The inaugural Maple Grove Triathlon was better than expected, especially for a first year triathlon. I would do this race again.
The toughest part of the day was the wind, it made the swim a little more difficult, and it made the bike a lot more difficult. The swim had some chop, but nothing I that could not be dealt with. On the bike, it was pretty brutal. With the wind to my back I ran out of gear on the bike, even in the flats, the wind was that strong. Going into the wind, or with some of the cross-winds, it felt like I was using everything I could do go forward. The bike course itself, is relatively flat and the road surface was great. I like the bike course and look foward to trying it again with less wind. I think it is a course I could PR on.
Back to the swim, I thought the swim layout was good, only issue is that when you make the last turn into shore the sun is right in your eyes. It required me to do a little breaststroke on a couple occasions to make sure I was coming in ok.
The transition area was probably the roomiest, and one of the nicest, I have been in all year. It was nearly the entire park parking lot and there was plenty of room. The bike out of transition is uphill, so coming in is downhill, and care is need coming in and out. Luckily, I had no traffic coming in or out, but I could see issues if there was traffic, especially with all the novice racers on the course.
The bike was interesting, the Olympic distance people went first, and I was in the 4th wave, and at the head of my wave. On the bike I was going back and forth with another guy, I passed some people in the first quarter of the course, after that I saw barely anyone until I got back onto the last portion that shared with the sprint. Once I got back on that part of the course, the sprint waves were out, so there was some traffic, not too bad.
Coming in from the bike, I made my first successful "flying dismount" and had my fast T2 in a triathlon, ever. I was out of T2 in 54 seconds. The "flying dismount" helped a lot.
On the way out of transition there is a significant hill to run up. There were also some decent uphills along the course. More than I expected, all of them doable. Once off the part of the course that was shared by both sprint and olympic, I was running by myself, for the most part. It was strange. Again, there was one guy I was going back and forth with. We cheered each other on a little bit. It was a good run for me, I ran hard, and it felt good to run after last week's 13.1 mile run/jog/walk at Pigman.
A number of people complained about the lack of signage or direction on the run and bike. Apparently people had missed turns. I had no real issue, when I came to a corner I was not sure of, I slowed down and confirmed. I looked at the map a couple of times and had a decent picture in my head of the course. It is the racer's responsibility to know the course.
The water stops and volunteers were great. There were people cheering along the course, which is always great. Jackie and her friend Sarah came and watched, which is always great.
To my surprise I finished 3rd in my age group. I admit, it was a weak field compared to other races, but every once in awhile you need a bone thrown to you. It is only my second podium finish (3rd AG at 2008 MinneMan) as individual, and 3rd ever (Also, 3rd relay finish at Cannon-Wells Duathlon in 2009). I have a picture of my 3rd place "trophy" posted above. It is a hand made pottery plate, nice trophy. I like it better than a medal.
It was a really good race day for me, possibly the best of the year.
I would definitely do this race again. I can find no glaring fault with the race. If it gets too big, then it might be problematic, the current size, maybe a little larger, is good. Maybe a little different food at the finish (cut oranges, watermelon, and some soda), and some more directions on the course, but now I would be nit-picking.
My goal was to go 2:35, I went about 2:37, I think without the wind I would have gone under 2:35.
2010 Maple Grove Triathlon "Olympic Distance" (Bike a little long for Oly) Race Results
Swim (0.9mi) = 28:26 (1:48/100yds), 2nd in AG to an Elite
T1 = 1:57
Bike (26 miles) = 1:13:14 (21.2MPH), 3rd in AG, again Elite was first
T2 = 0:54, this was FAST for me
Run (6.2mi) = 52:12 (8:25min/mi), fast for this year, and I happy with this, especially for the course
Total = 1:37:09
Overall = 31/167
AG = 3/22, 1st Place was an Elite. I got some hardware :)
Brian also has his comments on the race here - http://www.tundrat-zone.blogspot.com/