I am a bit late in posting this, but last weekend I participated in the Golden State Triathlon – sprint distance. It was 0.5 mile swim – 15 mile bike – 3 mile run. What makes this course rather unique is the draft legal bike course and river swim. This was definitely first for me!
I signed up for this race weeks ago. The fitness study needed a target race so I picked this one. Unfortunately the study was extended by 2 weeks so the race fell in the middle of my last week of intensified training. Fail. The week leading up to the race I wanted to drop out. I felt that I was in poor shape to compete in any form. While I do not expect to win any race I enter, I don’t want to be unprepared/feel crappy going into it. I was also stressed about gear, specifically a wetsuit for the river swim. I finally set aside my fears and decided to go through with the race as planned. $100 is a lot of money to throw away.
The Morning Of…
I woke up bright and early and picked up a friend who was volunteering and kindly offered to lend me her wetsuit since she was not racing. Thanks! Transition setup went quickly and I had a lot of time to snack and watch the super sprint triathlon participants. One of the volunteers passing out race bibs thought I was a 16 year old boy. Excellent… It was rather windy, but not cold. This was lucky as it can sometimes rain in October in Northern California. And I tend to freeze before races.
The swim was in the American River and was 75% downstream and 25% upstream ‘J’ shape. We are in a drought and the water level was very low. One guy actually ran part of the swim (bad sportsmanship in my opinion). Anyway, the water was disgusting. Water plants were everywhere and they were close enough such that they clung to my arms. I was kind of worried I’d kick glass or run into dead animal. Anyway.. I started at the back of the pack and had to fight my way past slow swimmers. Mistake #1. The end buoy looked miles away. Long story short, the swim was less than fabulous and I couldn’t wait to get it over with.
Wind and sharp turns. I am not a strong cyclist and struggled a lot on the course. I managed to draft off a few people (which was a nice break), but there were long stretches of me alone. I am not sure what my speed was, but my overall time was slow. So many people blew past me. I’d like to improve my cycling, but I don’t make time for it. 26lb steel frame bike doesn’t help either…
Running is usually strong suit in triathlons and this race was no exception! The course was a flat (and partially shaded!) out and back. Love. So much better than Tri for Fun dirt fire road in full sun. I was hurting more than usual, but managed to keep running and a good clip. I only stopped to walk once, for about five seconds to pour water over my head.
Despite intensified training and a sub-par bike, I managed to get 4th in my age group!? I was totally surprised by this. Although I did have good run average swim. In fact, every one from Mad Cows who raced placed in age group. One woman actually came in first woman overall. Amazing accomplishment, though I am not surprised. Go tri club!
Unfortunately I did not the record race on my Garmin. All in all I thought it was an okay race. I will probably do the race again, but only at urging of friends. It wasn’t an amazing course (still waiting to do something in Hawaii or San Diego), but it was definitely a fun way to spend a weekend morning.