Race report – Augusta 70.3 by Mark Dyson

I really couldn’t have asked for a better performance to close out my 2017 tri season. My expectations were completely exceeded. So, to say that I’m ecstatic about my final results is an understatement. I went into this race shooting for a sub-6:30 and ended up with a sub-6…final finish time of 5:51:33.

SWIM – 36:29
The swim portion is a point-to-point downstream swim was in the Savannah River. The temperature of the water on race morning was 77°. Therefore, this would be my first race without a wetsuit. Fortunately, I did a short practice swim Friday evening without any wetsuit since the probability was 50/50 at that time. Being in wave 22 of 27, I did not enter the water until 9:11am. It was a fast swim (for me at least) and I managed to maintain a front-crawl stroke for the entire duration.

BIKE – 2:51:20
Overall, the bike course is really fast. Around mile 15-ish, give or take, the road became very bumpy. It felt as if I was riding a jackhammer for a few miles, which made it tough, if not nearly impossible, to get into a comfortable aero position. There were a few rolling hills. Being one of the last waves it required me to do A LOT of passing. Sometimes the course would get to be 3 to 4 bikes abreast (riders not knowing the etiquette and carrying on conversations). This made it tough and frustrating to pass without getting near or being forced to cross the center line. I felt very strong throughout entire bike course and was able to hammer down for much of it!

RUN – 2:15:05
After mile one it became a complete mental game. I had to keep telling myself that once I reach the next mile I will allow myself to do run-walk-run intervals. But once I’d reach that mile market, I kept telling myself to reach the next mile before walking. And before I knew it, I’d reach one of the aid stations. The aid stations were the only time that I would allow myself to walk. Long enough to get hydrated and gather any nutrients before powering on. Knowing that I had good swim & bike with the possibility of getting a sub-6 hour race, this is what kept me going on the run. Otherwise, I would’ve walked a lot more than just the aid stations.

LESSONS LEARNED:
1. I’m capable of swimming 1.2 miles without using the wetsuit as my crutch.
2. Put sunscreen on my lower back in case my try top creeps up.
3. Use A LOT more chamois butter in my tri shorts. Chaffing SUCKS!!!
4. Spend more time stretching hip flexors during training.
5. Whatever you tell your mind, the body will follow accordingly. Therefore, always try to keep a positive attitude, even at the worst moments.

Logistically, the race is a bit of a PITA, but I guess that is to be expected from having a point-to-point swim and a finish line that doesn’t end near the transition area. Depending on your parking situation and road closures, it can be a hassle to retrieve your gear. This is a race that is very beneficial to have a sherpa. Although, even with this hassle, It would NOT stop me from doing the race again. This is a great venue for an Ironman event with considerable community support and unprecedented crowds on the course to help give you motivation when you really need it.

Outside of having a phenomenal race, it was great to finally meet many of my TriMafia family in person as well as many other triathletes that inspire me on social media.

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