Sunday, June 1, 2008

First Triathlon of the Year!

Who gets up at 6am on a Sunday to swim 500m, then bike 16km, then run 3km? Well, I do. And apparently, so do a lot of other people. In fact, it seems that most people get up even earlier to do the same... I had a hard time finding a spot for my bike in the transition area.

Picked up my number (268), and my chip, and then had to wait for about 2 hours. No big deal, since it gave me more of a chance to mentally walk-through the race, particularly the transitions. I had printed the race package (including course maps) to look over them closely, but of course I left them at work! So the extra time was nice.

When I finally did start, I was put in the farthest lane, with 4 other people in the lane. This made the first few laps a little bit more challenging, as I got stuck behind them all, and couldn't get into my rhythm until I was able to pass them. Still, I was pretty happy with my time of 9:54.

T1 (the transition between the swim and the bike) didn't go quite as smoothly as I had planned! I was prepared for the barefoot run around the building, over the gravel (ouch!) and found my bike. I brushed the gravel and dirt off my feet with my towel, got into the bike shoes fast, then pulled on my shirt. Since I hadn't used the now-dirty towel, the shirt got stuck around my chest! I finally got it all the way on, got my sunglasses and helmet, and jogged out to the road.

I have to say, I had a blast during the race, but I wasn't too happy with the transition layout. I mean, the bike racks and whatnot were fine, but they could have swept the area before set up, and maybe laid a mat or even scrap of carpet over the patch of gravel we had to run over. Maybe I was just spoiled by the setup at the Vulcan Tinman last year. But other than that minor inconvenience, the race was great-- the volunteers were all awesome, the course was well-thought out, and the traffic control from city police was outstanding (one cop to an oblivious motorist: "I'm not standing out here for my health-- SLOW DOWN!")

The bike felt great. 4 laps of the university campus, with volunteers at each corner cheering us on. I was pretty happy that I passed more people than passed me (unlike last year on the mountain bike!). I even spent most of the race down in the drop bars.

The best part of the bike leg was hearing my in-laws screaming encouragement from the side of the road. Everyone loves a cheering section!

On the final little hill, rather than drop a gear, I stood up-- and promptly realized how sore I was! The stock saddle is NOT very ergonomic! (I swapped it for my old Specialized body geometry cross-country saddle last night, so we'll see if that works on the road bike)

T2 (bike to run) was much smoother, and I got out to pounding the pavement. I intentionally took it slow, as the whole first lap I felt a little bit of a stitch in my side. By the third and final lap, I'd loosened up and was really hitting my stride-- just in time for a sprint to the finish.

I finished in 1:00:41.74 for 48th overall, out of about 320. I was shooting for the top 100, so I thought that was pretty good. My rank in my age group (20-29) was 11/20, which wasn't quite as good as I hoped, but I was really treating this as a warmup. Room for improvement this weekend in Vulcan.

My Try This Tri (Calgary) Results:
Swim: 400m 9:54, 35th overall
Bike: 16km 33:39, 66th overall
Run: 3km 17:10, 65th overall