Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tri Oomph

Well, here I am at the end of a very long and mostly happy weekend.

I was awake this morning at 4:00 a.m. I was loading up bikes before 5. At 6:33, I was wading into 74-degree water in Tempe Town lake with about 50 other 40-somethings in dark blue bathing caps. The race was on!

I expected, correctly, that the swim would be my worst event -- hardest, slowest, and least pleasant. There were 3 buoys out in the lake and we had to swim a triangle around them. Most of the rest of my wave was far ahead of me by the time I was about half way (200M). At that point, the next wave, 30-35-year-olds in red swim caps, were suddenly surrounding me. Soon most of them were past me as well, along with a few from the next wave after them. Still, I'm pretty sure I was not the last blue-cap out of the water. And I never had to stop and grab a rescue buoy.

I made it out of the water and trotted into the transition area. It took me a while to get my jersey and shoes on and get on my bike.

I am becoming famous for having exactly the wrong equipment for the sport I'm trying to accomplish (next up: a tennis racket at a softball game?) In this case, it was my mountain bike (actually my son's mountain bike) amongst a sea of racing bikes. It was two times around a 10K course that somehow seemed to be uphill all the time. But I made it through, didn't crash, didn't stop.

The run would be, relatively speaking, the easy part. I actually passed some people while running, something that never happened once in the swim or bike. With the early start, the temperature had been reasonable through the bike ride, and even the first two miles of the run. By the last mile, though, I could really feel the heat.

Everybody's age was written in marker on their calf. So I knew the age of everyone who passed me. The last person to come flying past me at the end of the race was 67 years old. Humiliating and inspiring all at the same time.

So my goals for this, my first tri, were to finish the race, not stopping during any event and never walking during the run. As a bonus, I would have loved a total time of under 2 hours. I met all my major goals, and I was only a couple of minutes over 2 hours, so I'm very happy about the whole thing.

I don't know if I'll do another one, though. I really don't like the swimming. If I keep doing these, I'll definitely need to get an appropriate bike.

Well, there's one thing to check off my bucket list!


JohnH said...

Here is the thing I find confusing about *-athalons, from Tri all the way up to Dec:

How do they decide how important each section is? In a Triathalon, people who are better swimmers benefit from a longer swimming section, better bikers benefit from a longer biking etc. It would seem to me that to be fair to people who are naturally good at each section, the overall length of the legs would have to be arrived at using a system considering the average time it would take to get through each segment. Do I think they did something like that? No, I'm pretty sure they did not.

Decathalons, of course, are much more free-form events, involving stuff that doesn't provide obvious time benefits from doing well, so they use a point system, but of course that just makes the whole thing more arbitrary.

I dunno, this is a minor complaint I guess. Just musing....

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