Race Review – St. Patrick’s Day Sprint Tri

This season I want to try something different. Instead of writing the typical race report where an athlete tells you all about their specific race, I want to review races that I do in general (and then for those interested tell my story, briefly, at the end). Hopefully this will help everyone in the future when you decide which races to do and know what to expect. If you want to contribute a race review, please email it to nacendurance@hotmail.com and I will post it. Enjoy reading!

KellerBikeSt. Patrick’s Day Sprint Tri – March 15, 2015

Date: This was a Sunday race and by virtue of the name  and history, I expect it to happen around this same weekend next year as well.
Location: Keller, TX; this is somewhere in the middle of the DFW area. I was never really sure where I was all weekend, but thanks to Siri, I made it from the hotel to dinner and to the race site. Keller and nearby Southlake are really nice places; fancy-schmancy stuff there!
Registration: They advertised a sell-out at 600 racers but in the end only 432 participated.
Packet Pickup: You had to pickup your packet the day before the race (although they had a table set up for packet pickup race morning; I guess I should have asked). It was at a bike shop right across the street from the race site and very easy. We got green socks and a green long sleeve 3/4 zip shirt (nice but very scratchy fabric).
Race Parking: Figuring out where to park is a big stressor for me on race morning. Thankfully in the athlete guide it gave clear directions. The pool parking lot first and then overflow at the Kroger and Tom Thumb across the street. To avoid crowds I just went ahead and parked at Kroger; easy in and easy out with just a short walk to transition.

Swim: 300m pool swim and the pool was set up for 50m lengths. In a pool swim you line up by number (which is determined based on your estimated swim time you give during registration). You then jump in and swim down in one lane, turn and cross under the rope, and swim the other direction in the next lane. If you’re thinking about a pool swim, know that 50m pools are easier as you only go one direction in a lane and have plenty of room for passing. They sent us in at about 10sec intervals and after 6 lengths we climbed out a ladder and exited a door about 3 feet away. This pool swim did not provide swim caps you so had to bring your own (or go without).
T1/2: Transition is set up in the pool parking lot. Nice smooth pavement and bikes were racked generally according to your number (not a specific sticker where your bike goes). Bike in/out were on one side while swim in/run out were on the other side so it made it fair really no matter where you were racked.
Bike: 12.6 miles (2 loops). The bike was pretty straight forward except for a funny U-turn section at the beginning. It was there so that bikes were crossing in front of each other during the start/finish. It was on general roads in Keller with our lane coned off from traffic and all right turns until a left at the finish. There were hills; it was definitely not flat. The hills were more significant than I expected even after watching the video and driving it. I think the course is long as well based on my time/average and those in the past. Since it is an easy course to drive, why doesn’t someone fix this?
Run: 5K (1 loop). The run utilized what appeared to be an extensive trail system in the Keller area. It was an out/back so you could see competitors the whole time. There was one water/gatorade station around Mile 1.5ish. There were some ups and downs along the trail, nothing terrible, but again not flat.
Finish: There was a great announcer who appeared to be having a good time calling people into the finish line. I think he announced everyone’s name and where they were from. You get a nice medal for finishing and they had some food but the amount/variety I felt was lacking. Green pancakes were advertised, but all they had were hamburgers and chips. I don’t know what happened there.

Me Personally:
The point of this race was to just get out and race, make sure my equipment was all working, and see where six months of hard off-season training had put my fitness. Nothing was extraordinary; can’t lie that I’m disappointed in that but I have to remember that it’s March and I have a solid 6 months of season ahead of me (be patient!). I did win Overall Female by more than 1 minute, beat all but 27 boys, and was only 21 sec off a 5K personal best so those do help my confidence. Next race up is Kemah (Olympic) and I’m dying to go out and go fast there. So the things I learned/did/didn’t do at this race I think will help set that up.

I would recommend this one as an early season opener or one for a triathlon newbie. Some things could be improved but overall it was organized, on-time, and had good numbers. Will you see me there in 2016? I won’t be signing up right away, but I would do it again if it fits with the schedule. 🙂

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