TriRock Asbury Park is a relatively new race to the Mid-Atlantic triathlon race schedule with Sunday's race being just the second running of the race. Last year I considered racing here, but raced the Great Six Flags Triathlon the weekend after instead for three reasons. First, the timing for this race didn't work out for me. Second, Asbury Park was only a sprint distance last year and I wanted to race the Olympic distance. Third, I got to race in and around Six Flags Great Adventure, which is one of the few places in the world you can be running on a dirt path with a roller coaster above you and a gang of monkeys behind a fence to your side.
With the addition of the international distance this year I took that as a sign to head to the shore for a race.
Before I get into my day, I want to state up front that I enjoyed this race and, assuming it works with my race schedule, plan on racing it again next year. The venue is great (who doesn't enjoy being at the Jersey Shore), the race course enjoyable, and generally well organized. There were some issues I had with the race, but they are easily correctable.
So what I will do is give a breakdown of what the official results were as well as the unofficial Garmin results. And, before you think it, yes, I know that Garmin is not an exact science. But as you will see, there was something off about this course.
Normally for races 1-3 hours away from home I will either wake up early on race day and drive down or travel down the day before and spend one night in the area. Because this race was close to my parents house, I was down at the shore early. More specifically, I drove down Thursday evening and spent Friday in North Jersey with my folks watching the PGA Tour at The Barclays. We were fortunate to get a good weather day (overcast and relatively cool) and some good golf to watch.
On Saturday I headed over to the race site to pick up my race packet in Asbury Park, NJ. The race expo and transition area were at the famous Asbury Park Carousel Building. After a quick packet pickup, I walked the boards for a while checking out the sites while waiting for the athletes meeting. Normally I won't bother with the meeting, but after seeing the red flags out on the beach, it seemed smart to stick around and see how they would handle the rough seas. As it turns out, the race director was straight up about the situation and prepared us for a duathlon, not a triathlon.
|The Asbury Park Carousel|
Even as people complained, there was no way we should have been in the ocean. I'm a fairly strong swimmer and the thought of getting caught in a riptide crossed my mind. Cancelling the swim was the correct decision. That said, the run course wasn't even close to the distance they said.
The start of the race was a time trial start with four people going off ever 15 seconds or so. Being in the third wave, I didn't get started until 7:09 or so (7 am start). The course was a combination of tight sidewalks and open boardwalk. The only issue I had was passing at times was tight, but given the situation, no complaints. My run was controlled yet surprisingly fast. Overall I was happy with the effort.
Nothing to note here. Without a wetsuit to deal with it is a simple process of changing shoes and heading out to the bike course.
Bike: 20 miles 48:22 (Garmin - 19.17 miles)
The plan was to get settled in over the first few miles, then push the pace the best I could, building the intensity on loop two. Which is basically what happened. After settling in I hit the straightaway at mile 2, taking note of the slight headwind heading north. The turnaround was at So. Lake Drive. From there it was back to Ocean Ave. for another three miles of straight before bobbing and weaving back to the transition area for loop number two.
Shortly after passing transition for the second loop I had a fast sprint guy pass me in the first turn. This was good as I had been riding alone up to this point. Over the next 9 miles or so we were around each other. I took his presence as an opportunity to sit legally behind him as we traveled north on Ocean Ave. Mentally it was nice to be able to just follow someone, knowing that even at 12 meters back I was able to catch a little draft action.
Back at transition I had a small problem getting off the bike. The final turn is not very far from the dismount line. Totally my fault, I got caught with one shoe off and one shoe on, awkwardly trying to get off the bike and onto the run.
Once off the bike nothing to talk about here.
Run: 6 Miles 44:36 (Garmin - 6.31 miles)
Coming out of T2 I knew that I had some ground to make up if I was to win my age group. Two weeks ago at Steelman I managed to meet my goal of a sub-44 run on sheer guts and stupidity. There, the goal was to run well and let the placing be whatever it is. Here, I decided to go for it the best I could, knowing I have had problems with the duathlon format in the past, and that injury has kept me from running to my ability.
I started out fast (for me at the present time) but in control. There was a water station at the one mile marker and the kid handing me water missed my hand. I figured no big deal, there will be another aide station in the next two miles. I continued to push the pace. My first three mile splits were 6:58, 6:49, 6:58.
After a 7:04 split I was clearly slowing I made the decision to walk through the water station to make sure I had some fluids in me. The result is I felt a bit better but mile five was my slowest mile of the day, clocking a 7:26. We headed north through the convention center, hit the turnaround and back south to the finish line. I finished off with a 7:20 mile 6 and a 6:45/mile pace for the final 0.31 miles recorded by my Garmin.
Overall: 1:44:07 10th Overall 2nd in AG45-49
And while I really, really would like to believe that I rode the officially reported 24.8 mph, I think the Garmin data and 24.1 mph average is more in line with reality. Overall my bike split was 5th fastest on the day, about one minute slower than the fastest rider, so that's satisfying. But, there is room for improvement. I came to the realization on the second bike loop that I need to work on my technical skills on my tri bike. I'm racing on a new bike this year (Quintana Roo Illicito) and still am a bit jittery at times. Never gave this much thought until the second bike loop where I watched the Sprint guy pull away from me in almost every turn.
My run it is still a work in progress. My feel for pace is better than it was two weeks ago, but not quite back yet. Same for run specific fitness.
As for the race, I would recommend it to anyone who is new to racing or anyone looking to race fast. Racing at the beach is a nice change of pace. Even at the height of beach season access to the race venue and parking were not an issue.
TriRock does a good job with their races. The metal was impressive, the beer mug for placing was nice, and the post-race food was great. And, just down the road, all finishers had access to free beer!!!! Can't beat that!!!
I only have two complaints, both of which are easily fixable. As mentioned earlier, just tell me what the actual distance is I'm racing. If the run is longer and the bike is shorter than a standard International Distance, that's fine. Just tell me. Related to this is the really, really poor mile markings on the run. The first mile marker was long, the second mile short, number three either didn't exist or was so discreet I missed it, while mile number four was somewhere around the 4.5 mile mark. I didn't see a 5 or a 6 mile marker.
Thanks for reading.
Up next: Two weeks of Ironman focused training then Rev3 Pocono 70.3 on September 14.
Train hard. Stay focused.