EDITOR'S NOTE: After the article was written, we are saddened to share that Amy Christmas has since passed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.
My fellow teammate has asked me to write a report summarizing my experience at my hometown race, the Sandestin Triathlon.
I am person that sees numbers. My race wave start was 6:46am. A number of great importance to me. I moved to Fort Walton Beach on April 8, 1978 and lived there until July 15, 1985. The formative years of my life from 8 to 15 years of age where my home address was 646 Powell Drive. I started my triathlon career in Fort Walton Beach, receiving my first tri bike on Christmas 1984. My first triathlon followed in 1985. In 1987, at the age of 17, I raced the Elephant Walk Triathlon (i.e. Sandestin Triathlon). Yes, 30 years ago.
Triathletes come and go. Since 1985, I have seen athletes for 2 or 3 years then they would take a break, retire from the sport, or move away. We would hang out together and talk after the races. Over the years the sequence would continue. Of course, there are lifers like Johnny Harrison, Chad Hon, Lance Steed, and myself who have known each other for 20+ years. Currently, I have the honor to be a part of GCTT, something which has allowed me to meet and socialize with even more great athletes and people. We have a bond because of this crazy sport called triathlon. Triathletes are loyal, caring, friendly, hard working, goal oriented individuals with many becoming loyal, lifelong friends.
Sandestin 2017, back to the numbers. After 30 years, the race was moved from August to September. This year, the air temperature was in the low 70’s at the start of the swim, compared to the mid-80’s with the prior August date. The water temperature was 81 instead of somewhere around 85 to 86 as in August.
The swim had a slight chop and current with really no jellyfish.
GCTT swimmers: Evan 14:27.47, David 14:38.14, Robert 14:38.39, Jared 15:03:51, Andrew 15:47:43, Brian 16:47:78, Johnny 17:13:81, Aaron 18:47:74
Transition. To me T1 and T2 represent the 2nd and 4th events of a triathlon - 5 total (swim, T1, bike, T2, run). One can gain or lose significant placement here.
GCTT T1 numbers: David 1:14:05, Robert 1:18:48, Aaron 1:25:47, Jared 1:28:94, Evan 1:31:80, Andrew 1:31:80, Johnny 1:32:92, Brian 2:13:28
GCTT coming out of T1: David 15:52.19, Robert 15:56.95, Evan 15:59.27, Jared 16:32.50, Andrew 17:19.23, Johnny 18:46.73, Brian 19:01.06, Aaron 20:13.21.
Sandestin’s 20 mile bike course is always fast. Before the race a friend said to me, "the wind should be calm for the bike.” WRONG. 4.5 miles east on Highway 98 was fairly calm, 5 miles east along 30A heading to Blue Mountain Beach to the turn at Big Daddy's Bike Shop parking lot featured a decent headwind. Then a tail/crosswind on the way back to Highway 98. Highway 98 west returning to Sandestin was a decent tailwind as I was hitting 28 to 29 mph at times.
GCTT bragging rights as top dog cyclist: Brian 45:30.98, Jared 45:42.19, Johnny 46:39.73, David 47:23.01, Andrew 47:35.57, Aaron 48:49.87, 25. Robert 52:16.59, Evan 53:24.79
Now the ever important T2 (event #4).
GCTT T2 numbers: David 34.76, Aaron 34.80, Jared 39.87, Andrew 37.54, Johnny 41.42, Robert 43.47, Evan 47.08, Brian 53.68
GCTT coming out of T2: Jared 1:03:04.56, David 1:03:49.96, Andrew 1:05:02.34, Brian 1:05:55.72, Johnny 1:06:07.88, Robert 1:08:16.91, Aaron 1:09:07.68, Evan 1:10:11.14
Time to hammer the run.
The run course has pretty much been the same for 31 years, about 15 years ago is when the turnaround at Baytowne Circle loop began. The last few years we have been running on the trail to Baytowne, as opposed to the road. I love the heat but the 2017 run was a little cooler (84, instead of mid-90’s as in August). For me, I am always focusing on leg turnover. This year’s run, the entire time I was thinking about Amy and Scott Christmas. Saying to myself, "It's great to be alive!” - Scott’s famous saying. I repeated that many, many times during the 4 mile run. Our fellow triathlete and friend Scott Christmas has survived 2 plane crashes. Twenty years ago, in 1997, the event recognized Scott with the presentation of an award for surviving his 1996 crash which he was nearly died from. From there The Scott Christmas Award was established. The award is presented to an individual that has overcome an adversity, never gave up, and said “Its great to be alive.” Back to the run. I pushed on the run as always - do not fear the pain. I am alive. It’s great to be alive. I communicated with Scott last night after the event, and received news that Amy is still with us and that we will have the Scott Christmas Award again in 2018. I have known Scott for 20+ years. However, our GCTT mate Dr. Jeffrey Conrad, has been best friends with Scott since grade school. Please pray for Scott and Jeff, I know Jeff is there right now supporting his best friend.
GCTT run numbers: Jared 24:15.97, David 25:20.65, Robert 26:18.66, Johnny 26:27.09, Evan 26:36.23, Aaron 26:53.01, Brian 27:48.03, Andrew 27:49.01
After “five events,” here are the numbers. The bragging rights of a fun and friendly competition: Jared 1:27:20 (1), David 1:29:10 (4), Johnny 1:32:34 (6), Brian 1:33:13 (7), Andrew1:33:21 (8), Robert 1:35:36 (9), Aaron 1:36:30 (12), Evan 1:37:17 (14)
GREAT RESULTS TEAM MATES!!!
With my great interview skills I asked some of the team members for some thoughts on the day. Rob Felty stated, "I may have two new hips by [age] 50." Rob will be a top dog Grand Masters in a few years. Our teammate Dr. Conrad can do the surgery.
Andrew felt that ”It was a fantastic day” and I agree it was beautiful day of weather and friendship.
Evan stated that he has done this race for 9 times since 2007 and enjoyed the 2017 rendition. Evan, the always considerate athlete, said "I remembered when you dedicated your 2009 Overall Sandestin win to your dad who was in the hospital.” Evan, thanks for remembering, it was a special year.
Jared Moore was the team best finisher and Overall Male Champion. Jared is just coming off the 70.3 World Championship on September 10. From my experience after racing an A race 70.3 distance, usually two weeks later you will have your best sprint triathlon. Jared trained only a few hours after 70.3 and was rested and fit to win. Win he did. Great job Jared, we are proud of you but know that we are gunning for you at Santa Rosa Island Triathlon ;) Jared, you will always be a Sandestin Champion, welcome to the club.
This race is dedicated to Scott and Amy Christmas. The men of GCTT are here for you and offer support and love. GCTT FAMILY.
by Spence Cocanour
So when the Team announced that Crawfishman Triathlon (1000m swim, 18 mile bike, and 4 mile run) was going to be on the circuit this year I was excited remembering the race as a lot of fun. My wife and I raced it in 2007 and 2008 when she was stationed in New Orleans . The big thing I remembered was the margaritas post-race (hell, some of the folks I think were drinking them before the race but who knows). Being a Gulf Cost Tri Team race is great because you get to hang out with the Team, the bad news is all your fellow team heavy hitters show up, many of them in my age group. So the Gulf Coast Triathlon Team; Caleb, Brian, Tyson, Allen, Evan, Scott, Matt, Lance, Johnny, Terry and myself descended on the race to fight for the team competition award.
Starting Wednesday before the race we started receiving ominous e-mails to the effect of, “we are in contact with the National Weather Service…..might shorten the race or cancel the swim…..or we may cancel the whole race….”. Not giving a warm feeling the race is going to go off without a hitch. I felt pretty confident that I would be fine if we got hit with a thunderstorm, I’m pretty sure there are a couple people further up on God’s “lipstick list” if he is going to strike someone down. Maybe not as confident if Knerl (a.k.a. public enemy #1) was still on the team, but still.
So race morning arrives and it is actually fairly cool for Louisiana and the roads are mostly dry, morale soars! We arrive at the race site (very cool people host the race on the lake on their private property) and the race announcer says they are shortening the course to a super sprint to fit a window of good weather, morale plummets. The race was shortened to 400m swim, 8 mile bike, and 2 mile run. The race now favored poor swimmers and fast runners but a race is a race and people look at you odd if you start drinking beer at 0900 without doing one so we are committed. Besides, a race this short decreases the odds dramatically of Johnny, starting in a later wave, catching me during the race.
Warming up in the coffee colored water you find yourself thinking this is a perfect alligator environment. Mindi asked, “do you think there are alligators?” to which a group of us replied, “oh yes, and probably snakes too!” I’m here to help set folks’ mind at ease. We are all trying to figure out the best strategy for the race which is really just go as fast as you possibly can. In a lot of ways, a super sprint is actually more painful than a longer race since you have to race anaerobicly the whole way and your ability to recover from a mistake is limited.
The race was fast and furious with a few minor rolling hills on the bike and run. Ominous clouds were building but there was no rain during the actual race. Each Gulf Coast Tri Team member was pushing it hard, chasing or chased it was full on from the sound of cannon. For the team event, the men’s Gulf Coast Tri Team won handedly with plenty of depth after the first five scoring guys. Unfortunately the women’s Gulf Coast Tri Team was a couple ladies short or they would have most likely won as well….next year.
As we all waited for the transition area to open to grab our stuff, the dark clouds started rolling in. We just finished stowing our gear when the skies opened up and it was an absolutely downpour. Luckily it was shorted lived and we were back at the post race party and awards.
Louisiana takes post race parties seriously. The jambalaya, smoked sausage, and vegetables were not to be missed along with a serve yourself beer trailer. While it was disappointing to have a short race, the festivities afterwards kept the disenchantment short lived. Highly recommend making the trip for the race next year.
Complete results link here:
by Evan Malone
Race Date: 9/10/16
A handful of years ago I cancelled (or simply didn’t renew) my [insert multisport name here] Magazine subscription. The idea was to move on from the vague, non-committal articles about lifestyle, nutrition, training, racing, and gear peppered amongst the many, many ads in favor of soaking it in on my own terms. Despite the repeated “you can still renew and get a deep discount, free gift, or extended subscription” offers I was able to resist the urge to re-renew (is that a word?). This ability to avoid the print publications was possible partly due to the ever-expanding knowledge depot contained on the World Wide Interwebs but I contend that it was also a subconscious, personal decision to focus more on the grass-roots, organic, athlete-based information which can be shared and drawn upon for further inspiration, implementation, and improvement in whatever arena is deemed appropriate — training, preparing, budgeting, outfitting, spectating, scheming, traveling, racing, etc…
Along those same lines, this author offers a baker’s dozen of insights and observations from the 2016 version of this annual event. This was my seventh go at this event, including the inaugural running of this event in 2008 (the only year it was based out of the Gulf State Park Beach Pavilion) so perhaps I can vouch that this race is a consistent success and has seen some many improvements in regard to optimizing the athlete experience (safety, success, entertainment, confidence) while also teaching some great, great lessons to thousands of participants along the way…
1 - a clear radar at 4:00am, along the Gulf Coast, in September does not mandate clear skies all day long, or even at 8:30am
2 - plastic bags are a triathlete’s friend - lay an empty grocery bag over running gear once positioned in transition or tuck key fobs and mobile phones inside of a ziplock bag before stowing it in a transition bag
3 - al forno (cooked twice) = first in getting a wetsuit on in 75F air temperature and a second time boiling in the 85F Gulf, no wetsuit today for that reason
4 - the Gulf Coast of the U.S., shuffle your feet while entering the water (spook the stingrays to scurry away) and take it in stride if your triathlon start corral is situated around a Federally-secured sea turtle nest
5 - the toughest part of a two-loop swim is entering and exiting the water TWICE; keeping the cardio engine from red-lining at the halfway point of the swim is key
6 - a challenging swim doesn’t need to include HUGE waves or swarms of sea life; churning current can make for an inefficient stroke rhythm
7 - Driver’s Education applies to cycling in the rain = stopping or changing direction on freshly-laid asphalt with the first spittle of rain takes 25% longer to accomplish
8 - course updates as sent out by the race director are indeed worth the pause to read, digest, and act upon — many times these announcements include minor changes to the parking location(s) or contractual sponsor plugs/ads or last-minute reminders on “I.D. required for packet pickup” but when it comes to race schedule or race course, pay particular attention
9 - avoid riding or running through a puddle, what’s at the bottom is a mystery and might require riding/running something other than a straight line (point A to point B) but it may save a busted wheel or twisted ankle
10 - starting the run of a triathlon with wet shoes is no fun, ever (refer back to #2)
11 - sunglasses can serve as a great windshield when running into a fast-approaching wall of rain
12 - the volunteers working the most remote corners of the bike course or weathering the day (literally weathering the storm) for hours on the run course are the glue which hold it all together and the crew out at this event deserve extra special thanks — rockstars… rockstars who did it with a smile and a word of encouragement for everyone who passed!
13 - talk to your fellow athletes pre-race (calm the nerves, answer questions, exchange well wishes) and post-race (share in the fun of the accomplishment, exchange stories from the race course) — this author found himself sitting at a table of five athletes, none of whom came to the event together, all originally from the state of Ohio, ages spanning five different age-groups, with nearly 75-years of combined triathlon experience… small yet relatively-diverse triathlon world!
In sum, the GCTT members had a fantastic, successful, and rewarding experience at the 2016 Alabama Coastal Triathlon. The directors, staff, volunteers, and fellow athletes made the best out of the conditions of the day. Further, GCTT again thanks the loyal team sponsors who make this all possible!
Next stop, Santa Rosa Island Triathlon (10/01/16) followed by the 2016 cap to the Gulf Coast Tri Initiative (10/02/16) with nearly twenty (20) youth athletes participating in the Sea Turtle Triathlon at Pensacola Beach, FL as part of the Initiative!
by Evan Malone
Race Date: 08/20/2016
The 2016 GCTT event schedule incidentally aligns with one team event per month, April through October. The August event featured a return to the beautiful, Gulf front communities along Santa Rosa Beach (aka SoWal, or Highway 30A, or simply “30A”). The team was looking forward to some favorable race conditions compared to the recent visit to Nashville (scorching sun and heat) and hopefully a reprieve from the purple flag conditions which can be associated with summer month Sea Nettle (jellyfish) invasions along the Gulf coast.
As it would turn out, both the weather and the Gulf sea life would play nice: flat or knee-high surf, absent swarms of sea life, favorable current pushing along the shore, 85F Gulf waters, negligible winds, and peak air temperature near 85F by the end of the event. These near-ideal conditions in concert with the backdrop of the manicured Sandestin Resort would make for a fantastic event — the splits, positive all-around vibe, and finish times on the day reflected just that.
The swim course features a mainly point-to-point, West-to-East segment (0.3 mile) coursing parallel to shore. Combined with the outbound and inbound segments (0.1 mile each) which position the athletes basically directly above the “second sandbar” from shore, it makes for a tidy 0.5 mile course. The walk to the start corral was punctuated by many athletes taking the opportunity to enter the water for a warmup swim, test their goggles, and convince themselves that there wouldn’t be any problem with stings or nettles this year. One aspect of this event which the team (or at least this author) was looking forward to is the “wave start” format which this event utilizes. Basically sending groups of athletes organized by age into the Gulf in four-minute increments (30-34, 29-under, 35-39, 40-44, etc…). As it turns out, the 2016 GCTT race calendar only has two such events, the remainder of the events falling in the “time trial start” format. With the wave start format, the team relished the opportunity for some head-to-head racing. In the end, the swim proved to be an honest challenge given some chop to the surf, which played to the advantage of more experienced open water swimmers.
The T1 run is the typical Gulf front “up the beach, over the dune(s), into the closest parking lot” coursing which GCTT is familiar with in regard to other Gulf swims. Not to belabor the point, but it was understood that nearly all the participants this year took pleasure in declining the “vinegar spray” station which was positioned atop the dune walkover — no jellies! This particular T1 run was peppered with spectators and out-of-town visitors (remember, this is inside of a beautiful resort) cheering everyone along, a nice boost of confidence en route to the bike racks.
The bike course is a fast, mostly-flat (couple of very, very small dips at waterway crossings), and simple out-and-back ten mile stretch. Save for the first and last roughly three miles of the ride, the majority of the course follows along Highway 30A — scenic landscapes and beautiful beachfront communities. The aforementioned miles on Highway 98 include a coned-off lane for athletes with perhaps the only obstacle(s) being on-coming athlete traffic (athletes at mile 2 crossing with athletes at mile 18, for example). So the name of the game while on Highway 98 is “heads up, pass with extreme caution.” The miles along 30A amount to a closed course experience with very few vehicles accessing the road during the event — not much remaining but an orchestra consisting of the whirl of aero wheels, the click-clack of gear shifts, the sounds one might associate with a snot-rocket being loaded and/or discharged, and the rhythmic grunts of “on… your… left…, ON… YOUR… LEFT…”
T2 is a no-brainer. Ample rack space, wide in-out traffic lanes, and a paved lot make for a clean transition from bike to run. As with T1, the crowd support is still there and perhaps has grown through the morning. A few high fives and fist bumps on the way toward Baytowne Wharf!
An informal poll following the event found that the run course is what most athletes enjoyed this year. The four mile course is completely within the confines of the Resort. This translates to a two mile out-and-back layout which utilizes a wide, paved pathway surrounded by primped landscaping and covered with ample shade. Additionally, this 2016 event offered multiple water stops with a total of SEVEN chances for athletes to take advantage of these stations which were staffed by energetic volunteers and race staff. Of note, the full bottles of ice cold Dasani water were SPOT ON!
The Beach House (i.e. Elephant Walk, Finz, or “the restaurant next to the Hilton”) played host to the afterparty and awards. Overall, a unique and fun atmosphere with athletes, friends, and family members gathered in and around the pool which overlooks the beach (and the swim course from earlier that morning). Yet another fun part of this annual event which the team enjoys and looks forward to, with many athletes electing to spend the remainder of the day (or weekend) in the Resort.
Congratulations to all the athletes who participated on Saturday, GCTT hopes each of your race experiences was a positive one. GCTT is thankful for such a supportive multisport community which includes so very many integral players — race director, race staff, volunteers, medical personnel, law enforcement, event sponsors, venue hosts, and families/friends who support our multisport endeavors.
Finally, thanks to the GCTT sponsors which make this team possible! 2016 has been great thus far. Looking forward to the remaining events as well as the Gulf Coast Tri Initiative geared toward increased youth involvement in multisport!
by Jared Moore
Race Date: Sunday July 24, 2016
(Participants: 426 sprint/278 Oly)
Nashville - the birthplace, home and/or final resting place of some of music's most legendary figures; a city instrumental in the launch of many storied, iconic careers; home of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand ol' Opry; a bustling metropolis so melodic it's been dubbed "The Music City". Yet, despite these harmonic, knee-jerk associations, Nashville hosts multiple professional sports teams. It's also the capital city of Tennessee, which everyone knows. And on top of all of that, the Nashville skyline showcases a building shaped like the flippin' Batman's head. In short, they got it all, ya'll - including a triathlon.
In the middle of all of this history, hustle and honky-tonk, Team Magic demonstrate the merits of their name. The way they manage 2 concurrent race-distances in this setting is beyond an illusion and easily justifies the decision to make Music City the choice for the 3rd annual GCTT road-trip.
Transition is staged in one of the parking lots at Nissan Stadium, home-field of the Tennessee Titans. There is plenty of convenient parking and the swim-bike and bike-run flow is well thought out. It is advisable though to plot the most efficient routes through transition as it is possible to cover more distance than necessary due to the overall size of the area.
Every leg of this race is marked by distinctive "ups" and "downs". The Olympic-distance swim sends racers stroking "upstream" for approximately the first 600 yards along the Northeast riverbank. After traversing over to the Southwest shore, swimmers turn "downstream" for a straight shot to the finishing ramp. Buoys were big, bright and easy to spot. There was plenty of assistance at the exit to ensure nothing worse than a stubbed toe (hypothetical) while emerging from the water. No wetsuits permitted on the day so nothing to fidget with - just head down and scurry up the riverbank into transition.
The Olympic-distance course is a two-loop, out-and-back (sprint course is just 1 loop). The "out" is markedly "up" and the "back" is a net "down". In total, there are about 28 miles covered with a little over 1000-feet of elevation gain and not a car on one inch of the entire route. Right in the middle of the 25th largest U.S. city, 700+ cyclists with 100% ownership of the roads wouldn't be more impressive if Team Magic pulled a rabbit out of an aero-helmet or an endless chain of chamois' from someone's tri shorts.
For the run, the Music City transposed into a more sultry, minor key. With the temperatures singing 90-degree falsetto notes and the sun playing a scorching solo, even Team Magic didn't have a trick up their sleeve to keep the ice-packs from melting in the mile-and-a-half stretches between aid-stations. The brief moments of shadowy respite under the Interstate overpass were welcome on both of the 2-lap, out-and-back treks. As the temps went "up", the war of attrition began to keep the pace from falling too far "down".
GCTT represented well with 4 AG titles and unarguably two of the fastest chains on the course (the secret is Mississippi mud). No mechanicals, penalties or flats...excluding the moving karaoke performance that took place much later that night and should be available for purchase soon. Another great weekend of racing in the books.
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
By Logan Roberts
It’s starting to become a tradition that, the first weekend of October on beautiful Pensacola Beach, the wind howls and the temperatures are 15 degrees cooler than the week before. This is a tradition that I personally like!
The 2015 Santa Rosa Island Triathlon was perfect racing conditions. Around 7:00am, racers were lining the shores of the smooth and flat Gulf of Mexico. The gun went off and they took to the water in this wetsuit-legal swim. Along the swim route was plenty of support, if needed. As racers emerged out of the water, they ran through the soft white sand to transition 1.
The bike this year may have intimidated some racers due to the wind, but just remember if it’s hurting you it’s hurting everyone else as well. Brian Fleischmann was the first to return from the out and back course through the beach homes and Gulf Islands National Seashore. The flow of athletes continued into T2 from the fast course.
After a brief transition, we ran along Via de Luna and the homes on the Avenidas. The course was well marked and supported with two water stops on the 5K route. The course was fast but no one was as fast as Eric, who, hands down, clocked the fastest run split on the course. The finish line, I’m sure, was enjoyed by all. It let you catch your breath while standing in line for the great after party, beer, and food!
The team had an excellent showing with 7 finishing in the top ten. I look forward to participating again next year as part of the Gulf Coast Tri Team!
Great racing today at the Sandestin Triathlon! One of the most beautiful race venues in the world. Here are the guys' results:
Allen Stanfield -- 1st OVERALL Male
Eric Larson -- 2nd OVERALL Male
Andrew Rothfeder -- 4th overall, 1st Masters Male
Joey Pocreva -- 5th overall, 1st 15-19M AG
Aaron Runyon -- 6th overall, 1st 35-39M AG
Matt Storr -- 11th overall, 2nd 35-39M AG
Randy Walton -- 13th overall, 1st 50-54M AG
Lance Steed -- 2nd 45-49M AG
Scott Roberts -- 17th AG
Sunfish Triathlon – Meridian, MS – 7/11/15
This weekend the GCTT made its debut at the Sunfish Triathlon in Meridian, MS. This mid-July race typically brings HOT temperatures and this year’s race was no exception. Even the water temperature was a balmy 92 degrees.
This also marked the 29th running of the very popular Sunfish Triathlon, attracting a fast field of participants from all over the Southeast. The race started with a 1/3 mile swim in beautiful Lake Bonita followed by a 17 mile bike through some very deceiving hills. The event finished with a steamy 5k run around the lake.
A great feature of this race was the $100 cash prize awarded for the fastest participant in each of the three disciplines so even before the starting gun went off the competition was heating up. Rob, Allen, and Sam would all be chasing the swim split since Joey would not be competing (according to Joey it was Rob’s for the taking). Matt was planning to crush the field on the bike. In the absence of Eric the run split would also be up for grabs by the runner who could survive the heat with a swift run. When all the dust settled Sam would take home the cash for the fastest swim edging out Rob by only 21 seconds. Matt narrowly missed the top bike split by the tiniest of margins (8 seconds). The run split was taken with a blazing fast time (albeit questionable, story for another time) of 16:44 by an unknown from Louisiana.
Even with a stacked field the team placed 7 members in the top 22, and 4 in the top 11! Allen would yet again cross the finish line first and take the overall win with a smoking fast time of 1:10:52. This race along with Heatwave marked Allen’s second top podium finish of the year. Johnny grabbed the Grand Masters Title to keep his hot streak going. Doug rebounded from his Texas injury by taking home the Senior Masters trophy. Several others also took home hardware.
Full team results are as follows:
1st – Allen Stanfield, Overall Champion
6th – Sam Hudson, 1st AG
8th – Caleb Earhart, 1st AG
11th – Johnny Harrison, Grand Masters
16th – Rob Felty, 1st AG
21st – Matt Storr, 5th AG
22nd – Kevin Self, 5th AG
30th – Doug Jones, Senior Masters
64th – Terry Bailey, 3rd AG
Awesome job of racing in what proved to be a very fast field!!! Complete results along with video of each participant crossing the finish line can be found here.
Post-race activities included frosty beverages and pizza as well as the always “healthy” Popeye’s fried chicken. A good time was had by all! Next team race will be the all popular Sandestin Tri on August 22nd.
Saturday, April 4th, 2015
Red Hills Triathlon, Tallahassee, FL - 7:30 am
The Gulf Coast Tri Team kicked off its third year with an awesome race at the Red Hills Triathlon in Tallahassee on Saturday April 4th. Red Hills always provides a great early season test as it draws top competition from all along the Gulf Coast, Tallahassee and even some racers from the more southern reaches of Florida. This year was no exception but the Team was up to the challenge. Red Hills is one of the more picturesque venues as the swim and run take place within Maclay Gardens State Park while the bike course exits the Park in search of every hill in the vicinity.
Most of the Team arrived early enough Friday to get together for a Team meal and to catch up a bit on what everyone had done during the off season. Looking around the table it was clear that everyone had been training hard through the Winter and looked fit and ready for race season to start.
The weather for this race is always unpredictable....sometimes in the 40s and other times in the 80s. Saturday morning was a bit warm but the overcast skies made it an ideal morning for racing. A quick look around the transition area confirmed that there were a lot of strong competitors and everyone seemed ready to get the day started. After a little more work setting up transition it was time to get a warm up run in and then to head to the Lake. The water in the Lake was low 70s and wetsuit legal. Certainly chilly when you first enter but the chill was quickly forgotten after a short warm up. The horn sounded and the first wave went off at 7:30am. Before long the Lake was full of racers and transition was buzzing with racers heading out onto the bike course.
The bike course is more challenging than what is typically encountered on the Gulf Coast and keeps you working hard for the full 16 miles. While the bike course is a big loop there seem to be far more uphill miles than downhill. Sam Hudson smoked the course with the fastest bike split of the day on his way to winning the Masters division. It is clear that the Team was ready for the course as all 11 members placed within the top 26 bike splits!
The run course has its' own challenges. After heading up a short hill out of transition the course is a series of rolling hills for the first mile before heading into the woods of the Park for about 1.25 miles of some pretty technical trails before returning to the pavement for the stretch to the finish. The trail section always requires runners to slow their pace but Eric Larson navigated it better than anyone else to notch the top run split of the day on the 5K course in 17:15.
Following the race everyone was quick to check the results and it was clear that the Team had represented itself well. GCTT claimed 5 of the overall top 10 finishes and 11 of the top 24! In addition to Sam's win in the Masters division Johnny Harrison claimed Grandmasters. Age Group winners included Allen Stanfield, Eric Larson, Andrew Rothfeder, Randy Walton and Doug Jones. Rob Felty, Chris Knerl and Scott Roberts all claimed podium spots as well. Jared Moore finished 13th overall but just missed the podium in the stacked 30-34 age group.
Everyone seemed pleased with their performance for this stage of the season. No time for rest though as the Team will have a big turnout at the Traditions Triathlon in Biloxi on Saturday April 11th. Always a great event put on by Team sponsor www.runandtri.com Rumor has it that a wager may be brewing between Sam and Allen as Sam, despite his advanced age, was able to resoundingly beat Allen by 1 second at Red Hills. Race fast! Stay safe. See you at Traditions.
Red Hills overall results: http://www.racesmith.com/results/2015results/RedHillsTriathlon040415oa.html
Red Hills age group results: http://www.racesmith.com/results/2015results/RedHillsTriathlon040415ag.html
Checkout the photos on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/GulfCoastTriTeam