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Triathlon Across the USA: State #14 – New Jersey

Tuckerton, New Jersey, May 5, 2013 – Bassman Sprint Triathlon

Swimming, biking and running in the Garden State (New Jersey) gave an opportunity to test the recent triathlon training plan and visit the Atlantic coast.

 

Planning the New Jersey Triathlon

One goal for the 2013 season was to complete triathlons in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.  With these under our belt, we would check off the northern portion of the Mid-Atlantic states in our quest to visit all 50.

This weekend, it was New Jersey.  Joy and I would travel to Maryland and Pennsylvania about one month later for triathlons in these two states.  This left Delaware, North Carolina, and Virginia, the remaining Mid-Atlantic states, for later.

 

Travel to New Jersey

We left our house in Chicopee, Massachusetts early Saturday morning to make the roughly 250-mile trek to Bass River State Forest just west of Tuckerton, New Jersey.

how to order Depakote taper, the location of the Bassman Triathlon, is about 100 miles south of New York City and about 30 miles north of Atlantic City, New Jersey which sits directly on the Atlantic Coast.

We picked up the race packet at the Bass River State Forest.  While there, we took a short walk to check out Lake Absegami where we would swim the next morning.  We then headed out on the 45-minute drive south to Atlantic City.

 

A Quick Visit to Atlantic City

While neither of us is a fan of casinos nor gambling, we were curious to see the draw that this city had on Pat and T, two of Joy’s friends from our Chicopee neighborhood.  A couple of times each year, these two ladies would drive to Atlantic City for gambling and an overnight stay in Pat’s timeshare.

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Atlantic City boardwalk.

 

We drove along the strip lined by a mix of casinos – small and large, simple and opulent.  With the gusty winds and air temperature in the mid-50’s F, not to mention expensive parking, Joy and I took turns walking from a nearby hotel loading dock for a quick look at the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk.

We then headed a couple of miles further up the strip to Brigantine Beach where we stopped for lunch at the buy Depakote canada online.

About six months earlier, Hurricane Sandy had passed through the area.  While there was still some debris from Sandy, the beach was in good shape.  I can certainly understand the attraction of these sandy beaches, especially in warmer weather.

After a short tour of Brigantine, we headed to our hotel, the Holiday Inn Manahawkin/Long Beach Island, for last-minute preparations for the triathlon and for an early dinner.  Remember my motto: “The early triathlete gets the best spots in transition.”

 

6th Annual Bassman Sprint Triathlon

It was a busy day for the people of can i buy Depakote at walmart who managed the race.

Actually, the Bassman event included three triathlon distances (half Ironman, Olympic, and sprint) as well as half Ironman and Olympic distances of a duathlon (run-bike-run) and aquabike (swim-bike).

Distances for the individual legs of this buy Depakote 500mg sprint triathlon were:

  • Swim: 0.35 mile (620 yds or 560 m)
  • Bike: 12.5 miles (20.1 km)
  • Run: 3.1 miles (5 km)
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The Bassman Triathlon transition area and swim were in the Lake Absegami Day Use Area of the Bass River Forest.

 

Swim

The air temperature on race morning was still in the 50’s F and the temperature of Lake Absegami for the open water swim was reported to be around 65ºF.  With this temperature, the race was considered ‘wetsuit-legal’ meaning the racers were allowed, even encouraged, to wear a wetsuit.

I apparently started out too fast in the swim, which led to a moment of panic as I became light-headed.  The congestion I had been battling during the previous week probably didn’t help.

After slowing my stroke rate, which allowed my heart rate to drop a bit, I was able to resume the swim without any further difficulty.

Triathlon Tip: One reason I now take a short swim just before the start of a race is to get my heart rate up so that when the gun goes off, I can start swimming already partially warmed up.

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The open water swim for the Bassman triathlon was in Lake Absegami.

 

A Slightly Different Approach to Timing

If you are not familiar with the transition part of a triathlon, you can feel free to skip this section.  Or, you can learn about triathlon transition in can you buy Depakote over the counter in canada.

Anyway, back to the race.

It was a short run from the exit of Lake Absegami to the transition area.

For this race, there was only one timing mat for the transition area.  This was in contrast to the two (one at each end of the transition area) that is more common with triathlons.

As a result, the T1 (transition from swim to bike) and T2 (transition from bike to run) times were included in the bike and run times, respectively.

In other words, the swim time officially ended upon crossing the timing mat and entering the transition area.  Bikes exited the opposite end of the transition area where there was no timing mat.

Upon completing the bike leg, athletes entered the transition area where they had previously entered after the swim.    Crossing the timing mat officially ended the bike leg and started the run leg.

 

Bike

The bike portion of the race included a loop out of the park onto local roads.  The loop rejoined the original portion with about two miles back to the transition area.

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The bike course for the Bassman Triathlon was a loop on roads outside Bass River State Forest

 

As shown on the map, the view from the bike was mostly forest with the occasional body of water – very pleasant.  The course was relatively flat with the maximum difference in elevation of just over 30 ft (9 m).

The most unique ‘scenery’ came near the end of the course.  We passed two sizeable turkey vultures cleaning up a deer.  The animal had most likely been hit by a car and was now lying on the shoulder of the road.  The vultures seemed unfazed by the many bikers who passed within a few feet of them.

 

Run

The 3.1 mile (5 km) run in the Bass River Forest was on a combination of dirt, hiking trails, and park road.

In no way bragging, I sweat during typical races as much as anyone. With that wonderful word picture in mind, the fact that I did not break a sweat until the very end of the run tells you a lot about the temperature during the race.

In fact, my feet were almost numb during the run.  The good news is that the cool temperatures helped me to achieve the run pace that I had set for races this season.

 

After the Triathlon

Much to my surprise, I was the first finisher age 60 and over (my age group was 60-64).

As a result of the finish, this was the first time that I qualified for the USA Triathlon National Championships.  Finishers in the top 10% of their age group automatically qualify for Nationals.

 

About New Jersey, the ‘Garden State’

When those of us from the Midwestern USA think of New Jersey, we most often picture the sprawling metropolitan areas like Newark from which you can see New York City across the Hudson River.

Driving back to Massachusetts from Bass River Forest, we were reminded of the contrast between the massive green areas found throughout most of New Jersey and the asphalt and concrete dominated areas of the more well known metropolitan areas.

New Jersey is called the ‘Garden State’ for good reason.  Get away from the major cities and you see the importance of fruit and vegetable farming.

 

Race First’s

  • First race in which I finished first in my 60-64 age group and qualified for USAT Nationals
  • First race in which I saw vultures picking at a dead deer lying alongside the road.
  • First race in which I did not break a sweat until the very end of the run.

 

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Triathlon Across the USA: State #19 – Wyoming
Gillette, Wyoming is also known as the Energy Capital of the Nation.

Gillette, Wyoming, May 3, 2014 – Razor City Splash & Dash Triathlon

The Razor City Splash & Dash Triathlon in Gillette, Wyoming was the opportunity to visit family, explore Gillette, and enjoy 15 minutes of fame.

 

Planning the Wyoming Triathlon

Plans to compete in the Razor City Splash & Dash Triathlon, my first of the 2014 season, was cemented with a check mailed to the Campbell County Parks & Recreation on January 10, 2014.

Why this triathlon?

If you have read the post titled “buy Depakote overnight delivery”, you are, no doubt, thinking that there must have been a connection to family or friends weaved somewhere into the story.

If you have not read the earlier post, please do so later.  For now, I’ll give you the short version of the answer to the above question.

First, Wyoming was one of the states in which I had not completed a triathlon.

More importantly, Gillette was a short drive past Rapid City, South Dakota, and the summer home of Joy’s dear Aunt Evelyn.  As it turns out, Evelyn learned that she enjoyed being a triathlon spectator during the where can i buy Depakote online in Mesa, Arizona (State #12).  She was more than ready to watch another race.

 

Travel to the Wyoming Triathlon

Joy and I left our Minnesota home on Thursday evening spending the night in Mitchell, South Dakota, home of the world famous Corn Palace.   We rose early the next morning, reaching Rapid City in time for lunch with Aunt Evelyn.

While we had planned to pick up Evelyn on the way to Gillette – and she was looking forward to the trip – health problems prevented her from joining us.  Nevertheless, we were able to spend precious time with her both on the way to and from Gillette.

After lunch and some ‘catching up’, we made the roughly two hour trip to Gillette.  Arriving mid-afternoon allowed us to prepare for the race, pick up the race packet, and explore the area a bit before having an early dinner at the Prime Rib restaurant.

 

About Gillette

Gillette is named after Edward Gillette, an engineer and surveyor for the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad who in 1891 recommended the eventual route of the railroad.

But, what about the ‘Razor City’ nickname that is the basis for the triathlon’s name?

Legend has it that the ‘Razor City’ nickname came from the association the Gillette name and the company that manufactures razor blades.

The more popular nickname for Gillette today is ‘Energy Capital of the Nation’.  This name recognizes the city’s central location within an area from which large quantities of coal, oil, and coal bed methane gas have been obtained.

One fact about Gillette relevant to the triathlon is its altitude.  Like many western USA cities, Gillette is located at an elevation significantly higher than that of my home state of Minnesota.  For this race, the average altitude was 4,550 to just over 4,600 feet.

 

11th Annual Razor City Splash & Dash Sprint Triathlon

The race is one of several races run by Campbell County Parks & Recreation (CCPR).  You can find information about the next triathlon and other races sponsored by CCPR at where can i buy Depakote over the counter.

Distances for the individual legs of this sprint triathlon were:

  • Swim: 0.51 mile (900 yds or 823 m)
  • Bike: 11.3 miles (18.2 km) as measured from my bike computer (officially listed as ‘approximately 12 miles’)
  • Run: 3.1 miles (5 km)

 

Race Day

The next morning, we rose early to reach the Recreation Center for the opening of the transition area.  In fact, we were the first to arrive.

After setting up my transition area, I chatted with the race director.  During the conversation, the fact that this race was the Wyoming triathlon for the 50-states quest came up.

As more racers began to arrive, the conversation turned to other topics.   Before I knew it, we were in the aquatic center for the pre-race meeting.

 

Swim

Gillette is blessed with an incredible pool, which was the location for the triathlon’s swim leg.  For the triathlon, the Olympic size pool (50-yard length) was configured as a 25-yard pool with 20 lanes.

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Razor City Splash & Dash triathletes awaiting the start of the swim leg. (Photo courtesy of Razor City Splash & Dash Triathlon.)

 

The swim for this race involved five triathletes in each lane, all who had estimated similar times for their swim.  The entire 900 yards of the swim occurred within the same lane with the same five swimmers, in this case, four young ladies and me.  You can see the lane assigned to my group in the upper left quadrant of the picture above.

Each swimmer was responsible for providing a person to count their laps.  Filling this need for me, Joy ticked off one more volunteer performance.

My swim time was actually almost three minutes faster than I had estimated at registration.  I am not sure how this happened but it was a pleasant surprise.   On several occasions, I had to slow down because of congestion in the lane.

 

Bike

For the bike leg, we left the transition area outside the aquatic center and headed onto a city street.  From the course map, the route looked more or less like a capital letter ‘T’ with the starting point near the bottom of the vertical section.

The course involved an out and back route with two turnarounds, one corresponding to each of the two ends of the top, horizontal section of the ‘T’.

What is missing from the simple description of the course as a flat letter ‘T’ are the four steep climbs (and descents) and rolling hills that made this short course a bit more challenging though still quite fast.

One of the unique memories of this race was the pronghorn deer in the field alongside the course.  Separated from the road by a fence, there was little danger of the deer running onto the course.  It’s just that you don’t see deer, nonetheless pronghorn deer, during every triathlon.

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Pronghorn Deer were among the spectators of the Razor City Splash & Dash Triathlon

Run

The 3.1 mile (5k) flat run course took us through a quiet neighborhood of Gillette.  The course left from the eastern side of the Recreation Center parking lot, looped around streets south and eventually southwest of the Center, returning to the Center parking lot and finish line.

 

15 Minutes of Fame

Since I was the only participant over 60 years of age, I was able to claim a first place age group prize.  When announcing my ‘win’, the race director also announced Joy’s and my mission to cover the USA participating in the sport of triathlon.

Following the awards ceremony, Grant Egger, a reporter for the Gillette News Record, informed us that he was writing a story about the Splash & Dash.  Of course, we agreed to his request for an interview.

A few days later we received a copy of the newspaper article in our e-mail.  You can read it below.

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Gillette News Record article about the Razor City Splash & Dash Triathlon

 

A Final Stop in Rapid City

We left Gillette at 12:15 pm Mountain Time for our first stop, Rapid City.  Our mission was to pay Aunt Evelyn another visit, this time with an update on the triathlon.

Being an experienced triathlon spectator, she asked all the right questions.  After getting her caught up, we said our farewells and headed toward Minnesota.

Three months later, Evelyn had passed away.   We were blessed to have been allowed time with her during this trip.

 

Race First’s

  • First race in which we biked past Pronghorn Deer
  • First race in which I was the oldest participant
  • First race in which Joy and I were interviewed by a local newspaper reporter after the race

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5 Common Mistakes in the Pool Swim of a Triathlon
Mizzou Aquatic Center at University of Missouri, Columbia MO, venue for the swim leg of the TriZou Triathlon.

Want to prevent fellow triathletes from becoming annoyed with you during a race? Avoid these mistakes commonly made during a pool swim.

From my experience with sprint triathlon, here are the top five mistakes, in no particular order, that occur doing a pool swim:

  • Reporting too aggressive or conservative pace/time

This mistake most often occurs during registration when you are asked to provide an estimate of the time that it will take to complete the swim.   You definitely do not want to be swimming with triathletes who are significantly faster or slower than you.

If you are worried about the registration filling before you can time your swim, give your best estimate.  Then, after later measuring the time, contact the race organizer to make any correction.

In many cases, you will also have opportunity on race day to make any correction.  You will likely be asked to line up with those of similar pace (if the start is one at a time) or to join a group with those of similar speed (if swimmers start in a group, typically of five or six) .

Just don’t make the mistake on race day.

 

  • Starting too fast

With adrenaline rushing and the crowd roaring (even a small crowd can be deafening in an indoor pool), it is tempting to start swimming too fast too soon causing your heart rate to spike or breathing to become difficult.  The next thing you know, you are swimming much slower than planned or even stopping to catch your breath.  Better to start out at what you consider to be a bit slower that you think you should until you are in a rhythm.  Once your breathing is at a normal race pace and you are ‘warmed up, give it your all.

 

  • Not drafting, if it is possible

Drafting is considered by many to be one of the keys to conserving energy during the swim while at the same time turning in a respectable (for you) time.  The problem with drafting is that it can be difficult to practice unless you swim with a group.

To take advantage of drafting, swim with your hands just behind the feet of the person in front of you.  (Avoid touching their feet which sends the message that you want to pass them.)

 

  • Not staying in your space

This is especially important when swimming in the same lane as one or more athletes and remaining in the same lane during the entire swim.  Stay on your side (usually the right side) of the lane.  You do not want to be the cause of a head-on crash.

Even if the swim involves a single length of each of several lanes in a Z-pattern, stay to the right as a matter of courtesy to faster swimmers.  You will appreciate this if you are the faster swimmer.

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Staying within your space during a pool swim will allow faster racers to pass.

  • Not allowing faster swimmers to pass when they let you know that they want to

Another courtesy to fellow racers is to allow faster swimmers to pass.  Let them pass as soon as possible once they have signaled that they want to do so.  Typically, faster swimmers will tap one of the feet of the swimmer that they wish to pass.  If you can, move to the right side of the lane to allow them to pass.  In races in which the entire length of swim involves multiple laps within a given lane, it is typical for the racer who is being passed to pause at the end of a length.  Allow the faster swimmer or swimmers to pass you, and then resume your swim.

 

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Have you identified other mistakes or have experience with those I have listed? Leave your comments below.

 

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