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Salem Spring Sprint (Salem Triathlon) Race Review

In this post:

-Geek out on the Salem Spring Sprint race results numbers
-Download the Salem_Spring_Sprint_Results_6_1_13 (1)
-Race review, along with some tips and pointers on the course

My first time doing the Salem spring sprint triathlon was a great experience, I’m a fan already. Prior to the race I had heard three things from prior racers:

World Record holder James Lawrence was "The Rabbit!" he got a head start, and if you caught him you were rewarded! With a 9 minute head start on me, I didn't have much of a chance!

World Record holder James Lawrence was “The Rabbit!” he got a head start, and if you caught him you were rewarded! With a 9 minute head start on me, I didn’t have much of a chance!

-it’s a great race course

-it’s surprisingly competitive

-the pond water sucks, it’s cold and full of goose crap

Well, I’m sure the pond is different from year to year, but points one and two were dead on (the track is great, and there we ten pros, and lots of fast amateurs) but the water was a perfect temperature, and I didn’t have any trouble with the water, no bad taste or anything and luckily I didn’t inhale any duck or goose crap. I honestly didn’t notice any difference swimming in the pond than swimming in most lakes.

As a matter of fact, I like the swim route around the pond, so many lake swims are simple triangular or rectangular swims that its nice to have some change once in a while, similar to Daybreak where you swim through a narrow, curving channel. Except here, you swim in a clockwise direction to the far side of the pond, then swim under the bridge, around two buoys, then hug the shoreline up to a small beach where you drag your sorry wet butt into the park to T1.

My workout partner Gary Henderson, 60 years old this year and fast! On his way to the World Championships in London this year!

My workout partner Gary Henderson, 60 years old this year and fast! On his way to the World Championships in London this year!

T1 involves a fairly long run from the pond, through the park, then all the way to the far side of the transition area. Rookies to the sport don’t realize how much time can be won or lost in long transitions. The key is simple, RUN! Many people waste time in an easy jog, or waste time fiddling with their wetsuit. There are wet suit strippers, and because my suit can be a pain to get off, I took advantage, and it paid off, I ended up with the fastest ┬átime in T1 in my age group. Of course, having my bike shoes open and ready, so that I was stuffing those on while putting on my helmet helped as well.

Bike course starts around the pond, then up a short but intense hill, another area where experience pays off. Most people work too hard to get up hills. The key is to maintain high cadence. Many people are pushing too hard a gear going up hill, then they pay for it the next half mile or so. I always try to maintain cadence of 90, even uphill, even if my speed seems frustratingly slow. Then, once you crest the hill, go! Too many people are still in too hard a gear after a hill, and working their legs too hard. Adjust gears as necessary to maintain that high cadence, then when you crest the hill, change gears methodically until you are going fast at 90 RPM again.

There are several gradual uphill and downhill stretches, and more time can be made up on the field by working just as hard down hill as you do anywhere else. While some people are cruising downhill, fast racers are speeding downhill then breaking hard on corners etc. a fast downhill stint is your reward for working so hard on the uphill!

Me collecting swag for 3rd place finish. Not as good as I hoped, but these guys were fast!

Me collecting swag for 3rd place finish. Not as good as I hoped, but these guys were fast!

The run is for the most part climbing or flat the first half, then downhill most of the way back, just the way I like it! The finish line is great, as after the last hill you run across the cool wooden bridge, then hard right back to the park and finish line where, if you worked hard enough, you get to throw up.

They give you a really nice finishers medal, and racetri always does a good job with post race food, and massage therapists are on hand to stretch you out, which is highly recommended.

So now that I’ve completed my first Salem triathlon, I’m a fan! Great course, gat swag, we’ll organized, competitive, and fun.