the run course is not on the road, but on sidewalks and paths. There are arrows on the ground and volunteers telling you what the certified course path is. Following the shortest route while staying on the course is smart racing - but that's not what I'm talking about here.

Sometimes there are portions on the course where there are no arrows taped or painted on the ground. So you have to make some assumptions. I get it. But when everyone else is taking a line and you decide to take a different, shorter line, to me…that’s cheating.

Here are two examples that I saw during the race on Sunday:

The bike turn-around at 13th and Main Street.

There were cones in the street and even two volunteers standing there, but there was not a cone or marking in the street that you had to actually go around (it was finally put there during my last lap). On my third lap, things were getting pretty crowded and as I came up on the turn around, I slowed down and got in a single file line behind three other riders. I followed the path that they were taking and that I had taken on my other laps (close to the cones). As I came out of the turn, I started to move to the left to pass the rider in front of me when I saw someone cut the turn about 30 feet shorter than we had. He nearly ran into me as he tried to make the tight turn. I saw his race number, but I'm not going to call him out here. Why didn’t he follow the same line as the rest of us? Even if he thought he was faster than us, did he just think that he was close enough to the turn-around that it didn’t matter if he went all the way there?

Green arrows are the line we took, red is the line the other rider took.

Run course under Joe’s Crab Shack:

Joe’s sits up on pillars to keep up dry when the river floods. The run course was not well marked at the spot where you run past Joe’s. There were some volunteers there, but they were sitting in chairs and not really directing people where to go. The first time I came through there was no one in front of me that I could see, so I assumed that we were supposed to go to the left of the pillars (this naturally followed the path we were on). On the second loop, there were several people in front of me that all went on the same path I had, to the left of the pillars. As we make the right turn around the last pillar, I saw a guy running between the rows of pillars directly under Joe’s. Needless to say, he made up considerable ground and managed to come out ahead of us. I just don’t see how this is an innocent mistake. You see where everyone else is running, why do you think that you should run a different course?

Maybe I’m wrong on all of this. If the course is not clearly marked, should you just be able to go wherever you think you should go regardless of what other athletes are doing?

Thoughts?

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Wishing you optimal health and peak performance,

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One Response to “Tri Louisville Race Report”

  1. Charlie Fell June 13, 2017 at 3:52 PM #

    I watched the mini this year by Churchill Downs on Central. Slowly but surely runners started to cross the median and run on the left until almost all of the runners were in the left lane and only a few on the right. I will say that I believe it is the race directors responsibility to make the course clear. I know that I don’t want to have to think or worry where to go when I’m on the run in a tri. I’m usually tired and concentrating on me and don’t want to have to worry about the course. If it’s not clear then it’s the race directors issue.

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