Well after six months of preparation I have finally completed my first triathlon. I have finally achieved my goal of finishing a sprint distance event. Here’s a recap of the whole race.
I took my bike for a ride the Tuesday before the race, and it was making a noise that was quite similar to have a cat caught in the spokes. I rushed the bike to the shop the next day to see if they could fix the problem ASAP. Well, the mechanic told me that he was quite busy that week and might be able to have it done by Friday, but he was not making any promises. This had me in a panic. I have spent six months training for an event and I was not even going to be able to race in it. I decided to come up with a backup plan in case the bike was not ready in time. I put a pair of road tires on my mountain bike, and I was going to put my aerobars along with my clipless pedals on the bike as well. I figured that my time would be a little slower, but being slower would be much better than not racing at all.
Friday came and the bike was ready. The mechanic could find nothing wrong with the bike. I took the bike out for another spin and the noise was back again. I decided to take matters into my own hand and started taking apart the crank and oiling and tightening everything back up. Finally the noise problem was solved. It was eight in the evening now and my race was only twelve hours away. I still had a lot more stuff to do. I decided that I was going to shave my arms, legs and chest before my triathlon. I have no idea why I decided this, but it seemed like a good plan at the time. Since I have been riding my bike for a couple of months now my legs were already shaved, these would just need a quick going over.
I started the process with clippers on my chest. Halfway through the process I realized that this shaving plan was probably not the brightest idea I have ever had in my life. After I got the chest trimmed and feeling nice and raw, I decided that shaving my chest was not dumb enough and I started to trim my armpit hair (this is something not to attempt the night before a race). Now my chest and armpits were nice and raw, I started on my arms. The left arm is a piece of cake, the right arm was a different story. I had about two rolls of toilet paper on my arms and chest before I was done. So instead of sitting around watching highlights from last year’s Ironman event, I spent the night applying aftershave to my extremities.
I woke at five in the morning for the big day. I got to the race no problem. There were quite a few fellow triathletes already there when I arrived. I was slightly intimidated at first. Most of the people parked around me had some pretty fancy bikes. I kind of followed what everyone else was doing and took my equipment to the transition area. The race started at eight. We were allowed to be in the water for the start of the race. I stood in the back of the group so that I would not get trampled over in the mad rush. The people in front of me started quite slow. I moved to get around them so that I could get into my own pace. I started a little too quickly and got winded early. I could not seem to get into a groove for the first 100 meters. I think that it was probably a combination of nerves and the fact that I had never been that far out in open water swimming before. After a while I kind of settled into a pace. The swimming form that I had practiced for so long was not there. Every time I tried a freestyle stroke I would drink half the lake. I opted to keep my head above water for most of the race. During the last 200 meters my arms started cramping up, I switched to the backstroke for a minute or two to give myself a little rest during this part.
Finally the swim was almost over, and as most of the other swimmers sprinted out of the water like extras from Baywatch I slithered out of the water like the Swamp Thing. It was quite a far run to the transition area. I had some trouble getting my feet dry and getting into my cycling shoes when I was in my transition stall. Once I got onto the bike, I was back to familiar territory. I started the bike segment a little slow for the first mile or so but once I got into the groove I started picking off the faster swimmers one by one. I knew going into the event that the cycling part was going to be my strongest segment, and the course was perfect for me: lots of sharp turns and a couple of hills.