The CMU Triathlon is held every year. For the past few it has been
held in the Fall. It will not be held in 1996, although I understand it is scheduled in 1997 for September 14.
The following is the description of the course for 1994 & 1995. I think
it's been the same every year, although things will change with the swimming moved to the University Center.
20 lengths of the CMU pool. Entrants are seeded according to their
(own estimates of their) anticipated swim times. The pool is set up
with 4 lanes, and they have 4 people circle swim in each lane--2
starting from each end. The field is broken into waves of 16 each,
starting 10 minutes apart. People in the first wave last year started
getting out of the water after 6 minutes.
- Swim to Bike
Out the back door of the pool, down the steps to the transition area
in front of Margaret Morrison. Each entrant has an assigned piece of
pavement for bike & gear.
Basically 4 clockwise loops of Schenley Park, consisting of Frew
Street, Schenley Park Drive, Denniston, Circuit Drive, and Schenley
Park Drive again. The first part goes up Tech. Street instead of
Frew, and the last leg ends in the parking lot of Baker Hall. My bike
computer says it is 9.3 miles total.
- Bike to Run
Each entrant has a designated section of pavement to leave bike
& exchange gear.
Criss-crosses campus and ends up at the CMU track. They say it's 3.1
miles, but I rode over it with my bicycle and got more like 2.75. The
biggest challenge in the course is a run all the way up Flagstaff Hill
along the paved foot path.
Back to Randy Bryant's home page
- Follow the news group rec.sport.triathlon. They have a good FAQ,
and good training advice.
- The swim is not a big deal. The main thing should be to do it efficiently.
- Transitions are important in a race of this length. Here are some of the things I learned about minimizing transition times:
- Avoid elaborate clothing. My bike outfit consists of swimsuit,
singlet, bike shoes, and helmet. No socks, gloves, or bike shorts.
Biking in a swimsuit is not very comfortable, but it's OK for 9+
miles. My running outfit consists of running shoes, swimsuit and
singlet. No socks or shorts.
- Some people bike in their running shoes. I think for a hilly
course like this that bike shoes are worth the slight extra time of
a shoe change.
- Set up your shoes so you don't have to tie/untie them. Modern
bike shoes have velcro straps, but mine have laces. I use lacelocks
on them. I also put elastic laces in my running shoes.
- Practice! Try doing dry runs of transitions, and try
swim/bike/running in the outfits you plan to wear.
- It's all in the bike! The hills make this a fairly serious ride
for its length. My strategy is to go hard on the uphills and try to
recover while going down. Reasoning: the effect of wind drag grows
quadratically with speed, so you can better use your limited energy
pushing uphill, when you're going 12MPH, vs. downhill when you're
- The downhill is a real screamer. Traffic is blocked off, so you
don't have to worry about cars, but other bikes and dropped water
bottles can be scary.
- It's hard to run after biking! Legs feel like cement (stiff &
heavy), back doesn't want to straighten up. It helps to get used to
this feeling by doing ``brick'' workouts, consisting of a bike
followed by a run. In fact, I've gotten into the habit of doing a
short bike ride before most of my run workouts, and a short run after
most of my bike workouts.
- There's quite a range of ability. Lots of the CMU student
entries are teams, where at least 2 out of the members are quite
good. There are also a lot of non-CMU people, since this is one of the
few triathlons held in the Pittsburgh area. Top finisher both '94 &
'95 was an undergraduate architecture student. Did the whole thing in
< 50 minutes. The slowest people are really slow, taking up to 2
hours. In 1994, I was the only CMU male 40-49 entrant. The resulting
first place finish in my category earned me a sweatshirt. I repeated
my victory in 1995, competing against one other person. My time was 59:27.
Randy.Bryant@cs.cmu.edu, last updated 17 June 1996.