Simply Stu self-supported triathlon

Date:  March 25, 2006

Location:  Ahwatukee Foothills, (Phoenix, AZ)



First off, my method of doing this self-supported triathlon was to do it Xterra style, the type of triathlon I do with the most frequency.  Honestly, I haven’t done a road tri in over a year!  I’ve only done Fat-Tire tris and Xterra tris during this time.  So, I decided that the most familiar way to do this tri was to do it OFF ROAD style!


Race Prep

What I envisioned doing and what I actually did was practically the same thing.  The main goal of my Simply Stu triathlon was to do as much of the race as I could OFF ROAD, eliminating as much pavement time on my mountain bike as possible.  My intuition and knowledge of my local neighborhood, the Ahwatukee Foothills community of Phoenix, Arizona and the Desert Classic trails of South Mountain Park (the 2nd largest municipal park in the United States, BTW) really paid off, allowing me to gauge what course I should ride and run to get me in at exactly 15 miles on the bike and 3.1 miles on the run, respectively.


So, what I ended up doing is parking my Audi A4 2.8 Quattro (I’ve lovingly named her Audrey the Audi) at the trailhead to the park along Warpaint Drive, where I would begin my off-road biking and transition to 100% trail running for the run portion.  I drove to the trailhead with my mountain bike on the roof rack of my car and biked to the community HOA pool where I would do my swimming.




I performed my swim in the Mountain Park Ranch HOA (Home Owners Association) heated community pool at Mountain Parkway and Ranch Circle South in the heart of Ahwatukee.  Now, the HOA has three full Olympic-sized lap pools for homeowners, but only one of them is heated year-round.  Although I could have chosen one of the non-heated versions closer to the trailhead, I decided on using the heated one that has recently been refinished with Pebbletec and new tile throughout.


The swim went great, with my total swim time coming in at 8:13.



Since my mountain bike was there at the pool, I leasurely toweled off and put on the mountain biking race gear:  Oakley MTB shorts, Adidas top, Bell MTB helmet, Tifosi sunglasses, Planet Bike gloves, Adidas “Marathon” MTB shoes and Camelbak “Blowfish” hydration unit.  Ready to roll!


Transition 1 Time:  6:57.



The first portion of my bike had to be on pavement, sadly, but what made it a bit challenging was that the course I took threw in two good climbs on asphalt before I reached the trailhead.  The biking started for me climbing up a pretty big climb on Mountain Parkway, then through the stoplight at Ray Road, continuing up on Ranch Circle North, left on 36th Street, left on Knox Rd, followed by a right on Warpaint Drive.  Then came pavement hill #2.  Nice steep climb up to the trailhead.  Yup, Audrey the Audi was still there.  NICE!  Now starts the single-track goodness.


Here’s a map of my 2.1 miles of pavement on the MTB before reaching sweet, blessed desert dirt single-track:


(Click on image for a larger version of the map)


Next, I continued on the Desert Classic single-track, a trail I’m very familiar with.  A nice, rolling, rocky trail used by many mountain bikers, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.  Much different from the typical XTERRA course, though, which tend to be seriously insane climbs followed by long, fast decents.  I’m not the biggest fan of those, but hey… I do XTERRA, so I can’t argue if I keep on entering these events, can I?!?!


Don’t get me wrong, though… this isn’t a walk in the park.  There are definitely plenty of steep climbing sections where you’re coming out of a wash and you’ve got to CLICK CLICK CLICKITY CLICK through the gears so you’re not caught high and dry on a section where you need to be in a granny gear to make it up a crazy slope!  Needless to say, my heart rate remained well into the “anaerobic” level for most of the ride.  Lactic acid was my enemy, as it always will on these off-road rides.  More on that later as I explain my sojourn into the realm of glycogen depletion.


So, I rambled on through the single track that is Desert Classic.  Here are the maps of the course I took.  Click on the thumbnails for a larger view!





I also recorded some audio from the ride.  I planted my iRiver iFP-799 MP3 player/recorder with Big Squid bi-directional mic in my hydration unit pack and recorded the entire ride.  I will be putting it here later.  Stay tuned!


So, towards the end of the bike, I could feel the effects of remaining in the anaerobic state too long.  Mucho lactic acid buildup in the legs.  During the bike, I drank only water, but also took in a Clif Shot “Mmm Chocolate”.  That seemed to help, but didn’t cure everything.


Bike time:  1:34:00  (9.57 MPH)




So, I got back to Audrey the Audi and was feeling pretty good, if not a bit torn up due to the anaerobic time on the bike.  No worries!  Swallowed about 20 ounces of Gatorade Fierce Melon and took off the Oakley MTB shorts and put on some running shorts over my Zoot tri-suit.  I also put on the “crip” blue bandana and headed out to do the run.


A view of T2.


Transition 2 Time:  12:12




Felt OK, although the temperature was now in the mid 80-degree mark.  No worries about the heat, it was the lactic acid in my thighs that made me cramp up a bit during the run.  Nothing a little pause to stretch (ouch, sorry, Brett) wouldn’t cure!  Made it back to the car and felt really good about my entire run, and “race”, for that matter.


Run Time:  25:00


Total Race Times








Bike (off road)






Total Race Time




Post Race


I like to follow up all triathlons I compete in with a nice mixture of PowerBar Recover Drink and some nice beer, preferably Nimbus Pale Ale (Tucson, AZ).


Thanks, Simply Stu, for this great opportunity!!!  You rock!!!



For questions or comments, please contact me at:


My e-mail address