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Augusta 70.3 Race Report

by Alex Baron


Augusta is a fast course. Lets begin right there. The swim is downstream and weather is
generally favorable. Bike has some decent hills (over 1,000 feet in elevation over the
course) and is quite technical. Run is a flat 2 loops through the town. All this being the
case, this does not make the course easy. The result of this is that everyone goes fast.
There are no breaks. No points where you can take it easy. All you can do is hammer the
entire time. My first goal for the day was to follow my plan and have a strong race
(usually easier said than done). Second was to earn a spot to the 2014 70.3 World
Champship in Mont Tremblant. Not an easy task considering there were only 2 spots
assigned to my age group. So to achieve this goal I would also likely need to podium…
something I’ve never done at a 70.3.

My wave went off at 9:04 am. This was not ideal as the course was going to be crowded
and I had a long time to wait around between when we left transition and the race start. I
made it a point to stay hydrated and have something small to eat while waiting.

Swim – 24:44 (21st fastest in AG)

Nobody is ever going to mistake me for a swimmer. It is simply not my sport. That
being said, I am improving. Am more comfortable in the water and am getting better at
keeping the effort up throughout the swim. My coach TJ wanted me to really try and
push the swim. Said it shouldn’t take away from the rest of the race.

I don’t know how many people I passed, but it was a lot. The last 1,400 meters went great. I was in the
zone and moving at what I thought was a solid pace. Nobody from my AG passed me
and I kept moving through other athletes in my wave that started out stronger. I was very
happy with the last ¾ of that swim.

Bike – 2:18:22 (4th fastest in AG)

As usual, my HR was through the roof as I started my ride. At least 15-20 beats above
where I needed it to be. I instead focused on power and feel for the first 10 miles and
slowly let my HR come down. I don’t think it has ever felt quite as easy to generate
power as it did that morning. I was effortlessly holding my power in the mid 200’s for
the first 10 miles. I had to focus to keep it from going too high. Once my HR came
down I was able to shift my focus to that for the remainder of the ride.

The course was very crowded as expected. There were some decent rollers as well. Big enough hills to have some idiots try to surge past me over a hill to drop me I guess? It was amusing at times as they would surge ahead and create a 10-15 second gap. Another minute or two later they would be caught and spat out the back. I am a firm believer that in the AG ranks the bike ride during a triathlon is not a race. It is a time trial. Your only goal is to get to the end of the ride as fast as possible without spiking your HR. There are very few times I would consider truly taking someone else’s actions into consideration when riding the 56 miles of a half ironman.  None of those situations arose today.

The ride itself was fairly uneventful. There were a few close calls with people who would not ride on the right side of the road and some interesting exchanges at aid stations. I felt in control the entire ride. I did get a bit tired between miles 40-46 but managed to stay focused and keep my head in the game. By the end of the ride my glutes and hamstrings were hurting pretty good. I was a little concerned how the hard ride would play out on the upcoming 13.1 mile run. This truly was one of the best rides I have ever had. HR never got too high, power stayed consistent and I always felt in control.


Avg HR: 162 bpm
AP: 242 W
NP: 246 W
Avg Cadence: 91 rpm
Calories Consumed:
600-625 (200 cal of
EFS and 4 Gels)

Run – 1:25:50 (2nd fastest in AG)

Am sure by now you are noticing a trend: have a plan and execute. For the run this was more of the same. I planned to stick to a specific HR for the first 10k then let loose for the remainder of the way. The first 7 miles felt effortless. Kept my HR where I wanted to and the miles ticked by quickly. The only problem I ran into was that it was very difficult to get what I wanted at aid stations as they were so crowded. I wasn’t getting in quite as many calories as I would have liked. This led me to be a little more conservative for the last 6 miles. Initially I felt like I could have gone faster (miles 6-8) but quickly it became a struggle to hold pace (miles 8-11). I took in a little on course nutrition where I could, but there was not much to be had unless I wanted to walk-stations (which I absolutely did not). I knew I was low on calories but at mile 11 I said screw it and hammered. I told myself that this is where my aid race will be decided. Now was the time to go and I did not want to leave anything on the course. I pushed and the last 2.1 miles were the fastest of my day (sub 6:30 pace).

Finish – 4:14:27 (3rd in AG, 21st Overall, 4th Amateur)

This is by far one of my most boring race reports, but probably the one I am most proud
of. I kept to my plan and executed to the best I could. I took chances where it made
sense by pushing a bit more than I anticipated on the bike. I held back when other
athletes tempted me to ditch my plan. And I overcame the demons in my head when they
finally arrived to finish as strong as I ever have in a 70.3. I managed 3rd in the very
competitive M25-29AG and even more impressively was the 4th Amateur in a field of
over 2,700. This was my first podium finish in a 70.3 and I also managed to secure a spot
(thanks to it rolling down) at the start of the 2014 70.3 World Championships in Mont

Thank YOU (in no particular order):

One of the guys who finished ahead of me and did not take his spot to 70.3 WC. It would
have been very bittersweet to finish 4th OA and not get a spot to Mont Tremblant.

JSC – one of the best triathlon clubs in Houston!

My family for continuing to support me during this ridiculous journey I’ve had into the
sport of triathlon

My training buddies for the countless hours we have spent together on the bike, in the
pool and on the trails.

The great nutrition products that I help get me through racing and training: First
Endurance, Clif, Evamor Water and BQuick Nutrition.

Tad Hughes Custom Fit Studio: The best bike fitter I know! Tad has me set up with the most aerodynamically powerful fit I could imagine (that I can still run pretty damn well off of).

TJ Fry and South Coast Endurance – My coach… Proof is in the pudding!