To be honest, when I signed up for the Buckner Mission Man triathlon, I didn’t think that it would be the best run triathlon I’ve raced in a long time. This was the second time doing a triathlon in North Carolina and luckily the weather was a bit better than the last one I did here, the Lake Royale Triathlon. At that one, the swim was really cold and I had a hard time adjusting to my goggles.
This one was completely different.
About the Race
The Buckner Mission Man Triathlon, held at Lake Cammack Park and Marina outside of Burlington, NC, was part of the TrySports Triathlon Series at Setup Events, and benefitted the Front Street United Methodist Church. It takes place in July and is a true sprint triathlon, consisting of a 750 meter swim, a 15 mile bike ride, and a 3.1 mile run. This race only had 166 participants, although it seemed like there were more than that.
I could tell right when I arrived at the race with my family that this race was a going to be much better organized than the last race I did. There were volunteers everywhere, which made everything a whole lot easier: everything from parking to packet pick-up, to body marking, to running the actual race. It seemed that everywhere I turned, there were volunteers helping out with something. They really are the life blood of a race and it made everything so much smoother.
There was no announcement of the official temperature of the race, save that it was over 78 degrees and therefore not wetsuit legal, but when I got in the water, it felt around 80 degrees, maybe even a bit warmer. And what was especially nice was that the lake wasn’t full of nasty weeds and sludge.
I decided to take the swim fairly easy since I hadn’t really swam 750 meters in a race for a while. I swam a couple one mile workouts last week during training, but I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get ahead of myself for this race on the swim and spend all my energy before I got on the bike, especially since the bike portion of this race promised some rolling hills. And you’ve always got to be careful of the “rolling hills” description of the bike portion.
And speaking of the bike…
I love when rolling hills are like this! Anytime I can average over 20 mph on the bike on a course that is described as hilly is a victory for me, definitely. The bike portion of the race was 15 miles and was pretty well marked and staffed with volunteers and police, which was good because the course was on roads open to the public. Even though the roads weren’t very busy to begin with, it’s always nice when you don’t have to fight with the traffic yourself.
The roads were also pretty clean so even though I passed one guy on the side of the road that I think must have gotten a flat tire, he was most likely the exception. Which was good because this was the first race where I didn’t pack my spare tube, CO2 cartridge, or tire levers. I figured it would be OK, and luckily, it was.
And the best thing about the bike? The kids didn’t have to stare at each other trying to figure out what to do because there was a playground right there at the finish line area!
There was a tragedy, though, on the bike. My wife informed me after the race that a guy broke his arm or collarbone falling while trying to mount his bike. I guess he misjudged his timing or something and fell right over, on the perfect spot to break his bone.
Which really sucks. Big time. I hope he’s OK, and gets better quickly, whoever he is.
My nemesis. The dreaded trail run.
My first triathlon in Charlottesville all those years ago was an Olympic distance triathlon where the run took place on a single-track trail, and it was really tough.
So when I found out that part of the run for the Buckner Mission Man triathlon was going to take place on a trail, I was a bit worried.
The run started out of transition on a paved road for about a half mile or so, then followed by two laps of a trail run. The trail was better than the one I did in Charlottesville since it was wider, and the race organizers had gone through and painted all the roots bright orange to help the runners. The trail was a bit up and down, but I made it through in much better shape than my first triathlon, and to actually see improvement is really cool and one of the things I love about triathlon.
And finally, the finish line!
The post-race spread was really well done, with lots of fruit, drinks, and snacks. The race organizers also gave out ice-cold hand towels to all the race finishers along with water bottles filled with cold water.
It’s always a nice touch when the organizers think of things like that to provide for the race participants, and it was the first time I had gotten a towel!
So all in all, I thought the Buckner Mission Man Triathlon was a very well-run triathlon and I would recommend it to anyone that’s in the area. It’s been rung for 8 or 9 years so far and they’ve got things going pretty well.