Hi, my name is Chad
Soileau and this is my account of swimming,
biking and running the Snake Bite Triathlon
in Morgan City, LA. The distances were
400m swim, 13 mile bike and a 2 mile run.
fitting that my race report begins with the
day prior to the event where I wrestled with
an actual snake in Kelli's garage.
I had just finished my 4.5 hour bike / 15
minute brick. I was mentally and physically
exhausted after the long training session.
I was loading my gear, when much to my
surprise, I see a 5 foot long black snake
slithering towards me from under the front
wheel of my truck. I'm not very
fond of reptiles, especially snakes.
They give me the heebie-jeebies. I
wish I could say that I 'Crocodile Huntered'
his ass, by saying,
"Crikey, that looks like
a black, cottonmouth! It's the most
poisonous snake in the world!
One bite from this critter and you're a
goner! Oooohhhh! He looks
a little grumpy!" as I picked him up by the
tail and walked him out to the woods.
I think in reality I
yelped and ran back inside looking for a
long stick or broom. I
found a umbrella and I commenced to poking
and prodding the little guy until he finally
exited the garage and headed off to the
neighbors yard. I still don't know
what kinda snake it was. I don't
think it was poisonous but then again I've
only seen a handful of 'wild' snakes in my
How does this tie into
the race? I've only spotted 2 or
3 live snakes in the wild in my life.
To keep with the theme of the race, the race
staff had dozens of rubber snakes
strategically placed around registration,
transition and the swim exit. I
know I visibly jumped as I went to hand the
volunteer my USAT id and drivers license and
saw the rubber snake curled up on the table
in front of me. That would
continue throughout the morning as I
continued to stumble upon more fake snakes.
to the actual race... We couldn't have
asked for better weather for the race.
The temperature outside was in the low 80s
and there wasn't a cloud in the sky as the
sun started to slowly rise over the lake.
I guess the mosquitos also were enjoying the
nice weather because they were out in droves
enjoying the feast that was the top of my
head, my arms and my ankles.
Thankfully the guy that parked next to us
had some sunscreen that had insect repellent
in it. I slathered as much as I
could on my exposed parts and it seemed to
help a bit.
After setting up my gear
in transition it was close to 8AM and the
race start. I was in the first
wave so I shuffled off with the rest of the
participants to the lake to start the race.
The water temperature was perfect but the
lake definitely had a slight fishy odor to
it. It couldn't be any worse
than swimming in the sess-pool of Lake
Ironman New Orleans 70.3.
For some reason I positioned myself behind
John Deshotel. Did I really
think that I could keep up with this dude?
He went on to take 1st place overall and win
the race. He's a 47 year old triathlon
machine and seems like he wins all the south
Louisiana sprint races. So, did I keep
up with him and draft on his feet during the
swim? If you consider drafting
for maybe 10 feet keeping up then yeah, I
kept up. :)
that said, I went out way to hard on the
swim. I was breathing hard by
the first buoy and had to slow down
considerably to catch my breath.
As usual, I found myself drifting off course
when I was headed out to the second buoy.
We were swimming directly into the sun so
sighting was very difficult. I
ended up tagging onto a guy and drafting off
of him for the last 100 meters or so to the
swim exit. All in all not my
best swim performance. The swim
definitely felt much longer than 400m but it
was over and I was headed into transition
and the bike.
Snake Bite was at the end
of a very difficult training week and my
legs were still aching from the long ride on
Saturday. I hopped on my bike and
started out into a nasty headwind along the
levee. My coach, Will Jones of
4th Dimension Fitness, wanted me to keep
my heart rate at 140 for the bike and told
me I could 'go nuts' for the run.
I kept my heart rate as close to 140 as I
could but the headwind and my competitive
spirit to not be passed may have made it
spike a few times. I passed
dozens of people and maintained a 22 mph
pace for the entire course. I
traded positions with one guy a few times
but ended up passing him for the last time
towards the end of the course.
He took a really wide turn and crashed into
the gravel less than 200 yards from
transition. I yelled at the
volunteers to send a medic to help the guy
because from what I saw it was a nasty fall.
I saw him on the run and although he was
bleeding he looked OK.
I speeded into transition
and was in and out in TWENTY FOUR
seconds! That was my fastest
transition to date.
Not at all concerned with
keeping my heart rate at any particular
range, I intended to redline the entire
course. This race didn't have a
clydesdale division. The clyde
division is for participants that are over
200 pounds. I still tip the scales at
just over 210 pounds so I qualify.
I made a conscious effort to notice if
anyone going back in from the turnaround or
if anyone passed me looked over 200 pounds.
The only participants I saw were 160 pound
and below dudes so I KNOW that I woulda
taken 1st in the clyde division had they had
one. I maintained a 8:19 pace
for the run and finished in 16:38.
My finish time for the
race was 1:05.09. I finished top
ten (9th) in my age group and 30th overall.
That placed me solidy in the top 25% of
finishers for the event.
Considering my tough training week I'll take
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed
reading my report of the 2009 Snake Bite
Triathlon as much as I enjoyed writing (and
Best of luck on YOUR life journey!!!!
May you reach all your goals and achieve all your dreams!