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There are quite a few athletes in the Charlottesville area who take part in triathlons. I asked a friend I ride bicycles with, who recently moved back to the area if he would put something together for the blog that would help me help my clients moving to Charlottesville or Crozet. He came through. If you have questions, he’s happy to chat; just send me a message and I’ll connect you.
The biggest differences coming (back) east from riding, running, swimming out West
Forget the altitude advantage you had over sea-dwellers in high altitude races, you lose your physiological advantage quickly coming down to sea level.
Most Colorado tris are wetsuit legal year round, but here it’s much more body of water/time of year dependent. Good opportunities in Cville for indoor and outdoor pools for training (ACAC and UVa. aquatics).
I’ve found the biking out here more challenging but better, and that’s coming from guy who loved Colorado cycling and has done 8 years of Ride the Rockies/Bike Tours of Colorado. The mountain passes out there are long and incredible, but we have plenty of really steep (shorter, obviously) climbs that are challenging in their own right.
The country roads out here are amazing and better paved (the ones that are), though the lack of shoulders take some getting comfortable with.
Scenery out here is lush and green compared to high tundra brown along the Front Range. As for mountain biking, I’ve always liked east coast riding better. Colorado mountain biking can be epic, but it can also be all up and then all down.
The rare rolling loop along the Front Range (e.g. Centennial Cone) are treasures, but difficult rock gardens out there are replaced by slippery when wet roots out here in a much more lush & diverse environment.
The trails out there are endless, whereas here they are more limited, but driving just a touch, comparable to say, heading up to Breck, opens up places like Douthat and Stokesville that I’ve heard are epic.
I did the Xterra at Miller School earlier this year and loved the course out there and really hope they bring it back. I’ve done an off road tri at Walnut Creek too so I know the area has both road and off road triathlon options. I can’t speak to the long distance racing out here as I have yet to do a 1/2 or Full Ironman on the east coast.
On the downside, using a tri bike out here in Albemarle County is challenging and not all that fun. The roads are simply too undulous. It’s rare to find a stretch to sit in a big ring of a 53/39 tri rig and just hammer away like one would find east of Boulder or east of Denver. I don’t know too much about the tri community here as I don’t work out w/ triathletes.
The cyclocross scene here doesn’t hold a candle to the Front Range in Colorado. The races are fewer and farther apart, with less hoopla/atmosphere/crowds. Along the Front Range you could choose between multiple races on the weekend within 30-45 min. drive. Here you’re stuck driving 1-3 hours to find a single weekend race.
Moving back east made me realize Denver is FLAT and dry. I’ve found the running out here way more challenging with the humidity and constant hills. Good running community too though, with Ragged Mountain and others w/ good online resources:
- Charlottesville Area Trail Runners
- Charlottesville Triathlon Club
- Ragged Mountain’s “Running in Charlottesville” page
- The Daily Run: The best places to run in Charlottesville
And, naturally, Strava segments abound all over for running and biking.
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