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Racing in Philadelphia this weekend? Last year’s TriRock Philly winners Cameron Dye and Alicia Kaye will be back to defend their titles at this Sunday’s Olympic-distance race. Here they give insight on how to approach the different legs of this popular urban race.
Warm-up and getting there
“Swim warm-up is historically not possible at this race so be sure to bring swim cords if that’s important to you,” Kaye says. “And remember you need to ride a bus to the swim start, so leave yourself plenty of time.”
“It’s an in-water start which can cause a little more congestion in the beginning. Skull in place as you wait for the gun and kick HARD as soon as you hear the gun through the first 5–10 strokes to give you a quick start,” Kaye suggests.
“For the start of the swim, I think the key is always to evaluate your ability appropriately,” Dye says. “If you are a great swimmer don’t be afraid to mix it up at the front of your wave, but if you’re a bit more unsure, stay to the side and the back of your wave to give you plenty of clean water to swim at your speed.”
Good news: There’s a light current in the water (that you swim with), so get ready for a speedy swim split.
“Sighting in Philly is really easy as there are buoys all long the swim course to keep you going straight, and there are big bridges that we go under that you can use as good sighting points,” Dye says.
“Be sure to know which opening of the bridge to go under,” Kaye advises. “And most important, the sun will be rising in your eyes. I like to use the shore on the right side as an indicator of how I’m progressing along the course. Remember you will swim slightly past the swim exit before turning back on the course and toward the swim exit.”
“For the earlier waves, I recommend clear or smoke tinted goggles,” Kaye says. “If you’re in a later wave when the sun will be over the trees, mirrored lens is better, unless it’s overcast then clear or smoke is best. “
The bike course is a favorite of the two pros because it has a little bit of everything—good climbs, fast descents, flat sections for tucking into the aero position.
They both have specific warnings about what to look out for: “Be especially careful as you’re finishing each lap as the descent and left hand turn to take you back towards transition is FAST and technical—you will need to brake to execute this safely,” Kaye warns.
“I think the one thing to be aware of is the downhills,” Dye says. “Try and ride or drive the course the day before so that you know what is coming up, as some of the corners are pretty tight and the descents are fast. Its always more fun to rip a descent when you know what is around the next corner!”
“The run course is flat and mostly on pavement. It involves two out-and-back sections with a grass section around transition,” Kaye says. “I find the grass section to be good footing, but careful if you’re prone to rolling your ankles.
“The run is notoriously warm in Philly. Expect high humidity and remember to stay hydrated out there!” Echoes Dye, “The run can be hot and the second half is basically uncovered, so be smart about your hydration!”