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Guest Post by RTA Club member, Larry C
Last week RTA had their first Team Race of the year in St. Petersburg, FL. About 12 club members made the trip to Florida to race the iconic St. Anthony’s Triathlon and kick off the 2017 season.
Because I always enjoy reading race reports from others, I decided to write my own.
This report is a summary from my own eyes.
I tried to keep it short.
The St. Anthony Triathlon is NOT a long distance IRONMAN® event. However, the race is known for being one of the top ten destination races in the country. It’s also one of the oldest. This year marked its 34th running of the race.
With good weather, an accommodating location and LOTS of volunteer support, I would recommend this event for anyone considering this race in the future.
There were an olympic and sprint distance races, which doesn’t make it a killer race to come home from.
Everyone knows traveling to a race can be kind of a pain in the butt… especially when it comes to getting your bike there. What I liked most was that the easy logistics of bike transportation that the club provided. Also, having a group to hang with makes everything a lot of fun.
I must really commend Chris and Elizabeth. They did an outstanding job putting in the time and energy to get this together. Elizabeth was there early, stayed late and shouted out encouraging support on the course. What people don’t realize was how much energy she put in and how depleted she was after the race. I hope you’re feeling better. From all of us, THANK YOU both so much.
I casually met up with a few club members in transition race morning. It’s always great to see familiar faces when you have a little pre race anxiety. We took a quick group picture and we were off to the swim start.
The big question was wetsuit or no wetsuit. The few days leading up to the race were unseasonably hot and as a result the official water temperature prior to the race was above 78 degrees. This meant no wetsuit.
There were also strong coastal winds resulting in large swells,… some said 4 feet. While setting up in transition the race directors decided to shorten the swim from 1500M to 900M… and yeah, no wetsuits with these large swells.
This had to be one of the roughest swims I have done. Not really difficult, but I was constantly getting bounced around in the water.
I met someone who did the race last and he mentioned the swim conditions were “pristine,” … what a difference.
Something I didn’t prepare for was the long run into the water from the surf… probably at least 100 meters, flat running in knee deep water which was tiring on my legs. I acutally started to swim and then realized my hands were hitting the bottom sand and had to get up and start running again in the water.
The swim back to shortwas the same. A long run through the water, again with tiring legs.
No complaints with the race directors, … they made the right call.
The bike was fantastic. A flat and fast 25 mile ride.
No pot holes to worry about. The police waved us on with the right of way. There was nothing to slow down for except for turns (which there were quite a few of these).
One of my tires kissed the curb of a turn. After that, I realized I should play it safe on the remaining turns. All I could think about was ‘how stupid of me and how luck I was.’
I came across some of the RTA ladies of the group on the bike course, all smiles. Sometimes I wonder if we should be smiling happy, or suffering… this is a race after all.
There were lots of race officials on the course enforcing no drafting and other rule violations.
As I was running out of T2, other participants were continuing to head out on their bikes. This race didn’t seem to end… so many participants. It seemed like 1,000’s.
The run was flat. There were volunteers with water at every mile along with lots of local homeowners cheering us on. One of the homeowners offered me a beer, but I had to decline.
Gradually the temps increased. The coastal breeze helped, but by mile 4 I was looking forward to the finish line.
Patti Weil ran up and caught me. Sorry I couldn’t keep up, it was getting too hot and anyway this was suppose to be my relaxing destination race. She went on to podium 2nd in her age group. Awesome showing Patti!
Another RTA club great was our one and only Coach Chris Kaplanis. Not only did he podium, but out of thousands of races, he finished 38th OVERALL. WOW! The top 10 finishers get cash awards, so Chris, I consider you a semi-pro, next year maybe some cash?
We all regrouped at the finish line and recovered with some food and fluids. There was a great post race party with a band, tons of food and free beer. This was an enjoyable event. Consider this tri in the future.
If you think you are capable, do it! I must mention there was an 87 year old Catholic nun who completed the event.
So nice to have some Florida weather early in the season. Perhaps we consider getting a block of rooms at a local hotel in the future.
See you all on the roads.