Race Report: Augusta 70.3 Half Ironman 2011, Part 1.
More than a year in the planning, this past weekend, 25 September 2011, I finished the Augusta 70.3 Half Ironman 2011 triathlon. My longest distance to date, with the longest pre-race training period, the most complex nutrition and carbo-loading plan, longest post-race recovery (though not my most miserable). This was an intimidating prospect, and it is great to have it under my belt.
I will definitely need to divide my race report into two or three parts. My typical race report centers primarily on the central facts, and then some brief description of my experience. That won’t suffice today. I’ll let this first part be just the fundamental race facts: start time, weather, etc. The other parts will deal with my experience, timeline, preparation, recovery, etc.
Down and Dirty
I had a great time (if that’s what it’s called), and would totally do this one again next year. In fact, I had such a great time running this, my first Half Ironman, that I’m seriously considering running this distance a couple of times in 2012, building to a full Ironman.
Distances: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run. With relay team option, also
Course: 1.2 mile point-to-point down Savannah River;
56 mile loop, out and back from Augusta into South Carolina, and back;
2 loop run throughout downtown Augusta.
Weather: Nice swim start, wetsuit legal. The water was a bit cool. It took me some time to relax exhaling underwater. Got hot & sunny on the bike and for the (my) first loop of the run, the second loop was overcast with some (welcome) sprinkles. We had a good rain going for transition break down. But, alas, we just finished racing 70 odd miles–no big deal.
The Athlete’s Guide recommends acclimating to the Georgia heat and humidity–this is no joke. There were several heat injuries on the course.
- Swim–Downstream, the advantage of which there is some debate. I’d rate it a Slight (not Great) advantage. Like the wetsuit, it’s of greater advantage, the longer your in the water (i.e., to us weaker swimmers).
- Bike–Truly rolling hills, with three to five good hills/climbs/inclines, depending on how you count. Not nearly as brutal as the bike in the Assault on Cherokee Olympic Triathlon in South Carolina, for example.
- Run–Pancake flat. For real. Dead flat run winding through down town Augusta. Some races claim to be flat, but this run really is (aside from one 50 yd climb out of the Marina area).
Competition: Need I say anything here? It’s a Half Ironman–the competition level is very high. There are plenty of “just finishers”, but the majority of people were serious athletes. Every one was extremely nice and supportive. Definitely one of the friendliest crowds I’ve race with.
General Impression: This is a great course, with a good mix of more and less challenging features. Great aid stations, plenty of port-a-potties, great cheering sections. The race was very well run and supported. With 3500 or so racers, the race was very well organized and run. The volunteers were great. The host city, Augusta was extremely gracious and inviting. The staff at my hotel (Quality Inn Medical Center) were extremely nice and helpful, and the headquarters hotel (Marriott Convention Center) was very pleasant.
Room for improvement: Uhh,. . . More swag in the swag bags. More selection in the athlete recovery tent–though the cup of beer was a nice touch!
More to follow. Stay tuned . . .
Please feel free to comment below.
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