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.
Athlete Race Report - 6th Annual Traditions Triathlon (04/09/2016)
Following a fun, social, low-input road race outing (no bikes, no gear bags, no wetsuits) on 03/19/2016 at the Azalea Trail Run, the team officially kicked off the 2016 triathlon season with its fourth team visit to Biloxi in April. Boston has a marathon, Augusta has a golf tournament, MLB starts its 162-game stretch, and Biloxi has Tradition’s!
The 2016 weather conditions, save for the pre-sunrise ~40F mist, were a welcome improvement on the early-morning deluge of 2015 and the ~30F chill of 2013. The aforementioned mist would burn off soon after the sun rose with the opening of transition at 6:30am. [cuing this author athlete to stuff the gardening gloves back into the car which he dug them out of during the drive from Ocean Springs that morning]
Beyond that, near-ideal weather conditions coupled with the fantastic directorship of Run-N-Tri Company (Lisa McCombs, Dean Morrow, Kevin Goveia, Luke Davidson) came together for a great 6th running of this annual event as reported here…
The swim course features a counter-clockwise, upside-down triangle (scalene, obtuse… high school Geometry, anyone….?) in the 70F flat surf of Lake Traditions. Atop the rumors of indigenous alligators and snakes the added energy of “let’s knock the Winter rust off and start the 2016 season” made it a fun time socializing while sorting out the self-seed time trial start. Being self-seed this permits for a very smooth (and safe) flow of wetsuit-clad athletes through the 600 yard swim. The seeding also allowed the members of GCTT to playfully give one another a bit of jawing in regard to who is sandbagging or not… As it turns out, as far as GCTT was concerned, Chad Hon seeded correctly and blew the entire team away proving that a wetsuit as old as the youngest member on the team still can slip through the water.
T1 includes a transition area flow from the Lake toward and into the “middle” of transition, which means that every athlete eventually covers the same transition distance once T1 and T2 are considered a “total transition.” A level playing field. The next trick is to skillfully maneuver to the mount line and up the small incline (which has nothing on the Grandman monster) en route to Traditions Parkway. Nonetheless, gearing down on the rig while racking your bike at 7:00am is a helpful tip.
The bike course is a fast, efficient 8.5 mile out-and-back track which was blessed with negligible wind this year. Additionally, this is what amounts to a closed bike course — it is no exaggeration to report fewer than ten vehicles spotted on the bike course between 2013 and 2016, and 1-2 of those sightings may perhaps include a Subaru wrapped in Pantone 2925c driven by Joseph Bolton of Pro Cycle & Tri supporting the athletes by performing roadside miracles on otherwise race-ending mechanicals. For the flat-lander GCTT athletes there are a few rollers to keep the legs in check… As evidenced by GCTT athlete Allen Stanfield who claimed the event bike preme on what amounts to his hometown course — he rode like he was on rails, convincing his fellow athletes he could do the same with his eyes closed if need be.
T2 can be tricky. Staying upright is always the goal. Turning and burning while entering Village Avenue West en route to the dismount is a delicate balance which requires a coordinated attack in order to maneuver the off-road run which follow. Looking back at T1 entry, this is when those athletes who have a “shorter” T2 feel the benefit of their longer, damp, bike cleat tap-dance through T1. It all evens out.
The 3.1 mile run is FUN. Yes, F-U-N. With nearly 0.5 miles of “cross country-esque” terrain, an out-and-back segment measuring more than a mile of road (check in on the competition, encourage other athletes), and a finish in the middle of Traditions this course basically has it all. A couple tidbits of advice: watch for the pinecones on the trail at mile 2.5, consider a pre-race recon mission/warmup run along the 0.5 - 1.0 mile segment as this road changes shape every year it seems, the last 0.5 mile shot is basically an false-flat/uphill run so save a match to burn for late in the game. In the end, the GCTT resident track & cross country specialist, Joey Pocreva, would prove his mettle with a team-best run on the day.
The finish and after-party at Traditions is where it is at. Abundant sponsor support and presence, tons of great food/beverages, and an overflow of sportsmanship while cheering in every single finisher — all in the heart of Tradition Village Center, a great place to be on a Saturday in Spring!
In the end, congratulations to all finishers who toed the line on Saturday. The GCTT athletes enjoyed a fulfilling day in part due to all the moving parts involved. Thanks to the many volunteers, dedicated race director(s), loyal event sponsors, and energetic multisport community of the greater-Biloxi area for hosting this event. GCTT (and this author) highly-recommend this annual event, consider adding it to your race calendar for 2017…
Finally, thanks to the GCTT sponsors which make this team possible. Looking forward to a fantastic 2016 season!
*** editorial notes:
- the lake at Traditions may or may not have a name, Lake Traditions?
- the last alligator seen in said marsh was inflatable
- “miracles” as termed may not be referenced for beatification or sainthood
- an already fast bike course would be a veritable drag strip if ever re-paved
- best post-race food & drink around — nom nom
Results link: http://www.splitmastertiming.com/assets/2016/Traditions%20Division%20Final.pdf
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 this past weekend by the GCTT members willing to race in blustery conditions. Here is how they finished up in overall results.
2 - Larson
4 - Moore
5 - Harrison
6 - Runyon
8 - Walton
9 - Earhart
10 - Rothfeder
17 - Malone
18 - S. Roberts
22 - Steed
Complete results can be found here. http://gulfsporttiming.com/results.php?rid=evdDw&race=2015%20Santa%20Rosa%20Island%20Triathlon#/results::14438961768280
Great 2015 season, hope to see you all next year!
Alabama Coastal Triathlon - 09/12/15
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Meteorological Magic & Team Magic
by Jared Moore
What looked sure to be, at best, a soggy morning (or worse, a cancellation) turned out to be the most pleasant of conditions for this race in recent memory. The imminent rain showers that had been hovering over the area for the days leading up to the race literally departed moments before the scheduled start time. LITERALLY MOMENTS! I know a guy who knows a guy who didn't show up race-morning because he was so sure it would be cancelled due to weather.
The time-trial lineup for the Tri-It-On sprint race took formation first for a 400-person train snaking up the beach. The Olympic-distance race of 250 commenced seamlessly after the final sprint-distance racer hit the choppy Gulf waters.
Because this triathlete did not participate in the sprint race in Sandestin three weeks prior, little mention will be given to the random spattering of jellyfish tentacles that ignited face, hands, arms and legs like silly-string of electrical current. No substantive description will be provided on how incredibly soothing that mysterious patch of cold water near the shore felt on welted limbs. No, there will be no recount of a completely made-up estimate of the exact number of racers who hailed a jet ski ride back to shore to make the unjust, throbbing, painful stings stop. Certainly any mention of the 2 or 3 mild jellyfish stings this triathlete received during Alabama Coastal's 1500-meter, 2-lap swim would illicit a choir of protests from survivors of the aquatic invasion at the Battle of Sandestin. I'm not as sensitive as most people so the marine life didn't really bother me. ;)
At the other extreme, the antithesis to these haters of the native, gelatinous sea-invertebrate is Doug Jones. Although the source of the rain showers had evacuated, there was still a fair amount of moisture on the roads. The bike course is designed for fast times consisting almost entirely of straight, open road. Mr. Jones held his open-road watts during one of the two turns on the course and unfortunately lost a great deal of flesh (and rumored bone fracture??). Well wishes for a speedy recovery, Doug! (again?!?!) Aside from Doug's misfortune, I think most everyone enjoyed the mostly great road-quality, flat, fast cycling course. As a testament to the quality of venue, the bike turnaround doubled as the run turnaround for a neighboring 5K event.
The run course for this race is what has seared itself into the minds of many racers and is usually the determining factor for finishing placement. The 3-mile out-and-back on blacktop with the only respite an occasional, fleeting shadow from a passing car has melted many racers to a puddle of humility over the years. I will reluctantly confess that I distinctly remember one year struggling to muster enough willpower NOT to make hateful hand-gestures at the Sun. This year, however, was blithe. The temps capped out around 80-degrees, which allowed for some quicker run splits relative to previous years (overall winner clocked a 34:xx 6-miles).
After the final racer had crossed the finish line, GCTT had claimed 2 of the 3 overall podium slots (head nod, Sam and Allen...and the state of Mississippi) and topped 6 age divisions. It was another great opportunity to enjoy racing along the Gulf Coast.
On another note, GCTT offers sincerest condolences to the family of Tim Jenkins. Although he passed doing something we all love, the sting of death is heavy. May the memory and impact of his life carry on.
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
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon (Chattanooga, TN)
USAT Southeast Region Age-Group Championship
2015 being the third year in existence for the Gulf Coast Triathlon Team (GCTT) and following a great, inaugural team road trip to Central Florida in 2014, GCTT set forth in making plans for crafting such an undertaking into an annual event for the team. The result of sifting through various race databases, exchanging numerous e-mails, and coordinating a listing of seventeen (of the twenty-two) team members and two team sponsors would not disappoint — a fun-filled trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee for Team Magic’s annual Chattanooga Waterfront Intermediate Distance Triathlon!
Per usual, the organization of the Team Magic events is second to none. Packet pickup, transition layout, bus service to the swim start, and athlete village traffic flow are all very easy to navigate thanks to race directorship’s fine attention to detail combined with an energetic volunteer force. These would actually prove to be the simpler aspects of the entire weekend. Seemingly more effort was expended on planning out how to conveniently transport, entertain, and lodge (in no particular order) seventeen bikes, nineteen men residing across the entirety of the Gulf Coast and a complement amount of transition bags and race gear, a portable chiropractic table, a rental U-Haul trailer, and a fifteen-passenger rental van.
So, with an eclectic spread of digital music and a healthy mix of tales to pass the time the team set out for the Scenic City on Saturday for this Sunday event. Beyond the routine of packet pickup Saturday afternoon would include half the team enjoying the city’s bike rental program while the other half scoping out portions of the 10k run course; all followed by a feast at Mellow Mushroom and bookended by some scheming around the local Sunday beverage sales restrictions.
Sunday morning would bring near-perfect racing conditions: a down-current swim in the 80-82F Tennessee River, 65F air temps, negligible wind, clear skies, fantastic road conditions featuring U.S. Highway 27, and a generous amount of shade along the TN Riverwalk run course.
The swim course is a unique point-to-point swim which has somewhat become a hallmark of the Chattanooga events (70.3, Ironman). Athletes were arranged in order of estimated swim time, submitted upon entry to the event. GCTT landed around the same grouping of bib numbers (115 - 150 range) which also made for a familiar set of bikes, gear, and athletes in the same vicinity of transition. As above, the swim was comparatively fast given the down-river direction and a favorable water flow. Athlete traffic in the water was ideal and easy to navigate. Just as soon as the entire team was in the water GCTT athletes were slinging themselves out of the water and up the steps into T1.
The bike course is a challenging ride along Highway 27 as it courses North followed by a quick button-hook turnaround and back Southward toward the city. The back half of this ride made for some fantastic views of the city coupled with some exhilarating speeds (40+ mph) on the bike. A quick exit ramp jaunt and it was screaming into T2 in preparation for the 10k run.
The run course is a deceptive event for this race. Apart from the 10k distance being too long to “fake it and hope to make it” like many sprint events (5k runs), this course features some uphill running during the meat of miles one and five. Beyond that, there is the set of stairs at the 0.5 and 5.5 mile markers. These hills and stairs made for an challenging run, but a run which really is/was fun especially considering the great aide station support (cold towels, water hose showers, supportive volunteers), the abundant amount of shade, the elevated wood plank path through the heavily-wooded areas, and the counterflow athlete traffic which allowed for scoping out competition and cheering other athletes along.
The post-event festivities were great. A well-coordinated results display (paper posting and computer screen scrolling), a great selection of food and drink, and a scenic venue which allowed the entire team to enjoy the beautiful weather.
When the final tallies were in, this event would prove that it deserved to be the Southeast Region Age-Group Championship — this was a competitive field. The GCTT athletes made some proud podium appearances with seven awards for the haul:
Pocreva — 1st AG, Southeast Region AG Champion
Larson — 3rd AG, 10th overall, fastest run of the day
Stanfield — 3rd AG
Hudson — 2nd Masters
Rothfeder — 2nd AG
Walton — 1st AG, Southeast Region AG Champion
Harrison — 1st AG, Southeast Region AG Champion
Full results can be found here: http://www.amatteroftiming.com/images/results/2015/cwt.html
Rounding out a fun weekend trip, GCTT enjoyed the remainder of Sunday: relaxing at the outdoor sundeck of the hotel, checking out the various eateries in downtown Chattanooga, using the 24-hour bike rental passes until the last possible moment, some competitive games of ping-pong at Clyde’s On Main, entertaining sing-alongs of some of GCTT’s favorite songs, helping some young co-eds with the portage of their watercraft to their cars, and much, much more…
Thanks again to the fine team sponsors who make these sort of events possible for GCTT and to the folks at Team Magic for hosting such a fantastic race. Special thanks to Joseph Bolton of Pro Cycle & Tri and Ryan Nobles of Coastal Chiropractic for making the trip with the team, their insight and company made for a great event!
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, October 4, 2014
Santa Rosa Island Triathlon - Pensacola Beach, FL - 7:00 AM
Ruby red cycling shoes and the Wicked Wind of the North
“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”
SRITRI was my very first triathlon back in 2008 so it is always a commemorative event on the calendar – kind of like a multisport birthday but with aero party hats. There is always a great turnout so there are plenty of friends. There is good food waiting with Carrabba’s redolence mingling with the salty beach air. And when Mother Nature cooperates it’s usually a good time of year for Pensacola Beach with Caribbean-clear water and the first signs of reprieve from the usual Gulf Coast heat & humidity. Plus, how many opportunities are there to race with top-tier talent like Brian Fleischmann at home?
One would think after last year’s event being cancelled due to dangerous forecasts, this year would be idyllic conditions. And from the safety of a parked vehicle, that appeared to be true. With clear skies and cozy temps (60’s), the Gulf was pancake flat with winds out of the North. Try to open the car door though and it became immediately evident that this was no gulf breeze. Depending on the direction the car was facing, the door either seemed to weigh 100-lbs or it nearly snapped off its hinges as soon as the handle was pulled. There were several reported sightings of Dorothy and Toto whirling around. I personally think it was just Evan (Malone) though who chose to wear his spectator dress in lieu of racing due to some race on some obscure Hawaiian island the following weekend (seriously though, congrats to Evan on the pinnacle achievement of getting to race in multisport Mecca - Kona). Ironman proximity didn’t stop Chad (Hon) though who was 6-days out from his enviable, 9-something hour IM Chattanooga showing (and he still managed an 8th overall and the AG-win at SRITRI!!). There was also an alleged MC Hammer sighting but that turned out to just be Logan (Roberts) who must have picked-up some of the 1990’s celeb’s iconic flappy britches on EBay for post-race warmth.
From the shore, the Gulf looked like a really big lake – not a wave to be seen. To the first buoy was reminiscent of a snorkeling excursion on the Northern coast of Panama my wife and I once took – calm, clear, cerulean water. First breath after the turn buoy was a surprise gulp of salty water. Second breath was another surprising, slightly-larger gulp of salty water. Third breath was a starting-to-panic, destination-hypoxia, giant gulp of salty water. Being a really quick learner, I decided breathing to the left was preferable than continuing to breath towards shore and drowning. Turns out the North wind that was so amiably flattening the Gulf was like that wispy seraph that emerged from the opened Ark of the Covenant in that scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark – at first, she seemed all beautiful and alluring as she floated around but then she transformed into a skull-faced poltergeist and literally melted that guy’s face off. Indy was smart enough not to look at her from the beginning, but I am no Indiana Jones and she blew a lot of water in my face. And from what I gathered post-race, there were only a handful of racers unaffected by the North wind deception – one with a pro-card and the other a local, 16-year old phenom who’s been bruising local egos since he was 12 (both posted sub-10:00 times for the 600 yard swim and subsequent run up the beach).
Possibly the most astounding detail of the day is that there were no reported major crashes or injuries. After a record number of people had to be pulled from the water due to the blustery winds, it would certainly have been plausible that there would be more than a few unfortunate mishaps. It was definitely squirrely with such strong gusts billowing in from the side (reports were sustained 20+ mph).
After all the sand had settled, Gulf Coast Tri Team had nabbed 7 of the top-10 spots and topped out the Overall, Master’s, Grand Master’s and Senior Grand Master’s divisions in the AG race. The Bonnie & Clyde award went to Johnny and Lisa Harrison, the husband and wife duo that pulled off the heist for his and hers Master’s honors. An anonymous team member who we’ll call Randy Walton narrowly edged out Chuck Babin for most beer tickets collected.
All in all, it was a spectacular Saturday morning. The wind was just an added element of challenge, and, if we’re honest, the challenge is what makes triathlon so appealing to so many people at different places in life - fast and not-so-fast, young and not-so-young, big and little, novice and veteran, able-bodied (whatever that means) and challenged athletes alike. Gratitude is the only appropriate response to the opportunity to participate in such an event in such an incredible setting.
The Gulf Coast Tri Team raced in their final team triathlon of the season this weekend at the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon. This is the largest local race the team schedules each year and competition is tough! Ending the season with a strong showing was the teams goal and the guys definitely pulled it off.
Eric Larson -- 4th Elite Division (5th overall)
Jared Moore -- 1st AG division (4th overall)
Johnny Harrison -- 1st Male Masters
Randy Walton -- 1st Male Grandmasters
Doug Jones -- 1st Male Senior Grand Masters
Caleb Earhart -- 1st 20-24M AG
Logan Roberts -- 3rd 25-29M AG
Scott Roberts -- 2nd 35-39M AG
Sam Hudson -- 2nd 40-44M AG
Chad Hon -- 1st 45-49M AG
Andrew Rothfeder -- 3rd 45-49M AG
Chuck Babin -- 2nd 55-59M AG
Terry Bailey -- 1st 60-64M AG
Rob Felty -- 5th 25-29M AG
Jeff Conrad -- 4th 40-44M AG
Look for next year's schedule and team roster to be published sometime around January 2015.