"Dion showed around his property and barn. We talked about family and common friends. This is what triathlon has been for me - meeting people."
"I wore my 1987 t-shirt or maybe it was 1989. Nevertheless, the inventor and first race director Mark Selvetti of Crawfishman Triathlon was there on raceday. Mark loved the shirt. It just brought back great memories for him."
"Hey lets do a triathlon in my back yard."
"Is it going to be a race or practice?"
"I am here to win the backyard tri."
Wayne and Sean McSheehy inspired me to participate in triathlon in 1983. Wayne lived in a deep bayou lot in Fort Walton Beach, FL. We had hundreds of Backyard Tri events over the years. Crawfishman 2018 reminded me of our Saturday morning races.
On the Friday prior to the event I met Dion McKinley the host of the new "Louisiana Backyard Triathlon" called Crawfishman Triathlon. Dion showed around his property and barn. We talked about family and common friends. This is what triathlon has been for me - meeting people. My first Crawfishman Triathlon was in 1987 and was held at the lakeshore in Mandeville. I was 17 years young and a driven triathlete when I came in 7th Overall. To this day I still have the results, award, and t-shirt. In 1987, the top 10 Overall earned entry into the USAT National Championship in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Only a few races in the South were qualifiers so this was a big deal.
Now lets move on to 2018...
Perfect conditions with sun, more sun, and just a little heat and I am not talking about the GUMBO. A stark contrast to the 2017 event where it rained and rained some more. Talk to me nd you will notice that I dream about the past and enjoy the present. I also love math and numbers. For this event, when I received my bid number 3 I thought this was a sign. My childhood baseball hero was Dale Murphy and his uniform number was number 3. All through baseball, soccer, and basketball I had the uniform number 3. The last time I did this race was in 1989 and I came in 2nd Overall. Could I place even better in this race with my lucky number 3 on my arm? I did not get the number 1 placement, nevertheless I had a good race and so did all of my Chain Tri Team mates.
Allen Stanfield 2nd Overall with a time of 1:23:59. Allen was the only person close to the leader. By the way, overall winner time was 1:23:31. Great race Allen!!!!!!!!! The rest of the team included: 5th overall David Shearon 1:31:04, 10th overall Evan Malone 1:34:32, 12th overall Caleb Earhart 1:35:06, 17th overall Andrew Rothfeder 1:37:44, 25th overall Scott Robers 1:40:54, 48th overall Terry Bailey 1:48:16.
As I enjoy memories this had a cross country event feel. I started cross country in 1982, only a few times even coming in the top 10 and at times I was the 5th guy for our team to help out for the team total. Chain Tri Team took top honors in winning team award. Thanks for the cross country memories.
As I enjoy analyzing numbers. Only one number stood out for me. My T1 time: 35 seconds. It made the difference in the final standings among the top 5 overall. That difference allowed me to be Overall Masters!
Chain Tri Team had one top dog to win his age group Terry Baily in the 65 - 69 age group. Great Job Terry!
Here's to the new friends I met. As I mentioned before, I wore my 1987 t-shirt or maybe it was 1989. Nevertheless, the inventor and first race director Mark Selvetti of Crawfishman Triathlon was there on raceday. Mark loved the shirt. It just brought back great memories for him. We talked and became friends. Other friends were there Gabrial Chamblin who is 61 now. I met when he was 34 years old and his parents were there watching him race. Thanks to my team mates. I enjoy racing with you, talking with you, making memories with you. Here is to the future and lets make more memories. See you in Fairhope at Grandman Triathlon!
Take care and I will see you at the races,
David Robert Shearon
Let me start by saying I LOVE the idea of a downtown triathlon in Pensacola. One of my favorite races is the Chattanooga Waterfront Tri (also a downtown intermediate distance) and man would it be amazing to have something similar here in our very own backyard.
This race is only in it’s second year, so needless to say it has some areas of potential improvement. As one of it’s race directors stated, there were a few hiccups along the way. But hey, that is part of what racing is all about. Take what you are given on that day, at that time, and do the best you can. Overcome whatever the challenges are. After having it rain at my last four races I am starting to come to terms with this. There will always be something. If you want a perfect race it rarely, if ever, is going to happen
Now, coincidentally, race day dawned to what could be described as the perfect weather (unlike my last four). It exemplified the reason we live and race in Florida. Sunny skies, 60 degrees, and low wind made for ideal racing conditions. It was just chilly enough to need an extra layer while checking into transition and finding your assigned spot, but was perfect once you put on a wetsuit to line up for the swim.
After brief (yet somewhat complicated) swim instructions the self seeded, time trial, swim started. Athletes chug into the water behind Nick’s Boathouse and hug the sea wall of the Maritime Park making this one of the only spectator friendly swims I know of. You could literally walk the length of the out and back swim and watch your athlete as a spectator. As an athlete, it was surprisingly nice to swim in Pensacola’s underused (for racing) and calm bay.
A quick run along the sea wall to T1 gave you time to strip most of your wetsuit before heading out on the bike.
The bike, like the swim, is unique in that it is the only race to use Scenic Highway. The rolling hills and fast descents (or slow ascents...glass half full/empty) were a welcome change to the normal flat beach roads many races use. The course has a bit of everything. Sweeping curves, punchy hills, and flat, fast sections. From what I attribute to the variety of the course the bike flew by. I was coming back down Cervantes towards the stadium before it seemed I should!
Finally, time for the run. I won't say this is my favorite part, but I am always glad to be off the bike and almost done. The run is a fantastic, spectator friendly, course through the heart of downtown. I was able to pass my wife and son cheering me on six times while they stood and one corner spectating.
In the end, it was a beautiful day outside racing, laughing, and hanging out with friends. This race has the potential to be a “Chattanooga Waterfront” type race. A unique swim and bike followed by an amazingly spectator friendly run give it the ingredients to be a must do event. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to wake up and race in my hometown, and look forward to next year!
See you at the races.