Sapphire Sky

July 16, 2010

Northern vs. Southern Triathlon

Filed under: sports — Steve Knaus @ 11:05 am

Northern vs. Southern Triathlon

I was able to compete in two separate triathlon in June: Kerr Lake (NC, Southern) on June 6 and North Country (NY, Northern) on June 26. Both races were roughly the same distance, but were vastly different in both latitude and geography. While in no way a complete sampling, this is my comparison of the two:

Weather

Southern race was sunny and very hot (high 90’s). High humidity.

Northern race was overcast and cool (60’s – 70’s). Low humidity.

Assessment: Much much better in the northern weather — especially the run!

Major advantage to the northern race.

Terrain

Southern race was small, rolling hills.

Northern race had a hilly run course, and a huge mountain on the bike course.

Assessment: The hills and the scenery were part of the draw of the northern race.

Still, the northern race was much more difficult, and there is little chance of a PR on this course.

Advantage to the southern race.

Organization

Obviously, the organization of the race is not at all related to its location in the country. The southern race was larger with much more organization. However, the northern race had a lot more food and giveaways.

Swim

Southern race was faster and warmer.  Water temperature was not wetsuit legal. Steep hill to T1.

Northern race was colder and rougher. Water temperature was about 69 degrees, making it wetsuit legal (I didn’t use one). Breathtaking scenery and crystal-clear water.

Assessment: This swim course was my reason for doing the northern race. It wasn’t my fastest swim but one of my strongest and my favorites.

Advantage to the northern race.

Bike

Southern race had low rolling hills. Despite the hot weather, it was my fastest bike course.

Northern race had bigger hills with a huge mountain in the middle. I had to push my bike up some of the steepest grades. Crazy downhill speeds.

Assessment: Northern bike was an adventure, but it was almost suicidal.

Advantage to the southern race.

Run

Southern race had small hills, but the heat was unbearable.

Northern race was more hilly, but with much lower temperatures. An added benefit for me was that a friend ran the 10K run course with me. I ended up with a PR for the run course.

Assessment: I’ll take the northern hills for the lower temperatures on the run course.

Advantage to the northern race.

Accessibility

Southern race was close to my home, accessible by an early morning drive on race day.

Northern race was available only as part of our vacation travels.

Conclusion

The northern race was much more scenic with better temperatures. However, the southern races have faster times and, most importantly, are closer to home. I will try the scenic challenges when I can, but will look first for races nearby.

2 Comments »

  1. You didn’t mention the dispositive factor: which finish line was closest to a cheeseburger?

    Comment by Anthony Biller — July 16, 2010 @ 5:42 pm

    • Same distance to cheeseburgers for both races. However, the northern race has a great ice cream shop nearby – I passed it twice on the bike course!

      Comment by Steve Knaus — July 16, 2010 @ 9:59 pm


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