By Jeremy Sipos
This was my fifth year doing NOLA 70.3 and in the previous four years I have had decent success. In the previous four years, I have been a top 3 overall amateur finisher every year winning my age group 3 times and having one second place finish in my age group to a fast guy that later turned pro. I was hoping to have another solid day to start off the 2013 race season but sometimes you can’t always get what you want. This year they changed the race course considerably so it felt like a new race. The swim course moved from the previous location in the beautiful Lake Pontchartrain where they’ve had to cancel the swim the last few years, to a modified M-shaped course within the walls of the South Shore Harbor Marina. It was a cold windy morning and the water was a little choppy in the harbor. Race officials said that if the swim were in the previous location it would have been cancelled again this year, so everyone was happy to have a full triathlon this year! This year was a time trial start and so with no swim warm up, we individually jumped into the brisk 60 degree water. After the shock of the cold water and after gasping for air for a couple seconds, I was off and trying to navigate the “M” shaped swim course. Sometime during the middle of the swim I decided to stop for coffee and beignets or that’s my story at least as it’s the only thing that could possibly explain my swim time.
The bike course was similar to the previous year’s bike courses and as windy as in years past. This year my wave started first so it was a bit lonely on the bike as I wasn’t passing people the entire time. It was nice to have a clear road.
Jeremy on the run
The run was similar to previous years, but the new race course added a decent sized draw bridge to run up and over within the first mile. I started the run at a nice solid pace clicking off sub 6 min miles as I have done in the past. Unfortunately, at about mile 6 I realized maybe I wasn’t quite in the same run shape as in the past and faded badly on the second half of the run. If it wasn’t for the thought of bar hopping in the French Quarter post race with my wife, I might have run even slower.
The race ended in Armstrong Park this year (named after the famous jazz musician not the infamous cyclist), so it was a much different energy level than ending in the heart of the crazy French Quarter as in years past. My 4:18 finish time wasn’t my best race time or placement…but not a terrible start to the season. Having no calf pain before, during or after the race, was also a good sign for the 2013 race season as I’ve been sidelined with calf injuries for the greater part of the last two triathlon seasons. As always, the best part of doing NOLA 70.3 is the post race party in the French Quarter which usually involves 3 for 1 beers, crawfish, and live music.