This morning, I popped my triathlon cherry at the Take On The Heat Sprint distance triathlon in The Colony, TX. I have no idea if Sprint tri’s are a set distance or not. If not, this one was 350m swim, 11mile bike, 3.1mile run. Our little camera ended up having some issues, so unfortunately my wife wasn’t able to get very many photos.
Spolier alert: I made the age group podium!
Now that I got that part out of the way, here’s how it went:
I wasn’t nearly as nervous for this swim compared to the Aquathlon last month. It helped that this swim was less than half the distance, so I knew that I could backstroke the entire way (again), worst case. The start was in the water, but we were able to stand on the ground instead of treading water. I positioned myself to the side and towards the back, hoping to not get swam over too much. They started the M30-34 and M35-39 age groups together, which totaled about 50 people. I was able to swim freestyle for a little more than half of the race (a HUGE improvement from the Aquathlon), but I still ended up needing to do the backstroke a couple of times when I swallowed water. Near the end of the swim, things started to get a little rough in terms of getting kicked and hit, but it wasn’t terrible.
Swim: 7:53 (2:15/100m, 18/25 Age Group, 133/262 Overall)
Getting to transition had us running up a rather steep boat ramp, and over a bunch of loose gravel to get to the bikes (painful to run across). Before the race, I saw a couple of people stash flip-flops on the side of the boat ramp, so I took the cue and left mine on the side before getting in to the swim. Halfway up the boat ramp, I put the flip-flops on, and it made running to the bike so much quicker/less painful. I had gotten to the race early enough in the morning that I was able to get the end spot on my transition rack, which made it quick to get to my bike. I had already attached my shoes to my pedals (with elastics to keep the shoes upright), so that I had one less thing to think about. The most time-wasting thing I did was put my Garmin on my wrist (I had an old stopwatch on my other wrist, so I could see my total time with the swim). Overall, I felt like T1 went extremely well for a rookie!
T1: 1:20 (4 seconds behind the fastest transition in my age group, 19 seconds behind the fastest transition overall)
The bike was a two loop course, and it had a lot of sharp turns and the roads had a ton of potholes. I think there were four speed bumps too. Never thought I’d see those on a race course! I knew I was behind from the swim, so I pushed the bike pretty hard. I was probably overly cogniscent of the no-drafting rule, although I did have one guy draft off me for probably half a mile after I passed him. I passed quite a few people, and was feeling pretty good on the bike. I have to admit that I got a strange sense of satisfaction from blowing past guys wearing aero helmets on their $4000+ bikes (while I’m on the bike I commute with every day – complete with clip-on aero bars and a set of wheels that I bough off of Amazon.com for $130). However, about 3/4 the way through the bike, my right calf muscle completely seized up. Holy sh*t was it ever painful. I thought I was going to have to get off my bike. I slowed way down, unclipped from the pedal, and tried to move it around. After about 30 seconds of lost time, I was able to move my leg enough to pedal again. I managed to pass a couple of people in the last few hundred meters of the course, as they seemed to be taking the corners slower than I wanted to. I also took my feet out of my shoes before the dismount line, and was able to seemlessly get off my bike without losing momentum.
Here’s the bike course condensed into 90 seconds:
Bike: 29:43 (22.2mph, 2/25 Age Group, 12/262 Overall)
The transition to the run also went about as perfectly as I could have anticipated. There’s really not much to say about throwing my bike on the rack and grabbing my running visor!
T2: 0:33 (fastest transition in my age group by 8 seconds, 4th fastest transition overall)
Obviously I was excited to get out running, since that’s more of my forte than the other two sports. When I started the run, I realized that if I could pull of a sub-20 5k, I’d be able to come in under an hour for the race. I was able to pass a decent number of runners (some from my age group, some from wave of swimmers that went before us). My leg held up ok, but it was definitely still hurting some from when it seized up on the bike. My pace remained relatively consistent – in hind sight, I might have been able to push a little harder, but I didn’t know how well I’d hold up after pushing on the bike.
Run: 19:55 (6:23/mile, 2/25 Age Group, 8/262 Overall)
Final Time: 59:26 (3/25 Age Group, 17/262 Overall)
Sometime this week, I’ll probably write more on my thoughts on the race.
For now, I’m just basking in what I consider to be a victory!