In August of 2019, I raced the Chicago Triathalon. It was the end of my 2019 outdoor season, and I expected to be back outdoors about 7 months later in Carmel. But COVID changed all of that… So it was almost 20 month before I had a chance to race outside again.
My first race back was the Sylvan Beach Triathalon. I went down a day early so that I could work with Danny B, who would be guiding me for the first time.
On Saturday, we had an opportunity to make sure that we were in sync for the swim and bike. At that point, the waves were at about a 5 (scale of 1-10) and made it a little challenging for the out. But we knew that we’d get a nice ‘ride’ on the back portion of the course. After figuring out the starts/stops and dealing with chain/gear issues, everything seemed set with the bike.
Race morning did not start off well, and I almost did not get to race. All I can say is that I owe Mother Nature a nice gift basket. I spent more than 45 minutes just trying to get an Uber. When I did, I ended up with a driver that said ‘I am not from here’ and didn’t know how to navigate around the closures. So I arrived at about 13 minutes prior to when transition would have originally closed, and about 1/2 mile from it. Thankfully, the weather had pushed back both transition close and race start, so we had a chance to hurridly set up transition and get ready to race.
While I had benefited from Mother Nature on the front end, I paid for it on the back end. The waves had gone from a 5 on Saturday to an 8+ on Sunday. And there were a couple of points that I could feel them lifting me as I was trying to swim. Because of this, it was decided to tap out of the water for safety reasons. Unfortunately, the tether was lost during that process.
** Note — I know that getting pulled out of the water would normally end the race. I expected to be told our race was done. However, I was specifically told that because this was a Development race, we could continue. **
When we got out onto the bike, the challenges of the day unfortunately continued. It started with an asshat (who I believe may have been part of the race crew, as I saw the truck at a couple other points during the bike/run) pulled right out in front of us as we were on the bike. Thankfully, we were able to avoid a crash, and continued on. At some point into the bike, we lost gears — the bike just wouldn’t shift into them. This meant having to do hills in 5 or 6 instead of 10.
Because of that, I put out a lot of extra energy on the hills. And I paid for it when we made it out onto the run. My legs were shot, and I believe that the most I was able to consistently run was 1/5 mile. That was at the start, and the overwhelming majority was walk/run. I did manage a nice burst into the chute/finish though.
While it wasn’t the race that I wanted or expected, it was still good to be back outside racing after that long. I learned a lot, and knocked the rust off of several things as well.
Thanks to USA Triathalon for doing the clinic / Development Series, Catapult for getting the tandem in place, Danny B for guiding and everyone else that helped make the weekend possible!