Salt Fork Sprint Triathlon

Published Categorized as Race Reports

This year’s Salt Fork Sprint Triathlon was a fun day at the water park! It poured rain, starting during the night and continuing until well after the race was over. There was no thunder, which meant no delays. We would all just have to deal with the deluge!

Coach Ryan in rain at transition

The Salt Fork Sprint and Olympic Triathlons take place alongside the American Triple T, following the same course and even starting at the same times. After competing in that event last year I set my sights on the Eagleman 70.3 in 2023 (coming up soon!) but still needed a tune-up race early in the season. That made doing one of the Salt Fork races a perfect fit for my schedule.


When you’re dealing with inclement weather on race day, there’s a few things to keep in mind:

  1. You can’t control the weather.
  2. Everyone else will have to deal with it.
  3. The person who best adapts their game plan to the reality on the ground is the one who will come out on top.

Numbers one and two are primarily mental. How do we adapt our mindset to an unexpected challenge? Number three is where we might have to make changes to our equipment and strategy based on the conditions.

On the equipment side, I made the decision not to ride my carbon fiber race wheels here. There are a few factors that went in to this. The hilly course meant that I would have to use my brakes frequently, especially on the final descent into transition where you have to dismount almost immediately. Maintaining control there is important, and I saw two riders crash in that area on the much drier pavement of ATT Day 3! The other major consideration was the fact that carbon fiber isn’t the best braking surface, and my bike has rim brakes. This means that braking on wet carbon fiber is very poor. Considering that final descent, which requires riders to hit the brakes for most of the way in order to have control for the dismount, I felt that my aluminum wheels would handle better on this course.


This wasn’t one of my finest swims. The rain made sighting extremely difficult. I managed to swim relatively straight despite that, but at a slower pace than usual. The rolling start kept things from getting too hectic out in the lake. I didn’t have a wetsuit for this, and while the adrenaline kept me from really feeling the cold water it would definitely have been uncomfortable to be in any longer. Overall I was glad to get back to shore!


The bike leg at Salt Fork is infamous for it’s hills, and the rain made some of them quite dangerous for an unaware athlete. There were rivers running down some of the steeper ones! I climbed well but was conservative on my descents. Visibility was impaired with the helmet visor, but it would have been equally difficult without it, so it was really a pick-your-poison situation there.

As predicted, I had to ride my brakes the entire the descent back to the transition area to avoid losing control at the bottom.

Riding the brakes into transition.


Coach Ryan running into transition

The run was actually pretty quick! I opted not to wear my race shoes here. The hills are still challenging on the run, and the long trek up to the lodge is matched by a long descent back to the transition area.


I ended up taking first in my age group (official results) and after taking the rain into account I was happy with my time.

There was no point in trying to keep anything dry on a day like this. My shoes, socks, and helmet were all completely soaked. While some might consider that terrible, it’s important to remember that everyone else has to deal with the same conditions you do! As a side note, days like this are why its a good idea to not immediately head for the treadmill at the first sign of dark clouds on the horizon. Sometimes it rains on race day. The best way to be prepared for that possibility is to occasionally train in the rain!

My favorite picture of the day: on the run, with Santa Clause coming down the hill in the foreground.

Stay tuned for pictures from RCT Athlete Aaron O’Rourke, who completed the American Triple T ST and took second in his age group this year. If you are interested in triathlon coaching, be sure to check out membership with the RCT Athletics team and send me a message!

Now it’s off to Ironman 70.3 Eagleman in Maryland on June 11th!

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