Tuesday, June 20, 2017

DinoTri Preview!

The infamous DinoTri is taking place this Saturday in Vernal, UT. As we've done with other races, we reached out to a couple experts to get some intel on the course & race in general. Big thanks to Dan Trott (AKA "The Danimal") and Cagey Veteran Christopher White for their time and insight on this race.

Only a couple days left to claim a spot, so go grab one if it sounds like a good time!


The Danimal: The DinoTri is a fantastic race. I really enjoy the laid back, old school vibe and challenging, fun course. I decided not to make the trip to Vernal this year with a toddler and a newborn but I hope to make it back soon.

C White: DinoTri is a great little race held annually in Vernal. This race has a good local feel and is super laid back. Because the location is somewhat remote, the race is usually pretty small. I’ve done it the last two years. In 2015 there were 60 people in the Olympic and 110 people in the sprint and last year there were 50 people in the Olympic and 74 in the sprint. Because the race is small yet USAT sanctioned, it is usually pretty easy to qualify for nationals.

Pre Race

The Danimal: Like many races in Utah this is a split transition race so make sure you get your bike checked in the night before and you know the game plan for the morning shuttle from the USU Vernal campus (Finish/T2) to Red Fleet State Park (Swim/T1).

C White: Packet pickup will be the night before the race. You will also drop your bike off at the swim venue the night before the race. The swim is held at Red Fleet State Park which is at the bottom of a huge hill. They have people watch the bikes overnight so they will be safe. When you do drop off your bike, be prepared to have it inspected before you drop it off. Make sure your brakes are functioning and that your bar end plugs are intact, it’s a USAT rule. On race morning, you will drive to the finish line and set up your T2, then board a bus to drive to the swim start. You will be given a garbage bag with your race number written on it for your wetsuit, goggles and anything else you happen to bring with you to the swim. I wouldn’t bring anything important with you such as cell phones or car keys. Better to just not risk it. I usually just ride up in my race kit so I have less to put in the bag on race morning.


The Danimal: You will be treated to fantastic scenery and chilly water at Red Fleet State Park. Be sure to pack your wetsuit and warm up beforehand!

C White: Last year the water was comfortable, but bring your wetsuit. They usually send the Olympic racers off first - men, then women, then the sprint athletes to follow again men, then women. This race is a deep water start so you will jump off the dock and tread water until the race director shouts GO! Sprint athletes do one 750 m loop and Olympic athletes do two. You will exit the water on a boat ramp and run up a hill into T1 where you strip your wetsuit, stuff it into a bag and head off on the bike.


The Danimal: The bike leg is the highlight of the course. The course starts with a quick and STEEP climb out of Red Fleet State park. You can see below that I had to assume the triathlete position of shame (i.e. not in the aerobars. I was also thankful for the 28 tooth cog I had on my bike. The organizers have a chip mat at the top so you can see how you did on the climb relative to your competition. After another smaller but also steep climb the bike is a ripping downhill past Steinaker reservoir all the way back to Vernal. This section is a lot of fun. At this point, the sprint course heads to T2. The olympic course makes a turn and heads up dry fork canyon which is a longer and lower grade climb. Olympic racers will climb up the canyon about 6 miles and then hit the turn-around for a quick decent back to Vernal.

C White: Red Fleet is at the bottom of a big hill, which means you have to climb that hill on the bike ride. The climb peaks at about 2 miles. For sprint athletes it is almost all downhill for the rest of the 13 mile ride. Olympic athletes get the same downhill, but then ride up a different canyon and climb again for about 6 miles. The last eight miles of the Oly course is all downhill. Because this ride has a lot of downhill and because it is out in the deserts of the Uintah Basin, keep an eye out for wildlife. You will be going fast and you wouldn’t want to have a collision with an animal. When I did this race in 2016 I ran over and killed a rabbit while going about 40 mph. It was one of the most terrifying moments I’ve had on a bicycle. When you finish the bike, you will cruise into T2 in the parking lot of the college in Vernal and prepare for the run.


The Danimal: The run course is a kind of cross shape with multiple 180 turns around the USU Vernal campus. The advantage of so many turn arounds (or disadvantage, if you run like I do, ha) is that you can keep close tabs on your competition. Each lap is 5K so the sprint racers will do 1 lap and the olympic racers 2. It is flat and not a lot of shade so it can get toasty.

C White: The run for this race is really cool. There is a HUGE roundabout just south of the college and the run is centralized around that roundabout. You first head south to the roundabout and head west for the first of three out and backs. Next is south out and back, east out and back and, for the sprinters, north into the college parking lot for the finish and post-race party. Oly athletes will do another loop to complete the 6.2 mile run. For the sprint, the run has about 70-90 feet elevation gain over 3.1 miles so it’s pretty flat. The nice thing about so many out and backs is that you will see your friends and family who might be racing while you are running and any competition you might be hoping to gain on.

Post Race

The Danimal: A couple final tips. Last year we made a weekend out of it and camped with my wife and kid at Steinaker on Friday and Saturday night. We made a quick side trip up to Flaming Gorge after the race. Dinosaur National Monument (race name sake) would also make for a nice side trip. I also recommend the burger at Vernal Brewing Company for post-race refueling.

C White: The party and the food are pretty good after finishing. They have always had the usual fare: oranges, bagels, bananas, chocolate milk, but this race also has coolers full of ice cream, and Great Harvest bread and butter which is one of the most amazing things I’ve eaten after a race. The awards and medals do not disappoint. In 2015 I happened to get 2nd overall in the sprint and got this really cool slab of sandstone. Last year the overall trophies were these really neat metal cutouts. The finisher medals have never failed to disappoint either. For more info on this race or to sign up go to www.dinotri.com.

Main Site: DinoTri

Next several on the local calendar to consider!

Jun 24:  Daybreak (S & O) - South Jordan
DinoTri (S & O) - Vernal
Jul 8:   
Echo (S & O) - Coalville
Jul 15:  
Topaz (S & O) - Delta

Jul 15:  Toughman Utah Half
Jul 15:  San Rafael Classic Triathlon - Huntington

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