Tom Sawyer Triathlon Race Report

The swim portion of this race was in the pool at Tom Sawyer State Park, so it was a time trial start – one at a time in the water – every 20 seconds. As I was setting up transition I started to look around at other people’s race numbers (my race number was 352), trying to get an idea as to where I would start. The pool gets pretty crowded and I was hoping to be one of the first 15-20 in the pool. I was a little concerned when I hadn’t seen ANYONE else with a number below 440. As we started to line up, I realized that the first four or five people in line had random numbers, then they became sequential. The race director started to call out numbers for people to line up. First in line…number 352. What?!?! I was first? I’m an above average swimmer, but I’m by no means the fastest in the water. I found it particularly amusing when I noticed that two guys behind me in line had “St. X High School” swim caps on. I also noticed former collegiate swimmer Mark Hurst behind me in line. I knew that I would be passed a few times in the pool, but being passed by these guys was noting to get upset about.
I knew that literally everyone in line and all of the spectators would be watching me during that first lap, so I focused on my form and even managed a good flip-turn at the end of the lane. I was going at a pretty good effort and didn’t feel hands hitting my feet until a little after the 200m mark. For whatever reason, about half way in, my flip-turns (which I’ve only been doing for two weeks) began to get all out of whack. I was rotating before hitting the wall and was becoming disoriented. To keep from accidentally swimming down the wrong side of the lane and hitting another swimmer, I abandoned the flip-turns for the final 400 meters. I was passed four times in the water, but the last two guys were in the final 150 or so. I looked at my watch was I came out of the water….14:26. This translates to a pace of 1:48 / 100m. I was hoping for something in the 1:40 / 100m range, but I’m sure the bad flip-turns and then actually stopping at the wall once I decided to stop flipping cost me a few seconds each lap.

800 meter swim 
14:44.16 (1:51/100m)
2nd out of 10 in my Age Group
10th out of 126 Overall

Once out the of the pool, it’s up some steps, then down a long ramp to T1…about a 200 meter run in total. Swim time above also includes about 50 meters of this run to T1. I decided to go without socks again in this race since it was a sprint. I tried this back in the spring and it was a disaster. I went with the baby powder in the bike and run shoes this time and it made all the difference. Thanks to Daniel Blandford for the tip! I had a very fast T1 and even made it out before two of the guys that passed me in the pool.

At the top of the stairs – heading down to transition.
1st out of 10 in my Age Group
1st out of 126 Overall

The bike is a fairly flat, out-and-back route…with the exception of 10-12 speed bumps! The speed bumps are the long kind, but they still require you to slow down. I didn’t see anyone in front of me until around mile 3. I now had a “rabbit” and I was going to chase him down. I was in my highest gear and stayed in aero for almost the entire ride, coming out of the saddle on the hills and hammering on the flats. I finally caught my rabbit around mile 6 and then I saw the race leader, Mark Hurst, a few minutes ahead of me at the turn around. I knew that he was the only one left to chase down and I had confidence that no one would be catching me from behind. The course has lots of turns, so I never saw Mark again. I rolled into T2 with some tired legs, but ready to hammer out a fast run.

14 mile bike
38:57.70 (21.6 mph)
1st out of 10 in my Age Group
2nd out of 126 Overall

Getting ready to dismount after 14 hard miles on the bike.

T2 was as fast as I can do it. I had a flying dismount off of the bike and quickly racked it once in the transition area. I was able to slide my feet into my shoes without any problems, took my helmet off, and grabbed my race belt as I ran off. How two people were able to do a faster T2 is a mystery to me. 


1st out of 10 in my Age Group
3rd out of 126 Overall

Leaving T2
The 5K run starts and ends on pavement with about a 3/4 of a mile of gravel trails in the middle. My first mile was done in 7:14…which I was not happy with. I grabbed some water at the aid station (around the 1.25 mile mark) and decided to focus on a higher than comfortable cadence and hold good form. The second mile, which includes the gravel path portion was done in 7:04. Once I crossed the mile 2 mark, I knew it was time to empty the tank. I ran at an all-out effort to the finish and did the last 1.1 miles in 6:58 (6:20 min/mile pace). I finished strong and felt really good about my run split.

5K run
21:16.52 (6:51 min/mile)
1st out of 10 in my Age Group
2nd out of 126 Overall

I knew that Mark was the only one that finished ahead of me, but because of the time trial start, someone that started way behind me could have had a better overall time and not finished until after I did. After about 20 minutes, I went over and asked the timer how my time looked. I had finished 2nd overall and by that point, no one that had started after me was going to turn in a better time than me.

Total Time
1st out of 10 in my Age Group
2nd out of 126 Overall

Adrain, me and Kate after the race.
This is my first ever top 3 overall finish and even though this was a small race, I’m still very proud of the race that I turned in and am more than happy to show off my hardware! I had lots of support at the race. My parents made it out as well as Jessica and the kids. I’m really blessed to have such a great support crew!

Kate holding my plaque after the awards ceremony.
The other good news is that I improved my times in every category from this race two years ago. I shaved 1:51 off of my swim (14 seconds per 100m); 21 seconds off of T1; 57 seconds off of my bike; 0.50 seconds off of T2; and 36 seconds off of my run (11 seconds per mile).

Gear used:
Aqua Sphere Kayenne goggles
Louis Garneau Elite Lazer Tek Suit
Tifosi Dolomite sunglasses
Argon 18 E-112 Triathlon bike
Bike Javelin aero helmet
Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 7 shoes

Nutrition used:

  • (1) Medium Sweet Potato
  • Water bottle with NUUN tablet
  • (1) Clif Chot Blocks – ate about 30 minutes before race start


  • (1) 24oz. bottle of water – only drank from it twice


  • Water at every aid station

3 Responses to “Tom Sawyer Triathlon Race Report”

  1. Eric August 6, 2012 at 11:40 PM #

    Why was your bike average slower this year than in 2010? 21.6 vs 24.1? Was it the same route? Speed bumps? That’s annoying, they should choose a different route!

  2. Luke Powell August 7, 2012 at 5:59 PM #

    Apparently the average speeds listed in the results for 2010 were based on it being a 16 mile course, when it reality, it was only 14. I had my bike computer with me this year, so I know it was only 14…and it was the same exact route as 2010.

  3. Mike August 13, 2012 at 12:48 AM #

    Congrats on a great race!

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