Luray International Distance Triathlon [Update with official times and ranking]

2:33:13 (80/317 overall, 5th in Age Group)


This was actually an eventful prerace experience. I drove down after work on Friday and about an hour from Luray the sky just opened up and started pouring. It was difficult to see twenty feet in front of you and on top of that it was driving through twisty mountain roads, not to much fun.

Once I got down there I got the packet and headed over to the race site. The lake was tiny and had great views of the surrounding mountains, very picturesque. Lucky for me the cooler weather the last week meant the swim was going to be wetsuit legal.

After that I went to drive the course. It was about 3-4 miles out and then a loop that you did twice before heading back in. From driving the course it looked like there wasn’t going to be a flat spot out there.

Luray is a small town and becuse I signed up late I had to get a hotel in the ‘next town over’, New Market. It was about a half hour away but required going up and over the mountains to the other side. I ate dinner at the hotel restaurant, Johny Appleseed’s. They had some really good apple fritters, I guess that’s where the name comes from.

The race started at 8 so I didn’t have to get up ridiculous early. Heading out there was a really thick fog. Going up and over the mountain it cleared at the top and you could see it sitting in the valley. By time I got to the lake it looked it had all cleared, I found out later I was wrong about that.

I got everything set up and got a warmup on the bike. I had long sleeves on and was still cold it was probably in the high 50s or low 60s. I was having a little trouble with the shifting so went to the bike support and got that taken care of. Then it was down to the beach and the start of the swim.

Swim 1500 m: (25:42, 93/317,5th age group, )

The course was set up for two laps of a clockwise 750 meter triangle. Just like last race I was in the first wave, which is a very good thing because the bike course is not crowded. I had my best swim from a sighting standpoint in this race and am feeling a lot more comfortable with open water swimming with each race.

This was an in water start and I started on the right and towards the front. I tried to stay along the buoy line so I wasn’t adding distance like I usually do. I got about 25 meters from the first turn buoy, I sighted it and put my head down to start swimming and before I knew it BAM! right into the buoy. I pushed it out of the way and did an underwater dive type thing to get around it. I made another tight turn on the second one and headed back in to start the second lap.

They had about five waves so I was expecting to run into a lot of slower people from the other waves on the second lap but it didn’t happen. On second lap I ran into another buoy making a turn. I think what made this swim successful for me was improved sighting and better rhythm which came from not sighting as often as I had been doing in the past. Oh and the fact I got to wear the wetsuit, that helped a lot 🙂


T1: (2:41, 157/317,10th age group)

There was a run from the beach up some steps to the transition area. I had some trouble getting my wetsuit on and then lost some time with the helmet. Apparently after my warmup when I put my helmet away the straps got twisted and I got frustrated trying to get them untwisted and wasted some time.

Bike 25 miles: (GPS 26 miles 20.2mph, 1:17:42, 80/317, 6th age group)

This was a tough bike course. I also got introduced to what a “false flat” is on a bike course. After getting out of the park you go up for a little bit and then down a big hill, I hit 40 mph coasting down the hill. It was back up again until the right hand turn to start the two loops. The loop started with another big downhill but this was one was twisty, again I hit 40 mph but this time I was making some turns at 40 mph which was new experience for me. I reminded me of the Tour of California Time Course from a few years ago but not as twisty as this video:

At the bottom of the big hill was the fog that I saw on the way to race. My sun glasses go foggy and made it hard to see making me a little nervous but I was ok. It was up and down with some more high speed turns until heading out onto Ida Road? to get back to the start of the second loop. When driving the course Friday I was wondering where the elevation gain was to make up for the big hill at the start of the loop because I wasn’t seeing it driving. Turns out the several miles back on this road where a “false flat” meaning it looks flat but is a slight constant incline. This was really tough to grind up this road, working hard and not going very fast. Once you got back on that road the fog had dissipated again. I tried to do the second lap faster which I was able to, and the fog was back again which I was surprised about.   

Heading back towards the park was two steep climbs that were really tough like 6-7 mph working hard tough. I had this course measured at just over 26 miles on the gps and to average just over 20 mph without biking as much I had been I was happy. I also paced myself a lot better then my last Olympic race when I went 1:07:xx.

T2: (1:02, 70/317, 5th age group)

It was quick, bike shoes off, run shoe on, grab race belt and visor then out the door

Run 10km: (GPS 6.01 miles, 7:39 min/mile, 46:09, 95/317, 5th age group)

This was a 10k PR for me by over 3 minutes triathlon or open 10k. It was two 5k laps and was hilly as well. I started out really fast and ran the first mile in 7 minutes. I felt good to the turn around and on the way back in my legs started to feel heavy and I slowed down to 8:15 min/mile. After I got in the park and the second lap I felt good again and got into a grove running 7:20 min/mile for miles 3 and 4 four. At around the five mile mark I started to get some craps in my quads above the knees but I gutted it out and kept moving along to the finish line.



Last race I noted I felt like I was racing, this one I didn’t. I never really saw anyone in my age group and when I saw the results I found out why. I was fourth, the third place guy was 10 minutes ahead of me and the first and second about 15 minutes. Then after me I think it was a ten minute drop off to the next person. The first three where out of the water before me and I never saw them again. I would also like to note that if I would have entered Clydesdale (200+) I would won first place just like last week, so 4th in age group and first in weight group is good. 

The awards for this race where engraved wine glasses. I guess Setup Eventsfigures triathletes love to drink because the Culpeper race was an engraved bear mug. Maybe they know what they are doing because I am drinking an adult beverage as I am writing this.

This race was also a qualifier for best of the US race. The top three overall finishers in each gender qualified for the race. It’s the same way for each state and the amount of people that qualify is based on size, it’s a really competitive race. This brought out a really competitive field, my time would have put me in the top 30 last year but this year looks like a top 50 finish. I also have noticed my age group has gotten more competitive with all the college kids out for the summer and having all day to train.


Also I went by Luray Caverns after the race.

This was the best part, it’s a shallow lake. The water is perfectly still and what seems like is under the water is actually just a reflection of the ceiling. Very neat.

2 responses to “Luray International Distance Triathlon [Update with official times and ranking]

  1. gotta watch out for those buoys! 🙂

    so what makes a race “wetsuit legal” ? water temp? air temp? a combo of both?

    again, congrats on a great job!! 🙂

  2. The wetsuit legal is based on water temperature. If it is 78 or colder you can wear a wetsuit, 78 to I think 83 you can wear a wetsuit but won’t be able to win an award and above 83 you can’t wear a wetsuit because you will overheat.

    It makes a big difference for a bad swimmer like me, it puts you in a good position on top of the water. Last olympic distance race I did 30 min without a wetsuit and this time I did 26 min on less swim training!

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