Last week, I started freaking out about the HyVee Triathlon being less than 4 weeks away and decided I NEED to get in a race before. Bluff Creek sprint distance was my pony. Fortunately, Matty J and Braxton were free too. We waited until Friday to register to keep an eye on the weather forecast.
The race was just over an hour from home so it made for an early morning, leaving our house at 5:30 to get to Ogden/Boone area by about 6:45 to pick up our packets and get situated in transition. The volunteers were great and it appeared that they had plenty of people who knew what was going on. It wasn’t hard to find a space in transition (nothing was pre-assigned). Busses took people to the swim start, about a 2 mile bus ride to a beach with soft sand and a nice entrance into the water. The sprint distance for this race was 500 meter swim, 15 mile bike, 3.1 mile run. I coped the times down, but then lost the paper I wrote them on so am going off of a text I sent my mom until results are up.
The race started a bit late, but not a problem. There were 4 waves: Male Sprint, Female and Relay Sprint, Male Olympic and Female and Relay Olympic. Clydesdale and Athena with their respective genders. There were 3 minutes between waves. The 500 meter swim was a straight line until a right turn and short distance to a dock to exit the water. I’d have preferred more time between waves because at the last bouy to turn to the dock, the men who were the farthest behind had formed a cluster, back stroking, treading, etc… that made it a bit tricky to get through to the end. I wasn’t thrilled with my swim time and wish I’d have worn my watch so I knew what it really was. The only thing about the course I didn’t like was how long the run from the water to transition was. Matt said he ran the entire way and timed himself at 1.5 minutes. I walked half of it, jogged half and was probably closer to 2 minutes. That being said, my total time from start to transition 1 was just over 10 minutes. My transition time was under 3 minutes.
The bike course was an out and back on Hwy 169. I was flying on the first half. Really, really flying. I felt amazing and was staying around 18.5-19mph on flatter areas. I was handling the rolling hills well and felt comfortable that I was shifting into gears at the right time as I was going up hills. I also was glad I raised my seat a whole inch last week. Then, I got to the turnaround and felt the wind at my face. Oh. That is why I was going so fast. Not that I somehow had gotten miraculously fast or that adrenaline had kicked in, but that the wind was carrying me. The second half of the bike race wasn’t fun. My goal was an hour. My total bike time was just over 58 minutes so I couldn’t complain (but I still will grumble about the wind). My second transition was under 3 minutes.
The run was gorgeous, the nicest part of the course. It was an out and back run and the first and last quarter mile were shaded and on grassy or gravel trails. It was beautiful. The trails started uphill so when the run hit the halfway point, I just kept thinking about how nice it would feel to sprint down the soft, shaded grassy hill at the end toward finish. My run time was just over 35 minutes. I’d hoped for 33 minutes, but I really can’t complain about splits under 12 minute miles, especially when I walked up 2 of the hills.
Overall my time was 1:49. My goal was to get under 1:45. The swim 2 minutes slower than my goal (I didn’t factor such a long run to transition) and the slower run. The race was very well-managed, great volunteers. The bike course was open to traffic but it was never nerve wracking and they did a good job managing intersections and the turnaround. The cars were very respectful of cyclists. I was completely spent and doing as much positive self-talk as I could muster to finish the run strong and try not to think about how ill-prepared I feel for the Olympic distance in just 3 weeks. Instead I was trying to focus on how well my new tri top and shorts worked out for me (hey, cling to a happy thought!). No chafing and super comfy! I got 68th out of 86 women so I’m at least on my way to my goal of starting to place in the middle third instead of the bottom third. I’ll get there soon enough!