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I recently completed the Vineman 70.3 half Ironman distance triathlon.  I finished in 6 hours and 32 minutes.  I was so happy to finish, I crossed the line with a jump for joy.  I then leaned on the guy taking my ankle strap off so I did not fall over.

I picked a great event for my first long distance triathlon.  Vineman had so many rules, the explanations drove me nuts.  They sent out e-mails with threatening instructions just about every week.

They also made us sit in a mandatory meeting telling us the same instructions from the e-mails.  They told us about the penalty tents along the course.  I assumed I would get a penalty during the event.  One of the instructions was “no dogs allowed.”

When I walked out of the mandatory meeting, there was someone with a dog walking around.  Another rule was “no drafting allowed.”  For an age group guy who was just hoping to finish, I did not understand all of these rule explanations.

Out on the course, there were people taking advantage of the slower riders using the slow rider line as an excuse to draft.  I went from being mad at the event organizers to giving them a pass on the rules to feeling badly for them for having to enforce the rules so desperately.

It is a shame to see so many people behaving badly to the point where the race organizers are forced to sit everyone in meeting to explain the rules.  Most of the people in a triathlon are age groupers out to have fun.  We occasionally bunch up and say hi to each other but we are not really drafting.  It is sad that race officials have to come yell or penalize us.  When money is on the line, things change.

Once the leaders cleared out, the event was really fun.  The volunteers were great.  There were aid stations all over the course with friendly cheering people handing out water and other goodies.

The people racing with me were great.  I was in a tight group on the swim.  Every time we swam over each other, the other guy would stop kicking.  It is really nice to swim into someone’s leg and not get kicked.  The people on the bike were nice but I noticed a lot of expensive accessories on the side of the road from things not properly installed on the bikes.

The run was fantastic.  Because of the rolling hills and aid stations every mile, the same group of people kept passing each other and chatting along the course.  We were all best friends for the moment.  Every time I tried to walk, one of my new best friends would encourage me to run again.

The streets were loaded with people cheering us on.  The last half mile was unbelievable.  People were mostly waiting for their family and friends to finish but they were cheering everyone on.  After 6 hours on the course, it was so nice to finish to cheers.

2 Comments so far »

  1. by Peter, on July 24 2011 @ 11:27 pm


    Yikes 70.3!!!
    Makes me think that I really shouldn’t wimp out of doing the Tri For Fun events here in Livermore (400 yard swim, 11 mile bike, 3.1 mile run)
    I have been watching the Triathlon World Championship Series on tv and the thing that I found interesting is that drafting is legal. So a super fast swimmer gets on the bike first. But then they have the fast cyclists working together to catch them. And if you are a contender that rides and runs fast but swims slow you could get onto the bike at the same time as a bunch of people that will draft behind you but not do any of the work since you’ll run away from them anyway for the run leg.
    – Peter

  2. by Ted Hoffman, on July 25 2011 @ 8:13 am


    Hi Peter, That pain is on a different level from marathons. Every part of my body hurt for the last 5 miles of the run. I am not a fan of the drafting in triathlons. Most people were really good about drafting but a few people were sneaking into the draft of others.

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