Seems like everybody is doing Barrelman this year, and a lot of people are doing it for the first time. I’ve had a number of people ask me if there’s anything they should know about the race, so below are 7 things I learned doing the race last year.
- There swim venue is almost like a massive pool, complete with lane lines (rowing cables). The cables can be great to aid in your signting, but be aware for a portion of the out, and a portion of the back they seem to disappear. I wasn’t the only one who lost them for a couple hundred meters, so I’m pretty sure they aren’t there the entire way. Also, the water is dark, so you need to be just about right on top of them to see them. That makes this area prime real estate, so if you’re shy about contact you might want to think about sighting the good old fashion way until the swim thins out. If you breath to the left you can see shore the entire way, which can also help with sighting.
- The sun can be low at the start. If you have tinted goggles they can be a good idea.
3. It’s a fast bike. It has the potential to be a very fast bike if you have an west to east wind. This will mean that the first 21k is a little slower, as you head into the wind before you turn to head east. Alternatively it can be a little slower (though still fast) if you have a east to west wind. The first 21k will be hot and then things will slow down after that. If you don’t have a power meter, don’t be surprised if you effort changes after the 21k mark to hold the same speed.
4. Be mindful of cars. The course travels along a lot of very quiet roads. The intersections all seemed to be controlled, but there are still lots of driveways and small side streets where cars can come out of.
5. Just past 3k (and 13.5k) there’s a short but steep hill. You’ll run past it as you run to the first turnaround and then come back to it. Don’t trash your legs to get up it as fast as you can, but try to keep your rhythm.
6. Just past 6k (and 16.5k) there’s a really steep downhill. It’s one of those hills that’s so steep that you can’t even fully use it to your advantage because you need to keep your legs under control. Don’t thrash your quads here, especially the first lap. Try to keep your turnover high instead of taking big bounding steps.
7. Don’t forget to look at the Falls! Not many races that have such a cool run course, make sure you take it in.
I’m not doing the race this year, but I’ll be out on the run course cheering everyone on. Good luck to everyone racing!