I have never done this race and it was not on my schedule this year either since I just got back from USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals last weekend. However, I found out my good friend, Carmen, was going to do the Olympic distance for the first time so I just had to be up there. And if I was going to get up that early to travel 75 miles, I figured I would compete in the Sprint distance for a training day.
There is no parking at the race start/transition area. Everyone has to park about 3 miles away in Francis and the athletes ride their bikes while spectators can catch the bus. The morning was beautiful but at 5:30 am it was about 48 degrees so the ride was chilly. Note to self, remember to bring gloves next time!
As always, TriUtah has the greatest setup for transitions. Every spot numbered, USA Triathlon officials on site and really pretty settings for a race.
I got everything set up and then wandered around to see who else had arrived. I had a great surprise running into Teena, whom I haven't seen in a couple of years. I knew this was one of her favorite races but we've just kind of lost contact so it was a happy reunion!
The race started a few minutes late with the Olympic distance first and I was to be in the last wave. The water was great! I only got bumped a few times. I think the swim was a tad longer than half mile and I felt a little slow which was to be the theme of the day. I forgot to hit the lap button at the right moment in T1 so I can't compare apples to apples. According to the timers, my swim was slower but transition was faster than my last sprint.
The bike is longer than a normal Sprint - about 14.5 miles. We climbed and climbed and then turned onto the river road which had loose rocks for quite a few miles. I felt like I was going 10 mph but I just kept going since there was no other option! The turnaround was one final climb to get back up into Francis and then the fun started. I ended up averaging just 16.4 mph but what helped that number was the back end of the race. I don't think I've ever gone faster than about 36 mph and on this one I pr'd by hitting 42.8 mph. And that was even feathering my brakes a little!
I'm working on getting my transition times down, so with a 2 minute T2, I headed out on the run. The bike thrashed my legs more than I expected so my run was so so. We ran on the road for a mile and then it became a cross country race which was kind of fun. My time was about the same pace-wise as it's been in my last few races.
It was fun having so many of my Salt Lake teammates at the finish line. I race for the all3sports.com team from Atlanta and I'm the only one that is here local. I imagine that having my Salt Lake Tri club and BAM fam around me is what it's like for the other all3sports.com teammates to race the local Georgia races!
The finish line food was great, especially the watermelon which was to die for since the weather had warmed up a lot from the early morning! I waited around for the Sprint awards ceremony to cheer on my mates and learned that I actually won my age group! And not by default either - there was one other person and it looks like we were neck and neck on everything but I got her on the swim and T1.
I think I always avoided this race because I knew it was hard but I've come to realize it's good to do hard races. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger! Next up Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon!