Race recap by Brian Roddy - Rolf Prima owner...
I’ve been to this race for work several times and have always wished I raced it. The event has all the markings of a really big event, but the atmosphere is low key. Pretty much everyone camps in a huge park and then comes out of the woodwork on race day. This year, a group of athletes from the Rolf Prima Factory team headed down for a few days of camping and to race. I was starting to regret it when the days leading up to the race were showing to be very hot – 970. Race day was going to be hot, but slightly better and I was not looking forward to a hot run.
This year the swim was moved due to low or basically no water, which meant adding an unusual 2mi run from the swim to the bike transistion. While this put some people off, as a poor swimmer, I loved it. I just approached it as a “swim to the duathlon start”. Usually when I get out of the water, the only bikes left in transition are tricycles, BMX bikes and unicycles so it was fun to catch a lot of people on the first run and see bikes still in transition when I got there.
Once on the bike, I felt at home. I love the feeling when you step on the pedals and in those first few strokes you feel that you have your fast race wheels on - it is hard not to crack a smile and get a little cocky. It is a fairly technical bike course for a triathlon with hills and wind and they both start early. While not the best road surface I’ve ever ridden, it is a great course with low traffic. I rode an Ares6 front with our Disc rear and was surprised to see very few discs out there compared to other races. I think the hills and wind may have made people think it was not the best choice. This gave me food for thought on the ride because the faster that wind is blowing, the faster a rear disc gets. And they’re light so no real weight penalty on hills. I would not say I crushed the bike course, but for the effort I was putting in, I was flying. The last 10 miles are a big hill followed by rollers which was fine by me although it did start to crank the body temp. I was trying to keep the body temperature down which meant backing off quite a bit. As we neared T2, I was getting a little nervous as the “man against stomach” battle was starting to get ugly. In the heat, nutrition and I never seem to agree on the best plan.
In recent triathlons I’ve found myself wanting to get the bike over with so I could get to the run. It’s odd because I used to dread the run. I knew I was in trouble this time though when I could not convince myself that I really just wanted to get to the run. My body did not buy that at all. Once on the run, I felt better than I thought. I had to moderate the pace quite a bit and made use of all opportunities to dump water on my head. All I kept thinking was “relentless forward progress”. I thought that partly because I knew I had to get off the course and partly because I didn’t want my wife (a far better swimmer who started not far after me) to catch me. That makes for bad times for me at home! I struggled through the run and it was a great feeling to run down the last hill to the finish.
The Rolf Prima Factory team represented well in the long course, mountain bike and Olympic races. It was great to race with so many friends there. I’m looking forward to doing it again and hope to get a crew together to go down there again soon – what a race. !!