MILL RIVER -- Races can be won or lost on transitions, suggests Paul Dalton, one of the organizers for the fifth annual West Prince Sprint Triathlon which starts and ends at the Rodd Mil River Resort on Saturday, June 7.
The event, which starts with a 750-meter swim, followed by a 20 kilometer bike ride and finishes off with a five kilometer run, will be staged in five heats of five participants each, starting at 8 a.m. There is still room for one more participant.
It’s the swim that limits the number of participants per heat. The Mill River Aquaplex can only accommodate five swim racers at a time. A new heat starts every half-hour.
The transitions are important, said Dalton, a veteran long-distance triathlete.
“It’s part of the race. The clock is ticking. You can lose a few minutes there, just from switching over. If you’ve got that all planned ahead of time, you can gain a few minutes here and there,” Dalton explained.
Some participants go right from the pool and hop onto their bicycles still in their swimsuits; others take the time to change into dry clothing. Time can be lost trying to pull a t-shirt on over wet skin, he noted. Weather conditions, he admitted, can influence the approach participants take. The last couple of years were cool on race day so many opted to change.
He reminds participants not to forget their gloves, especially on a cool morning. Otherwise it could be difficult holding onto the handlebars.
Participants can even save precious seconds on their overall time by using speed laces, he confided.
Course records have been in place since 2012 when a pair of participants from Summerside set the standard. Dave Clark completed the course in 1:12:04 and Cheryl Tanton owns the fastest women’s time of 1:27:40.
Dalton estimates six or seven of this year’s participants have competed in the previous four sprint triathlons. There are five first-timers entered and he’s thrilled about that for the future of the sport. “Once they do it, then they’re hooked,” he commented.
Several sponsors, including the host Mill River Aquaplex, are helping to make the sprint triathlon possible, Dalton noted.