2008 Philly Triathlon Race Report

It will be my attempt to keep this somewhat short. However, usually I fail in that endeavor. Actually, it will be more photogenic than usual, with less text.


A good friend offered to both take photos…and fly me up to Philly in his airplane. How could I refuse either of those offers? Midday Saturday I drove a short distance from my house to the nearby airport, where we began the fun of making Mr. Bike fit into Mr. Airplane. He had done a dry run a few weeks ago, so we knew it would fit – just a matter of putting the puzzle together. Once we removed the seat post, the puzzle was complete.

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(All my crap: Bike, Transition Bag, Bag of Misc stuff, Helmet, Pump)

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(Success! It fits!)

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It was a perfectly sunny day out with little puffy clouds, and because the DC area ATC controllers decided to route us all over creation, we got a good ‘scenic’ flight. Over Annapolis, and eventually directly off to the side of downtown Philly and right over the course itself.

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(Aeronautical map of the area around Philly)

I was the Chief Navigant Officer for the flight (hey, stop laughing…I actually have more experience than you might think flying aircraft)…but my job today and yesterday basically consisted of looking at the pretty map and spotting things we were flying over. Air Traffic Control, and multiple GPS systems (and the autopilot) simply took us from place to place.

A short while later we landed about 15 minutes from Downtown Philly. Off to race check-in, grabbed my hot pink swim cap (Yeah baby!), and met up with both Jeanne and Nancy.

Sunday – Race Morning

Functionally speaking, the pre-race drill was a bit dorked this morning. The hotel didn’t serve anything until 6:30AM – way to late for my good. And I didn’t ponder this situation until about 9PM at night. So I had to have the hotel staff at night make me eggs, toast and bacon – which I assembled into a breakfast sandwich in the morning. It wasn’t exactly ideal – but it worked.

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Got my transition area all setup. Having the brightly colored tape for the end of the transition rack was a god-send. Made it SOOOO easy to find my rack among the never ending rows.

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(I was matching: hot-pink swim cap and hot-pink tape on my…rack.)


(Waiting in line for the busses, still over an hour till race start. And eating my not-so-tasty sandwich…and giving the ‘why are you taking my photo’ look)


(Looking upstream from the swim exit, you swim down, under the second arch from the right, and eventually to the ‘beach’)

The swim started upstream, and then you worked your way downstream to T1 (and T2/Finish). They bussed you up to start area. I didn’t realize how big the swim wave was – at least 200 people (both my AG, and three others). I got on the front edge and it worked out pretty well. I was very concerned about being the 9th wave and having to swim over and under people the entire time. But it wasn’t too bad. I think I only swam through/over/under half a dozen or so folks from other waves. It’s the ones floating still you don’t see (they don’t make bubbles, unlike people moving forward).

At any rate, I had a decent swim and exited the water in 24 minutes (the times keep shifting, I thought it was 1-2 minutes faster by my watch).

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(I’m the guy cornering to the right…ya know, with the hot pink swim cap in hand)

My T1 was very fast, still some work I could do in the wetsuit removal department, lost a few seconds there – but otherwise all my recently practiced transition ‘workouts’ really sliced off valuable time.

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My biggest concern of the week/night/day was the flying mount that I practiced so much. I knew full well that if I did it wrong, I’d make a spectacle. However, things worked out perfectly and I was off and cooking with no issues. Put my shoes on about half a mile down the road once out of the fray. Here’s the little play-by-play of the mount.

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The bike course rocked! My second concern was having 2,500 athletes on a two loop course (meaning, only 12 miles for 2,500 cyclists). But, they closed down what was in effect a four lane parkway, so there was plenty of space. And cyclists were great about staying to the right if slower moving, and left if faster.

This was really my first ever ride on the new bike and race wheels on flat ground…and holy $h!t does it fly! The speeds I was able to maintain on the flats were out of this world. *Nobody* passed me on the ascents or flats…*nobody*. Now…descents were a different story, I still suck at them cause I’m a wimp. But I would generally catch anybody who passed me on downhill’s a short bit later on the flats.

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Coming into the flats section in front of transition area, average speed in this section…ummm…really really fast…cough…over 32MPH. I may have been having a bit too much fun here.

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After that, it was time to head on to the run. Except… I still had to dismount. I completely spaced out about this little activity until about 100 yards away from the dismount line. Where I executed the fastest on-bike shoe-removal that I’ve ever done before. Check it out:

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(Yes, I find the whole transition thing fascinating… I guess it’s so technical in nature, and I’m a technical kinda guy…so yeah.)

After that…the run.

The run…well…it didn’t go as well as I’d planned. I’d been running significantly faster during training recently, but something just didn’t click this morning. I was expecting about a 37-38 minute run, and it just didn’t happen. I think it was a combination of humidity and something amiss on the nutrition side. My coach also pointed out that if this had been an ‘A’ race, we would have tapered and not had an 82 mile bike on Sunday or a 20 mile run on Tuesday, but was not an A race. That said, I ran as well as I could given the day. I ended up at 41 minutes (6:45 pace). I just felt as though the engine

(Here’s the theme of the run: cooling down)

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(Cruising by…4 miles to go)

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I did manage to take out some folks in my AG over the last half mile or so. It took a fair bit of effort to both overtake three people and keep them at bay…but it was worth it. Finally getting down into the sub-6 min/mile territory where I should have been for a much longer chunk than just half a mile.

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(I love the above photo…I’m mid-air without anything touching the ground)

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(A second after being crossing the line…check please)

Afterwards, I met up with Washington DC Mayor Adrian Fenty. He’s a very active triathlete…who also does fairly darn well. He finished just 10 minutes behind me – rockin! After chatting about the race and our times a bit he actually gave me his private e-mail address and suggested we hook up for some swims. Cool!

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And then, I went back to transition sat down next to my bike and just pondered the steady stream of hot athletic girls wandering by while working my way through a stack of free cookies.

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Also saw a ton of folks from DC-Tri club, including Kevin (on the bike, run and then afterwards).

The Bottom line:

16/151 M25-29 RAINMAKER M ALEXANDRIA VA 22304 00:24:07 188 00:01:40 01:07:01 126 22.2 00:01:15 00:41:52 98 00:06:45 76 02:16:58 87/1892

Swim: 24:07
T1: 1:40
Bike: 1:07:01 (22.2MPH)
T2: 1:15
Run: 41:52 (6:45/mile)
Total: 2:15:58
16 out of 151 in my AG (M25-29), 87 out of 1892 overall.

Then, it was back to the airport and up to 8,000 feet for the flight down to DC. So…there ya go – my race report. And yes, I failed on the whole race report ‘keep it short’ thing. My bad. At least it was very picturesque.


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  1. Nice, nice, nice!!! Sorry I didn’t get to see you whoop everyone’s butt on Sunday. And you beat Fenty!! you are now officially a rockstar. Soon you’ll have an entourage. I want to know how your photographer got special access to transition.

    congrats on the flying mount (which sounds like some medieval war tactic).

    I only beat you by one minute, but don’t worry, i’m sure you’ll catch up to me one day.

    It was great seeing you.

  2. A private plane, a 2:16 Oly time with no taper, hooking up with Da Mayor, and scoping hot chicks while eating cookies: Um … wow. What a fantastic report. I loved it.

  3. You should get some of the caution tape to mark your bike rack.

    The possibilities are endless:
    “You must be at least this fast to rack your bike”
    “Move my set-up and you’ll flat”
    “No relays allowed”

  4. HOT DOG!!!

    What a great race!

    Yes, you do qualify as a ROCKSTAR with a private plane, personal photographer, a meeting with the mayor to exchange digits, and a smoking fast Oly time.

    The heat will suck the life right out of you on the run every time. Love the mid-air run picture.

  5. Wow, great photos and race report!! Thanks! And congratulations on a fabulous job!! Well done indeed!

    Yep, definitely rockstar caliber!!

  6. It was a great race report. We love the details. Why would you keep it short! And I loved the pictures, too!
    Congrats on an awesome race!

  7. Private plane, huh? A great way to get to a triathlon, I tell you! Sounds like your bike outperformed herself!

    Man, I can’t believe the DC mayor is this hot! Beats Marian Barry anytime!

    Great photos – it’s so nice to have someone nice enough to support you in a race! Hope you bought him/her some dinner and a movie!

  8. hat a name dropper…haha

    very cool…air plane to the race…
    your own photographer..

    you hang out with the mayor..
    and you post a obscene-fast time.. mana oh man, you are living the life…

    great post.
    loved the flying mount..haha

  9. I think everyone covered most of my thoughts i.e. the plane, the photos, the mayor and your race results – all absolutely first rate.

    I also really like those Hed 3s. They are nice looking wheels and with all the black, including your tri suit you definitely look like you came to race.

  10. Nat

    I love your race reports. They are always so interesting. You did great! Also loved the transition photos! Way to go. Thanks for the advice on the Garmin. It worked!

  11. SLB

    Hey hey hey, way to go, personal plane, being chased by the paparazi and hanging out with the local movers and shakers, oh yeah and an awesome fast time as well!

    Great race reportage and result.

  12. Hey DCRainmaker! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and figured I’d de-lurk. I’m a (newbie) triathlete so I’m really loving following your training progress. You seem super-motivated. Feel free to follow me over at http://www.wasitforthis.blogspot.com – just started it so it’s pretty bare at the moment!

  13. Very nice, Ray. The write up, the effort and the results.

    Thanks for sharing!

  14. Way to go!! Great splits! ESPECIALLY THE BIKE!! Holy crap! And nice photos – I’ve never seen someone packing their gear into a plane to head to a triathlon – that’s a first!

    Again, nice job!!!

  15. You got to hang out with Mayor Fenty… Sweet! My parents sent me an article from the Washington Post on him! Congrats on an a great race :)

  16. That’s good solid work man.

  17. ohh big bad private plane travel guy.

    even the pros dont get that luxery

  18. Sweet…your “own” pilot, a personal photographer and hanging out with the mayor. Totally first class!

    Great race! Congratulations!

  19. I’m trying to conquer this whole running thing, but maybe if I actually learn to swim i’d do a triatholon.

  20. I like long race reports, so no apologies needed. It’s nice to feel like the essense of what was written was really captured!!

    GREAT JOB out there! Congrats on smooth transitions and an overall really solid performance. I’m really looking forward to seeing how you improve over the next year or two. Keep it up!