Town of Hempstead Tri, September 6th, 2014 — Race Report
Location: Town Park at Point Lookout
The Town of Hempstead Triathlon is as old school as it gets. In its 30th year some things have not changed, you bring you own swim cap, there are no timing chips, no bike or helmet stickers, no google mapped course layouts, just a bunch of enthusiastic athletes on a Saturday morning in September, ready to swim, bike and run their way through one of the last events of the season. Getting in to the race is an event in itself, there’s no online entry. You must get the official entry form (that’s printed on purple paper) from one of the sponsor shops, or send a self addressed, stamped envelope to the Town of Hempstead to have them mail you back the entry form. You then fill the form out, have it notarized, yes notarized, and then mail it in. Once accepted, you’ll get a single piece of paper with the race details mailed back.
I arrived at 6:30 for an 8AM start, the race site is conveniently located on the same barrier island I live on, just 8 over miles from my house. I had some water, an ice coffee, unsweetened applesauce, a GU energy gel and a saltstick tablet in the two hours before the race start. When I checked in and picked up my race packed and saw for the next few hours I was going to be #13, lucky me. I got body marked and made sure to put my bib number so it read upside down on my race belt, this is a trick that I’ve seen riders in the Tour de France do when the’ve gotten number 13, hey, if it’s good for them…
The Swim changes every year due to current etc, this year at was around .7 miles with a fairly big swell, participants that swam out a bit were rewarded with a slightly smoother surfaces to paddle through. I felt pretty good and got stronger as I made it past the halfway point and I began to find my stroke. Since it was a mass start, there was a lot more contact than usual for a race this size. If I could change one thing with my swim, I’d have worn a sleeveless wetsuit, my full suit was just too warm to the ocean temperatures this time of year.
If I could redo one part of this race it’d be T1, I was tired out of the water, it was .6 of a mile trek over sand to the transition area. I was jogging my way back to my bike with my wetsuit flung over my shoulder and I felt tired and decided walk for a minute, my HR was probably spiked coming out of the water and I just needed to get back it to “normal” to prepare for the bike. Also, I had a hard time getting my wetsuit off, even while it was still wet as I removed it right as I came out of the water. I took a few extra seconds to towel the sand off my feet before putting them in to my bike shoes. Helmet, sunglasses, HR monitor – go.
This course is fast and flat, that being said, there’s a lot of admin (quick 90 degree turns through a residential neighborhood) in the first 2.5 miles of the just under 9 mile course. When I final got going on the straight section, I was in a headwind, I just kept low and powered though and knew I was in for a nice tailwind on the way back. This is probably the first time I did not get passed, not even once, on a bike course, and, I passed several (people that swam and transitioned faster than I did) over the 9 miles to T2.
Bike: 8.9 mi / 26:24 20.2 mph average speed
A bit of walking with the bike and a shoe swap took me just under a minute and a half. I had taken another salt stick as I was finishing the bike segment, so there were few moving parts to deal with in bike to run transition.
The run course is basically the same as the bike course with about 4 miles removed from the back half. It’s advertised as a 5 mile course, but it was more like 4.5. As I came out of T2, I felt the heat and humidity, and the sun was shining until I got to the second mile when some cloud cover provided a bit of relief. I’ve run at night with high humidity the days before and I felt somewhat acclimated. I managed to stay in my zone and keep a somewhat steady pace of 8:40-8:50/mile, save for a brief water stop at the lone aid station at the midway point. My HR stayed below my red zone and aside getting passed by 4 or 5 people I’d say I’m pretty happy with how the run went.
Lap 1: 8:45
Lap 2: 8:49
Lap 3: 9:08 (stopped for water)
Lap 4: 8:51
Lap 5: 8:43
Run: 4.5 mi 39:51- 8:52/mi
Overall time was 1:36:53, I came in 41st out of 155 overall and 6th out of 20 in my AG. I’ll do this race again next year, there’s a lot of room for me to improve. Overall I’m happy with my results.