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2013 Potcakeman Triathlon

The 2013 Potcakeman Triathlon timing was sponsored by Purina pet foods, produced by BAARK!,  a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a better life for dogs (and cats) throughout the Bahamas.


We provided the RFID timing services for around 200 athletes in the Triathlons – ranging from kids to adults.  The 750m swim, 21km bike, and 5km run was challenging enough – but mother nature threw a curve ball in with some wet weather, and choppy seas.  A couple of athletes withdrew from the swim, but the majority managed to finish the swim and the course despite the weather.

We used the Chronotrack RFID tri-tag, coupled with the Chronotrack disposable tri-strap.  The relays utilised an exchangeable neoprene strap, allowing them to pass off and reattach the tri tag to each member of the relay.  We had

We had over a 96% read rate, the majority of misses were at the swim exit, where the entrance to the transition area was a bit wider and didn’t force athletes over our line.  This is where the most misses occur in triathlons – we have new side-mounted readers, Chronotrack Flashpoints, coming in which will virtually eliminate these missed reads.

Using the rest of the data collected, we were able to estimate the few missed times for the swim and ended up with a 99.5% read-rate.  The 4 missed times left were due to a relay team not reading at the swim exit – and then the cyclist holding the chip in his hand vs attaching to his ankle.  We were unable to recover any of their splits – once the run was started and the tag properly fixed, we were able to read their run and overall time.

Please contact us if you would like to use our race services at your event!  [email protected]

The 2013 Great Abaco Family Fitness Weekend turned out even greater than I could have imagined!

About a week before the event I started getting nervous, as many participants were signing up at the last minute and three days before the event there was a surge of registrations.  We had enough spots for 200 persons, however the triathlon turned out to be insanely popular!  We ended up having to Fedex (from Hawaii) additional triathlon straps for the Chronotrack Tri Tags, but we managed to accommodate everyone!

DSCN1987For the 1-mile Open Water Swim, along the innately beautiful Treasure Cay beach, we grew from 5 participants to 30!  That’s a 6-fold increase!  The winner from 2012 was present to reclaim his title in 2013, and we hope to see Peta in 2014 again!

The next day we had the Sprint & Olympic triathlons – which grew from a combined total of 18 entrants (including 3 per relay) to 60 participants!  That’s a 333% increase!  We had to setup extra bike racks and manage transition a bit differently, but we now know how to handle the larger crowd at the Coco Beach Bar parking lot, and look forward to hosting an even bigger and more exciting 2014 triathlon event!  We even had a 10-year old girl complete the Sprint triathlon, finishing at the same time as our Olympic champion, Simon Lowe!DSC_0202

The kids’ race was AWESOME!  Toni managed to get the kids fired up with an impromptu dance/stretch/spaz session and we had 30 kids run a mile!  Some took it seriously while others had a ball and ran every which way, they all had fun!

The 5k/10k was the one that worried me the most in terms of the registrations – especially the late registrations on the morning of the race.  While we did have a few, we weren’t inundated and managed to have a respectable 70 persons enter the combined events.   We did not time the walkers last year, but in terms of runners we had 24, I’d say we doubled that.

Overall I was very pleased with the event – a bit more preparation in terms of speeches, courses, and volunteers and I think we will be a strong event.  Treasure Cay was SOLD OUT of rooms, and they have already booked us out 50 rooms for next year, as 45 were directly attributed to our event.  If you’re planning on visiting on March 21-23rd, 2014 – I’d recommend you book your room soon!

Thanks to everyone that came out and supported – volunteers, sponsors, spectators, staff, and of course participants!  A special thank you to Sabine, Ray, Avis, and the rest of the Treasure Cay Staff, as well as the TC Fire Department and the RBPF.   Thanks to Jason, Toni, and Jen for dealing with me and getting me through the event – I’m sure by the end of the event I had run my own marathon!




The 2013 Great Abaco Family Fitness Weekend is now open for registration. Registration details are available at the event website or by contacting the Ministry of Tourism in Marsh Harbour.

 The weekend-long event will be held from March 22-24th at the Treasure Cay Beach, Marina, & Golf Resort. The weekend starts off with a 1-mile open water swim on Friday, a Sprint & Olympic triathlon on Saturday followed by a kids’ 1-mile run, and a 5k/10k fun run/walk on Sunday.

 Planning for the second instance of the event has been taking place over the past year and the organizers look forward to having a larger, fun-filled, family oriented event.

 Last years event brought around 75 participants and dozens more volunteers and spectators. This year there has been keen interest both locally and abroad, with a large group from Freeport planning to compete as well as a good base of athletes out of Nassau. Abaconians are expected to provide strong competition yet again, as the inaugural event was successful and well-received throughout the archipelago.

 Last year local triathletes Simon Lowe and his father Greg Lowe were slated to compete head-to-head in the Olympic triathlon, but due to an injury Simon had to watch from the sidelines. This year they both plan on returning and Greg will defend his title against his son and the other competitors.

 The first two online registrations were both women, one from Freeport and the other from South Carolina. The event is geared towards both locals and visitors alike. Treasure Cay has one of the most scenic ocean swims available and it was ranked one of the top ten beaches in the world by Caribbean Travel & Life.

 The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Treasure Cay Resort & Marina, and Damianos/Sotheby’s International Realty have again joined as the main sponsors. All of the sponsors’ support of the event is immensely appreciated, along with all the hard work and support of the volunteers, friends and family.

 This year Bahamas Ferries has a trip running from Nassau to Abaco for the event, leaving Friday morning and returning Sunday afternoon. Those interested are asked to contact Bahamas Ferries directly to book their transportation.

carlo milano tri updated

Chattanooga being my high school alma mater (Baylor 1999) makes a great excuse to go visit “old friends” and get a race in at the same time. Unfortunately, this race coincides with Regatta Time in Abaco (RTIA).  I decided that since I’ve done RTIA several (7?) years in a row I would skip this year all together (dehydration due in part to boozing after a partial regatta last year was the main reason for a total miss – see last years race report).  I flew into TN on the Tuesday before the race to get acclimatized to the extreme altitude and heat.  Ok it’s only 680 ft ASL but that’s still about 3 times higher than our largest hill in Cat Island.  The heat however was a factor, with record high temperatures being recorded the weeks before, with heat indexes in the 110’s.  Walking outdoors was like walking into a furnace – a blast of heat, albeit a bit dryer than our heat.  Still not fun – a warmup run, bike, and swim in the week before the event would prove how difficult it could get.

After seeing me and everyone else suffer last year, Kevin also decided to sign-up for this years event.  Seems logical!  It was great to have someone else in the race and I also stayed with him and Katie for the week I was there (many thanks!).

Traveling with a bike is not easy but it’s also not difficult. I had checked my bike through on AirTran – they were the same price as Delta to Atlanta but wanted $50 each way for the bike vs $150 each way on Delta! Proper packing of the bike is crucial, and one can even get things like shoes and a helmet in there to save on checked or carry-on luggage.  Upon checking into AirTran I had to explain to a few people what the case was and what I wanted to do with it.  They tried to stick me with the additional bag fee, the overweight fee, and the bicycle transportation fee but I was able to convince them it was a flat fee of $50 – so I purchased it round trip to prevent any further hassle upon return.  It then has to go down to oversize baggage, where the guy thought it had to be a unicycle because there was no way a bike could fit into the box.  After he scanned it he must have realized his error, because it showed up on the other end, hand delivered because it couldn’t fit on the baggage carousel.  Along the way several people asked me what was in the box – but surprisingly customs did not even open the box on my return, although I did have it pre-authorized to leave and return.  All in all not a bad experience and for $100 vs $50-100 for a rental, plus it was good to have my own bike there.  I also had it tuned and a basic fitting from HUB Endurance, a local bike tri-shop in North Chattanooga, while I was there.

Our pre-race week consisted of a 3 mile or so run, a 10 mile bike ride after the bikes were tuned, and a 20 minute or so swim in the very warm (and cooler in patches) lake water by the Chickamauga Dam.  The weather was a constant factor – the week of was hot, but the Sunday was showing slightly cooler temperatures starting out in the high 70’s in the morning gaining to the mid 80’s by noon.  Eating healthy was an after-thought as the restaurants in Chattanooga are very good, especially the newer “trendier” ones.  Lupis, Crust, Urban Stack, Taco Mamacitas, Terminal Brewhouse, Bluewater Grille, The Blue Plate & of course Waffle House are just a few that come to mind.  If you want to hear more about the local restaurants, I recommend taking the Chattanooga Ducks tour as the guide knows just about every restaurant in the downtown area!  You should take it anyways because it was fun and informative, the kids (young and old) loved it, and Brecken and I got to drive a dukw!

After the tour we headed down to the expo to pickup our race numbers and check in etc.  There was a shirt and water bottle in the bag but not much else save for advertisements.  For the entry fee I was a little disappointed.  We walked around the expo for a bit and I purchased a $24 running hat (ouch), which would become priceless after Katie and I were done with it!  If you notice in the run I am sporting a Bahamian flag – this was my craft project for the night.  Katie also managed to sew up an awesome Bahamian flag!  Such great support this race has!

OK fast forward to race morning – Kevin and I woke up around 5:30 for our coffee and breakfast, mine consisting of a peanut butter, banana, and honey on an everything bagel.  We had prepared everything the night before and we biked the 2 miles or so, mainly downhill, across the bridge to the waterfront.  We had a great location for transition – due to an error on people’s time trial swim entries we were ranked 43 (Kevin) and 54th out of about 1100 people for the swim start!  We were in the first row after the swim which made our racks easy to locate.  We walked up to the start around 7am, where we met Hamish just out and about on a 6 mile run (he was not participating in the tri). I mosied over to the portapotties and waited in line there for a good while, even considering the number of them they had.

The swim start was delayed until around 7:45 and then was a bit confusing because people who had erroneously entered their swim times wanted to be boosted up, so they had combined them under certain numbers and given them pink swim caps or something, but I think I started in the right time slot!  Upon walking down the plank to the dock we ran into Zach of Fast Break Athletics, a fellow class of ’99 that was volunteering.  The actual in-water swim start was a difficult concept for some, as the people in front of me didn’t go so I just started around them.  The swim down river was pleasant – I made sure to take my time, breathe regularly and bilaterally, and to extend my stroke out as long as possible.  I knew I could go faster here, but I opted for comfort, long strokes, and decent speed in order to save my energy for the rest of the race.  Kevin admitted to going out a bit fast here and had a great swim but it hurt him on the rest of the race.  I ended up completing the 1500m swim with a time of 22:42 which beat my time from last year, not bad considering the lack of swim training recently!

The transition from the swim takes you out of the water and up some stairs to the park.  I heard the crowd yelling and recognized a few voices and saw a few people I knew, and heard someone calling my name that I didn’t know!  I think it was one of the parental units on Kevin’s side.  As I was running into my aisle for transition I saw Kevin headed out, and then back in again, much to the race officials dismay, but he had forgot his gu and headed back out.  I had a decent T1 time of 2:58 – while I think I could be faster, I tend to take my time and put on socks, and make sure I have everything to start out the bike leg.

The 26.1 mile bike leg started out well – always nice when a $5000+ bike is right in front of you and can’t perform a running mount.  Not to say mine was pretty – but I was off and clipped in long before him.  Of course he passed me – along with just about everyone else.  Having a strong swim and a good start time is great, but demotivating on the bike portion – a common occurrence.  The bike leg seemed to go by faster than last year, probably because I knew the course and what to expect.  There are about 6 or 7 long uphills with long downhills.  I tried to hold aero and remain in my seat as much as possible, utilizing the gearing to keep me in the 70-90 cadence range.  Depending on the inclination, I would be from 7-12 mph on the uphill, and from 28-38 on the downhills.  As I got more comfortable with the downhills I started pedaling hard down and passing people, again only to get passed on the uphill!  I managed to successfully use my new tri-bar mounted water bottle as well as to refill it from my secondary bottle.  This year I managed to get a gu down and both bottles, this helped out on my run.

I had no mishaps until the very end, when on the last hill in the city I dropped the chain on the way down.  I fixed it, and went off again, only to drop it on the final gentle downhill into the finish – I decided to ride it out and coast to the finish.  I think I neither gained nor lost time with that decision.  I did confuse Katie quite a bit as she was waiting with the camera, but I was so slow at that point I had time to explain it!  I dismounted at the line and ran the bike in.  My bike time was 1:34:12, about a minute faster than the previous year – but I felt much better coming off the bike and into transition.

T2 was 1:22, a fairly fast transition time especially for me!  Coming out of transition I heard the crowd roar – about 15 people had gathered to cheer on Kevin and I (who had passed through about 10 minutes before me).  While extremely motivating and an awesome sight, it pumped me up so much that I took off too fast.  I felt the Achilles tendon in my left leg tighten and then shoot pain all around the area, and realized it was going to be one of two things: run it out or fall over trying.

Luckily it only took about 4 miles to ignore the pain!  I wanted to hold 9 minute miles and to walk through the water stops.  The aching Achilles was not having the 9 minute mile pace and I dropped to about 10 minute miles to accommodate it, being careful not to put too much strain on my good right tendon.  By this time the run was HOT. It must have been in the mid 90’s.  I was drenched with sweat before I started drenching myself with ice water.  The girl with the hose was a nice touch too – the mister system on the way back was a bit of a let-down.  The water stations were well staffed with volunteers, water, ice water, and Powerade (basically high fructose corn syrup!).  I ate a gel at one of the first water stations.

The first mile of the 6.2 mile course is tough – immediately leaving transition you start up a long not-so-gentle hill, which then goes down and hits some stairs to come up and over the same road you were just on to continue going uphill for a while to a steep down to the first mile marker.  After that the course is relatively flat with some ups and downs, until you reach back to the last mile or so.  Then its brutally back up that steep hill (ran first half, walked second) – thankfully there is a station with iced towels to help you at the top of the hill.  Then its back down the stairs (painful again) and up the hill and down the long slope to the finish.

I drudged along at my 10 min mile pace into the finish picking up a bit towards the end – then saw my crowd cheering and hollering and got that wave of energy and took it up a notch – I glanced down and the watch was reading a 7 something pace, but this wasn’t very far to the finish, a couple hundred meters at most.  A cold water was handed over and the timing chip stripped, and I wandered around looking for everyone.  There was no finish time displayed, I assume due to the time trial start, so I really had no idea what time I had completed the course in.  My run ended up being 1:04:30, which is about a 10 minute mile if you factor in walking through the 5 or 6 water stations. My run time was about 9 minutes faster than last year, which I was happy with, although I could have gone faster without the tendon issue.

My results, and comparing them to 2011:

2011 2012 Difference
bib number: 139 54
age: 29 30
gender: M M
location: Nassau Nassau
division place: 54 out of 62 62 out of 92
gender place: 634 out of 783 379 out of 618
time: 03:18:27 03:05:42 00:12:45
pace: 00:00:00 00:00:00 00:00:00
swim: 23:50:00 22:42:00 01:08:00
t1: 03:59:00 02:58:00 01:01:00
bike: 01:35:11 01:34:12 00:00:59
t2: 02:03:00 01:22:00 00:41:00
run: 01:13:27 01:04:30 00:08:57

I moved from being in the 19th percentile to the 39th percentile of the gentleman, so I was happy with that increase.  I would have liked to have been under 3 hours – but I guess that leaves me with a goal for 2013!

Overall a great race, well organized and supported.  The weather seems to be a consistent factor and it is a very tough course.  I overheard a guy on the run talking about how he had done a half-ironman a few weeks before, and because it was cooler and flatter, the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon was more difficult!  I look forward to next year, and to a freak bout of cool weather.  Perhaps next year we can convince Hamish and some others to get out there with us!

I’ve been so busy organizing this event that I have forgot to link to it from here!  Not like anyone reads it but hey it adds google points and stuff.

Join us March 23-25th 2012

1 Mile Open Water Swim
Sprint/Olympic Triathlons
Kids 1-Mile Fun Run
5k/10k Fun Run/Walk

Treasure Cay, Abaco, Bahamas


I don’t normally blog about much else these days except races, but this is quite an exciting upgrade!  If you read the Miami Man report, you’d know I purchased a nice 2006 Felt S32 from a fellow BTer in Miami.  So here’s all the details!

I was previously on a Jamis Satellite entry level racing bike with tri-bars.  No offense to the bike or the company, but it is an entry level bike, and steel nonetheless.  Steel is strong, but it is heavy.  The Jamis also has Shimano Tiagra components, the very entry level.  I always had problems shifting in and out…not that I really noticed until I rode bikes with better components!

The new bike, as stated, is a 2006 Felt S32.  You can read a review of the bike from back in 2006 here.  If you peruse the article and the photos, you’ll see the bike looks a bit different.  The previous owners (2 I think) have performed the following upgrades along the way:

  • New cockpit with a Pro Synop HF TT Basebar and Profile T2+ Aerobars
  • TTR2 Wheelset
  • Look Pedals
The T2+ aerobars are on my old Jamis also so it adds a level of familiarity to the upgrade.  Many people ask what the difference between a racing bike and a tri-bike is, and while I’m no expert, I can tell you the differences that I have noticed so far.  First, the bike is lighter.  Going from steel to aluminum makes a big difference!   I’d say in the 3-5lbs range or so (20% lighter).   Second, yet most importantly I think for triathlons, is the geometry.  The tri configuration moves the main muscle group from the quads to the glutes and hamstrings, saving your quads for the run portion of your race.  Third, aerodynamics.  The bike itself is much more aerodynamic (even compare the new bikes to 2006 and you can see the changes in the past few years).  The configuration also allows for a much cleaner aero position for the rider also, and a bit more comfortable in holding that position for the duration of the ride.  Fourth, the components.  While shared between racing and tri bikes, the upgrade for me from the Tiagra to the Ultegra/105 has made a much smoother ride and easier shifting.   This bike seems to glide forever compared to the Jamis, I’d assume because of the TTR2 wheelset.
I also managed to find a second hand (but never used) travel case for a bargain!  Overall, the cost of the Felt will be about the same as the cost of my old Jamis.  I definitely would recommend buying used for a first bike, obviously with some research and consideration.   Finding a used bike in the Bahamas is difficult, and I got really lucky with the bike and case that week!
Anyways, enough with the comparison, now to put it to good use!  I hope to be able to get in more rides with this one; having a nicer bike is a bit more motivating!  Sarah will be commandeering the Jamis for rides when she is in town, and others are welcome to use it if they care to join me! And finally, the gallery.  I know you want bike porn, so here it is!

Following the Chattanooga Waterfront Olympic Triathlon, I was encouraged by my level of fitness and an email blast to sign up for the 2011 MiamiMan (international distance). I thought I would have plenty of time to work on building up base and speed, and it would be a great time of year in a climate and course similar to the Bahamas.

As it turns out, life has a way of getting in the way.

I spent far less time training then I had planned, always thinking I have XX weeks left and it’s not an issue. At two weeks or so out, I decided to push the lackadaisical training into overdrive and began doing longer, faster, more frequent runs, and even threw in a few short bikes and a twenty-two mile bike. I wasn’t too worried about the swimming, although the event would prove that swimming would have helped a bit!

I went into the weekend very sinusoidal  in terms of nerves, one day I would be happy to just complete it, the next I was worried I wouldn’t complete it! Sarah was very helpful in keeping me sane through the week prior to the race. I scouted a bike to beg, borrow, or steal, and ended up finding two very helpful people through The first had signed up for the MiamiMan but had deferred due to lack of training (he sounds much smarter than me!) He was willing to lend me his Cervelo for the race. WOW! It was a 56cm and I ride a 54, but that’s what I did in Chattanooga with a race bike and it was OK. A few days later I received an email from another fabulous BTer in Miami who had a 2006 Felt S32 with TTR2 wheels and was willing to part with it for a price I couldn’t refuse! After some back and forth, checking reviews, talking with friends, I decided to buy it.

Saturday before the tri, at around 1pm, I had a bike. It was great to meet Yuset and he hooked me up with some cleats for the pedals and a bike computer as well! Registration and bike check-in closed at 4pm, so I literally spent 20 minutes adjusting and riding the bike. This may not seem that big of a deal, but I have NEVER ridden a tri bike! We made it to the Larry and Penny Thompson (no relation) Park and registered and checked in, and did some shopping at the expo. I found a tighter fitting tri-top that I could swim in but there was a question: red or grey? I chose grey; Sarah agreed until she had to find me in a sea of triathletes!

The next morning I was up early for a typical race day breakfast (bagel, peanut butter, banana, coffee). Sarah rolled out of bed and joined me and we were off to the race! We arrived, I hooked up the computer, and then transition closed 15 minutes early on me! I didn’t have time to figure out the computer which needed to be reset, so the computer was on but not functioning. Riding blind on a new bike, awesome! The half-iron competitor waves started first at 7am I think, with my wave being at 8:10am. We hung around for a bit, watched some swims, saw Hector Picard, and then mosied over to the race start. At this point Sarah had to leave for her (I am only assuming this part) exciting and fun-filled morning of watching people race! (She should write her own blog post about how to find a rented jeep at a triathlon!)

I slowly edged into the water…I knew it was going to be cold. Everyone was wearing wetsuits, in fact maybe 10% or less of us did not have such fancy gear. It turned out the water wasn’t as miserable as I was expecting, but definitely cold (think January at Rose Island). The course was in a freshwater lake, so not only did the wetsuits stave the cold, they also added extra buoyancy allowing for a faster swim. One day…

The swim went well, and as usual fighting to clear the masses took a while, but then I was off. At first I thought I was swimming crooked constantly, but then I realized people were zigzagging the course instead of sighting and swimming a straight line. I cleared the first set of light blue caps only to be surrounded by green sharks! These guys were at least the slower of the group in front and easier to maneuver around. It seemed people were scared and swam closer to the edges, a straight line around the bouys was the shortest and least busy. I was only breathing to the right and seemingly shorter breaths, probably because I haven’t done an open water swim in fresh water before and because I didn’t train for the swim…it was too cold! I cleared the water as the second light blue shark (beaten by a wetsuiter!).

I took my time in transition, as the 4+ minutes would indicate. I was looking for Sarah (as the pictures would indicate) and also wanted to be sure I had my bike setup right, at least enough to make it around the 22 mile course. This was essentially my test ride of the equipment! Once ready I started walking out and then realized I could run with the bike (duh) and off I went. The bike was fairly easy to mount, but clipping in took a bit longer than usual being new to me pedals and clips.

The first half of the bike went well. I took it easy knowing how the 22-mile practice had gone a few weeks before (ask Simon or Alec…not well is the easiest answer). I could feel the slight tailwind pushing, and the bike was a fairly simple course around the farmlands of South Florida. I had no computer and had to estimate how far I had traveled; I had seen the map but not studied it. There were plenty of volunteers and police to direct traffic and other than the odd car the course was well closed down. At the half way point I was still feeling good and was waiting for my body to fail. The tailwind turned to a headwind up on the way back, seemingly picking up and a bit gusty through the trees and buildings. Having a tri-bike and being able to hold aero for about 80% of the time was advantageous over my entry-level road bike, and I managed to complete the bike averaging 18mph in a bit over an hour. Dismount and transition 2 were a lot smoother than T1 and as I exited T2 I saw Sarah and walked for a photo-op.



Well, that and I had previously decided it would be smart to walk the water stations to get hydrated and cool off a bit. Of course there’s one right after transition and in the middle of the crowd – but a race plan is a race plan! After Chattanooga I did not want to dehydrate or overheat, neither is a good feeling! The beginning of the run was great! There were gazelle, antelopes, elephants, and a host of other animals I forgot (I did try to remember them!). After the first third or so, it was less exciting and just a run through the parking lot/roads of the Miami Zoo, and then a small section back through the zoo where there were some hogs and birds and wild children, and then back through the camping area. There was a guy tailgating on the run path. Seriously. I almost stopped for a beer – yes I did ask and he had a cooler full on ice! One of the run stations was manned by the Miami Zoo Rotary Club, and now I have a makeup since I had to miss an East Nassau meeting! They were very excited to hear from a Rotarian in the race! I managed to hold around 9 minute miles, and on the last few miles managed to pass people which is quite abnormal for me. I stupidly skipped the last water stop thinking the finish line was closer, while we still had a mile and half to go. I paid for it slightly, but still kept the pace. I finally heard the draw of the crowd and finished the race in 2 hours 37 minutes, catching Sarah off guard all along the way!

I had gone in expecting 15-16mph on the bike, and 10-11 minute miles on the run to put me around 3 hours total. To have an 18mph bike and 9 minute miles was very surprising! A lot of post race stretching and relaxing was done before packing up and heading out. Racers were still coming in from the half-iron bike when we left around noon – they were in for a long day as the sun was coming out from behind the clouds. Maybe in 2012 I will try out a 70.3!

Many thanks to Ian and my Florida family for helping out with accommodations (Sam), bike boxes (Brian and Sage) and support (all). Special thanks to Sarah who tagged along all weekend and got up early for another race, and was my personal photographer!

Total Time: 02:37:30.56
Swim Time: 17:29
T1 Time: 4:14
Bike Time: 1:13:26
T2 Time: 2:37
Run Time: 59:45
Overall Place: 209 out of 588
Overall Percentile: 65
Gender Place: 156 out of 312
Gender Percentile: 50
Category Place: 18 out of 24
Category Percentile: 26

Official photos can be seen here:

UWC Triathlon Bahamas

The UWC Triathlon Bahamas was held on September 25th, 2011. Team LASER (Lee Adam & Sarah’s Expeditious Relay) represented the Bahamas with a strong contingency consisting of myself on the swim, Adam on the bike, and Sarah on the run.

We arrived on site a bit after 6:30 to find a long line for body marking. Apparently one marker is enough to check everyone in and give them their timing chips. At 7:30am (official start time) there was still a long line and we weren’t marked until around 7:40. I did a quick warmup swim at around 8 since there was still no sign or mention of a start. Around 8:15 they started making announcements (I think this was a pre-race meeting?) and everyone lined up and started. The first wave was the individuals, the second the relay entrants. I started strong, with two others around me. One dropped back after a bit, and the other (a young guy, 15 maybe?) pulled ahead as we separated and started weaving through the individuals who had only started 3 minutes ahead of us.

Upon nearing the water exit, I noticed the pack seemed to be going for the start line, which wasn’t the same as the exit. This wasn’t clearly marked or explained, and from what I hear several people missed this and had to swim or run the beach.

I exited the water and ran up to transition, passing off to Adam. Adam took off for the bike loops and I hung around for a bit then headed up to the loop to watch the bikers. The first were just passing as I arrived, and several turned in after the first loop only to be redirected out to do two loops. At one point a gas delivery truck came barreling down the race course barely missing riders and spectators alike. A few minutes later the first bikers came in and passed off to their runners or transitioned into the run.

The run, from what I hear, was mucky! Right out of transition was a large puddle of water from the rainstorm that morning. A portion of the run was rerouted to the beach over many obstacles to avoid muddy/wet areas.

As I was standing at the finish waiting for the finish, Simon, the main contender, ran up behind me and asked me where to finish! I pointed him to the finish line in front of me, and he had to run around to get back on the course! Apparently the course was not marked and the volunteer pointed him and those behind him (about 4 I believe) down the road instead of back along the path! They took a completely wrong course and were lucky to make it back to the finish before the others. Simon ended up crossing first and the others soon behind him.

Sarah crossed the line with an amazing finish and ended our relay for the triathlon!

Team LASER ended up 13th overall with a swim of 12:42, a bike of 35:40, and a run of 24:19. Total time (including transitions) was 1:13:40.

I am not sure how much faith to put in the timing, because the run was definitely short at about 2.9 miles. The swim was more than 750m in my opinion, and I’m not sure on the bike. The timing results were sporadic as they posted, missing some splits and combining some bike/runs. I would hope the backup video was compared to everyone’s result, but that doesn’t help with our relay splits!

I haven’t seen many photos posted, but I will post them as soon as I can! Unfortunately no media was present and the newspaper even used a stock photos for Simon’s picture.

Relay Wave Start - UWC Triathlon Bahamas

Jeff posted some photos of the event here:

A few months ago, after I decided it was time to have a “season”, I set this event as an “A” race, and my first Olympic Triathlon. Well, I knew I was coming off Abaco Regatta and decide that regatta would count as taper. Mistake to be learned although predicted. Off I went and registered and booked my ticket into Atlanta to drive up to Chattanooga. I have many good friends in Chattanooga from my Baylor days, and some supplier factories I could visit, so I made this into an athletic/personal/business trip. An excuse for a(nother) vacation really!

I arrived on the Friday before the race, met my friend Hamish for lunch, and drove to Chattanooga. I went to check into my hotel and the reservation wasn’t there, it was moved to another hotel far out of town. An honest mistake, and not a big deal. I called Kendra to figure out what the evening plans were, and she kindly offered up her couch, where I ended up for the weekend! Funnily enough, she works at Baylor, so I stayed at my old boarding school, although it has been very much updated since I was there. We spent a good two nights catching up with friends such as Hannah, Katie, and Yasmine, and Hamish who came up from Atlanta and joined us as well.

Enough with the weekend niceties, on to the race!

Saturday we went to a delicious breakfast at the Blue Plate and that happened to end around noon when registration opened, so I got all setup right there and then. Registered, checked out the expo for a bit, then went to get my bike. Suck Creek Cycle was the only game in town that had a racing bike for rent that I could find. They were very friendly and set me up with a Fuji Newest 3.0 I believe. They added my tri bars, pedals, and seat for me. They were very friendly and let me know they were going to be on the race course the next day if I needed any help. I took the bike back downtown to the pre-race Q&A and then drove the bike course. This is where my nerves started kicking in, for those who saw my facebook post. The course is basically out and back along the highway, with constant massive hills. The only flat part is the top of each hill. 25 miles of this? Nerve-wracking to think about. I head back, take my bike for a ride, and find I can’t shift into the big ring. Not too much of an issue based on the hills, but would be nice to have them on the downhill. Nothing I could do about it then. Everything else seems good to go. I settle down and we head up Signal Mountain for dinner and a movie, and around midnight we’re back at Baylor and I’m prepping for transition which I probably should have done earlier!

Sunday morning came early (especially since BTC decided to release all text messages to me at 1:45am). 5:30am rise, some coffee, a clif bar and a banana, and Hamish and I were off to the race. He dropped me next to transition and went off to park. I ran into Kevin who had been waiting around for me to show up, guess we were a little later than he planned! Kevin helps me finds a bike mechanic and with a few turns of a few screws has me shifting into the big ring again, which would definitely help later. I mosied off to transition to get ready. TWICE the day before I had thought “I should go find my rack space” and TWICE I did not. So it took a minute to find it. I probably should have remembered where it was, which side I racked on, and how to get in and out too! I setup for transition and headed back out. Hamish and I walked up to the swim start instead of taking the bus. If you do this race, I’d recommend the walk, it warms you up and the sun rise over the river is nice, much better than tri sardines in a yellow can.

The swim for the event takes place in the Tennessee River, from the UTC crew dock to the transition area in downtown Chattanooga, 1.5km away. The swim start was by number, and done by your submitted swim time. I was bib # 139, with my submitted time of 1:30/100 I think. Interesting start: you line up by number, then slide into the water, ooch down the dock, and start by number. Much cleaner than a wave start. I ease into my swim, don’t push it because I know there’s a long race ahead, and the swim is only a small portion. I can’t see my watch in front of my face to read what time I started or how long I’ve been swimming, so I just swim. I tried to follow the bouys on the outside where most of the current was, although not much. I passed a few people and got passed by a few people, but overall there wasn’t much fighting, and the swim went smoothly. At the end of the swim there were volunteers pulling us out of the water onto a platform, then a run up the stairs and into transition.

I had been warned about this, and honestly it didn’t effect me, I had to stop myself skipping stairs and bouncing around, the swim hadn’t drained me at all. This was my first encounter with my awesome entourage, I saw Katie and, needless to say, heard Hannah. I also heard Hamish and saw him taking pictures. I should mention this is my official race photographer Hamish, who bounced around the course, especially the run. I entered into transition and apparently took my sweet time because 4 minutes later I was out of there, I think I should have been in the 2:30-3 range, but oh well. I hopped on the bike smoothly and headed out to the highway.

Quite literally, the highway. A short ride through town and then headed north on Highway 27. Even the bridges are sloped. Everything is a hill, meandering through the mountains. It actually turned out to be less evil than I had imagined, and once I got used to climbing hills and coasting rapidly down it was quiet fun. The mile markers started to pass by quickly. Towards the end of the race and up a climb, I think it was the one by Baylor, my chain did something funky and locked up, but working it back and forth I managed to get it together and start back up the hill again. I managed two guus and a bottle of water although I carried two. This would end up being my downfall.

I transitioned fairly well from the bike to the run, all things considered. I did manage to turn down the wrong lane, but realized my mistake, and corrected. Hamish would later point out I did this, and did it yet again when going to retrieve my bike after the race!

Coming out of the run I saw my growing entourage of friends and babies, and Katie acting as the perfect target for my cup of water to be disposed on (she’s lucky I noticed the camera and aimed low! sorry Katie!). What great motivation to see a Bahamian flag being held up on Independence Day! I felt good, started out a bit fast with all the adrenaline and race motivation, but dropped back as I hit the big first hill up the waterfront. I think I was initially holding about 10:30 miles which I was happy with. Made it up to the turnaround, while seeing Hamish leapfrog back and forth taking pictures, and started for home, feeling good. Until about mile 4, where I felt light headed, chills, and dizzyness. I slowed to a walk and made it to the next aid station and watered up, walked out to another large hill which I walked up and somewhere along there got a wet towel. With this I managed to run the last mile or so into the finish line.

It turns out that I was not the only one to experience such a problem. I have read several race reports online that have said the same thing. Some people would run for three or four minutes, and walk for 30 seconds, or a similar thing. Upon completing I also saw a few people hooked up to IV drips just after the finish line. I must say, I was pretty darn close! This is my first experience in “blowing up” (as its called in the tri world), and I have definitely learned from it.

But what a great finish to a race, down a hill, through the crowds and hearing my friends (and random strangers, which was initially confusing until I remembered my name is on my bib number!) cheering me on. I know I must have looked like a drugged tortoise! Immediately upon finishing I was stripped of my timing chip and handed a great ice cold bottle of water and a cold towel was placed on my head. Hamish practically carried me to a bench, where I had to sit for somewhere around a half hour getting cooled down and rehydrated. Then, the required beer. Funnily enough I had two free beers to get, and only got one. I must be getting old. Next year I’m moving up an age group!

I had planned on trying a half iron distance this fall, but I think I will hold off and get a few more Olympics under my belt. This race was definitely an eye-opener in terms of on course nutrition and hydration management, although basic, but I really need to practice it. I should have finished both waters on the bike, it definitely would have helped. Also, I think I will walk through the aid stations from now on, to give my body a small chance to cool off, especially in the longer, hotter races.

Many thanks to all my friends for the support in Tennessee! Especially to Hamish, my pre-race coach, on-the-course photographer, and race support! Thanks to Kendra for accomodations and great motivation, and to Hannah, Evan, Katie, Kevin and families throughout the weekend. Thanks to Jason and Yasmine for a wonderful post-race boat cruise and bbq night! Really, thanks to everyone over the past year or so for your support and motivation!

Here are the results:
Chattanooga Waterfront 2011 Results
Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon Official Website
Event photos by Kirk
Brightroom Photos

I hope to see a lot of the people reading this on September 25th, 2011!

Looks like I made the paper!

The Nassau Guardian, Tuesday June 07, 2011.

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