Recap: Claytor Lake Triathlon

claytor-lake-triathlon-swim-03The Claytor Lake Triathlon was held at Claytor Lake State Park in Dublin, Virginia on September 11, 2015. This triathlon was my very first open water swim (OWS) triathlon. This triathlon had a 500 meter swim, 12.5 mile bike, and 5K run. A few things that I liked about this particular event: 1) the low $65 price, and 2) the number of participants wasn’t overwhelming (less than 200).

Things to Note

  • My estimated completion time was 1 hour and 45 minutes. I finished in 1 hour 36 minutes!
  • Although, I met my time goal, I placed last in my age group for the swim leg and bike leg (see details below).
  • I scorched the run, placing 39th out of 148!
  • Major Takeaway: I need a road/tri bicycle pronto, and I need to really work on my bicycling and swimming this offseason. 

500 Meter Swim – 16:32 min (2:22/100 yd)


Shaking out my nerves after a warm-up swim.

I was very excited to swim my first open water triathlon. The previous triathlons I participated in were all pool swims with staggered starts. There were two waves for the men with about 50 men swimming per wave.

Due to my (3) lake swim practices, I was at least familiar with swimming in dark, murky green water. I managed to maintain a 2:22/100 yd swim pace. I’m okay with this pace, considering that I didn’t stick to my game plan, which was to use the freestyle stroke the entire distance. I started off too fast in the beginning and grew tired, not even halfway through the swim. I ended up swimming the majority of my race using the breaststroke.


Not my best swim performance, but it was my FIRST open water swim. The experience was extremely useful!

Transition 1 (T1) – 1:31 min

12.5 Mile Bike – 50:17 min (15.4 Mph)

The bike course was a scenic out and back course with rolling hills…looong hills. I was really looking forward to the bike leg. I recently installed a bike computer, which helped me determine how fast I was racing. My goal for the bike leg was simply to go as fast as possible, and to use a higher cadence. I used my cyclocross bicycle (mountain bike hybrid) since I still don’t have an adequate road or triathlon bicycle yet. For what it’s worth 15mph is still slow, but it’s an improvement for me. I want to be averaging 18 to 20 mph next season!

Transition 2 (T2) – 1:11 min

5K Run – 26:52 min (9:05/mile)

The 5K run was 90% trail running. There was a lot of elevation change, beautiful trees and foilage. The run was fun, but challenging. I caught a brief cramp early in the run, and was able to run through it. Towards the end of the run I caught another cramp and ran through that one as well. I had a strong finished and held off a few challengers. In fact, it was great to pass so many people that I lost count (considering how many people passed me on the swim and bike).

Age Group Results

Going into the race, I was “hoping” to at least place in the top half of my age group.I ranked dead last in the both the swim and the bike leg, but 4th in the run leg. Clearly, I have some work to do this off season!

  • Swim Leg: 8th place out of 8
  • Bike Leg:8th place out of 8
  • Run Leg: 4th place out of 8


Overall Results

Below is a snapshot of my overall ranking in the triathlon race. Overall I ranked 90th out of approximately 150 participants. Clearly, running is my strength!

  • Swim Leg: 135th place out of 150
  • Bike Leg: 101st place out of 148
  • Run Leg: 39th place out of 146