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Know The Course

A Few Noisy Triathletes

I think triathletes, for the most part, are a tough group.  They like the challenge and they accept the conditions on race day.  However, because I read several blogs and follow some forum posts, I know there are athletes that complain about things loudly and repeatedly.  There are those few arrogant people who feel that their “poor” race performance is the fault of race management. On the other hand, if there were no complainers, maybe the course was too easy.  That’s that statistician coming out in me.

Their Problem Is My Solution

When a race is tough or uncomfortable, I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.  I’ll only complain to race management if I feel they have violated their own rules that they publish.   Given that, I’ve never complained.  I’ve whined.  But I’ve never complained, that I can remember, to race management.  After all, if a triathlon is not difficult, you’re not doing it right.

The way I look at it is this.  If there’s a tough spot in a race, I want to know about it and I want to prepare for it.  The upcoming long course race in White Lake, North Carolina is a prime example of complainers and the rest of us.

Secrets Of White Lake’s Bike Course

ALERT!  WARNING!  I’m going to reveal a secret about the White Lake long course bike route.  For the most part, it’s pretty flat and smooth.  But I’ve heard athletes say they will never again compete at White Lake if the course remains the same.  It’s all because of a stretch of NC Highway 53.

The first 30 miles of the long course are beautiful.  You cruise along at a nice speed among beautiful trees and country side.  The only problem during that first 30 miles might be a mammoth truck full of hog or chicken carcasses that charges down the road.  A solid wall of the most foul stench hits you hard.  But that only lasts 20 seconds or so.

At about mile 36, the course turns off of NC Highway 210 and onto NC Highway 53.  And this is where everything changes.

Suddenly the road becomes choppy. There’s wind in your face and if the crotch has not become sore by mile 36, it’s about to get that way here.  Those last 20 miles are the most dreaded.

My Solution

So why do I like this course so much?  Because so few participants are ready for that rough spot.  In previous years, that 20 mile stretch is where I’ve passed other athletes the most.  All you have to do is realize that it is going to be tough and prepare for it mentally. You could also do some training on rough roads.  There are a few things you could do to make it smoother, such as:

  1. Carbon frames

  2. Cushy saddle

  3. Fully padded bike shorts

  4. Let some air out of the tires (not recommended)

But the fact is, it’s going to be rough.  And there’s not much you can do about the wind.

And one other thing you can do is conserve energy in the first 36 miles so you have something left to get you through the last 20.   But this is more a mental game than physical.

If you see me out there this weekend (9/12/15), be sure to say hi and let me know you’re ready for Hwy 53.  Just don’t slap my bottom as you fly pass me.  Leave me with a little dignity.

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