I arrived dark and early at 6:00 am right when transition opened and met my race buddy, Meredith. We had done this event last year so we racked our bikes in the same spot - right near the 'bike in/out'. Since it was still so dark there wasn't much more we could do until the sun came up but sit in the car and wait. Once the sun came up and we headed back down to finish getting ready, we realized that they had changed transition from last year. We were now as far away from the 'swim in' and 'bike out' as we could possibly be. However, since we were still close to 'bike in' and 'run out' we decided to stay where we were. So we finished setting up, got body marked, took a picture, and headed down to the lake to warm up and wait.
|The required pre-race photo and the only photo I took all day.|
I had to run a ways in T1 to get to my bike, but felt like my transition was quick and efficient for a change.
The bike starts up a hill to get out of the park, then levels out for most of the rest of the ride. The course was shortened to eight miles due to road construction so I knew I could push a little since it wasn't far. I had started my Garmin to track the miles when I started riding, and about 3.5 miles into the ride my bike started to feel funny. Oh, no! Please don't let this be a flat! I hopped off, checked the back tire and it was fine. So I figured it was just the road, hopped back on and kept going. But I could tell something was wrong. I stopped again and realized that I did have a flat, but it was the front tire. OK...no big deal. I know how to change it. I've got everything I need. And here is when things went wrong...
I spent about 10 minutes trying to get my tire off the rim. It was not coming off. Plenty of other racers rode past and asked if I was OK. I told them I had a flat but had everything I needed, but I was getting increasingly frustrated. Finally a guy who was out for his Saturday ride stopped to see if I was OK. I told him my problem so he got off his bike to help. He then spent the next twenty or so minutes trying to get the tire off the rim. He said he'd never seen anything like this in his life - and repeatedly told me I need to get new tires ASAP or I'm going to wind up stranded somewhere! It took the two of us to finally dislodge the stubborn tire from it's rim, we got it changed, and then it took another 10 or so minutes to get the tire back on the rim. I was so grateful to this random man who stopped to help me - I told him he was my knight in shining spandex! I was finally able to get going again - after about 40 minutes - and I think I held my breath the remainder of the ride hoping that my tire would hold. And while riding back, I was thinking how I couldn't wait to see how long this little 8 mile bike ride actually took me when I looked down and realized that I no longer had my timing chip.
When I got back to T2, I noticed that most of the bikes were gone - as in, most people had finished the race and left. I was incredibly disheartened by the bike and honestly considered not going out for the run. I figured what difference does it make since I lost my chip and won't know my time anyway. But I actually had managed to catch a few of the duathletes who started in the last wave and saw them heading out on the run. So I figured I'd go for it, but my heart wasn't in it at all. I managed to catch up to a woman named Joanna who was walk/running at the same pace as me, so I fell in with her and we started to talk. Joanna was my second savior that day. If not for her, my run would have been absolutely miserable, but having her to talk and joke with made it much more fun.
We crossed the finish line together, only to be told that they had run out of finisher's medals but they would send them to us in the mail. Of course, they would know who hadn't received them based on our finishing times. But since I didn't have my timing chip, how would I get a medal? Luckily I was able to locate a volunteer who took my name and address down and said they'd still mail one to me. And then I was able to locate my chip, stuck to the velcro of my wetsuit back in transition.
So with that, my first triathlon season is in the books. It seems I enjoyed different aspects and faced different challenges in each event. But I can't say I'm not a little disappointed in the way this one turned out. I guess that just means I need to start thinking about what I want to do next year to make up for it. :)