This calendar is still very much a work in progress. I'm definitely going to do the Y-Tri, but beyond that, I'd like to do some races with some people, and that sort of depends on what kind of feedback I get from the various teams I'm on.
Woodruff Family YMCA Y-Tri: 11 May 2014
This is the Woodruff Family YMCA’s 5th annual Y-Tri, and it’s an excellent early-season race. It’s a 300-yard pool swim, followed by an 11-mile two-loop bike course that’s fairly flat, followed by a 2.4-mile lollipop-course run that’s also pretty flat. I’ve done this race every year that they’ve had it; my wife Sally has done it two or three times, and she’s always finished in fine form.
For new triathletes looking for an entry-level race in which they can learn about transitions and feel what it’s like to run off the bike under race conditions, this race is an absolute must. For veterans, this is either an early-season tune-up or a chance to go fast before the longer races kick in later on in the season.
Final note: this race hasn’t been promoted very well, but it’s run by the folks at my local YMCA, and they could really use your support and interest.
Shamrock Duathlon: 18 May 14
I’ve only done this race once, but it was fantastic, and I’ve been wanting to do it again ever since. The race starts with a gently rolling 5K, transitions to the bike—roughly 17-miles, the first half of which is a climb, followed by a rocketing descent—and then you’re back to the 5K course, with a slightly different, flatter finish. I finished in just under two hours overall; that put the race right in my ten-hour-per-week training range.
Sherwood Island Sprint Tri: 15 June
I’ve never done this race, but Sherwood Island is a beautiful park, and it’s maybe ten miles from my house. Moverover, I’ve heard that this is a nice race, so I might do it—if I can talk somebody else into going out there with me.
Litchfield Hills Oly: 20 July
My friend Jay and I were talking about doing this race together, but I’m not sure that the schedules are going to line up this year. Still, I’ve used this race as the focal point for my training a few times, and I find it to be both well-run and challenging. The race starts with a .9-mile lake swim, followed by a quarter-mile climb up to Transition. You hit the bike, and it’s downhill for the first 6 miles, followed by a long flat until you get into the last few miles, at which point the terrain starts rolling. Then you hit the last bit on the bike, a hard 2.5-mile climb back up to Transition. From there, you’re into about a mile-long descent to start the run, followed by a rolling climb for the next four miles, and then a flat last mile into the finish.
It’s a challenging course, but it’s a fun, well-run race, and as I said, I’ve used it as my training focal point several times. Plus, they serve free beer afterwards.
Westport Triathlon: 7 Sep 14
The Westport Triathlon is probably my favorite race of the year. I’ve done it maybe a half-dozen times, and it’s awesome because it’s fast. Bottom line, it’s the triathlon equivalent of a 5K.
You start out with a straight-line full half-mile swim at Compo Beach in Westport. Then there’s a rolling 5-mile bike around the beach that ride at mach 3. It’s awesome but also challenging, particularly when you start winding through the Westport Golf Course access roads. You finish with a 2.2-mile run over pancake-flat terrain that finishes in a half-mile of loose sand on the beach. By this point, you’ve been going balls-out for 40+ minutes, and that run is brutal.
I recommend the Westport Triathlon for folks who like to run 5Ks because they like to do uptempo work and race hard. It’s an honest-to-God sprint, in the sense that you have to kick in the afterburners for the entire race. This makes it very different from most other races you’ll run as a triathlete. Racing fast is quite different from racing long, but it can be a rewarding experience if you train for it and work at it. Personally, I always come away enthused and wanting more.