September 9th, 2012
AG (25-29): 16th/239
I decided to end my first triathlon racing season with the Nations Triathlon. I worked in dc for 2 years, live an hour away and love this city so why not end it here. Well the only thing that might have stopped me was the swim in the Potomac… and if you live in DC you know the Potomac is not the cleanest river, maybe 2nd to the Hudson. But I sucked it up and did it.
The expo was actually pretty awesome. I made a connection and possible sponsorship with Xterra Wetsuits and got a bunch of things in this huge expo. It took place at the Washington Hilton, and they said they were offering shuttles to and from transition where you had to rack your bikes the day before the race, but you weren’t allowed to take your bikes on the shuttle… hmm. Anyways I decided to go to the expo first, as there was an incoming storm that was supposed to bring in bad winds and downpours. well, I’m glad we did because the storm hit while we were in the expo. I didn’t hear a thing but apparently it was bad. that and by the time we left there were branches everywhere and lots of flooding. So we went to transition, I racked my bike in the biggest transition I have seen besides nationals, covered it with plastic bags to keep from getting wet in the rain, and we left.
The morning temperature was 54 degrees. When we arrived in DC the next day at around 5:45, found parking on Ohio drive in one of the few lots being offered and walked the mile to transition the temperature was up to 61. I later found out that there was about 5000 people in this race and in my opinion, WAY TOO MANY, but hey I guess they needed that many for the permits and police. I set up my area with about 50 minutes to spare before they kicked us out of transition, put more air in my tires and thankfully I did not break the valve this time. The race started at 7 am with the elites going off, I was in the 30th wave which meant I did not leave until 830, by that time the elites were already on the run and almost finishing. My mom even said that by the time I finished my swim she had enough time to run down to the finish line to see the winner duke it out in the end.
The swim in the lovely Potomac wasn’t as bad as I had imagined, but anyways it was a lovely 81.1 degrees, not wetsuit legal. so this was going to be a challenging swim no matter what. The swim basically was a time trial, 6 people jumping in the water every 7 seconds. So that portion was nice instead of a massive start with people on top of everyone else in the beginning but instead it was people swimming on top of the slow swimmers later on. I literally found myself boxed in constantly because the slower swimmers were in a line making it hard to maneuver around them. That and I swallowed the lovely water which is probably why I had stomach issues on the run. Anyways, I was not happy with my swim time and really need to work on it in the offseason.
On the plus side of not having a wetsuit on, it made for an easy transition. In this race though you needed your bib on for the bike, odd but okay. I still had the 4th fastest transition time so I must be getting better.
I PR’d my bike time!!! the bike course was pretty nice, good flats, downhills, uphills, not too challenging but I enjoyed it overall. the course took us from the mall to Georgetown, out to Maryland and back. Around mile 4 I came across a guy who had a bad crash, so we all slowed down to get around them. the negative side of having 5000 people racing was that the bike course was very crowded and that is probably why he crashed. thankfully I didn’t see any officials because I constantly found myself within a few feet of people while behind, passing or next to them. however I was cruising along doing around 21/22 MPH the entire time unless we hit hills. The only downside was that my right foot was starting to go numb because it was cold outside. Also, I understand that ambulances are needed on the course in case anything happens but because there were only two lanes for traffic that meant that the ambulance would have to take up one. which is exactly what happened. I came upon a group of cyclists that were stuck behind an ambulance trying to figure out what to do, I probably waited about two minutes before I said screw it and went around the truck into the other lane. I waited to make sure no cyclists were coming from the other direction, but still the company should figure out logistics so that doesn’t happen again.
This would have been faster if A. my bike spot wasn’t taken and I didn’t have to move the other bikes to rack mine, B. I didn’t have to put on my socks to warm up my numb foot.C. transition wasn’t huge
I PR’d my run time! at least for the Olympic distance triathlon. No butt cramping and kept a consistent 7:30 minute 5k. however after the 5k mark my swallowing the Potomac water caught up with me and I was suffering from major GI cramping to the point where I almost stopped to go to the bathroom. So I pushed through even though my run time slowed down. The run course takes you to the Washington monument, down to Haines point and finishing by the transition, not in front of the white house or capitol building like some of the pictures suggest.
Overall, I had a great time at this race, it was a beautiful day, awesome course and I will definitely do it again. I couldn’t believe I was able to get a 16th place finish, but I guarantee I passed most of the girls on my bike and run that passed me in the swim. I also calculated it out, I placed top 6% for my age group and the top 33 qualify for nationals so once again I qualified! I highly suggest this race even with the amount of people and Potomac swim.
Perks: beautiful run course layout, bike course was nice and no traffic, medal, post race food and activities, very well run
Ehh… Not a Fan: potomac yuckiness but cant help that, long transition, long time to wait to swim