100 Triathlons
Go to the early blogs to read how I got into triathlons. Click on any picture to enlarge it. I'm now in USA Triathlon's Century Club; go to
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly." Theodore Roosevelt 1910

Sunday, April 21, 2013

# 119 Florida Challenge Half-iron Triathlon

For 19 years, I have been doing triathlons out in Clermont, run by Fred Sommers.  However, I have never done any of his long races, The Florida Challenge Half-iron or the Great Floridian Full-iron Triathlons.  Two years ago, Fred moved the Florida Challenge to cool April from hot September and I signed up for today's race last Halloween (it was on sale!).  Well, today I discovered the race is as tough as it's reputation!  This would be my first triathlon in the 60-64 age group too.

I awoke at 4:00 AM to leave by 5:00 as registration opened at 6.  It poured rain all the way there and I thought, "this should be interesting".  However, by 6:30 it had stopped so transition filled very quickly.  The day dawned with an overcast and a light breeze so Lake Minneola didn't look particularly inviting.  The water temps were around 76'F so I made the decision to use my wetsuit.  As we all stood by the water for the National Anthem, the flag began to fill and stand out in the breeze.  I took off at the gun and settled down to a nice easy rhythm.  It took me 38:40 to finish the 1.2 mile swim and I stripped off the wetsuit and put on my bike clothes.  This time was faster than my 41:33 swim in the Atlantic for the Atlantic Coast Tri in October 2010.

I promised myself to take it easy the first few miles so I was warmed up when the first hills loomed up at mile 5.  Riding uphill into a stiff headwind was countered after a turn by very quiet downhill with a strong tailwind.  Thus began the day of hills and wind.  I was ready for Sugarloaf at mile 26 (having ridden the course in January; see previous post) and was very happy to climb all the way without putting a foot down.  At mile 30, my right hamstring cramped and I stopped to stretch it out.  The rest of the 56 miles were hills and wind with some blistering 35-40mph downhills.  On-course support was excellent with the odd omission of any porta-pottis.  I rolled into transition with a time of 3:39; AVS 15.3mph.  On the very flat and windless  Atlantic Coast bike, I finished with a 2:55:55; AVS 19.3mph.

I felt a bit fatigued as I began the half-marathon so I ran/walked the first mile.  My left hamstring started to get sore early and stayed sore all through the run.  I began passing and getting passed by Jamie Myers from Sarasota so we began running together until one or the other walked a bit.  The Minneola bike trail  out-and-back course worked well  and had a bit of shade.  The field was a bit thin when I finally headed into the finishing chute for a final time of 7:16:22.  The 13.1 mile run took me 2:43, for mile splits of 12:27.

I placed 2nd out of 4 in the 60-64 age group so I was pleased with the result.  The skies finally opened and it poured about an hour after the finish.  It was a good day.