Tri season is off to a great start! Awesome new bike, great new bike position, and fitness gained over the winter.
This was set to be a great race weekend. Joel was doing the race with me, so it was a "race date". In addition to that, we were going to meet our friends Paul and Bill and do the race with them as well. Both are RNYers and great athletes. It is always so awesome to hang out with like-minded folks!
Me and Joel left South GA Saturday afternoon for the 5 hour drive to Athens. Made it to Athens shortly before hotel check-in, and since Joel still didn't have a tri suit, we went to the nice bike store a few miles away and fortunately they had a nice suit in his size. Headed back to the hotel, Paul and his family were staying in the same hotel. Joel and I stopped by him room to say hello and meet him and his family. The 3 of us racing went to the race site to pick up our race packets. It was really cold, and I could see on the ride over there that is was hilly. Cold and hilly, this race was sure to be a challenge. After that Joel and I went to dinner with Paul's family, it was really nice to hang out and relax before the race.
Race morning Joel and I woke up and headed to the race site. It was COLD! 45 degrees! We set up transition in record time. We had no sherpa since we were both racing so we had to take off our layers and jackets and leave them in our bags in transition before heading to the pool area. At this point I was really happy it was a pool swim tri, it was nice and warm in the natatorium. It was the University of Georgia 50 M competition pool, many big events have taken place in this pool, and Olympic gold medalists have swam here on their path to the Olympics, so the pool had that "cool" factor to it. The tri was 400 meter swim, 20k bike, and 5k run
In the swim line, Joel started 10 seconds before me. I jumped in and started my swim. I could tell all my extra swimming has paid off. I wasn't fast, but it felt smooth, and before I knew it the swim was over and I was headed into transition. Total swim time with run to transition was 10:32
T1 was just COLD. Joel was already there. I put on my cycling shoes, helmet, put my arm warmers around my wrists like bracelets so I could pull them up once my arms dried, grabbed my bike, and told Joel I'd see him out there. T1 time was 1:08
The bike started with a hill, but my adrenaline was pumping so I made it up that first hill without a hitch. After that hill I was able to pull up my arm warmers and felt better with that warmth. The course continued going up and down with the hills. Since it was a sprint tri I was able to stay in the big ring and stand up and hammer to get up the hills, I don't do this on long races, but on a short race for me its fine. On the descents and flats I was able to get in a nice tuck and aero position, I felt fast! After about mile 6 I could hardly feel my feet anymore, it was so cold, but I was still able to keep my power up. I ended up having the 3rd fastest bike split out of all the women. Bike time was 40:04
T2 was rough because I couldn't feel my feet. I got my bike shoes off and struggled to get my running shoes on because my feet were so cold and numb. Managed to get the running shoes on, took the helmet off, put on the running hat and race belt. I kept my arm warmers on since it was so cold. T2 time was 1:05
The run started with a hill, I am glad this hill was at the very beginning, it was fairly steep, and I knew that I would be running down this hill on the way back to the finish line. As I was running up this hill I spotted Joel finishing up the bike course, so I knew he would be close behind. For the first mile I couldn't feel my feet and it felt like I was running with my feet encased in 2 ice blocks. At about the half way point of the run, the course switched to a trail run which was fun. At this point I could feel my feet so I was starting to pick up the pace. The run left the trail with about a half mile to go. Had a nice run down that hill that was at the start of the run, and made the turn into the finisher's chute. Run time was 24:08
Total race time was 1:16:55
Bill was already at the finish line with his daughter. He had a good race and finished in 1:11:11. Chatted with him for awhile about the race and we waited for Joel. Joel came in finishing strong at 1:20:41. Having the right gear this time and all the training he has been doing has really paid off, he improved his time from September by over 20 minutes, and that was a flat course. I was really proud of him.We waited for Paul to finish. Paul also finished strong at 1:39:56, and since this was his first tri, crossing that finish line meant he is now officially a triathlete
We stuck around for the awards, Bill placed second in the Clydesdale division (big boys) and I won my age group (women 25-29) which really surprised me since hills on the bike are my weakness. Said our sad good-byes and went our separate ways. Joel and I made the 5 hour drive back to South GA. Was a great weekend and fun race!