Categorized | Primary, Triathlons

Virginia Double/Triple Iron Triathlons

Posted on 01 July 2010

For those of you considering moving beyond the normal Ironman distance triathlons and live in the United States, this is our only race and it’s a must to consider for your race calendar.   As many of you know, my race focus is ultra triathlons and this race is always a “must do” on my calendar.    The ultra distance triathlon originated in the U.S. but is dominated by European athletes and race options.   We have seen a surge in popularity worldwide in these races.   They provide unique challenges compared to the standard Ironman.
The following information was provided by race director – Steve Kirby.
Normal race date is 8-10 October for the Triple IRON Triathlon and 9-10 October for the Double IRON.  This year we are holding a Double IRON from 17-19 September to take care of the overflow of athletes.  Both events will be held at Lake Anna State Park, Spotsylvania VA which is just SW of Fredericksburg.  The Double has been in existence for 25 years and the Triple has been around since 1999.  Both events have been held at Lake Anna State Park since 2001.  Race website is

The Double IRON in September will start 7:00AM on Sep 17th .  There will be an awards brunch the following day.  The Triple IRON in October will start 7:00AM on Oct 8th and the Double IRON will start at 7:00AM on Oct 9th.   There is an awards ceremony immediately following the race.  Check-in time is the afternoon/evening before.  Weather at this time of the year is usually mid 60’s to mid 80’s during the day and lower 50’s at night.

Steve Kirby has been the RD since he took over ownership in 2005.  Before that, he was the admin/web/athlete contact person since 1998 for these and the adventure races that Odyssey Adventure Racing put on, the company he worked for till he left in 2004.  The company was sold in 2005 and that is when he took over ownership of the Double and Triple.  Steve has not done any endurance sports (Ironman or Marathon or longer, just shorter stuff) and will not be able to in the future as he just had hip surgery on his right hip March 2010.  Anything longer than an occasional 5k run will shorten the lifespan of the new hip.  However biking and swimming are in his future to stay in shape.

Entry fee for the Double is $425.00 and the Triple is $575.00 (much cheaper than doing an Ironman).  You get a T-shirt when you check-in and for finishing the race you get a long sleeve silk weight Patagonia shirt, plaque and other assorted prized donated by sponsors (it all depends on each year).  Pre-race Pasta dinner is provided at race check-in and food is provided during the race.  There is a awards dinner for the Oct race and awards brunch for the Sept race.

All past athletes have commented on the unique “family” atmosphere around the race site during pre check-in, during the race and afterwards.  Many friends are made during the weekend.  Also the care showed them from race staff during the weekend.  There have been no major changes to the race course in the past 3 years.

The race has grown significantly since Steve took over the event in 2005. Each race is normally filled and this was the reason to add another Double IRON option in September.

Athletes come from all over the country and outside as well.  In many years over a third of the athletes are from outside of the U.S.

Dulles International and Reagan National (Washington DC) and the Richmond International are the closet airports.  Dulles and Reagan are normally the lowest cost options.  Also,  Baltimore Washington International may be an option, but is the longest distance from the race site.

There are hotels close to the race course and there are cabins and camping at the park as well.

Might be best to leave the children  at home unless they are old enough to help out during the race.  This race you are requires athletes to have a support crew.

The race takes place inside the park.  The swim is in the lake, an out and back of 2112 feet (1056 in a length).  The Doubles will do 12 laps and the Triples will do 18 laps.  The bike and run start on top the hill overlooking the lake, which is 150 yards away.  The bike is a 4.9 mile loop to the front of the park and back.  Doubles do 45 loops and Triple 67.5.  You do have to make U-turns in the road.  The run is a 2 mile loop.

There is a bathroom/shower in the kitchen facility which is near the lake.  We also have a porta potties at the bike/run main transition and one at the run turn around.

The park is not closed but heavy traffic has not been a major problem in the past.

It does make sense to chat with someone who has done the race before with specific to training ideas.  I have plenty of people that I can forward your request to so you can chat with them.  There are also race reports on the website that you can read.  I also have a trainer (Kristen Dieffenbach) who has done the Triple IRON race before and has a PhD in Sports Psychology and is a teacher of it as well.  She does personal training on the side.  She is listed on the website.

Two aid stations.  First at the main race site/HQ area that we available food for crews and athletes.   There is a table at the run turn around that has water and Hammer Heed.

Course is easy to navigate, especially doing so many laps you can do it with your eyes closed after awhile.  But we use fluorescent lights sticks on the bike at night at the turns in the road and also put down light sticks on the run course at the edge of the road to show the way as well, kinda like follow the Yellow Brick Road in the Wizard of Oz.

There is no race expo.

Budget Items for summary of costs:

Race entry Fee ~  425.00 for Double or 575.00 for Triple

Hotel  ~ Camp Cabins at park are 45.00 a night, regular cabins are 100.00 a night.  Hotels on the outside range from 75.00 and up.

How many dinners/ meals to buy?  None for you really unless you want to eat your own food.

Rental Car Requirements – for those that aren’t driving themselves, a rental car is required and are available at all of the various airports.

There is a small gas station with a convenience store inside about 2 miles from the park, there is a full grocery store about 20 minutes from the race site.

There will be coffee, water, Hammer Heed, coke available at the start of the race.

Plenty of cell phone coverage in the area.

Why should an athlete consider this race? Because this is one of your bucket items to do.  There are only 8 (currently) in the world of these kinds of ultra tri’s and these three are the only ones in the United States.  The staff and volunteers are super friendly as are most of the athletes (there have been a couple in the past that needed to get a life, a little up tight) but for the most part, everyone is great to be around.

This is a must race if you want to “dig deep” to see what you have mentally and physically!  Come and join the worldwide Ultra Tri Family.

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