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I Conquered the Beast

The Beast of the East Half Iron Distance Triathlon, that is. Leading up to the race I found very little information about this tri, so I promised myself that I would blog about it for any future athletes that ponder tackling the course.
This triathlon is a very low key event. There is no medal at the end and no chip timing. I’d say there were maybe 50 participants this year. And they were all above average competitors. Actually, not all of them, because I was there. It was mentally challenging for my with my ~24% body fat to be there with so many lean athletes who have already conquered the iron distance. But I got my butt in the water with the rest and went on my merry way.
The swim course is flat (inside joke). The only thing that really stunk about it was the lack of buoys to site on. They had two markers in the water, maybe 200 meters from shore. They really have nothing to do with the half iron race – they are there for the sprint race the next day. In the half iron distance, you are to swim to the left of the island, out to the dam, around a catwalk that you really can’t see very well from that distance, back past the island (the other side this time) and out of the water. I heard a rumor that the swim cutoff was 45 minutes (I actually had this conversation with the race director and asked him to post this cutoff online). So if you’re used to Setup Events or Ga Multisport where you get 1 hr 15 min to swim the 1.2 miles, you might want to not do this race.
The transition area is covered is goose crap. No lie. It’s grassy and on a slant. Bring 1 more towel than you normally would, or a small cooler to sit on. Your call.
You hit “The Beast” on the bike course pretty quick. It’s the equivalent of climbing a 20 story building over 2 miles. Not that big of a deal really. Coming down was tricky as they have “repaved” it recently. In North Carolina, repaved is apparently a term for totally screwing up the road surface for cyclists. There were a few tricky corners but again, no big deal. The course is beautiful, and aside from a few rough roads and a couple with wide shoulders that were fouled up with rumble strips, the ride was great.
The transition area was still covered in goose crap when I returned back to T2.
The run was equally nice – except that it was 2 out and backs. The dam seems to go forever, but then you hit “The Beast” on the run course. It’s essentially straight down an access road. Of course coming back it’s straight up.
In all – it was a beautiful course. Low key event, but I got a great race shirt. And I can say I’ve tackled what is undoubtedly the hardest 1/2 on the east coast the same weekend many flocked to the flatlands of Florida.
And for those of you wondering – there was still lots of goose crap when I packed up and headed out of transition to go home. I will post some pictures to Flickr and here in the next few days.

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