Saturday morning, my wife and I rose from our cozy cabin bed (where our family reunion was being held) at 5 a.m. so we could make the triathlon on time. She laments now that I got her there way too early, but really, it was about the perfect amount of time. My only regret is that I didn’t have a wetsuit—because it was freezing cold outside that outdoor pool!
I warmed up pretty quickly when I got into the swim. I focused really hard on making my stroke smooth and staying out of the way of those who were faster. They told us to only pass on the walls, so when I came to a wall, I’d usually pull over and let a person or two get passed me. So that’s what I was doing when two people came up behind me at one wall—a man and a woman. I let them go passed and then got all set to follow them by shooting off the wall. But when I did, I ran right into the guy in front of me. Evidently, he wasn’t that fast after all. I tried to ease off to let him get his rhythm back, but I smacked his legs the next time I tried to stroke. At the next wall, he let me pass.
Did you read that? I passed someone on the swim. No, seriously.
I ran out to my bike and got out onto the course, immediately passing a guy who left the transition area with me. I got into the aero bars and just cranked. The course took us twice around a loop through flat residential streets (picture a large rectangle). My legs were surprised, however, to find how much more resistance my non-race wheels give me. Where I’d usually feel like I was flying, this time I felt like I was turning a generator with my tank-tough Mavic CXP 22 wheels. I passed lots of people on mountain bikes and a few people on road bikes, but not a single person with aero bars.
At one point, a guy on a road bike tried to latch on to my wheel. I thought, "Are you kidding? Someone’s actually trying to draft in a triathlon? What’s up with that?" He hung on for a bit, but then I got a gap. He must’ve been on his second lap, however, because he suddenly and completely disappeared. Like normal, nobody passed me.
Then I got out on the run, and all of that changed. I was a bit surprised when a group of girls passed me, chatting like they were at a slumber party. It wasn’t until they’d gotten about 20 feet ahead that I realized they weren’t wearing race numbers. Based on the fact that one still had a pair of spandex running shorts on, I’d say they were probably local high school cross-country runners.
Then a muscle-bound guy I recognized from the start caught up to me. As he passed, I realized I ought to be able to keep up with him, so I started to hang on his feet. A while later, something in my head told me I couldn’t keep the pace up, so I let him go, but he didn’t go far. For the rest of the run, he was probably 50 yards ahead—within sight.
My one triumph with the run was the fact that I didn’t experience any knee pain. Now that I’ve crossed that milestone, I’m starting to think I ought to see if I can improve a little before this year’s thanksgiving day 5k race. Somehow, I keep thinking I should be half decent at running, even though it’s not something I do regularly.
So that’s the result. It wasn’t my best race, but it wasn’t terrible either. My wife did the novice (half-distance) race, and surprised herself by actually racing the bike pretty well. I wasn’t surprised by that at all. She’s a much better cyclist than she wants most people to believe.