Roller Coaster Bike Ride (ET Lake Zurich) – 7/9/17

Over the 3 years I’ve been competing, I’ve run into some really great Race Organizers (ROs) and Race Directors (RDs). I know that if they’ve running the race, or their name is on it as a title sponsor, it’s going to be a good one. One of the many that falls into that category is Experience Triathlon (ET) and Coach Joe (owner of ET).

Thus, I was looking forward to the ET Lake Zurich Triathlon even though I’d never raced it before. And two weeks after racing PT Nationals (PC Open), I was ready to take on a new challenge – especially the very hilly bike course.

As every race sends out a multitude of e-mails (registration reminder, packet pickup, athlete guide, etc.), it’s sometimes easy to tune these e-mails out and just hit delete after the first few. Thankfully, I don’t; if I had, I would have missed out on the race. I had it in my calendar that it was an 8A start, which would mean transition was 6-7:30 or so. However, transition was actually 4:45-6:30. I saw this in enough time to make all the needed arrangements.

Once everything was set up in transition, we thought we had at least an hour to kill given the schedule. So Lee and I headed down near the beach with my parents to watch the Olympic athletes. About 15 minutes before the first wave of Sprint was supposed to start, my parents noticed Sprint athletes making the turn to swim in. Apparently the Sprint start had gotten moved up and we weren’t aware. So we had to scramble down to the beach and queue up.

On advice of my coach, I tried to stay further right after we started to avoid crowding at the buoys and getting sum over. While that may have helped some, it also meant that I went too far right at one point – almost off course. As well, since we were at least 2 start waves behind where we should have been, I ended up getting tangled in less strong swimmers mid-course. These two in combination caused me to lose a couple minutes in the water. And I still can’t tell you what the swim distance was. The event site listed it as 400m; my timing says it should have been a 750m swim; the race result averages make it look like a 1500m swim.

After one of my fastest transition times, we headed out onto an extremely hilly bike course. While the average was about 19mph, I know that there were places that we were at 25mph+. Just simple laws of gravity / physics. This bike course also made it very evident that I need to get the saddle upgrade done ASAP. I haven’t been able to afford it yet – if you’d like to help support me so I can, you can do so through my USABA fundraising page.

Coming back into transition, Pleasant Prairie T2 almost repeated itself. However, I realized the re-clip this time and unclipped the left foot a second time in time. Because of having to push so hard through the hills, I was concerned about the run being a mess. Even though there were parts that I had to walk while my feet unclenched, it went really well. And having one of my teammates cheering us on as we made the turn into the finish chute made it that much easier to finish!

While it wasn’t a perfect race, there were several bright spots and learning lessons. I know that it will all click soon and I’ll start hitting the benchmarks I want to. Until then, I’ll just continue trying and learning from what does go right/wrong.

Lake Zurich was the beginning of a very long stretch of races/camps. Please watch for blogs on the rest coming soon!