by Stephen Fortner
As the 13th annual Grandman triathlon approached, I grew excited for the local race in Fairhope, Alabama. Despite the weather forecast not looking too favorable, the race conditions could not have been better on the morning of the race.
As I walked down the long hill towards transition, I thought about the pain I would feel when in a few short hours I would be going in the opposite direction starting the bike and run legs of the triathlon. Upon reaching transition, daylight revealed a heavily overcast morning sky and a calm swim course, opposite of what was advertised on the news just days before. In the packed transition area, everybody performed their own pre-race ritual, some rituals for good race weather and others for good race performances. In years past, the race has started with everyone in an extremely long line allowing people to start one after another, but this year starting procedures changed to utilize two lines to start people cutting the time it takes for everyone to get in the water by half. The calm water created a swim course that was both fast and safe for all racers. After completion of the swim and a short run to transition, I put on my helmet, mounted my bike, and headed up the notorious first hill. After killing my legs going up the evil hill, there was a wonderful 17 mile bike course filled with rolling hills. The bike course this year had no wind, and with the freshly paved scenic 98 it was as if you were riding on a cloud. After finishing the bike and beginning the run, I immediately realized the pain I was in as I ran up the abusive hill. With the first mile being mostly uphill, I was rewarded with being able to turn around to run the second mile downhill. As I approached the finishing shoot after the flat third mile, the music and cheer of spectators grew louder with every stride I took for the final sprint to the finish line.
Great race. Great venue. Great sponsors. Great weather. Great spectators. Great time.
Complete results link.
The Gulf Coast Tri Team had another strong race this year at Grandman. 4 in the top 10 and 8 in the top 20. Here is where the each of the 18 team members finished with the top 8 highlighted in the image below:
25 L. Roberts
43 S. Roberts
Complete results from this year and years past can be found here: http://www.thegrandman.com/results
The team had their strongest performance of the year yesterday at the 2015 Grandman Triathlon in beautiful Fairhope, AL. The weather was perfect making for a great day to race. Sam Hudson had the fastest overall swim and bike split on the day leaving the field in the dust he secured his 1st place overall finish. Great job Sam! Allen Stanfield had a great and finished 2nd overall. Eric Larson had the fastest overall run split on the day which helped place him 3rd overall on the day. The team placed 9 in the top 10 and 14 in the top 20 spots.
Here is a link to the complete results and below in the gallery is a summarized team result.
Looking forward to our next team race - The Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon on June 28!
Saturday, May 30, 2015 - Grandman Triathlon
Fairhope, Alabama - 7am race start
By Lance Steed
Let’s go back a ways to see just how far the Grandman Triathlon has come. The Grandman Triathlon started out as the Pelican Point Triathlon back on June 1, 2001. There were around 200 participants. The race was the brainchild of Jeff Pollock, an M.D. who had recently graduated from University of South Alabama and was doing his internship in Radiology. His wife, Erika Pollock, was an outstanding female triathlete who was winning every race in sight - not just by a little but in a lot of cases finishing in the top 5 overall. She had me frequently looking over my shoulder.
Together, Jeff and Erika tirelessly labored to organize and promote the Pelican Point race. I remember seeing Jeff after the inaugural race, bullhorn in hand with a large straw hat, and he told me he was utterly exhausted from the effort. He hadn’t slept a wink the night before. They did not have all the resources and the large volunteer staff that the Grandman has today. They largely pulled this off themselves.
The Pelican Point location was a nice venue but it also served as a popular local boat launch. After a few years and many complaints from local fisherman (and others) – failure to launch. Jeff managed to change the race site to the Fairhope Pier and the name to The Grandman Triathlon.
Jeff and Erika moved away around 2006 and turned over the management of the event to Mobile Bay Keepers/Bay Watch and Casi Calloway. The race has steadily grown over the years and now is much more than just a good local race – it’s a regional event and this year had over 700 participants. Wow!
I am not sure if Jeff and Erika had envisioned their race becoming the event it is today. And of course, Casi Calloway has taken what Jeff and Erika started and truly made it a signature event for our area. Kudos to Jeff, Erika, Casi and the countless volunteers (like the Hartley’s) who have made this event what it is today.
Now about this 2015 race… Perfect conditions. Mild temps (warm but not hot), light winds, calm water, and just a healthy touch of humidity yielded fast times for many.
GCTT dominated in almost every Age Category. We have a fast team indeed:
Sam Hudson: 1:11:19 Overall Winner
Smoked swim and blistered bike (41:07)
Allen Stanfield:1:11:42 2nd Overall
Balanced splits with impressive run
Eric Larson:1:13:06 3rd Overall
Fastest run split of the day 17:37 on a long 5k course (it’s like 3.25 miles)
Chad Hon:Male Master win
Solid time of 1:15:39
Johnny Harrison:Male Grandmasters Winner
Incredible 1:15:00 time. AARP cardholders can’t go this fast – except for Johnny.
Male Age Group 1-19:
Joey Pocreva:2nd in Male 1-19 with a great time of 1:16:26. Joey’s run has really come around.
Male Age Group 20-24:
Caleb Earhart:1st Male 20-24. His time of 1:16:39 is impressive and no one was close.
Male Age Group 25-29:
Logan Roberts:1st Male 25-29. 1:14:16 with a bike time of near 42:00 flat. He may make a run for being the team’s strongest cyclist in years to come.
Male Age Group 30-34:
Rob Felty:1st Male 30-34. 1:14:09.
Strong swim and run for Rob.
Chris Knerl:2nd Male 30-34. 1:14:49
Nice race by Chris. Strong bike.
Male Age Group 35-39:
Aaron Runyon:1st Male 35-39
Solid time of 1:17:15
Male Age Group 40-44: Since Sam was OA, we had no one claim a spot for this category. We need a little more depth here.
Male Age Group 45-49:
Jeff Conrad:1st Male 45-49
Lance Steed - 2nd Male 45-49
Male Age Group 50-54:
Randy Walton:2nd Male 50-54
Balanced Race – 1:17:55
Male Age Group 55-59:Since Johnny won Grandmaster, we had no one claim a spot here. Depth is needed in this age group. Randy will be there before long to help out!
Male Age Group 60-64:
Terry Bailey:2nd Male 60-64
1:26:21 Nice job.
*Doug Jones DNS race to a recent collarbone/cycling injury. This occurred at IM Texas several weeks ago. Doug would have assuredly been on the podium in the 60-64 Age Category. We wish Doug a speedy recovery and appreciate him coming out to support the team even though he could only cheer us on with one arm.
*Another sure-fire podium bet in the 45-49 was Andrew Rothfeder. Andrew went down hard on the Bike, losing 30% of his epidermis on the course but still managed to complete the race. Way to tough it out Andrew!
Post race activities at The Grandman were exceptional. The shaded area near the finish line offers comfort as well as a beautiful vantage point looking out over Mobile Bay. GCTT teammates and friends were able to rehydrate, relax and rehash the day’s events. Food, music, massage tables and cold beer – it was indeed a Good Day! GCTT looks forward to Grandman2016!
Grandman Triathlon - Fairhope, AL - 5/31/2014 7:00 AM
The 5th weekend in May is always one of my favorites; this year was no exception. So far I haven’t had good showings in our first two team races, so today I needed to play makeup.
This year I was early to the transition and was still beat by half the team to the race site. Had a nice leisurely time in transition, went for short run with a team member and it was time to head off to the pier.
The swim starts from jumping off the Fairhope Municipal Pier. This makes the swim portion for me and probably for most others a lot more fun. The first few people who jumped performed some acrobatic maneuvers, leave it to the first few being Gulf Coast Tri Team members. The swim was an easy to follow course with only one left hand turn, then head straight to the beach. My swim was steady and uninterrupted due to the time trial start. Then, out of the water and up the stairs to T-1.
The short run to transition is completely filled with spectators which provided plenty of encouragement. Coming into transition, I realized I had made it in while some of the faster guys were leaving, so I made my transition as fast as possible to try to catch them. So, at least my transition time was tied with Eric Larson for the fastest T-1 time.
Starting off on the bike there is a nice little hill as soon as you clip in. Starting on this hill, you need to make sure of two things: first is to make sure you’re in the small chain ring; second make sure your bike is shifting correctly. Here is a short clip of the hill out of T-1 and a good team member who was unfortunately unable to attend this year. After the hill leaving the pier the first half of the ride is through beautiful downtown Fairhope with rolling hills. The second half is flat and comes back into town along the water and Magnolia Beach Park. I was able to ride with the eventual race winner for the second half of the course.
Coming back into the second transition you get to go down the hill and dismount right at the bottom. Coming off the bike, I think will be the closest to feeling like I was in an ITU race. I dismounted my bike with the fastest runner in the race right behind me. Sprinting through transition, I rack the bike and put my shoes on and run out with the fastest runner still right next to me.
Then, back up the hill for the start of the run. Trying to stay with someone faster than you is not the best way to run your best race, but it is the only way to win. When we made it to the top of the hill I realized I was spent and Eric was just warming up. After the top of the hill, you run through gorgeous neighborhoods to the turnaround at one mile then back down the hill. This segment was just spent recovering for me. Down the hill and through the duck ponds I was able to catch a local, Johnny Harrison, and he lead the way separating the geese and making a nice path for me to follow to the finish.
After the race, we were treated to plenty of pizza, pastries, and beer. The team did very well at this race with 9 members in the top 15 overall. We had an OVERALL victory (Eric Larson), third overall (Allen Stanfield). For age groups the team had 6 first place finishes, 4 second place finishes, and 4 third place finishes.
Another awesome race in the books for the Gulf Coast Tri Team and another 1st place overall for Eric! The team had 9 of the top 15 spots in a really competitive race this year. Great job to everyone!
Complete results can be found here:
Our next scheduled team race will be the St. Petersburg, Florida Top Gun Triathlon. Later that same day the team will race in the Twilight Triathlon in Crystal River, FL.
We are very excited to welcome Caleb Earhart as a member of the Gulf Coast Tri Team! Caleb will represent us in the 20-24 AG and has recently won his AG at the New Orleans 5150 and Tradition's Triathlon. His first race as part of the team will be Grandman Triathlon Fairhope, AL. Welcome, Caleb!
Gulf Coast Tri Team is pleased to announce our newest team member - Joey Pocreva. Joey is 16 and races in the 15 -19 Age Group. He won his age group at Grandman and was second in his age group to Sam at MulletMan. Joey is a rising star and is coached by MPI. Again, welcome to the team, Joey!
The Gulf Coast Tri Team competed this weekend in Fairhope's annual Grandman Triathlon. Of our team races, this was the first warm one of the year. The heat and humidity were worst during the run but the team pushed through it and placed 5 out of the top 10 overall racers.
Congrats to our fastest finishers Allen Stanfield, and Logan Roberts who were able to reach the podium placing 2nd and 3rd (respectively) overall. The guys even got some press on AL.com you can see the article by clicking here. Team results:
2 Allen Stanfield - 2nd OA
3 Logan Roberts - 3rd OA
5 Chad Hon - 1st AG
7 Rob Felty - 1st AG
10 Johnny Harrison - 1st AG
11 Eric Larson - 2nd AG
14 Jared Moore - 1st AG
16 Andrew Rothfeder - 2nd AG
18 Lance Steed - 3rd AG
20 Randy Walton - 2nd AG
22 Doug Jones - 1st AG
25 Evan Malone - 2nd AG
56 Chuck Babin - 2nd AG
Results to the 2013 Grandman are currently found here:
The team's next race is August 24th - the Sandestin Triathlon in Destin, FL. Train hard this summer and look for us at Sandestin!