True to my word this year I did the Sprint and Olympic distances of (11th Annual) Philly TriRock triathlon. Its very popular ( 1000’s of participants ) regional triathlon held in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, PA. The race has two races, Saturday the shorter Sprint and Sunday the longer Olympic.
Arriving Friday we met up with friends and family that would be joining us for the Sprint race.. We picked up our race packets and such then we caught up with friends in the area.. The weather Friday was sunny , but we were expecting a rainy weekend.
Also we discovered there’s a public pool right next to the Please touch Museum (next to registration tents) , it’s a great place to cool off and get a few last minute laps before the race.. We didn’t take advantage , but will next year.
Day 1: Sprint
Saturday morning, arriving at the race start, we were told the swim was cancelled due to unhealthy water quality levels in the Schuylkill River. A lot of folks were bummed out, but that’s triathlon racing for you, the swim doesn’t always happen.. Instead the 5k run would be split into a 2.5k run1 followed by the regular bike distance wrapping up with another 2.5km run2.
1st Run (2.5 km)
Lining up in the start/finish , each age group was called and would start the 1.5 mile first run, in the same sequence as the swim start. My wave again like last year was last. MC Ann as usual did a terrific job of motivating and encouraging the crowd and the athletes.. MY wave started near the end much like it would have if we had a swim. My run was measured, but was not a fast pace, but I came into T1 just looking to have a good ride.
BIKE (15+ miles)
Being in the last wave, there was way too much traffic exiting T1 , I literlally had to wait near the dismount line . So I resigned myself to just enjoy the bike ride and not go for it , save that for tomorrow. The skies were pretty overcast and you could see that rain was pretty imminent. So my intention was just to ride quickly and avoid a slick road.
The course seemed even more crowded than last year, I suppose with everyone spilling out into the roadway in quick succession, it was going to fill up quickly. Again I was resigned just to enjoy the ride but managed a few nice accelerations up the few ramps there were.
I saw a couple of folks with nasty road rash, so that further reinforced my timidness on the course. I’ve done the math time-wise how much you gain from being super aggressive on descents vs. being aggressive on climbs, climbs always come up on top.
Enough with the math lesson, overall the bike ride was slow , but I managed to catch Christine’s sister near the start of my second lap. the rest of the bike ride was uneventful, although my loose left aero bar was starting to annoy me.. but on a positive note, I did manage to get some fluids out of my hydration bladder.
RUN 2 (2.5km)
After the slower than expected ride, I re-racked into transition and into . The second run was as uneventful as the first, I saw my gym buddy John at the turn-around, and then took me almost another 3/4 mile before catching up with him and finishing together at the line. Also during the run I managed to cheer on Peter, and we all headed back to the after race tents for some well deserved refreshments and food.
|Year||Swim (800m) /Run||T1||Bike (15.7mi)||T2||Run (3.1/5k)||Finish|
|2015||12:22 (1.5mi run)||2:24||51:45||1:51||12:56 (1.5 mi run)||1:21:19|
|2014||15:16||2:48||47:29 (19.8 mph)||1:55||25:41 (8:17/mi)||1:33:07|
Grabbed some quality post race food,relaxed and just enjoyed the Tri-rock atmosphere, Later in the day TriRock posted on their website that the swim for tomorrow’s Olympic distance would also be cancelled.
Day 2: Olympic
The rain that was pouring overnight subsided a little , but right before race start it started pouring one last time , before finally clearing up and leaving slick roads at the 7:00am race start. So I took shelter in some of the tents that were there.
Because of cancelled swim (water quality issues) , we would just do a bike-run, and would start in bike time-trial fashion, riders starting 5 seconds apart, luckily I was near the first few racks so my wait wasn’t too bad, the folks with the 1200 numbers would be waiting a while…
I started slow, very leery of the wet roads, and you can see in the video below especially on the downhills, people were whizzing by me left and right. The Olympic course is pretty nice, its a two loop (about 12.5 miles each) , and it features a few technical areas, and a couple of mild climbs. with the first significant climb coming at mile 1 as you approach the ramp for the Strawberry Mansion Bridge and turn left onto Greenland Dr. It keeps heading up with the steepest section near the top before the right hand turn onto onto Chamounix Drive , this is the highest point on the course.
From there its flat and downhill for a while, until you cross the Falls bridge over the Schuylkill river , then it remains flat for a few miles on Kelly Drive , before a few more climbs including the well known Lemon Hill Drive climb which looks worse than it is, You then come down Sedgley Drive before turning left onto Kelly Drive, and fly by the side and in front of the Art Museum (don’t forget to wave to “Rocky”), before heading back over to the last section MLK drive (also part of the run course) and up one more road Lansdowne Drive , before finally descending very quickly (I guess that’s why they put hay bales there) down towards transition area.
My bike performance was poor, partly because I was timid on the slick roads and also my rear wheel started rubbing and not sure if one too many potholes causes that or what..
After a quick transition I took off on the run,because I was so early in the time-trial race there weren’t many people around me , and while I did get passed a bit on the run , nothing too extreme. I actually managed to maintain an acceptable sub 8:30 pace which for me is half-decent. I made a smart move and downed two gel’s early in the run, and I think this held off any cramping later on.. Plenty of aid stations along the way. Kept my pace pretty consistent throughout the run, so I was happy with that…
There were still plenty of cyclist out there even as I was finishing up the run course… kept my pace strong and finished up exhausted but pretty happy with my run performance..
Everyone was a little bummed there was no swim, but these things happen. I think I’ll be back next year, but just do the Olympic distance event, while the Sprint was fun and there’s lots of camaraderie I think the Olympic distance course is more challenging and better laid out course..
|Year||Swim (1500m) T1||Bike (40km)||T2||Run (10km)||Finish|