On Sunday I did my first triathlon since my Ironman finish in September 2012. The Nor'easter Reverse Sprint Triathlon is held on the campus of the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. What is a reverse triathlon? Basically it is exactly what you would think it would be. Same thing as a normal triathlon except the disciplines are in reverse order. The race is a 5k run-11 mile bike- then a 150 yard swim in the Campus Center pool. I had never completed a reverse triathlon before but it sounded interesting. Not to mention it is the first triathlon of the season within driving distance of my house.
I enter a lot of races and I have to say that this race was extremely well run and organized. A ton of volunteers, very clear signage, huge indoor transition area, and easy logistics in and out of the race venue. I left this race knowing I will definitely add this to my schedule next year.
This year unfortunately the weather was not cooperative. The rain started lightly in the morning and then became steady rain for most of the race. In addition the temperature dipped and was freezing. Basically the entire race was 40 degrees and steady rain. Luckily this event is prepared for this and has an indoor transition area. This really was a life saver on this cold and rainy day.
Remember...this race is a reverse triathlon. The race starts similar to any 5k road race. The course starts in front of the Campus Center at the University of New England. The 5k course was slightly rolling throughout but overall was not that difficult. Dealing with the rain, wind, and cold was not too bad on the run. I did not hold back at all on the run and ended up with a 20:18 5k good for 11th overall. Since the transition area is indoors you actually run to the side entrance of the building and run right into the transition area in the gym.
The bike was cold...I dressed appropriately but was wet from the run and started to feel the cold on the bike. The course was soaked with a lot of puddles but was not a technical course and did not have any tight turns or long descents. I really did not feel unsafe at anytime on the ride. The course is slightly rolling with no big climbs. I had no problem maintaining 20-24 mph for many sections of the course and was in the big ring for the entire race. The training is paying off for me on the bike as I ended up placing 15th on the bike portion of the event. This is huge for me as I usually place high on the run and then give a ton back on the bike...not this time.
After completing the bike I now had my first bike/swim transition. My hands were numb and I was soaking wet. It took forever but I was able to take everything off and then ran to the pool area. Now the race clearly stated that for safety there is no running once you reach the pool area. You have to slow to a walk and there is no passing allowed until you enter the water. The swim is only 150 yards and is one length of each lane. Once exiting the pool you immediately cross a mat and the race is over. I completed the swim without issue. The warm water actually felt great after the freezing ride.
My results: 1:00:58 11th overall and 4th in my age group
I would definitely do this race again. Great organization, good venue, and a nice and easy early season course make this a great way to get the triathlon juices flowing in April. I was able to film the course the day before the event so look for a course video soon.
The race venue is very close to Old Orchard Beach. I ended up getting a hotel the night before and had a good time in OOB. There are a ton of bars and restaurants with many of them open despite the early season. We ended up checking out a disco band called the Motor Booty Afair at the Brunswick on Grand Avenue. This is a great bar right on the ocean. Lively nightlife on Saturday night and then a great race on Sunday! How can you beat that!