BEN WRIGHT’S AUGUSTA IRONMAN 70.3 RACE REPORT

Here is Ben’s race report (click on picture to enlarge) :

BEN WRIGHT IN TRANSITION AT AUGUSTA 2014 IRONMAN 70.3
BEN WRIGHT IN TRANSITION AT AUGUSTA 2014 IRONMAN 70.3

After arriving Friday afternoon and building our bikes we headed downtown to register and check out the expo Saturday morning followed by the mandatory bike check in. Transition was in a field by the Augusta Rowing Club along the banks of the Savanna River. Being in one of the later waves we were racked at the far end next to swim in and run out along with the rest of our age group.

Morning of the race we parked up and hit transition for about 5.30am and were ready to go by 6am and on the bus to the swim start up the river. Ian and I were in waves 24 and 25 out of 28 so we had a long wait from the pros going off at 7.30am until we went just after 9 so we passed the time watching all the earlier waves . We were surprised to see a lot of people stopping after only a few hundred meters to tread water or others reverting to side stroke or back stroke, though due to the strong current they still made good progress. I knew there was a current and this confirmed it, which was reflected in our times with both of us hitting what would have been a time for more like 1,500m instead of 1,900m as we both swam pretty conservatively.

The bike was a single loop out into the countryside of South Carolina. The first 30k-40k was into a headwind/crosswind but pretty flat. I don’t think I needed to touch the brakes or get out of the aero bars, other than to eat, at all for the first hour or so. The next 40k was reasonably hilly, more so than we both expected with some longish and slow up hills with the last 20k net downhill and pretty fast back into Augusta. The course map showed 900ft of climbing but I had over 1,200 on my Garmin. We both passed a lot of people from the earlier waves on the 2nd half of the course especially on the hills. I guess a lot of people were from somewhere that was pretty flat as I’m not great on the hills myself in Bermuda but still passed a lot of others.

The run was 2 loops up and down the main streets in down town Augusta with the finish in a small park right in the center of town. We were both a bit concerned with the weather for the run given there was not much shade but there was cloud cover the whole time we were running, though it was still warm and humid. Plenty of aid stations and for a couple of miles a lot of local support which helped push us to the finish.

As we packed up our bikes and headed back to the car we saw a guy coming up the last mile who was racing for the Scott Rigsby Foundation for injured US Veterans on two prosethetic legs, from above the knee. We had both been comparing stories about which bit of us hurt the most so to see this guy pushing through to the finish really put things in perspective for me.

IAN HENDERSON AND BEN WRIGHT COMPLETE AUGUSTA IRONMAN 70.3

Ben Wright and Ian Henderson survived the current in the Savannah River, over eager spectators and a hilly bike course to complete the Augusta, Georgia Ironman 70.3 this Sunday 28th September.

Ian was 80th ( 5hrs 43 mins 31 secs) and Ben 105th ( 6 hrs 04 mins 40 secs) in the mens 30-34 age group for the 1.2 mile swim 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run.

Here is Ian’s race report :

We started around 9:10 am (almost 2 hours after the pros and first age groupers!) meaning we knew  from the start we’d be hitting the run at the hottest part of the day!  But we wouldn’t let that deter us as we set off down the river Savannah for the first 1.2 miles.  The swim was downstream, with a current of around 1mph.  The swim was also wetsuit legal, but I decided against it as I prefer to swim without.  On the swim, I had plenty of open water and no contact at all.  It’s a straight swim and you can see the end from the start.  I was out the swim and into T1 in 25 minutes, posting the 18th quickest swim time for the 30-34 age group.  

On the bike, given how late our swim wave was, I forever seemed to be shouting “left” as I was passing those in front.  The cycle heads out of Georgia in a North Easterly direction into South Carolina.  The first 18 miles or so were near pan flat and progressing smoothly, albeit into a headwind that would forever seem to be with us.  From about mile 20, the rolling hills of the South Carolina countryside kicked in.  I definitely underestimated how hilly the course would be and there was  more climbing than the elevation chart suggested!  Those middle 20 miles killed the thighs, but the last 16 miles or so were predominantly downhill, so was able to get some recovery in on the bike.

Posting a 2:52 on the bike (63rd in the age group), however would have liked to have gone quicker had the course not been so busy.

Off on the run at around 12:45pm, just as the weather started to heat up.  We’d been fortunate with the weather as it was largely overcast with not too much humidity, but when the sun did break through, it was hitting the low 80s.  Coming from Bermuda, the conditions were perfect.  

The run course was pan flat – imagine running 13.1 miles on Kindley Field (Ed. airport runway).  The course was 2 loops of the Augusta town center, with people out cheering in masses (often venturing onto the route much to this triathlete’s annoyance!).  First loop of the run (around 6 miles) was relatively pain and incident free; however the second loop welcomed the onset of calf and stomach cramping, slowing the pace down and walking all the aid stations with a run inbetween.  With the end in sight, it was all about getting to the end in one piece and enjoying it – rolling over the finish line in 5:43, and straight into the medical tent for my standard IV drip!

The race itself is very well organized – the best I’ve been to.  The local support is very vocal (at times on the run course it felt like something from the Tour de France with all the spectators being so close they can pat you on the back), and all very welcoming.  The race is the second biggest event in Augusta after some golf competition !  There’s a good mixture of athletes there – lots of newbies and first timers, as well as seasoned triathletes looking for PBs.  Anyone who has swimming as a weakness and running as a strength would love this race as it has the potential to produce a very fast time.  

KAREN SMITH AND NEIL DE STE CROIX WIN BANK OF BERMUDA FOUNDATION TRIATHLON

Karen Smith and Neil De Ste Croix after yesterday's race.
Karen Smith and Neil De Ste Croix after yesterday’s race.

Karen Smith and Neil de ste Croix, both multiple winners of the Bank of Bermuda Foundation Triathlon, took top honours  on Sunday in St.Georges in humid conditions and with a wet bike course which made conditions tricky.

Neil, who first won this race back in the 1990’s is now 49 and is still going strong. He usually has some time to make up after the swim but only trailed his main rival Mark Wilcox by a few seconds going into the bike ( after what appears to have been a somewhat short swim course) and then opened up over a minute lead on the bike over Wilcox. He padded that lead by another minute on the run to win comfortably in 1hr 3 mins 31 secs.

Mark came home second male adult  in 1hr 5 mins 01 secs with Chris Hands (1 hr 6 mins 09 secs ) catching early swim leader Karl Wilson on the run (1hr 06 mins 21 secs)  for the third podium spot.

Things could have been very different if Chris and Karl had been closer on the run as the run turn marshall was wrongly positioned and Neil and Mark both ended up running around 1/2 mile longer than the field before the error was spotted.

Karen led the women’s race from start to finish opening up about a minute’s lead on Amber Mehta and Laurie Orchard and two minutes on Julia Hawley after the swim. She then extended that lead by a few seconds going into the run as a very close race developed for 2nd place between Amber, Julia and Laurie who all exited transition into the run within 9 secs of each other. Karen pulled away on the run to finish in 1 hr 4 mins 38 secs whilst Julia managed to open up a gap on Laurie and Amber to take 2nd in 1hr 7 min 01 secs. Behind Julia the consistent Laurie and fast improving Amber were locked in a duel for 3rd but in the end it was Laurie who just edged ahead to finish in 1hr 07 mins 08 secs with Amber clocking 1hr 8 mins 05 secs for 4th.

Karen’s efforts were good enough for 2nd overall but bearing in mind that Mark and Neil ran long that might have been 3rd which is still outstanding.

For full results and finish line pictures follow the link on this blog in the “LINKS” section to Bermuda Timing Systems and for photos and videos follow the link in the “LINKS” section to Bermuda Island Stats.

BANK OF BERMUDA FOUNDATION TRIATHLON JUST HOURS AWAY

Ordnance Island St. Georges
Ordnance Island St. Georges

The Bank of Bermuda Foundation Triathlon, the oldest race on the Bermuda calendar, gets underway this Sunday 28th September at Ordnance Island, St. George.

The adult race starts at 9AM with athletes racing individually and in teams  over 750 meter swim, 20km bike and 5km run. Mark Wilcox and former winner of the event Neil de ste Croix will start as favorites on the men’s side with multiple times winner Karen Smith starting as the favorite. Laurie Orchard has not been far behind Karen in races this year so will be hoping to go one better on Sunday. Amber Mehta has had a great season and will be battling it out with Belinda Castree and Julia Hawley for that third podium position. There will also be some close competition for age group honours.

Mark Wilcox
Mark Wilcox

The race will be preceded by junior triathlons starting at 8AM. Juniors will race over various distances according to age categories including a junior advanced distance for 13-15 year olds that will include many of our outstanding juniors such as Mathew Oliviera, Cameron De Ste Croix, Rebecca Harrison and Alyssa Rowse.

EXCELLENT ARGO RE SUMMER SERIES WINDS UP

ALAN GILBERTSON
ALAN GILBERTSON

Another excellent Argo Re SUMMER SERIES finished up on Thursday 25th September at Clearwater Beach. Thanks to Alan Gilbertson’s outstanding hard work and organization, along with a host of volunteers each Thursday, the series of over 20 races has been a huge success attracting many newbies to the sport as well as more experienced triathletes.

Well done to Byron Rencken, who won the season finale. Tim Palmer showed that he’s still “got it” by finishing second with a stunning performance. Nick Pilgrim earned third place with a strong run, enabling him to leapfrog Otis Ingham.

Kim McIvor was our leading lady. Sharon “have you finished already” Craig was in second, with Liz Stewart not long behind.

For Alan’s usual full report on this past Thursday’s event, including results, follow the link on this blog in the “LINKS” section to the Bermuda Triathlon Association website and go to “Events 2014”. Thanks also to Islands Stats for their great coverage of the series including photos and videos. In the “LINKS” section of this blog go to “Island Stats” to view photos and videos from this season’s Argo Re Series.

HENDERSON AND WRIGHT RACE AUGUSTA 70.3 THIS SUNDAY 28TH SEPTEMBER

IAN HENDERSON WITH NEW ZEALAND'S TWO TIME OLYMPIC MEDALLIST BEVAN DOCHERTY IN BERMUDA
IAN HENDERSON WITH NEW ZEALAND’S TWO TIME OLYMPIC MEDALLIST BEVAN DOCHERTY IN BERMUDA

Ian Henderson an Ben Wright take on IRONMAN Augusta 70.3 this Sunday 28th September.

Athletes will start their day swimming with the current and should anticipate record breaking times as they venture 1.2 miles in a point-to-point swim in the Savannah River.

Located at the Augusta Rowing Complex, athletes will enter transition and prepare to start their single-loop, 56-mile bike ride throughout Georgia and into the countryside of South Carolina. The hilly terrain of this one-loop course will spread out the field and be a true test of stamina, proving it to be anything but “peachy.”

Lined with spectators, athletes can expect to be cheered on from start to finish of the 13.1-mile, two-loop run throughout downtown Augusta. Participants will conclude their day with a strong finish on Broad Street, adjacent to Augusta Commons, the former home to the finish line.

The race gets underway at 8.30AM Bermuda time (7.30AM Augusta time) and you can follow Ian and Ben by going to the “Athlete Tracker” section of the race website by clicking on the link below :

Ironman 70.3 Augusta website