Finish Line!

Ballantyne Triathlon


I gave in to peer pressure and signed up for a triathlon. I almost was talked into the Baxter Tri but I rode the cycle part on my motorcycle and it was all hills and I really didn’t think I had enough time to train and be ready. Melissa said she was going to ride the cycle part and then run and that I should come with her so since there wasn’t really a good excuse not to so I joined her. I grabbed my mountain bike and let her lead the way. I knew the gearing on a mountain bike was different than a road bike but I was not prepared to be left struggling right off it was amazing how fast Melissa was and she said she was really slow but after 1 hour 49 minutes I finished. Melissa was a great sport and I gave her an opportunity to take breaks everywhere cause I was so slow. I decided that if I was going to sign up I better get faster on the bike so I had time to run and swim. I started hitting spin classes at the Y every Tuesday and Thursday. Luckily for me, REI has a garage sale and I found a road bike to upgrade to. It was amazing the speed I could do on that bike! I believe that was when I decided I would definitely sign up for the Ballantyne Triathlon. There is a 2-1/2 hour cut-off time that they can pull you off the course and you won’t be able to finish. Pffftt! If I entered any race I would finish…I mean really you have to pay to enter. It was then that Melissa invited me and Wendy out to ride the cycle part of the Ballantyne Triathlon. I had a new bike now so I hoped I could keep up with her and to my surprise I kept up with ease. The run was a different story…I tried to keep up with the 2 of them but I never ran much in my life so I may have gotten a 1/4 of a mile before my legs said no more. I asked Melissa what a good pace is to run and decided I would start working on running and build up to a 10 minute mile. I started hitting the treadmill at the Y and am now up to a 10 minute mile but then I am spent after that mile. I know a lot of people hate the treadmill but for me it is really motivational because if I don’t keep up with the road the road will dump me off and keep on going. After finishing, I hit the pool and get swimming which is a great cool-down from running. All this happened in less than 2 months. You can see exactly what I did at where I logged every workout.


Transition Setup
Transition Setup

Evidently fit people like to get up early cause this race started at 7am! I normally don’t wake up till the crack of 8am and of course you need to get there early to get your timing chip and marked for the race. So I was up at 4:45 …I wasn’t happy about that. If anything I go to bed at that time. I think I finally got there at 5:30. I heard the line for the marking and timing chip could get long so when I saw both were empty I took care of that first. Then I went ahead and set up my transition area…I didn’t practice this at all but I figured being a fireman and getting dressed fast would be second nature…I guess it is when I am not all wet. I found out the day before my start time was going to be 8:36 by this time it was 6:00 and I was done. All the people I knew were done so we waited.

Kevin, Wendy and Melissa
Kevin, Wendy and Melissa
Trash talking between Kevin and Scott
Trash talking between Kevin and Scott

The Race

My Race Number
3-2-1 Go!

It seemed like it would take forever before 8:36 came around but surprisingly time flew by and the next thing I knew it was my turn to start. I would like to say I was nervous but I think I had that out of my system already…my main concern was holding other people up in the swim. Luckily for me, I saw a guy that was winded on the second lap of the swim and he wasn’t holding anyone up so that concern quickly left me. They had a break scheduled before me so I had nothing but water in front of me I couldn’t blame a slow swimmer for a bad time. Well to make a long story short I was passed by probably 9 people and I didn’t pass a soul. The plus side of that is that has been my fastest time in the pool ever that was timed…normally I would be around 11+ minutes. I was able to finish the swim and be in transition in 10 min 26 sec. What did I learn here for next time…forget the flip flops. I darn near slid out of them and actually had to run slower to the transition. Lesson learned! My time was probably 9:45 in the actual water…I am very happy with that!

I like my comfort so when I hit transition I had to put on HR monitor, shirt, and dry my feet before I got my socks/shoes on. That was a real time killer. Total time in 1st transition 3:20…that is a time I definitely can improve on…I mean when I go to a fire I can have my turnout gear with air pack and be breathing air in less than 2 minutes. I think next time I will skip HR monitor since during the race I didn’t even bother to look at it really. I think maybe a bike computer would work better or better yet the Garmin watch that everyone seems to be sporting. Everything was placed well for efficiency…I was probably a bit tired.

Next it was time to hit the bike…this is where I shined. I got on the bike and had some discomfort and finally figured out the being hunched over was killing some of my lung capacity since I had snorted in some of the pool water and still hadn’t recovered from the swim. I pushed through it about a mile in. I could now concentrate on the road. I liked this part the most and it showed with me scorching 12.8 miles in 47 minutes 57 seconds…this averaged out to a 15.9mph pace. There was always someone in front of me that I could push myself to pass. I passed about 6 people and was passed by the same amount. Three of those that I passed I felt bad for since they were on mountain bikes and I knew from experience that with different equipment I would never have passed them. BTW that bad feeling lasted less than a second! I kept my cadence up and adjusted gears accordingly. I noticed that most people coasted downhill and that is normally where I would make up distance. I would just stick in my high gear and keep pushing. There were about 6 people that passed me but only one that I was able to re-pass. The only time I felt tired was when I saw the 10 mile mark and it was totally mental…I didn’t feel any worse then I did when I started. Once I forgot that I saw that, I decided I would push for the end. I was okay again. Riding the course ahead of time allowed me to know what I had to look forward too which helped a good bit in knowing what to expect. This was my best leg and I felt awesome about it cause I knew that it was leaving me with plenty of time to finish the run and have an overall time under 2 hours.

The best part of the bike leg is that I didn’t have to stop for any stop signs or stop lights….SWEET!

The second transition 2:31 went really well except for a minor issue of taking my bike to the wrong row…duh! I also wish the people on the opposite side had put their bike back the same place they were to begin with cause I had to nudge to one over to get mine to hook on the bar. Next time this transition should be under 2 minutes.

Running! I hate running! Based on my training I figured I could run half a mile but was dead after getting to the drink station (I stopped at every drink station)…so I kept a fast pace walk up till I thought I could run again. I ended up walking 2 miles and then trying to run the last mile. Well it sounded good in theory. I didn’t run far before I was walking again. I was determined not to walk past the finish line and at least look good coming into where everyone sees you coming in. So no excuses I was going to run the last 1/4 mile or let the paramedics pick me up. It was a great feeling knowing that there wasn’t much left in front of me and once I had waved to Melissa’s camera phone I tried to sprint to the finish line…talk about a “swagger like a cripple” that wasn’t pretty for anyone to see. My time for the run was 45 minutes 35 sec.


I killed my goal of 2 hours by a solid 10 minutes. I didn’t care if I was last as long as I did that. I enjoyed this so much I am going to sign up for another. I am thinking next will be Cane Creek Triathlon on September 18. It is a longer swim so I am going to keep the same goal of 2 hours or less. I need to train toward improving my running distances and learn how to swim with decent form and I think I will be good. For anyone reading this and thinking I am down on myself because I am pointing out what went wrong…it is how I get better. I am thrilled with how well I finished.

Finish Line!
Finish Line!

Official Race page:

Men’s Results:

Kevin’s Report:

Melissa’s Report: (mostly a report of her first Tri @ Baxter but a small report of the Ballantyne Tri she did as a relay)

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  1. Awesome! I am so glad you signed up and finished!


    I think you can totally do Cane Creek. Let’s meet up sometime and swim in open water to get you the feel of it – it is somewhat different. I wish I could be at Cane Creek so I could see you finish your second!

  2. Good going Chris! I enjoyed reading 🙂 I’ve done 5Ks and a couple of 3.5-milers (not recently though). I do not enjoy swimming or bike riding so I always though it would be cool to do a tri with one or two other poeple who liked the swmming and biking portion…so I could do the running part only!

  3. I have done some swimming in Lake Wylie at my in-laws to prepare for the Ballantyne one. They will let us come over anytime…if you want a good leg and arm workout we can go wakeboarding (it is especially a workout if you have never done it).

  4. I always though it would be cool to do a tri with one or two other people who liked the swimming and biking portion…so I could do the running part only! | 😛

  5. Amzing pictures and great thinking I have done some swimming in Lake Wylie at my in-laws to prepare for the Ballantyne one. They will let us come over anytime keep up good job.

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