Header Image - Information for Triathletes Over 50

T L VanderWert

Triathlon Across the USA: State #13 – Hawaii

Triathlon Across the USA: State #13 – Hawaii

Kailua (Honolulu), Hawaii; April 21, 2013 – BOCA Hawaii Lanikai Sprint Triathlon

The Hawaii triathlon was the perfect opportunity to introduce my aunt, a resident of the island of Oahu, to triathlon.  It also led to several firsts in the “Triathlon Across the USA” adventure.


Planning the Hawaii Triathlon

Joy and I are fortunate to have a close relationship with my aunt Nelda, who lives 10 minutes by walking from Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii. For the past several years, we have visited her during the heart of the Minnesota winter.  In turn, we welcome her to our home during the summer, of course.

Planning an April trip to Hawaii for the BOCA Hawaii triathlon seemed almost a waste.   After all, why make the long flight to visit Hawaii at a time when the weather in Minnesota is typically spring-like.  April in Minnesota generally means spring flowers in bloom and trees beginning to bud and sprout green after the winter.

As it turned out, the 2013 winter in Minnesota was longer than usual.  It snowed on and off at home throughout our time in Hawaii.


Before the Race

Joy and I – and my Trek SpeedConcept triathlon bike – arrived in Hawaii a little more than a week before the triathlon. After re-assembling the bike, I took a short ride to make sure that I had put it together properly.  I had planned to get in some serious biking before race day.  However, this didn’t happen.

Why? Biking in Honolulu was challenging and even dangerous.  Traffic is congested and there are many distracted tourists driving on streets they do not know.  To top if off, there are few designated bike lanes on the city streets and roads.

By January 2018, this condition had improved due to the more than 1,000 rental bicycles that are part of the Biki ride-sharing program involving more than 100 rental locations throughout the main tourist areas of Honolulu.


12th Annual BOCA Hawaii Lanikai Triathlon

The BOCA Hawaii Lanikai Triathlon, managed by the multi-sport training and racing company BOCA Hawaii, started and ended in Kailua Beach Park on the eastern side of the island of Oahu.

Distances for the individual legs of the USAT-sanctioned race were:

  • Swim: 0.3 mile (550 yd or 500 m)
  • Bike: 10.7 mile (17.1 km)
  • Run: 3.6 mile (5.7 km)

This race had the distinction of including part of the bike course on Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH).  For reference, MCBH was formerly known as Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay and originally called Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_Corps_Base_Hawaii.)



The more than 350 competitors ran or walked into Kailua Bay together with the sounding of the air horn that signaled the start of the triathlon.  The 500 meter (550 yard) swim in the calm, clear, and comfortably warm waters of Kailua Bay took me a little over 11 minutes.  Given the water temperature, wetsuits were not allowed by USAT rules.

Swim start at BOCA Hawaii Lanikai Sprint Triathlon

The open water swim in Kailua Bay (with Mokulua Island in the background) was my first triathlon involving a swim in the Pacific Ocean. The darker section of the water near the center of the picture (between kayaks) is created by the swimmers.  I am in there somewhere.


The bike leg took us from the transition area in Kailua Beach Park onto city streets parallel to the Bay.  We eventually entered MCBH.

The course was flat except for one nasty hill that ended with a turnaround in a neighborhood of base housing. To put things in perspective, the hill leading to the turnaround was the kind that causes you to wonder if you are going to fall over from going so slowly even though you are in the lowest possible gear and giving it your all.

We all know that whatever goes up must come down.  This day, coming down meant extreme attention (and braking) to avoid ending up in Kailua Bay while navigating the near right angle turn near the base of the hill.

Bike turnaround on Marine Corp Base Hawaii

The swim took place in Kailua Bay between land (left) and the small, flat island near the center of the picture. The bike turnaround occurred on Marine Corps Base Hawaii (upper section of the picture). The run took place in the Lanikai neighborhood in the lower section of the picture. This view is from Pillbox hiking trail.


This was the first race applying a strategy on the bike of using a gear that allowed me to maintain a cadence (pedal revolution) of 90 rpm.  The one exception was on the aforementioned hill. This approach seemed to work as hoped.  While I was not always biking as fast as I could have, the higher cadence saved my legs for run.



Transition occurs between the individual legs of a triathlon and typically involves a change of gear and shoes.  The time to complete the two transitions (from swim to bike, called T1, and from bike to run, called T2) is included in the overall time for completing the triathlon. Time spent in transition is just as important as time spent in each of the legs – see “How to Minimize Transition Time”.

The video clip illustrates one way to minimize time spent in transition, that is, through multitasking.

VIDEO: Connecting the race number belt while running out of the transition area is one way to minimize transition time.


Triathlon Tip: Reduce your transition time by completing certain tasks together.  I connect my race number belt while running out of transition.  If the triathlon involves a wetsuit, I wear the race number under the wetsuit from the beginning of the race.



Most of the 3.6 mile run was on the hilly streets of the Lanikai neighborhood.

The run course of the BOCA Hawaii Lanikai Sprint Triathlon took us through the Lanikai neighborhood (with Mokulua and Moko iki Islands in the background).

The run course of the BOCA Hawaii Lanikai Sprint Triathlon took us through the Lanikai neighborhood.  Mokulua and Moko Iki Islands are visible in the background.

The last six-tenths of a mile was on the beach, on sand packed by waves washing ashore.  However, the sand in the last few yards soft and deep making the sprint to the finish line more difficult.



There was no award for me this time. I finished 4th of seven in my age group – not even close to the guy who finished third.  While I was ‘in the hunt’ after the swim and bike legs, the three guys in my age group who finished ahead of me were much stronger runners.

My aunt and me in her condo overlooking the Ala Wai canal near Waikiki

Thanking my aunt Nelda for giving Joy and me a place to stay while in Hawaii and for making the early morning trek across the island to cheer me on during the race.


Race Firsts

  • Part of the race course was on a USA military base (Marine Corps Base Hawaii), a first.
  • This was my first triathlon with the swim in the Pacific Ocean.
  • First triathlon outside the continental USA


Let Us Know About Your Races in Hawaii?

I know some of you have raced in Kona-Kailua on the Big Island.   Others may have done different races like the one I did on Oahu.

What did you think about your Hawaiian races?



Book Review – Train to Tri: Your First Triathlon

Looking to complete your first triathlon? Want to inspire and motivate your children, grandchildren, parents, friends, or co-workers?

If so, Train To Tri: Your First Triathlon by Linda Cleveland and Kris Swarthout is for you.  This 246-page guide provides the essential information needed to prepare for your first triathlon.Cover of "Train to Tri - Your First Triathlon"

Authors: Linda Cleveland and Kris Swarthout, both USA Triathlon Level 2 coaches with lots of experience competing in triathlon and coaching triathletes.

Publisher: Human Kinetics

Who is this book for?

Train To Tri is written primarily for those considering or already committed to completing their first sprint or standard (formerly called Olympic) distance triathlon.

Even though it is aimed at first-timers, it is not just for those doing their first triathlon.  While I have completed over 40 sprint triathlons, I found several useful training tipsI have already put some of them to use.


What does the book cover?

The book opens with a 24-question Triathlon Readiness Assessment.  Results of the self-assessment help the future triathlete identify with one of three categories – bronze, silver, or gold – and select the training plan included later in the book.  This initial section also provides guidelines for choosing the specific race for your first triathlon.

I like the basic strategy of the first triathlon training plan laid out by the authors – to focus most of the training effort on your weakest leg.

You should focus the most time and effort on [your third strongest sport] to develop strength and endurance as well as improve technique. (page 9)


Once you decide to do a triathlon, you will quickly learn about the incredible amount of clothing and equipment (called ‘gear’ in the triathlon world) surrounding the sport.  Since not all the gear is necessary for your first triathlon, the authors distinguish between the ‘necessary’ and the ‘nice to have’ or ‘you can wait and decide after your first race’ gear.


Your Triathlon Support Group

Training with a group can provide the extra motivation needed to push through a training program and reap the rewards of completing your first triathlon.  A group can also help you to improve your technique more quickly.

In this chapter, the authors suggest ways to create a support network for your training in swimming, biking, and running that includes various clubs and your family, friends, and co-workers.

You may have various support group options.  For example, if you live in a retirement community, such as The Villages, Florida, you have a built-in support group in The Villages Triathlon Club.  Members train and race together with encouragement galore.

If you are working in an area without a triathlon training club in the area, you can create your own support group through a local fitness center, community pool, bike shop, and running store.  This provides flexibility to follow your specific training plan while enlisting the support of instructors and others with experience from which you can benefit.


The chapter on swimming covers the basic elements of an efficient stroke with illustrations for a proper freestyle technique.  I appreciated the suggestion for traveling and swimming, especially the advice for making use of the typical small hotel pool.

Interestingly, many triathletes find swimming to be their weakest sport.  If you are in that group, get comfortable being in the water and with swimming with other people as you will experience on race day.  Whether swimming in a pool or in open water, you will inevitably come close to, if not in contact with, other swimmers.  Staying calm is the key to finishing the swim.

If the race you choose includes an open water swim, you will want to practice swimming in open water to become familiar with ‘sighting’.   For safety reasons, I recommend adding the ISHOF Safe Swimmer (see also below) to your list of gear.



Most of us know how to ride a bicycle.  However, many have never ridden in a large group at speeds associated with a triathlon.

Therefore, the focus of this chapter is safety.  According to the authors, safety in biking begins with a review of the various components of the bicycle to make sure that they are each in good working order.   They also describe the most important cycling skills and suggestions on how to hone these, both individually and in group rides.

When riding on the road in traffic, you need to follow the rules of the road as if you were driving a car. (page 78)


We all know how to run. Right?  Well, not necessarily in a way that is the most efficient or that minimizes the possibility for injuries.  About half of this chapter is dedicated to proper cadence (steps per minute) and body form.  The rest of the chapter introduces training with a heart rate monitor and training involving the three-run types included in the weekly training plans.

If you take one thing from this chapter, remember to progress slowly (the ‘10% per week’ rule) to minimize the likelihood of injury.  Unfortunately, we need to be reminded of this every so often.


Strength and Flexibility

Building strength and increasing flexibility are two keys to increasing your performance in triathlon.   For many of us who spend a lot of time sitting during their workday, lack of flexibility can be the major root cause of injury.   The authors show that a relatively small amount of time spent in strength training and stretching can lead to better performance and fewer injuries.  Plus, these are another way to ‘mix it up’ and keep the training interesting and fresh.


Nutrition and Rest

If we all know how to run, most of us are even better at fueling (aka eating).  The challenge is to eat properly.  It becomes even more complicated when we are exercising, burning more calories, trying to build muscle, and recovering from the stress of training.

Triathlon training can be a great way to shed pounds and improve your health.   Eating the right foods in the right amount and at the right time is the focus of this chapter.  The authors are clear: “Although your daily caloric burn will certainly increase based on your training volume, you don’t have a license to hit the buffet for every meal”.

The chapter begins by showing us how to calculate two important numbers related to exercise – resting metabolic rate (RMR) and caloric burn rate.  The authors discuss how to eat (or ‘fuel’ as they define it) throughout the day. This includes eating before, during, and after workouts.  Sample menus for triathlon training days help to illustrate the principles of proper fueling.

The chapter concludes with a discussion about the importance of rest within a process known as periodization.  The authors even provide a simple test to help us determine when our body is telling us to take a day of rest.

If you do not get adequate rest, the muscles will fatigue and eventually fail, resulting in injury. (page 139)

Training plans

It’s now time to put the information from the previous chapters together and begin to train for your first triathlon.   Sample 8-week training plans are provided for bronze-, silver-, and gold-level athletes for both sprint and standard distance triathlons.    I appreciate that the authors show readers how to tailor the plans to meet their particular strengths and weaknesses and their individual schedules.


Preparing to race

I love this section.  Here, the authors take the new triathlete down the ‘home stretch’ to completing their first race.

Filled with practical advice, the authors walk us through the two weeks leading up to the race.  With greater detail for race day, you can feel the thrill that begins upon waking and includes crossing the finish line and heading to the refreshment area for a cold drink and banana.


Why get this book?

Train To Tri is pragmatic and focused.  It includes essential information for each of the sports of triathlon.  The authors season the information with the nuances of practicing them within a triathlon.

You can trust the USAT-certified coaches with this ‘no-nonsense’ guide.


You may also be interested in these posts


Disclaimer: Please note that SeniorTriathletes.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.  This is an affiliate advertising program that provide a way for sites to earn advertising fees.  They do this by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.  As an affiliate, I will receive a small commission for any purchases of this product that you make through Amazon.


This post was originally published on January 21, 2018.  It was updated on September 20, 2019.


Triathlon Across the USA: State #18 – South Carolina

Triathlon Across the USA: State #18 – South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; October 12, 2013—On On Tri Hilton Head Triathlon

Joy and I used the occasion of the Hilton Head Island Sprint Triathlon to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary in and around Savannah, Georgia and Hilton Head, South Carolina. In addition, I checked off the state of South Carolina in the Triathlon Across the USA quest.

Planning the South Carolina Triathlon

Unbeknownst to me, Joy had been dreaming about visiting Hilton Head Island for quite some time. Friends had told her of the many wonderful sights in the area. She shared her desire one evening, while we were discussing plans for the 2013 triathlon season.

About the same time, the race management company for the On On Tri Hilton Head Sprint Triathlon, Setup Events, opened registration for the 2013 race.

When we learned that the 2013 running of the Hilton Head Triathlon would take place in the week of our 40th wedding anniversary, we looked at each other and said, “Why not?”. Here was an opportunity to explore a part of the USA we had not previously visited and check off another state visited for a triathlon.

Hilton Head via Savannah

Eleven months after registering for the race, Joy and I left Minneapolis for our combined mini vacation and triathlon weekend. The Thursday, October 10th flight to Savannah, Georgia, with a connection in Atlanta, got us into Savannah at around noon.

After picking up our rental car, we drove to the Savannah Visitors Center. Here we purchased tickets and boarded the Old Town Trolley Tour for a narrated trip through historic Savannah.

About three-fourths of the way through the tour, we hopped off the trolley for lunch at Paula Deen’s restaurant, Lady & Sons. The buffet-style lunch included southern staples of grits, fried okra, and peach cobbler. There were plenty of other items, like green beans, more commonly found on our Minnesota table.

Joy with Paula Deen cutout, part of the South Carolina triathlon weekend.
Joy and I enjoyed southern cuisine with Paula Deen, actually her cutout, at Lady & Sons Restaurant in Savannah, Georgia.

After finishing the tour, we headed north out of Savannah toward Hilton Head Island, crossing from Georgia into South Carolina just outside Savannah. It took about an hour to make the roughly 40 mile trek to our hotel, The Beach House Holiday Inn, at Coligny Beach on Hilton Head Island.

Following a brief rest and walk on the beach, we headed over to Steamers for a swordfish dinner. Before turning in for the night, we took a dip in the hotel’s outdoor hot tub.

Renting a Bike for the South Carolina Triathlon

Months earlier, I decided to rent a bicycle for the race from a bike shop on Hilton Head Island. Renting meant I did not travel with my bike to this race.

There were several reasons in favor of this option.

First, at $50 for a 24-hour rental, it was a lot less expensive than the $300 ($150 each way) to bring my bike as airline luggage.

By the way, I had previously offered Delta Airlines the option of sponsoring me in triathlon by giving me free bike shipment. Unfortunately, they hadn’t taken me up on what I thought was a reasonable offer.

Second, by renting a bike, there was a lot less hassle. Renting avoided the need for unpacking and re-assembling my bike once at the race venue, then disassembling and re-packing it after the race and before heading back home.

Finally, traveling with the bike case would have required renting a larger vehicle, also at greater cost, than the mid-size sedan I reserved.

Concerns about a rental bike

Clearly, there were good reasons, mostly financial, for renting a bike locally. However, I worried a bit about getting a bike of the right size and fit that would not cost me too much time during the triathlon.

I am accustomed to riding a triathlon-specific bike (‘tri-bike’) which includes aero bars. However, there were no bike shops on Hilton Head Island with rentals of this type. The closest rental option was a road bike, without aero bars.

If you want to learn about renting a bike on Hilton Head Island, check out this article on Hilton Head bike rentals. There are a few bike rental companies. Don’t be afraid to shop around to find the best bike or deal for your needs.

Picking Up the Rental Bike

After lunch on Friday, Joy dropped me off at Road Fish Bike Shop to pickup the rental bike, a Trek Madone 3.1. The bike shop staff exchanged the pedals with mine and adjusted the seat to fit me. After a quick test ride and another minor adjustment, I headed back to the hotel.

The ride back to the hotel reminded me why I am paranoid about riding on city streets. While crossing an exit from a parking area, I was nearly struck by, of all things, a school bus as it barreled out of the lot. Had I not hit the brakes hard enough to lift the back wheel off the ground, I would have been hit by the bus.

Packet Pickup for the South Carolina Triathlon

Later that afternoon, it was time to pickup the race packet and T-shirt. Remembering the close call with the school bus earlier in the afternoon, I walked rather than rode the few blocks to Go Tri Sports.

While crossing a bridge along the walking trail, I glanced down into the water to see something that you don’t find on walks around any of the 10,000+ lakes and ponds in Minnesota—an alligator.

Fortunately, I already knew that the swim was in the gator-free ocean and not in a local lake or pond where these guys spend their time.

Alligator on Hilton Head on the way to packet pickup at the South Carolina triathlon.
While walking to pickup the race packet, I looked down from a footbridge to see this young Hilton Head alligator, Sure glad that our swim was in the ocean.

On On Tri Hilton Head Triathlon

Distances for the individual legs of the USAT-sanctioned On On Tri Hilton Head Sprint triathlon were:

  • Swim: 0.3 mile (550 yd or 500 m)
  • Bike: 12.4 mile (20 km)
  • Run: 3.1 mile (5 km)


Just before the start of the race, all triathletes made their way from the transition area to Coligny Beach. It was here that the race director gave us final instructions for the swim.

We then walked up the beach 550 yards, the distance of the swim, to the starting line. Once here, we waded into the water up to between chest and neck level (depending upon a person’s height). Here we waited for the signal for the race to begin.

Once the gun went off, the entire group of triathletes swam parallel to the beach until reaching the end point for the swim. The waves were small today, making it easy to swim in a straight line and stay on course.

Exiting the water, we ran the roughly 100 yards across the beach (on the right side of the volleyball court pictured below), through the Holiday Inn parking lot passing directly below the room where Joy and I were staying, across South Forest Beach Drive, and into the transition area.

Beach volleyball at Coligny Beach, location of the swim for the South Carolina triathlon.
The open water swim for the On On Tri Hilton Head Triathlon was held at Coligny Beach, popular for beach volleyball.


After removing my wetsuit, I grabbed the rented bike and jogged it to the line designated for mounting. Hopping onto the bike, I slipped my feet into the shoes already clipped into the pedals.

The bike course was three loops of a very, very flat, tree-lined four mile section of local streets. The course left the transition area, which was near the Coligny Circle roundabout, and went right onto South Forest Beach Drive.

At about one mile from the start, South Forest Beach Drive split into North Sea Pines Drive and Cordilla Parkway. The course followed Cordilla Parkway back to Pope Road, where we made a right turn. Once at the Coligny Circle roundabout, we took the first exit of the roundabout. This put us back onto South Forest Beach Drive for the second and, eventually, third loops.

The rental bike turned out to be a success. I normally ride a triathlon specific Trek SpeedConcept 7.5. However, the Trek Madone road bike worked well. My pace during the triathlon was the same as I would have expected with my bike.

Triathlon Tip: Renting a bike from a local bike shop, especially for shorter distance races, can be a cost-effective alternative to shipping your bike to a race. Tell the person at the bike shop the size bike you normally ride. Ask the shop if you can bring your pedals in order to use your clip-in shoes. And don’t forget to have the shop fit you to the bike, at least as much as they can.


There is not much to report about the run. The run course was quite familiar since it was a somewhat shortened, single loop of the bike course. As they say in triathlon-speak: “flat and fast”.


This will probably be recorded as the flattest course ever, at least of the triathlons in which I have competed. This should not be surprising considering the course was on a small coastal island cut up by many waterways. Waterways and ponds occupy 40% of the island. Nearly every square inch of the island is at sea-level.

The flat course no doubt helped me to achieve a competitive time and to place first in my age group. We were grateful for a positive end to a marvelous trip.

Race Firsts

  • First race with a rented bike.
  • First race in which our hotel room looked out onto the path between the swim exit and transition area. The trip to transition on race morning was about one block.

Is There a South Carolina Triathlon You Recommend?

Have you done a triathlon in South Carolina? What was your experience? Please share your comments below.


Triathlon Across the USA: State #14 – New Jersey

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) tested my recent triathlon training plan.  This triathlon was also the motivation for visiting a part of the Atlantic coast we had not seen before.


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 of the US states.

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.

Bass River State Forest, 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.

On Saturday afternoon, we picked up the race packet at the Bass River State Forest.  While at the park, we took a brief 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.  Twice each year, these two ladies would drive to Atlantic City for gambling and an overnight stay in Pat’s timeshare.

Atlantic City boardwalk.

Atlantic City boardwalk.


We drove along the strip, which was lined with 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 Pirates Den.

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 City Tri 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 USAT-sanctioned 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)

Lake Absegami Day Use Area of the Bass River Forest, venue for the New Jersey triathlon

The Bassman Triathlon transition area and swim were in the Lake Absegami Day Use Area of the Bass River Forest.



The air temperature on race morning was still in the 50’s F.  With the temperature of the Lake Absegami water reported to be around 65ºF, the race was ‘wetsuit-legal’.  Race organizers encouraged athletes to wear a wetsuit during the swim.

I 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.  When the gun goes off, I can start swimming already partially warmed up.

The swim for the Bassman triathlon was in Lake Absegami.

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 How to Achieve Faster Transition Times.

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.  Normally, there are two timing mats, one at each end of the transition area.

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.

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.




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.

Map of Bassman sprint triathlon bike course

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


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

The most unique ‘scenery’ was near the end of the course.  We passed two sizeable turkey vultures cleaning up a deer carcass.  The animal had probably 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.



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.

While driving back to Massachusetts from Bass River Forest, we were struck by the contrast between the massive green areas found throughout most of New Jersey and the asphalt and concrete covered 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
  • Vultures picking at a dead deer lying alongside the bike course.
  • First race in which I did not break a sweat until the very end of the run.



Enjoy this post? Please spread the word :)