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.