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