Culpeper Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Overall: 1:28:43  ( AG 7/25, 45/338 )

This was highest overall finish, top 13% males but my age group was stacked and I wound up seventh. The swim wasn’t what I wanted and I held back on the bike to try and save something for the run and  it seemed like that worked.  


This race took place in Culpeper, VA which is southwest of DC in the foothills of the blue ridge mountains. It was a really gorgeous place I would love to come back here for another race and will probably dive down here one weekend for some climbing on the bike.

I drove down with my dad on Saturday. We got into town and picked up my packet then went to drive the bike course. I have found this is a very useful thing to do and helps me with where I could push the pace and where the quick turns and bad parts of the road were. This is a picture of the lake from the road leading in to the park.


We went and got some food at Buffalo Wild wings. I enjoyed the food and it would be a great place to go watch a football game, I recommend it. They had a neat device that let you play games like poker and triva against people at other tables, very fun.

We went to the hotel and we stayed at Microtel. I had never heard of it before but it was less then a year old so it couldn’t be that bad. We got there, checked in and the room was really nice. We upacked when Dad noticed that there was no shower head. The front desk guy tried to install one but couldn’t. He said he’d try to find us a different room but since the triathlon was in town no rooms of the same type were available. Instead he upgraded us to one of the suites they had for the price I was already paying.   

The hotel was 5 minutes from the race site. Prerace was uneventful I got there early and got a good spot then took the bike out to make sure everything was good, and a quick jog. Flopped around in the water and it was time to get started.


Swim 750 meters: 15:14 (2:02 100m) ( 115/338 )

I haven’t been swimming very much so I wasn’t expecting a whole lot, just try not to fall too far back from the top people in my age group. I wasn’t able to do that.

I was in the first wave that went off. This was a good thing because it ment the bike course would be empty. I started towards the front and on the outside. If you look closely you can see me in that picture.

 The start was a little confusing. Everyone got in the water and the director said we have 10 minutes until the start. About 45 seconds later he said 30 seconds til the start and then it was off.

 This was probably the roughest swim I have done. I got kicked and ran into a lot at the start. It cleared up around the first yellow buoys until I ran into trouble again. There was one guy who was swimming on my left who could not figure it out that ot swim to the next buoy you swim parallelto them not perpendicular. I drew a picture to illustrate. He ran into the side of my 3 or 4 time until I slowed down, got on his left and then I was fine.


T1: 1:22 ( 64/338 )

There was a long run through grass from the transition area to the bike mount line. I have no idea how my transition was this fast, it felt a lot slower.

Bike: 48:45 ( 17 miles, 21.1 mph avg. ) ( 36/338 )


Here’s my bike with the fancy wheels and all ready to go.

The bike started on top of a hill in the park and then you made a hard right turn at the bottom and went up another quick hill. It was steeper then it looks in the picture.

I heard from a lot of people that did this race in previous years that it was a very technical bike course. I would agree with that, lots of twisting and turning. Some big downhills and a few quick climbs. There was a lot of variety on this course which was fun. I hit a max speed of just under 40 mph going down one of the hills. Again, previewing the course was very helpful and is a must do before every race.

In terms of the actual race I got up on the top of the first hill and settled into a good rhythm. I was moving along good but heard some rattling and was worried I had another flat. I looked down and was releaved it was only my water bottle sliding off it’s holding, not a problem just annoying. I made sure I was drinking on the bike this time and staying hydrated, I learned my lesson a few races ago.

One of the first people from the 30-34 wave passed me and I kept in him in sight for the next 5-10 miles trying to keep an even effort and not go to hard up the hills and then passed him going downhill. I caught up to a lot of the fast swimmers about 10 miles into the bike.

For my ability and riding experience I think I did a good job of handling the turns and carrying my speed through them. In the last 3-4 miles things started to get bunched up and I saw lots of drafting 😦  

The entrance back to transition was a hard right at the bottom of a very steep hill so I was in the hardest gear making the turn. I underestimated how steep it was to get back to bike mount. I was lazy with the shifting and put a lot of pressure on the pedals to get there and wound up popping the chain off the ring 15 feet from the finish. I jumped off and ran the rest of the way back. 

T2: 1:05 ( 97/338 )

You had the reverse of the long out. Running back to the rack I somehow managed to cut my left leg on the bike’s chain ring and had a nice little cut.

Run: 22:17 ( 3.04 miles, 7:20 min/mile ) ( 70/338 )

I need to look it up but this might be a 5k pr for me. It stated out up a decent sized hill I tried to stay at a good heart rate and get my legs going. Once at the top of the hill I let it go and picked up the pace.

About a mile in I picked off someone in the age group who was fading lot. I kept up a consistent pace until less then a mile to go and it was downhill and started picking it up again.

I saw someone with in the 15-19 age group and tried to catch him going down the hill and then ‘whosh’ someone in my age group goes blowing by me. I tried to keep up but he dropped me. It turns out he ran a 19 minute 5k, 8th fastest of the day.

I had a great run for me. It was neat because for the first time it felt like I was actually racing, unfortunatly I lost the race at the end but it was really fun.  



I picked up my stuff, changed, and then hung around waiting for results. I looked at the first posting and I was 7th, I figured maybe 3-4 of the people were in the open division so they wouldn’t count in the awards.

Plus the awards where custom beer mugs with the race logo on them and I really wanted one. It turns out none of the people ahead of me were in the open division so I finished 7th. Overall I had a good race and I guess I got spoiled by placing in a lot of my earlier races.

As a note if I would have done clydesdale (200 lbs+) instead of age group I would have won by over 4 minutes. One of stretch goals this year was to qualify for the age group nationals for 2009. Usually that means winning the age group to get in the top 10% but since there were 25 or so in this race I needed to finish top 3, I thought I had a change to do that but I wasn’t able to get it done.

Goal number 1 for the this winter is to get better at swimming.

2 responses to “Culpeper Sprint Triathlon Race Report

  1. You have an indoor pool nearby, right? Otherwise that winter goal is really going to suck.

  2. Pingback: Culpepper Sprint Triathlon « Howarda20837’s Weblog

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