Race Report by Statesboro Pacer, Doug James


9/10/05, The Suntrust Hilton Head Sprint Triathlon, Hilton Head, SC


There were many firsts for me during this event: my first triathlon, my first competitive ocean swim, my first time wearing a swim cap, my first time having numbers emblazoned on my body with a magic marker, my first time running in cleats, etc.  Even before I get into the specifics, let me give this event a resounding “two thumbs up!”


I arrived at the race site around 5:30 am and was lucky enough to find a parking space at the Holiday Inn.  I got my race packet, my chip, body-marked, and set-up in the transition area fairly quickly.  After changing into my tri outfit, heading to the porta potties, and listening to the pre-race instructions, we all headed to the beach.


To my delight, the waters were calm and cool (78 degrees) with a strong current.  To my dismay, I quickly realized that 400 people, all swimming towards the same buoy, can create a lot of pandemonium.  This is where I experienced my first butt-grab and became intimate with complete strangers’ feet.  After surviving the 500m swim, we exited for a rather long run to T1.


After readying myself for the bike leg, I was off to make-up some time in my favorite section.  The course was truly fast and flat with the entire right lane closed to traffic; this gave us the opportunity to concentrate on the four laps and not the cars.  The 3.1 mile criterium-style course had me averaging around 20 mph in the aerobars.  After giving the ride about an 85% effort, I transitioned into the run.


The run, completed on the same course as the bike, was mostly shaded.  I noticed that there were police at every intersection and turn, and event volunteers at every driveway.  The volunteers did a very good job of cheering and shouting words of encouragement.  I crossed the finish line with a good amount of energy left in my reserves.


At 1:28:31, I feel that I made a good showing at my first triathlon.  The next time, I will know what to expect and will make sure that I come across the finish line completely spent!  I am already looking forward to the next event that Go Tri Sports will be hosting.  The professionalism, enthusiasm, and regards to planning were duly noted.  I think that I have found my new passion in athletics.


Doug also recommends the following inspirational article for anyone considering taking the plunge into triathlons: