A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 18th Edition
642.8 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010
Race: Lunatic Triathlon
Place: Price, UT
Miles from home: 120 miles
Weather: 70s; ZERO humidity
Sitting at the packet pickup, signing books and meeting my soon-to-be fellow competitors I definitely had a little bike envy. No fewer than half a dozen athletic looking chaps would roll in on a bike that probably cost as much as my rent for a year. As much as I love Schwinnie Cooper (my monstrosity of a mountain bike) I knew I was going to be at a severe disadvantage when we hit the roads.
However, one must ride what brought you. Ironically, the fact I had not ridden 10 feet on my bike since August of 2009 when I was hit by a car didn't seem to bother me any. I was just looking forward to getting out there for my second triathlon ever.
5k Run: ~19 minutes
Given that the swim was to be done in an outdoor pool under the full moon, the race directors opted to hold the swim portion last - definitely an interesting twist to an already interesting race. The gun was fired and a pack of about 12 bolted forward. One man sprinted for about 50 yards and I felt for sure this was going to be someone who was going to run a 15 minute 5k. However, almost immediately, he fell back with the rest of us. When we made the first turn a few blocks in, a few tentative runners seemed to fall back and I used my inside position to fall in directly behind the leader.
About a half mile later, the leader turned to me and said: "Are you the 52 Marathon guy?" When I replied in the positive he then asked: "What sort of bike do you have?" I almost had to stifle some laughter, partially because I had seen what bike this guy had in possession and partially because I thought could there be more of a "how big is your manhood?" question?! I told him "Don't worry. The screws on your bike cost more than my bike." Then about 100 yards later I decided if his bike was better he was going to have to at least use it to catch me from behind. I then dropped the hammer and spent the next two miles running all by myself and finished the run in first place
9 Mile Bike: ~28 minutes
A transition that took all of 15 seconds had me on my bike and rolling. With the lead vehicle not only leading the way but lighting the way (it was 10:30 PM, remember) I felt pretty cool. I also felt pretty stupid for not having a headlamp. Oh well. Please don't let any raccoons jump out in front of me.
Somewhere about a mile or so into the bike, I saw a headlight illuminate my way from the back and the fella who questions what sort of bike I had flew by with a tear-drop time-trial style helmet and his holy mackerel that is a nice bike, bike. We exchanged pleasantries and then I did my very best to try and stay within striking distance. if anything, my bike was probably better suited to handle the occasional rough patch of road or, around mile 3, railroad tracks.
Crossing over the tracks and heading back in the direction we came, I could see I still had a small lead on some headlights catching up to me. Around mile 5, that lead evaporated as a pack of 5 or 6 cyclists, in what can only be described as a peloton, whizzed by me. Heading into the city of Price and rejoining the 5k course, these riders pulled further and further away. With about a mile to go, one more cyclist passed me. I hung tight here knowing there was only 350 yards of swimming to make up whatever distance I had between us and I wanted to see what I had left in me (as well as what sort of swimmers these cyclists were.)
350 yard swim: ~4.5 minutes
The cyclist who beat me in the last mile also hoofed it to get into the pool before me. As the pool was a 4-foot drop from the edge into the 6 foot water, swimmers had to jump, not dive, in and then the next swimmer had to wait for the water to be clear.
I was a little miffed at how this fella raced to get into the pool before me and then took his sweet time getting into the water and moving. I have no problem with the competitive nature but didn't appreciate the lollygagging. By the time I got in the water and finished the first 25 yards I had already passed him.
With an up and back in each of 7 lanes, I had precious time to make up any time at all. And as there were swimmers on both sides of the lane, getting any rhythm was nearly impossible. I will be the first to admit I do not know racing etiquette in a pool, or even all the rules, but I am guessing that you aren't allowed to touch the bottom of the pool and hop along. Maybe that is just a water polo rule but it seems to make sense in the triathlon as well. One fella would hop along for a bit and right when I would try to pass him would hog the wall. Not exactly good sportsmanship but oh well.
All told, I was able to pass three guys in that very short swim and had two more within my sights before I ran out of real estate. Overall, I finished 5th, 2nd in the 30 and above age group and realized if I want to even scratch my potential in these races, Scwhinnie and I are going to have to part ways.
Having talked about my race, I have to say that the race itself was fantastic. there were a few sections that could have been marked a little better or maybe had an extra light or two but for a first time race, with a capacity registrant list (the apparently turned down over 100 people after the race reached its limit) this was a very fun time. Spectators were sitting on porches at 11 PM cheering on racers and there were a few hundred people milling around the finishing pool cheering on every last one of us. People came from Colorado, Arizona and parts in-between to take part in what turned out to be a top-notch event. I sincerely hope my schedule permits me to be back here next year.
Hopefully with a bike that weighs less than a few cinder blocks.