How do you compete in the Double and Triple ANVIL ... ?
In the USA Ultra tri events there are continuous double and continuous triple anvils. For those events you have the same format as a shorter distance triathlon where you swim all at once (for a double that would be 4.8 miles and a triple is 7.2 miles) then transition to bike (224 miles for a double and 336 miles for a triple) and then you transition to the run (52.4 miles for a double or 78.6 miles for the triple). The race courses are done in closed parks with lake swims. The swims are generally an out and back distance somewhere around 1000m (depending on which course) so you will be doing laps in the swim and you will be wearing a certain color swimcap for race staff to count your lake swim laps. Once completed you transition to bike in a closed park where there will also be just a few bike laps before you start on the fun run of either 52.4 or 78.6 miles. For some of the anvil events, the race director may hold a one-a-day event which would have one full distance of 140.6 per day for either two or three days. You need to email the race director about any interest in the one-a-day format.
Do I need a Support Crew?
You are not required to have a support crew but you are welcome to. This separates our events from most of the triathlons you will have raced up to this point. In the same spirit as ultra-running we encourage people to bring a crew to assist with getting ready for the swim and getting out of the lakes, pit stops on your bike, and fueling you throughout the race. There is no separate category for crewed and uncrewed, so obviously if you want to be competitive you would benefit from a support crew. We like to think of our events as a bit like NASCAR or Indy racing where your pit crew provides all the support for you so you only need to worry about competing. It is best to have a crew that you know (and they know you) as you will have certain things planned out ahead of time. How often you plan a break, certain foods, nutrition, medicine, lubricants, riddles to keep your mind attentive, etc. These races are quite long, you might not know what certain foods you might want in the middle of it, so you can let your crew know what you are craving at that point and do another lap and they will have it ready for you when you come back around. That is one of the reasons we have shorter distances on the swim, bike and run, so you are not gone that long from your support. It is not so uncommon for crews to work together to help out other racers, to make trips outside of the park for specialty items like fast food, ice cream, and the occasional blow up doll to entertain the weirder triathletes.
Are there teams in the ultra triathlons?
Yes, the Double and Triple ANVIL has had teams compete in the past and there is room in each race for teams. The team can consist of two or three people and you determine how much (or less) someone races.
The old thought was one person did the swim, another did the bike and a third would do the run. However, you can have two or three people and each take a turn doing so many laps of the swim, the same with the bike and the run. The fastest times recorded in the Triple were done this way. We had two different teams (one in 2008 and the other in 2009) that comprised of a woman and man and they took turns taking a couple laps apiece to say as fresh as possible. They were smokin the course pretty good. So you can do the old traditional format with one person doing just the one event or split up the events between two or three people.
Can I use a portable music device (headphone/MP3/IPOD Player) during the race?
No music is allowed on the bike or the run portion at any of our races, per USAT Rules. The bike and run sections are on public roads with cars and this is a safety concern.
Can my support crew pace me during the bike or run?
No. This is a triathlon where you are competing against other athletes and it is supposed to be you against them and having someone pace you gives you an advantage. We used to allow it during the run portion years ago, but stopped that practice for a couple of reasons. 1) if a world record is being set, you must do it by yourself. 2) same with course records and the top finishers, they should be doing the race by themselves and not having someone else help them along. 3) our races are sanctioned by IUTA (International Ultra Triathlon Association) and people earn points for competing; some of the athletes are doing multiple events thruout the world to be competitive for top positions in the rankings and having your crew help pace you give you an unfair advantage over them and for that athlete to come in behind you because you had help, costs them points and drops them in the rankings. 4) plus the more athletes we get racing, that means even more people on the course leading it to get congested.
Can foreigners race?
Yes - athletes from foreign countries can race with us. We love it when we get a mixed group of athletes come together to race, the camaraderie they all show, the different languages being spoken in the race/support crew area, the friendship's made between athletes, is what makes this race special. However, depending on what country you are from, you must obey passport/visa rules and regulations. As long as you can get thru our customs legally, come and race with us. If you need a State Department letter of invitation, let me know and I will make one out and email to you, inviting you to our race.
Do people sleep during the race?
Some athletes sleep during the race. The leaders will not sleep, even during the Triple ANVIL, they will race non-stop. The race runs non-stop, so if you decide to take a nap, the clock keeps ticking, so plan accordingly. Part of race strategy is when to take a quick power nap/rest and get the most out of it. Some athletes will stop at a certain point on the bike, sit and put their feet up and take in food/nutrition for a set period of time, change some clothes and get back on the bike, same thing with the run. They are planned stops that they have figured on in their race strategy and it is up to your support crew to help you get the most out of these rests.
Do people wear wetsuits during the swim?
Yes, most athletes will wear a wetsuit at all three of our venues.Per USAT rules: Any swimmer wearing a wetsuit with a thickness measured in any part greater than 5 millimeters shall be disqualified.
Are lights required on the bike?
Yes, you must have a white light on the front of your bike and a red flashing light on the rear of your bike. The white light in front must have enough light output to decently light the way in front of you. Both race courses are in parks and it can get dark at night, so you need to have sufficient light to show the road in front of you. With that being said, please don't get a light that is so bright, people think it's a car coming. We have had this before and it is blinding and difficult for other racers. Also - please do not use flashing lights on the front of your bike.
Besides a few medical questions on the back of the application form, there is a medical form for you to have your doc sign off that you, from a medical aspect, are in good enough shape to participate in our races. We had a nurse, who has raced a few times with us, get one and found out she had a irregular heartbeat and needed to get further checkups to make sure there was nothing wrong with her. So you never know what the doc might find, better before the race than during the race. So please make an appointment to see your doc (can do it even during routine checkups or when you are seeing them for a certain problem).
Our races can't happen without VOLUNTEERS. It is a great way for you to see what is going on, how the race unfolds, what do athletes do right, do wrong and what they do to correct it. It can answer some of your questions and make you think of more questions. So if you are thinking of racing, consider coming out one year to help us out or help out another racer as their support crew. Let me know if you are interested.