We have a winner! - Sand Key Triathlon

Trophy for First Place!
Well its been a great weekend, rounded off with a "great day at the office". I was the fastest Clydesdale award at the 2006 Sand Key Triathlon. I actually won the 40+ category by 2-minutes and also beat the Clydesdale 39 and under winner by over 5-minutes.

For the first time in something like 45 triathlons I won my category.The Clydesdales started in the 4th wave with the 40-44 age group and my age group, 45-49, started in wave 2 so from the start I was racing to see how many of my age group I could catch with a 7-minute lead.

For the first time that I can remember, despite being mentally tired from travelling from Poland to get to the race, physically I was well rested. This probably accounts for how I could keep my heart rate over 160, in the 90-100% range for the whole race.

WheelsWhen it was time for my wave, the 40-44 plus all Clydesdales to start I’d decided to start near the front and off to the right. The start went well, run into the water was about 15m and then into the swim, it was crowded to the first bouy but not rough. In fact in comparison to all my other swims this year this was probably the easiest.

Round the first bouy and I was having trouble passing one guy, until that is he flipped on his back and started to back stroke. I’m pretty sure he was in my wave. Why do people start at the front if they have no chance of holding their position and just get in the way? Anyway, the rest of the swim went well, fairly smoothly. At the last bouy as I turned I figured I must still be in the top-10(actually 2nd Clydesdale, 9th in wave) from my wave and had caught and passed many from the three earlier waves. Turning the last bouy I looked up and there was someone walking in front of me, I swam a few more strokes and could feel the sand near my  fingers I stood up removed my swim mask and hat and started running forward, only to find a sudden dip and much deeper water, dived back in and completed another 15m with my eyes closed.

Sand Key courseA long run into transition but a quick one, I'd already caught and passed a few from my age group that started 7-minutes before. My stance on running bare foot and mounting with shoes already on the pedals could be clearly seen on the video clip I saw, I came out of my transition lane just behind a guy with MTB style bike shoes on, I caught him before the mount line and in the last frame of the video where I can be seen he can't be seen and is mounting his bike.

The bike was a fast one aided by my new Zipp 606 wheels, I was a stunning 19th overall, not bad for a 49yr old, 203lb/96kg guy. I was constantly passing people and all the way to the end on the way over the bridge on Gulf Blvd I didn't get overtaken, then I was passed by the two leaders in the womens 30-34 age group, only to pass them on the downhill on the otherside. It was a fast bike course with generally draft free racing. A swift dismount and I was out on to the run, still feeling fresh.



Given I hadn't been overtaken on the bike at all, and managed 2.5-miles on the run before getting over taken by a few younger men I knew I was in with a shot, but unaware I was in first in my category and 5th in my wave which was younger than my age group. I was passed by Cliff Cook of the St Pete Mad Dogs about  3/4 of a mile out, he looked like maybe a Clydesdale so I figured I was down maybe a place or if he was passing me and had started in the wave 7-minutes earlier. It turned out to be the later, I chased him but didn't catch him and crossed the finish line in 1:09:30.


Stats for the day:
Distances: 1/3-mile open water swim; 11-mile bike; 3.1-mile run
1st Clydesdale overall and 40+; 8th 45-49 Age group
51st overall; 290 finishers
1:09:30 overall time
8:49 Swim; 2nd 40+ Clydesdale, 4th 45-49 Age group, 62nd overall
2:02 T1; 1st Clydesdale, 1st 45-49 Age group, 11th overall

30:09 Bike; 1st Clydesdale, 3rd 45-49 Age group, 19th overall; Average MPH 20.5
0:50 T2; 3rd Clydesdale, 4th 45-49 Age group; 68th overall
27:41 Run; 3rd Clydesdale, 12th 45-49 Age group, 128th overall
MotionBased data from my Garmin 305
AltaVista race results
Sand Key Triathlon race website

  • Current Location: Austin, Texas
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Wonder if that's the same Cliff Hook - he rode a 650 wheeled red Cervelo P2k. It may have been Clyde Hook that I used to race...
Yeah, I lived in St. Pete 2000-2003 and was a regular at the Mad Dog events and Florida races.
good lord, dont you ever rest?

btw, in case you didn't see my reply to your comment - we have the same bday, day and year. weird.
Yeah... nice coincidence. Shame we never met up at a race. I'm moving to Austin on October 6th and am there now, I'm only back in NY on 3-6 to close the apartment.

Fancy meeting up for a run, swim or just coffee to say hello? Obviously I'm quite happy to meet in a public place during daylight hours.. you can chose. Its always good to meet folks. I'm meeting a few "livejournals" here in Austin. Email me if you want to meet, my email address is m_cathcart @ yahoo dot co dot uk - not thats not dot com.
Awesome job. Especially considering the travel. I didnt realize you were such a fat bastard! No wonder you wanted the 808's. How come you went with the 606's? which I think was a better choice.

I rode my 303's in a pretty strong cross wind and on some big decents the other day. Its a little scary to get use to. I imagine the 606's will be worse. Looks like you had Spinnergy tri spokes before. Did you really feel that much of a difference?
Hey, I ressemble that remark but not so much anymore. I used to be 18 1/2 stone, or about 260lbs/118kg but these days I hover around 202lbs/95kg.

I definately had some scary moments on the Spinergys on bridges in the wind in NY, if you have not been to the Hudson Valley, Westchester County, Putnam counties its hard to imagine but there are hundreds of lakes and reservoirs and obviously the Hudson River and it is beutiful riding country, crossing or riding alongside them is a real joy, except in high winds. At anything over 14MPH the Spinergys tend to form/act like a disc in so much as there is way too much resistance and you don get blown sideways.

For the back wheel its not such a big deal, especially for the heavier folks as you weight on the saddle anchors the bike, but the front does get blown around. I'm hoping that with the zipps the fact that the spokes are traditional and won't form the same sort of barrier in high winds.

Why did I got with the 606 Wheelset, seemed a great compromise for a fast back wheel and a less deep but fast front wheel. Besides Kris bought them for me and they were a good deal from all3sports.com - For what its worth she also bought the Clydesdale version, which should also be a bit more durable although they weigh slightly more.
Wow who is Kris that buys you two sets of Zipps!!?

Good deal on coming down from 260lbs!
Err no, what I meant was she bought the 606 Clydesdale wheelset, rather than the standard 606 Wheelset.
(Anonymous)
Top banana - well done Mark! It's a shame the Clydesdales have disapeared over here - gives us real men (5-11, 109Kg) something to aim for other than scaring / embarrassing all the skinnys on the downhills.
The Clydesdale organisation isn't so visible over here either. Race organisers just add a Clydesdale/Athena wave, don't bother about weighing people... its as simple as that. The organiser has to buy 6 or 10-extra trophies but thats not much of a cost and their races have that additional category which makes the races broadly more attractive.

No reason why UK organisers can't do the same, except since most races fill anyway they don't have to. Inertia rules ok.