Located in the grassy amphitheater at Montgomery’s Riverfront Park, packet pickup was a breeze. I arrived around 3:00pm, just after a brief thunderstorm had came through, so the grass was pretty soggy. I even saw one lady take what appeared to be a pretty nasty fall, but she came right back up with only her ego bruised. I was able to quickly show my ID, get my swim cap, bib, and wristband, then on to get my swag bag and lastly my timing chip. I later found out that the athletes who arrived closer to the beginning of packet pickup had to either wait for the chips to be prepared, or get them the morning of the race. Not a big deal, but I wasn’t affected either.
After a night of fitful sleep due to my excitement, my alarm went off at its usual 4:00am. A quick glass of water, and I busied myself getting my last minute preps done for the race. We arrived in Downtown Montgomery about 6:00am and waited just a few minutes for my buddy, and tri-newbie, Justin to arrive with his family.
Transition had opened at 5:30, so there was activity happening, but nothing out of the ordinary. Justin and I racked our bikes, and I helped him set his transition area up. Transition was really quite calm, and the porta-potty line wasn't too bad either. Once everything was in place we went back out to join our families and put on our wetsuits.
The swim start was a time trial start from the Harriott II. We boarded the boat at 7:00, and quickly went upriver to the 400 meter buoy to start race. After getting clearance from emergency personnel we were able to start racing about 10 minutes early.
Jumping into the Alabama River was quite
I was soon at the swim exit, which was a single ladder with two guys to help you up. The first step was pretty high, so I was glad for the help. My only complaint here is that it was a single ladder, and I had to wait for the 4 people in front of me to exit – probably took 10-20 seconds. It took a couple of tries for me to get my wetsuit to unzip, but once I found the sweet spot it was down to my waist with ease. This was also my first time getting to use a wetsuit peeler. They were located at the bottom of the tunnel that leads into Riverfront Park. I laid down on my back just long enough for this kind soul to peel my suit off and hand it to me as I was getting back up.
Swim Time: 6:43
I was feeling good coming out of the water, but did take my time going up the tunnel and stairs into T1. Even though the clock doesn't stop during transition I wanted to keep myself calm and have a clean transition. My sunglasses, race belt and helmet went on with ease and before I knew it I was jogging to the bike mount line. This was my first time keeping my shoes clipped in and running barefoot through transition. The rubber bands worked great, and I had no issues during transition.
T1 Time: 3:29
The bike starts off with a gradual uphill for a mile or two. This really isn't a problem, except that I still had to get my feet into the shoes. I had to wait until I started going downhill to get both feet in so that I didn't lose all of my momentum. Once I crested the hill it was smooth sailing, often seeing speeds of 18-20 mph. For the first time in my career I was able to say, “on your left,” more than I heard it! I made it to the turnaround at mile 6, and the tailwind that I had for the first half quickly became a stiff headwind. I tucked into aero position and focused on keeping a steady cadence and less on speed. I knew the run would have some pretty steep uphill parts, so I didn't want to kill my legs on the bike. This proved to be a good move. I knew my average had dipped a bit, but staying above 16mph is a win for me!
Bike Time: 45:14
I had already taken my feet out of my shoes, so all I had to do in transition was rack my bike and put my visor & running shoes on and I was off. I have absolutely no clue what I did for a minute and twelve seconds.
T2 Time: 1:12
The run. Oh my stars, the run. We had a very short flat portion before the downtown Montgomery hills. The lesson learned here is that I need to get stronger on hills. The first half of the
Run Time: 36:52 - Even though that is way off of my 5k pace, I’m happy with the time.
Total: 1:33:29, which was good enough for a Top 10 finish in my age group!
Team Magic put on a great race! If it fits into my schedule next year, I’ll be racing again.
Oh, remember how I passed the WSFA employee? He was in the group sprinting to the finish, which means I made it onto the news. Glad I finished ahead of him!