Get yourself in shape for the olympic distance of The Columbia Triathlon, tackled on water, wheel and foot.
"When it’s hurting you, that’s when you can make a difference", so said legendary cyclist Eddy Merckx. If, unlike us, you're the type who can push past the pain, to achieve glory, then you need to sign up for The Columbia Triathlon straight away.
This coming May, the 34th triathlon in Howard County, Columbia will again attract an army of 2500 athletes determined to conquer the Olympic proportions of this competition.
The race begins with a splash and keeps on splashing as sportspeople are released into the Centennial Lake. As the sun snoops over dew laden branches down onto scarpering lake mists, the first batch of professionals become visible. Swimmers loop in a counter clockwise direction and water temperatures vary between 18 and 23 degrees Celsius in May. But there's no time for cold feet, once you're in, get kicking, the next batch are only a few minutes behind you.
Cycling next. If you're involved you'll have to metamorphose onto land next to the boat ramp and clamour onto a bicycle. Wide awake from Maryland's sobering freshwater, swimmers turned cyclists strike west towards the Triadelphia Reservoir. The four moderate climbs pass by typical Columbia countryside; vibrant tints of red, yellow and pink of the abating trees. Well maintained farmland and trim countryside are as well preserved as the smoothly paved two-lane roads.
To complete the trifecta of physical exertion is the 6.2 mile run that incorporates a circumnavigation of the lake. This includes several steep climbs, one of which has a gradient of 12 per cent. Yow-za. The last few hundred strides pass by the Centennial Lake where there's food and drink for exhausted participants.
If you don't want to get wet this year there will be a Duathlon race; a 2.2 mile run, 25 mile bike ride and then a 6.2 mile run. All parts of the race are USATF (U.S.A. Track and Field) certified, which means to compete you'll have to register through their website here. For the race itself individuals pay $150, relay teams $300. Athletes should arrive between 4.45 a.m. and 6.35 a.m. to drop their bike and running gear off at the transition point and prepare. Spectators should note that the gates remain closed until 11.30 a.m.
The course all-time record for men is 1:49:11 and 2:01:39 for women so you know what you're aiming for. Be a step ahead and get your bike serviced at one of the many bike stores in Columbia nearby the transition area. 90 + Cycling on Red Branch Road and Princeton Sports on Little Patuxent Parkway are the closest.
Triple the pain means triple the gain.
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