Saturday, September 6, 2014
Brett Robinson Alabama Coastal Triathlon - Orange Beach, AL - 7:00AM
The Brett Robinson Alabama Coastal Triathlon is known by local triathletes as the race with some of the prettiest beaches, a great after party, and awesome swag giveaways. However, this triathlon is renowned throughout the gulf coast for its ability make you feel like your body is going to catch on fire during the run on what seems like a never ending road!
On the way to the race this year we were entertained by a lightening storm off the coast. When dawn hit, it was realized it was not going to storm but hold the tradition of keeping the course warm. This race is a time trial start, with the super sprint racers starting first. Our team had one athlete doing the super sprint, but most were doing the Olympic distance race.
The swim is in the Gulf of Mexico and is a two lap swim with a short beach run in between laps. Usually during this race I am worried about jellyfish, but not this year. The water was crystal clear and as calm as a pool. After the swim, it’s a run on the white sand beach up to transition with plenty of spectators cheering you along the way.
The bike course is mostly an out and back along the beach road and a stretch into the state park. Almost the whole bike course has a bike lane, and I felt very safe the whole race. About 9 miles into the bike you go over the only hill on the course which goes over the Alabama point inlet. Being the only hill on the course makes it feel that much worse though, considering the rest of the course is pancake flat. Once over the bridge you turn around under the bridge and go back over, this is nice because it gave me a nice push on the downhill back toward the state park. Once to the state park, you have a short out and back which gives you a chance to see some other riders and see what type of time gaps there are. Out of the park and it’s a short ride back to T2 and onto the infamous run.
The run course is also an out and back. It is very straight and very open. As I started the run I knew that it was going to get hot fast, so I started holding a little back trying to save it till I made it to the turn around. On the way out we had several team members in the front of the race. I flew by Eric Larson on the run course, but he was going the other way already on his way back to the finish leading the race. I also flew by Johnny Harrison but same scenario. Once I made it to the turnaround I was able to see some people still heading out which gave me a little encouragement knowing I was on my way back to the finish line at the Hang Out. There were several aid stations on the run course with fabulous volunteers who were handing out water, Gatorade, and cold rags to try to keep everyone cool. As I was coming up to the finish I was able to have a sprint with Sam and was unable to make my way around at the last minute.
When finished with the race, there was a tent with water misting where athletes were able to cool off and some athletes just went to the gulf to jump in. The awards started shortly afterward and the gulf coast triathlon team was able to take away several age group placings, a masters winner, grand master winner and an overall winner. Our one racer who did the super sprint race was also able to pull off an overall win. This was a very fun race and I look forward to being there with the team again next year!
Till next time racers,