I want to start this recap by telling you that Tri Rock Asbury Park may have been one of the most fun things I have ever done.  The weekend was lovely, and I got to hang out with my wonderful mom, and the race was just so. much. fun.


Race weekend started with a trip on New Jersey Transit down to Asbury Park.  I had been nervous about taking my bike on the train because there are rules about where it can be, and what times of day you can have a bike on the train and whatnot, but it ended up being easy peasy.  Thanks NJ Transit!


From the train I headed straight to the Expo where I picked up all my race day essentials (time chip, bib numbers, wristband, etc), attend the “athlete meeting” and met up with my mom.  She brought her bike up with her too, so we spent most of Saturday riding around (touring style, not training style).  We checked out part of the bike course, explored some of the neighboring towns, and stopped for a late lunch on the Asbury Park Boardwalk.  We ended up splitting a pulled pork sandwich and an apple walnut salad, and the restaurant split up the portions for us!

We stayed at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, at a steep discount thanks to the race organizers.  Aside from the fact that we couldn’t check in until an hour and a half after check in time because they were behind, it was a great place to stay.  The room was beautiful and clean, and the staff was friendly- and it was a five minute walk to the start of the race.

IMG_0870 On race day we were up bright and early (Yes, we– my mom was up and out with me at 5am- she is the best triathlon cheer-er ever, and did I mention she also went for a run while I was on the parts of the race that weren’t spectator-able?).  When I got down to transition there were a handful of girls already there, and I thought I spotted a fellow American University Alum.  It was 6am, so I wasn’t sure if I just had early morning eyes, or if it really was a former classmate that I hadn’t seen since graduation.  Turns out, it was and I was thrilled to see a friendly face at the race- small world!  Thanks for being my buddy on Sunday morning, Katie!

IMG_0876Soon it was time to head down to the beach, and it could not have been a more beautiful view.  Seriously, I wish I had my camera with me because the sun rising over the ocean was gorgeous.  All my fears about the ocean swim (being eaten by a shark and the water being cold) were gone- I could not WAIT to get in that water.  At the end of the day, I really wish the swim was longer.  It was so cool to swim out in the ocean! I mean, getting out there was tough (dodging waves and people takes some coordination), but once I was out there, I could have swum along the shore for hours.  There was a buoy every 100 meters so I never felt off track, and every time I took  a breath I got a view of the boardwalk- it was so freaking cool, and just the littlest bit scary (you really couldn’t see anything in the water)- I can’t wait to do it again!

I fumbled around with my race belt a little bit on T1, which was unfortunate, but live and learn.  I feel like I should read up on some transition strategies from swim to bike.  When I finally got on the road I had two goals- pedal hard and don’t crash.  I didn’t wear a garmin, I don’t have a power meter or clipless pedals, and I ride a zippy hybrid.  I’m just not competitive as a cyclist yet, but I’ll get there.  The bike course was pretty flat, and aside from a detour I almost took, it was smooth sailing.  I got back to transition having passed some folks and been passed by many more on tri bikes.  I racked my bike, dropped my helmet and ran!

This is my muscle-y pose?

Once I get to the run, I feel really safe- this is definitely my comfort zone.  I won’t say it’s my favorite part of the race, because that’s probably the swim, but I feel most comfortable on the run.  We ran around this lovely lake, and then up and down the Boardwalk.  Before I knew it, the whole race was over!

Want to know how I did?  Here are my breakdowns:

Swim (500 meters)- 11:04
T1- 3:11
Bike (10 miles)- 33:12
T2- 0:27 (top ranked T2 time! Haha)
Run (5K)- 24:48

Official Time: 1:12:44
Age Group Rank: 4th (out of 27)

So, it kills me a little bit that I JUST missed placing.  I was three minutes behind the 3rd place finisher, and I’m confident I could have pushed on the swim and bike to make that time.  That said, I had NO idea that I would be anywhere close to placing- my goal was to race a solid race and not burn out- so I’m pretty thrilled with the final result.

I can’t wait to do another triathlon, to do an Olympic distance, and maybe a Half-Ironman; but I will have to wait for the bank account to recovery before I can sign up for another race.  Anyone got some tips for raising funds for race fees and travel expenses? 🙂

About the Author Aubrie Fennecken

Aubrie Fennecken is the Chief Alchemist at Opportunity Kitchen | work + wellness strategist | nonprofit fundraising expert | providing productivity and self-care support for mission-driven humans


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