Pictures to be added at some point soon - check back!
This past weekend included a “family trip” to the Georgia mountains and the town of Blue Ridge – about 15 minutes from the Tennessee border – and yet another sprint tri. Since the trip involved a drive through national forest areas – the same area where Jolanta, Midnight, and I saw the bear a couple years ago – I thought it best to head up the day before rather than driving through that area in the middle of the night. Got there late in the afternoon – picked up the race packet, drove the bike course (yes, there is a reason these are called mountains) and the run course (a run that starts with a downhill will eventually turn into a run that goes back uphill), and checked into the hotel only to find that the pool was not yet finished (so much for swimming with the family on Saturday). We had dinner – Martin fell asleep so we walked through the downtown area where they were setting up the finish line, checked out some of the shops, and headed back so we could all get a good night’s sleep since the race started at 7am on Sunday. Discovered that there were some things I forgot while trying to hurry everyone out the door earlier in the day (towel for transition, meter #2) – but had the basics and borrowed a towel from the hotel.
Up before the sun on Sunday – drove to the start got in the water – watched the sun rise over the mountains – very scenic. Lake water was calm, not as warm as some of the others I’ve been in this summer – but still comfortable. About 380 people for this first time event. Saw an 89 year old who was part of a relay team (biking) – they had a special VIP parking spot for him and his motor home. Heart rate monitor decided it was taking the day off too so I eliminated that “extra weight” and got ready to go. Went off in the 2nd wave – clockwise swim so I headed to the outside for the start to see if not seeing so many people would help with the swim panic issue. Felt pretty good in the water (though still slow) and was out in about 14 minutes (good for me – still slow). Decided to try something different for transition to try to speed things up a bit (or basically transfer the time from transition to bike so I didn’t feel so slow). I put the meter and pump in a bag on the bike. Out in under 2 minutes (faster than average – a first for the season!) and off for an 18 mile out and back ride. Had a little problem getting stuck and tested – but was able to do so before getting too far down the road on the bike. Had a decent ride – passed some folks, got passed a few times, made up time on the downhill and lost it going uphill, but ended up in a good group that bounced back and forth during the return trip – a little competition never hurt anyone.
Transition 2 was a disaster. Got the shoes switched, helmet to hat, race belt and ready to go. As a last step tried to test and the meter decided it didn’t want to work on the first try. Wiped it off – tried again – no problem…other than a BG of 240. Wasn’t sure how that happened since I had no fuel on the bike and was connected to the pump the whole time – and had a reading in the mid 100s after the swim. Realized the pump tubing was a bit twisted – so started walking and unraveling the twisted mess on my way out of transition. Finally got that fixed – headed up the hill to the main road – downhill for about a mile (in record time) – the uphill – and finally flat! As we headed into town toward the finish I saw Jolanta and Martin on the side of the road. Shortly after saw Victor and Nicole as well. Nicole ran along the sidewalk for about 3 blocks – talking (for those that know her I’m sure this is a surprise), cheering me on, asking questions (and not getting any answers on this particular run), and I think finally gave up due to the flip flops she was wearing, the blazing pace I was setting (or not), and the decision to wait for others to catch up.
HR was up at the finish – struggled to catch a relay runner and did so as we hit the chute before the finish. Felt pretty good when done – all in all probably one of my better races – but still a way to go before I get to where I want to be. The race was well done for a first time event – one I’d like to do again next year. A few more lessons learned – another racing experience – and some time with the family…good weekend overall.