2015 WestPoint Triathlon Report & Photos

This past weekend a bunch of friends and  I took part in the 2015 edition (26th Annual)  West Point sprint triathlon, along with 700+ other folks.  Its popular local triathlon held at Camp Buckner, in West Point NY , just a short distance from the Military Academy campus. The race itself is a  sprint triathlon, Its a  800m swim, 14mile bike and 5k run. For more Recent Report including course bike video go to my 2016 West Point Race Report


Relay team members (l-to-r) Tony, Devang, Jared, then me and "coach" Christine

Relay team members (l-to-r) Tony, Devang, Jared, then me and “coach” Christine

This year Christine fielded a hopefully winning all-male relay squad, with our new friend Jared starting off the swim, followed by Tony T. on the Bike and Devang on the run.   Also our relay friend Brittany was there and she was doing the individual race by herself. Christine also ran into our friends and rivals the Flying Dutchman, who were looking to repeat last year’s relay victory.


Lake Popolopen before race..

Lake Popolopen before race..

This year water temp was 77.1 so it was barely wet suit-legal. The lake swim is an 800m swim on a  counter clockwise rectangular course. We were all in different waves, Jared (Relay -M) was in wave 2, Brittany was in wave 5 and I once again was at  the back of the line in terms of wave starts.

The swim started out well, I took a few steps before diving in,the weather was bright sunshine, and it was perhaps the prettiest lake swim I’ve done, because of the clear conditions, and minimal sun glare.  Very little contact at the beginning and I felt like I was making good progress as I navigated cleanly along the bouy line. The first far turn bouy seemed pretty far off, and it took a while to get to .

Mens swim start Jared (bare chest) dives in ..

Mens swim start Jared (bare chest) dives in ..

As I approached the first turn bouy traffic from the earlier wave’s started piling up. And I had to go around several bunches of slower swimmers. The second turn bouy lined us up nicely with the finishing leg, and sun-glare was minimal and it was easy to spot the remaining bouys. maintaining a good line I kept slowly moving forward, but perhaps should have pushed a little harder near the end.  The bunch of weeds near the exit were a bit annoying , but it meant the swim was over. I popped u and ran through the timing mat. Looked down at the watch and was disappointed to see 17+ , but looking later at the results everyone’s swim was off from last year, most likley the swim course this year was longer.


me on my Shiv passing mile 5

me on my Shiv passing mile 5

T1 felt ok, wet-suit came off quick and the helmet & glasses went on pretty well. Then it was just a matter of cranking out the miles. One rider passed me about mile 1 , but then I started reeling back all the other slower age groupers in front . The shifting on this bike is the best, I never worry about mis-shifts or chain falling off the chain rings. Kept an even tempo through the first few miles and as  I approached the base of the mile 4 climb, I could see my heart rate was a bit high,  so I measured my effort up the climb. At the top a quick turn around and then back down the long, and unlike last year, less harrowing descent. I was still pretty cautious modulating the brakes to keep my speed under 30mph (this is a 40+ mph section of the course), but I felt stable and comfortable. The middle miles went by quick as a mostly flat course with a few bumps, lets you settle into a rythmn.

Tony T. powering through the bike near around mile 6

Tony T. powering through the bike near around mile 6

Near the second turn around there’s another long fast descent and again keeping a careful watch on my speed, the 180 degree turn around leads you back up the slow long climb for about a mile, before you crest the climb and begin your last 5 miles back into T2. The darn Fuselage water  bladder again did not work well, and I was thirsty going into T2. Climbing again felt good for me , I think I’m having my best year climbing ,  I managed to put in a few burst of speeds on the short descents here hoping to make up some ground.  Finally within I mile I un-Velcro my shoes, and prepared for a quick dismount and run into T2.


Devang on-fire heading towards the finish

Devang on-fire heading towards the finish

T2 was pretty quick with no bike shoes to undo, I slipped on my Newtons, and off on the run I went. Started off pretty sluggishly , my runs have been mostly misses this year..  besides the Philly TriRock Olympic run, I have not really had a solid run off the bike this year. This was no different. Then I settled into a rhythm, approaching the main climb on the run near mile 1. Luckily a well placed water station before the climb, helped deal with my thirst. I managed to keep an a measured tempo up the hill passing a few other earlier wave folks.. Then it was back down the climb..

Brittany finishes WestPoint tri

Brittany finishes WestPoint tri

I maintained an 8:30 pace around mile 2, but the heat was starting to take its toll, luckily this course has plenty of shaded areas, so its a manageable heat.I ran the middle mile pretty well, but not great, I just didn’t have the pep I wanted in my legs, my run continues to be my weakest leg. A Slow stream of faster runners passed me little by little.  I was a in front of one age grouper Scott who beat me last year on the run, and my goal was to just stay in front.

Running back along side the transition area, I saw Christine  and Devang cheering my on, that was nice, the it was one more final dog leg, to the  turn around point at about mile 2.7 , then is was grunt and bear it towards the finish.. Tony T, Jared and the rest of the gang were there to cheer us on..

Relay team at finihs with medals and West Point's Superintendent Gen. Caslen.

our relay team at finish with West Point’s Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen USMA ’75

Then it was onto some post race pizza, a quick photo with USMA superintendent General Caslen  and camaraderie with  fellow competitors, its what racing is  all about.  Ran into  Bob our Flying Dutchman rival and we talked a bit, before getting some more drinks and finding out how our relay team did.


Mens Sabre Division winner presented with trophy, its a sabre..

Mens Sabre Division winner Kevin Portmann ( blog)  presented with trophy, its a sabre..

Christine’s relay team”Splash, Flash and Dash” won a close relay division by close to 2 minutes.  So they were pretty happy with their performance, but as the race results would show , it took a complete team effort for the win, had any one of the three faltered it would not have resulted in first.

My performance was slightly better than last year but off from my PR of two years back. Most certainly the swim course was longer this year (as even the top swimmers were off by a few minutes). Bike was about the same , disappointing to me as I felt faster, and run continues to be my weakest discipline.

But performances not withstanding we had a bunch of fun, and it was nice to see all our old buddies.

Year Swim  (800m) T1 Bike (14mi) T2 Run (3.1mi) Finish
2015 17:08*  2:12 43:53  (19.1  mph) 0:57 28:18 (9:07/mi) 1:32:27
2014 14:55*   1:46 46:33  (17.6  mph) 1:19 28:47 (9:16/mi) 1:33:47
2013 15:19*   2:02 43:43  (19.2  mph) 0:54 26:34 (8:34/mi) 1:28:29
2012   17:56 2:12  43:24   (19.3 mph) 1:21  27:14 (8:47/mi) 1:31:06

* westuit legal


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