RCT 2012So you’ve always wondered what it was like to do one of the biggest races in the South? River Cities Triathlon is hosted by Sportspectrum right here in Shreveport, LA and is widely considered the largest sprint triathlon in the south!It starts with an open water swim in Cypress Lake that is 800m, then a long transition to your bike and it’s off to the 18 mile bike loop that is full of rolling hills and beautiful scenery. Back into T2, off the bike and out to the run that is a fairly shady run that offers many beautiful views of the lake, has a few challenging small hills and is all self contained in the park. If after all that description you still want to know what it’s like, read the race day recaps below of our members that raced this year. You will read about some highs and lows, some fears and LOTS of anxiety but in the end they all experience the joys and emotions of this amazing race!

“My time was 2 hours 13 minutes, it was not only my first RCT, but first triathlon ever, and I have been a member since 4/16/2012. The swim was brutal, as I have never swam open water with other competitors. My wife told me later that she cried when she saw me struggling out there. After the swim was over, the rest was downhill for me. The bike leg went great, and the run leg gave me a few cramps towards the end, but overall, I loved it and can’t wait for next year. Having my wife and a few other Sunrise members cheer me on at the end made all the work well worth it.”
David Vaughn

“2:19. 21 RiverCities Triathlons. Started in 1991, missed one – registration full. Sunrise member more than 10 years. My daughter, Morgan Grantham, did RiverCities with me this year. Her first Rivercities, but not her first triathlon. Am so thrilled that she and her husband think it’s fun to spend their time running, biking, and being active. It feels like I’ve won the lottery to have her with me. I forget every year that running through the sprinklers will attract dirt and sand at the finish.”
Teresa L White

“This was our first year of triathlons, and it has been so much fun. We joined sunrise this past spring and plan on doing it next year too. I am a 33 year old female. My time for the RCT was 2:05:05– the hills really got me!! I am looking forward to meeting more sunrise members!”
Courtney Brown

“This was my 4th RCT and I’ve been in Sunrise for 3 yrs. I did 1:28:17 and my goal was just to be under 1:30. My goal for next year is to learn how to swim (but that is my goal after every RCT lol). All in all, I was fairly happy considering I spent basically 3 months on the couch and my running has been very limited. But my favorite thing about this event and most races is seeing all my friends after and sharing our race experiences!”
Gerrit Moeller

“This is my 3rd year to do rct. I have been a member of sunrise club for 2 years. I had a great race beat my time from last year by 23 min. I must’ve took a nap last year. Not Jeremy fast but Reggie fast this year hope to get better every year”
Reggie Evans

“I slowed down this year with 2 hrs. flat (faster than hot last year tho) – I have been doing RCT since 2004 (may have missed one or two between then and now), been a member of Sunrise since then, too. Great race this year – most organized I have been to, the weather could not have been better for August. Note to self: don’t put Gatorade bottles in your running shoes in transition – I came back from the bike with running shoes full of ants (yikes) – I spent an extra few seconds beating my shoes until a spectator asked me what the problem was! (guess he thought I was pitching a fit). All ants were removed and it was an exhilarating start to my run! Good times. Thanks for your service in the Sunrise club.”
Bridget Sinclair

“Here is my tale and I’m sticking to it..haha At age 60, I started doing a little biking and jogging in 2000 in effort to shed a few of the extra digits in my body weight and cholesterol count that were hovering around 230 each. I was invited to and did the run leg of a tri in 2002 and got bit by the tri bug but was facing a very big hurdle since I had never learned to swim. Because River Cities was considered by most to be the ultimate triathlon to do, I made it my “Bucket List” goal. I taught myself to swim good enough to get from one end of the pool to the other and joined Sunrise Club in 2003. I dogpaddled my first Sunrise Series that same year and kept on teaching myself to swim longer. The Sunrise Series races in 2004-05 helped me to finally gain confidence for the open water swim in 2006. The last few days leading up to the BIG race were traumatizing to say the least. But the morning of the race was even more so as I was looking out across what seemed like an ocean and the buoys appeared to be 100 miles out. By the time my wave came up I was near resignation. But fortunately I had made my mind set that this was absolutely a necessary thing to do and nothing, not even the good chance I would drown, was going to stop me from trying. Obviously since I’m writing this I didn’t drown and I met my bucket list goal “To do just one River Cities Triathlon”..yes, just one and I would be happy. That was 80 races ago and this year was my 7th River Cities. My initial goal to do River Cities one time was a “do or die” thing for me but it was the support and camaraderie of the Sunrise Club peoples that kept my spirits up and kept me going. I strongly urge anyone with the even slightest thought in the back of their mind of doing a tri to join the Sunrise Club as their first step and then not be surprised by just how fast they can say “I am a Triathlete” .”
Joe Hinton

” this was my 2nd RCT and my 2nd year as a member of Sunrise. My brother, a 2 time IronMan, did the race with me. It was like having a drill instructor with me for the whole race. My time (2:18) was almost 15 minutes better than last year (2:33). It still was a struggle on the swim but 5 minutes faster than last year. The bike rocked as I was able to complete the course in 1 hour flat. Saturday rides definitely improved my time this year along with the training seminars provided by Sunrise. My run was ok as I am not fleet of foot like some of you guys. Overall I am happy my time and hopefully next year will break 2 hours!”
Eddie Cooper

“DNF 2nd RCT 2nd yr of Sunrise
Let’s see before the race I was feeling ok, a little nervous but comfortable. The cannon blew and my swim began. I got bumped around a little more this year than last years swim. I stayed calm and kept a nice pace until I reached the first turn buoy. Picked my pace up a little on the back side and then got tangled in a mass of people coming around the second turn buoy. Settled back into my pace and headed for the shore. I came out of the water feeling tired but, adrenaline pumping. I hit the sand running. I felt like I had a good T1. I don’t know what either of those times were. I’m in the process of finding out. So I race out of T1 hop on my bike and start mashing the pedals. I felt pretty good at the start of the bike, hit the turn at 162 and tried to gain some speed for the hills ahead. I managed better than i thought i would on the hills and actually felt decent once I turned onto Crouch. I picked up the pace as i headed down the road and everything was going great until i got a stupid flat. i was so angry. i wanted to throw my bike. I cried then I’d stop then I’d cry some more. I was miserable. Waited for SAG to pick me up, when he arrived we put my bike in the back and made our way back to the park. He dropped me off at the front gate then my walk began. I carried my back from the gate all the way back to transistion. They told me I could still run if i wanted to. ha at this point all i wanted to do was drown my sorrows. So in conclusion, the part of the race that i completed was great had i not gotten a flat i think i would’ve beaten my time from last year by several minutes. Oh well, i guess that’s life. Hopefully i’ll have better luck next year.”
Courtney Free

“My name is Kerry Giacomazza and this was my first RCT. My finish time was 1:52:13. This is my first summer as a Sunrise member and my first year doing tris. I started running 10 years ago and became addicted to marathons and half marathons. My husband and I had twin daughters 2 years ago (almost to the day) and I have been working hard to get back in the groove! Between pregnancy and surviving year one of parenting twins, I eased back into running and ran my first half since 1999, this past March. My husband suggested we sign up for the Sunrise series to get motivated and we are both so glad we did! We have had so much fun training together (which is time wise, a challenge in itself with 2 toddlers!)and am starting to truly enjoy the bike and swim, which I once found so intimidating. Just wish I had more time to train! Sunday morning brought great trepidation and anxiety on the drive to Cypress. As we pulled into the park, I definitely started to second guess myself. I must have asked myself 100 times why I was doing this. My husband had done RCT 4 times in previous years, so he knew what to expect and kept telling me I would be fine. I just wanted to get the swim portion done, as did most other first timers I talked to. “Just don’t want to drown” seemed to be the mantra for a lot of us newbies as we nervously awaited our swim start. As the gun sounded and I started my swim, I started off way too fast. Then, everything anyone had told me to expect regarding the kicking, pulling and pounding of other swimmers, became a reality. As I got pulled under by what felt like 2 or 3 other women, and consequently swallowed a ton of that nasty lake water, I started to panic a little. My breathing was way off and I felt like I had forgotten everything I have practiced in the pool since April. I talked myself down and tried to regain my composure. I finally found my comfort zone and happily rounded the last buoy and couldn’t wait to finish the swim. I was hoping for 19 minutes, but was happy with my 21. Transition went well and couldn’t wait to get on my bike and away from that swim! An overall good ride (for me!) and was so grateful for the awesome weather that day. Since I’m pretty new on the bike, I was happy to finish the loop in less than an hour. I came away from the bike portion feeling good and ready for the run. I also came away from it with a little bit of bike envy seeing so many beautiful bikes out on the course. Out of transition 2 and onto my favorite leg, the run. Mile 1 seemed to take an eternity to get to. Then I started to feel a little nauseous which didn’t help matters. But before I knew it I was at the 2nd mile marker and adrenaline kicked in. I was surprised how strong my legs felt and I gave it my all as I headed to the finish. I had hoped to run an 8 minute pace, but happily settled for 8:29. It was a great experience and I had fun doing it. I wanted to come away with it with the same feeling I had after my first marathon…motivated and ready to train and do it all over again. And after Sunday’s RCT, that’s exactly how I felt! (just need the new bike!) ”
Kerry Giacomazza

“1st RCT, 2:23 time, began training for 1st Tri in May, joined Sunrise then also. Couldn’t believe how many people were at this triathlon! Was good experience, had bought a Jamis bike recently after using a Schwinn for 3rd Sunrise and Jefferson Tris (funny, had no problems with the cheap Schwinn!). My chain came off 2x which bummed me out, but I survived! I thought the event was well organized and the volunteers were great!”
Michael Susano

“I started com- peting in triathlons in 1981 after watching on TV Julie Moss crawl across the finish line in the first Hawaii Ironman Triathlon. I was 31 years old and had two toddlers who were 18 months apart. I took them to the Byrd High School track while I ran speed work. They rode their tricylces and training wheel bikes. I did my bicycle workouts on a Schwinn 3-speed bike with a baby seat on the back. Many times they fell asleep in the seat while we were training. My swimming training was in the old YWCA swimming pool and the Elks Club pool. My first triathlon was the 1981 River Cities Triathlon. As a result, I fell in love with triathlons. I have done all 32 of them; however, I had a few bumps along the way. In 1994, I tore my ACL skiing and had to have surgery in April, but I still competed in River Cities where I had to walk the run. In 1995, I had a hysterec- tomy in April, but I was able to compete. In 2009, I had a total knee replacement in October, and I was determined to keep my streak going. It took me over 2 hours to complete the race. My best time was 1:31.00 in 1997 at the age of 47. I have raced on 5 different bikes during my triathlon career – the Schwinn 3-speed, a light blue bike that Shreve Island Bikes gave me, a Cannondale, a Softride, and now a Cervelo. This year my time was a 1:54.15 for 1st place in the 60-64 age group. I have been a member of the Sunrise Club since the beginning years. It has been fun working with the Sunrise Club officers. Sorry for rambling on.”
Sandy Triplett

“This is my first season competing in triathlons and as a member of sunrise. I’ve competed in all 3 Sunrise triathlons along with 2 Sunrise Duathlons. Was running and riding prior to this year but only swam out of instinct if I was about to drown. Started swimming at Centenary in the spring and was awful. I decided to participate in the 4 states and Jefferson Tris with decent results, the open water swims nearly killed me. I’m embarrassed to say I had to stop and grab on to the sides of kayaks to take a break. Thanks to weekly training bricks at Cypress lake my swim gradually improved and leading up to RCT I was able to swim a mile with no problems. This helped me to my best swim of the year at RCT and a overall time of1:40:58. I have greatly benefitted from my membership in Sunrise that all three phases of my “game” have improved that I along with two other newbies are competing in and will finish the Branson Half Ironman in Sept. I am also considering the Austin Half Ironman in October. RCT was a positive experience thanks to the guidance of seasoned Sunrise members. I will not stop training this winter and will return in 2013 as a better triathlete.”
Jeff Gaydos

“My name is Troy Morgan first year to be a member which was awesome second year to do RCT last year while training broke my elbow after getting on my new bike for t first time in April. It healed I continue to train by myself I finished 2:17 this year every Saturday since may going to t lake n doing t course I finished in 1:52 thanks to sunrise for all clinics and being t best club ever. That’s my story n thanks to my neighbor Reggie Evans for training with me n pushing.”
Troy Morgan

“27 th rct in a row. Did one w a broken collar bone. Charter member of sunrise. Time faster than last year but slower than other years. A race. Love seeing everyone both old and new that I don’t see living in Dallas. ”
Calvin Sears

“Finish Time: 1:31:11
3rd RCT (since 2010)
Sunrise member since 2010 (1st year doing tri’s)
Race Recap: I spent most of race morning chatting with friends, trying to distract each other from the race and getting nibbled by small fish in the water. We ran a few minutes to warm-up, but despite the overcast skies, we were all dripping sweat pretty quickly. The warm-up swim was a little better, but there was 26 minutes between the start and my wave, so Rae Lynn Adcock and I chose to pass the down-time by cheering on the waves in front of us. Once our wave went off, things were going pretty fast, but I couldn’t shake one girl who swam shoulder to shoulder with me for about 300m. At the first turn I realized I had been duking it out with Rae Lynn and I almost laughed out loud in the middle of the lake. I finally found a groove at the last turn, then sighted on the swim finish chute the rest of the way. T1 was uneventful, and once I got out of the park on the bike, I was REALLY thankful for the lack of sun. Bike felt good and went by quickly, but I think I paid for it a little on the run. T2 was also good, except for the crowded dismount line. Once I hit the run, I was just ready to be finished. I went out a little quick for my pace, but settled in and stayed comfortable the rest of the way. The new run course was much better than the one that went through the campgrounds trail, and I was thankful my shoes weren’t covered in sand from the old finishline. I stuck around and socialized until the awards ceremony, stuffed my face with mexican food, then took a nap. The end. :)”
Angel Martin

“Name – you know
Time – 1:27:28
# of RCTs – that was #16
I’ve only been a Sunrise member for about 6 years Recap of race – That was a PR (yes, even after 16 years), but frankly I expected to PR. I knew I was ready. I PR’d both the swim and bike legs; the bike by almost 2 minutes. From a personal perspective I was disappointed I didn’t win the AG. 3rd place in a very competitive tri is ok, but I wanted the win. My view of the race from a club perspective was completely different. I saw so many of our club members do so well; way beyond what they thought they could do just a few short months ago. That was very gratifying. I saw a lot of happy faces. Everywhere I turned there was a Sunrise member in uniform. We looked great and we raced great. I think we now have a lot of new long-term triathletes. I am concerned that some will stop training. Our main goal as a club is to keep the momentum going and continue to encourage each other and finish the tri season strong. There are still several races left to do this year. Triathlon is a lifestyle; not a season.”
Tony Bouso

“Shane Huff 1:27:24.5 56th OA & 6th AG (35-40) Member since 2012 1st RCT & OW Tri Thoughts the morning of, I felt calm, relaxed, mentally and physically prepared. As the masses formed in conjunction with their cap color wave, I walked down to the beach to get in my (ZONE). As I had not warmed-up, I decided to take a few strokes (and I stress FEW) to get ready. Sitting at the start, chest deep in murky, dark Cypress water, I felt I could be no calmer. BOOM…..goes the cannon and off we go. The first 300m to the first turn are calm, not sure if I’m passing….or worse, BEING PASSED! We make the first turn, I’m struggling to keep my mind clear and solely focused on the task at hand. Those 200m go by FAST (mentally at least). As I make the last turn for the final 300m to the beach, I find my mind going faster than Usian Bolt running a 100m dash……with about150m left I was able to clear my head and prepare for transition. Picturing my shoes going on smoothly, don’t forget to fasten your helmet and so many other things involved with a fast, smooth T1. Then just before my feet hit the sand I knew I was ready for transition…..GET IN, GET OUT and PEDAL!!! Before I know it I’m exiting the park, I don’t know if I was fast, if I was smooth, or worse, if I was disoriented from the swim and it was forever and a day in T1. Now to the bike……first 9 miles were about just settling in and (trying) to stay in a zone…..smooth on the flats, maintain a descent mph uphill and fly on the downhill’s. The next 9 miles were not so easy…..flatter and faster, YES, but a guy in front of me and a guy behind me, neither of which could make up their mind on who wanted to go on and who wanted to maintain. So after about 6 miles of a cat and mouse game between the 3 of us, they burnt themselves out and dropped pace. Never do I wish a bad race on anyone but Lord was I glad to see them getting smaller and smaller as I took a few quick glances over my shoulder. YAY….I’m entering the park! Now my mind and body are getting excited with every inch I cover on the bike as I’m on my way to T2. Why……I know it’s my time, time to RUN!! Approaching the dismount line, I’m already out of my cycling shoes, GPS in my mouth (I use one for both the bike and run), and the bike side-mounted ready to bail off at the fastest possible pace my legs can hold. With the exception of some riders not choosing the same dismount method, a little bobbing and weaving and I’m around another handful of riders. Running into transition (carrying) the back of my bike in hopes that my shoes stay (on) the pedals and avoid acquiring any penalties or problems. There lies a problem in itself…..and why you might ask, Sunrise Tri Series, a quarter of the distance from dismount line to any given bike rack!!! I was wore out holding that bike up. Anyway……on to the RUN. I’m racking my bike and jumping into my Brooks T7 Racers, getting ready to head out, I hear a (male) voice say in the background “go Shane, the run is yours!” I have no clue who it was but “THANK YOU”!! Amazing how strong those words were at that moment, at that time. I came out at the pace I wanted for mile 1 (6:20’s) during that first mile I could see (certain) people in my age group. That gave me the drive I needed to put in an awesome second mile, running between 5:50-6;10 pace, I passed everyone I had my sights set on. I knew that pace was a little strong (for a tri and at my level), so as the music got louder and the crowd volume rose, I took a look back to see no one in sight. At that moment I realized the overall time would reflect the feeling I had at that moment…..GREAT! Crossing the finish at 1:33 and some change, I knew 5min was coming off that (as that was the overall clock). Having text a few people with my goal time (sub 1:30) and an acceptable time (sub 1:35) some days before. Finally walking to the timing tent, people are already congratulating me and giving me high 5’s, not sure why just yet, I lean into the tent and see I finished in 1:27:24.5, just out of the TOP 50!! Now it’s award time….barely being able to hear announcer, we catch a small part of him saying 35-40 male. My heart starts racing, not sure how I did age group wise (I mean, who wants to stand there at the timing tent and do that…lol). Here it comes…..finishing 6th (the final place for my division) with a time of (you already know), from Shreveport,LA, Shane Huff! WOW….and there it was, my introduction to the TRI WORLD!
TO BE CONTINUED……in 2013 (of course)!!!!”
Shane Huff

“My times now are getting slower so my goal now is to beat my previous years time, which I didn’t do – this year it was 2:41.13. Over the 32 year period of RCT I have missed 6 due to injuries or work. I remember the first year in the swim we leaned our bikes against the trees and ran to the beach in one big wave, males and females. The run had a huge log we had to climb over and some parts of the run path were so steep if you slipped you might fall into the lake. I’ve been a Sunrise member since it first started, not sure when that was. My highlights have been competing with Sandy and now watching her as she continues to compete on a high level. Also being a Sunrise board member has been a lot of fun, challenging at times but fun. That’s about it.”
Danny Triplett

“This is Donna Ford and this was my second RCT. I joined Sunrise last year when friend Dedra Reneau talked me into trying a tri. I knew absolutely nothing about this multi-sport. I have received so much training and encouragement from this unique group of people! There were a few funny things I learned from my first big time open water tri last year at RCT. 1- that the random race numbers the DJ is calling out before the race are not door prizes but bike parking penalties 2- that you don’t have to stop swimming and say excuse me when you accidentally kick another swimmer 3- that you are not suppose to start up a conversation with the rider you are passing(had no idea about 15 second rule) my finish time this year was 1:55:06. But what is more amazing is that my finish time last year was 2:14:52!!!!!”
Donna Ford

“Elodie Burlet: time 1:31:27
This was my third RCT. My first one, two years ago, was my first triathlon ever. Last year, I had a DNF because of mechanical problems on the bike..but this year, I took off over 17 mins from my time from two years ago. I’ve been a sunrise member since mid-march this year. My goal this for this year’s RCT was to race under 1:35 and/or place top three in AG. And I did both. So, very happy with my race. My swim was 4 mins faster than last year. I still feel like I can improve a lot, but I was happy with my swim. One thing I need to work on though; sighting. At some point during the swim, I started turning around a buoy when I was supposed to go straight. And I didn’t realize it until I ran (or swam, rather) into a kayak! Haha. Felt good coming out of the swim, not too tired, and right on target as far as time goal. Then, the bike was great. Even faster than expected. I felt good the whole time; strong and fast. I could have pushed it maybe a little more, but wanted to save legs for the run. And I’m glad I did. Coming into T2, I kept looking at my watch to make sure this was right…I told myself as long as I start the run by 1:12-1:13, I’m good. And I started the run at 1:10; couldn’t believe it. Even though I knew I was gonna crush my goal, I still wanted to give everything because I knew at least one girl from my AG was ahead. I tried to not start the run too fast, which is something I tend to do. After the first mile, I started hurting, but did my best to not slow down. I don’t know what my splits were, but I think I did a good job keeping a good constant pace..and had a decent kick at the end. But right as I was entering the final stretch/parking lot area, I heard the mic guy call out Angel Martin’s name and thought to myself “noooooo!” Haha She was in my AG and finished 15 sec or so ahead of me. When things like that happen, you start asking yourself “did I really give it all? could I have pushed it a little more and catch her?” But in the end, I beat my goal by 4mins30sec, and did place 3rd AG, so there really is nothing I should regret about the race. I was also very excited about the fact that no one passed me on the bike or run.
This is my novel. Hope you enjoyed it :)”
Elodie Burlet