Since almost everyone was in the same age group they only divided by colleges, so my age group place was my place on the PSU Mens Tri team.
This year the Collegiate Nationals was the largest ever (over 830 college students plus about 75 alumni), and was held at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Al. We spent some time Friday putting together bikes, checking them out, and making sure everything was tuned up for the Saturday Race. They had a nice pasta dinner for everyone, and in good PSU and Big 10 style, we played a team game of flip cup (with water of course) against Purdue and we were victorious.
The race started at 7am in some nice warm water (68 or so) compared to those doing the Lake Anna races. I was in one of the later waves to go since this was only my second tri race. My first race was basically done with little training last year at Big Lick, so this was a real test of how my training has been going. I set some goals for myself as well as some harder targets to shoot for. I will have to say that I was pleased with race and it went very well. I reached all my goals and all my targets except in my run. I fell about a minute short, so I was more than pleased. I got some good tips from my mentor on transitions especially with wet suit removal.
As for the race, the sun was low between 7 and 8 am and was shining right down the river which made it difficult to spot the few spotting the small buoys, the top guys in the swim actually missed the second to last buoys and cut the swim a bit short. Hopefully next year they will add more buoys and/or make them larger in size so they are easier to see. The bike course was a two loop course on a closed road except a few cross roads monitored by police officers. That made it nice for riding, except that for my first loop almost everyone was on the course, so it was jammed, and drafting was almost inevitable since you could not drop back out of the draft zone due to another biker there. The second loop was much nicer since it was emptier. I had a great run which ended in the center of the University of Alabama. I still think I can run a bit faster, but I will need to work on that a bit.
I am looking forward to Columbia, but I know that it will be hard to race as fast since Nationals was extremely flat (especially the bike) compared to Columbia. I also look forward to a much shorter drive!