Back on the Horse (Naperville Sprint Tri) – 8/7/22

In the early part of 2015, Naperville was supposed to be my ‘one and done’ Tri.  As I’ve talked about in the past, it was simply a springboard to the next 75 Tris…

Going into the race, I was still a bit ‘shaky’ from the crash in The Woodlands and the issues in Hammond.  But I had a strong pilot and guide for the race, which helped to calm some of the nerves.

While Centennial Beach is a great venue for the race, it’s a challenge to get a car close to after 90 minutes prior to transition opening (so say after 5 AM).  While we had a plan (Todd riding the bike solo and me taking an Uber), it didn’t go off as smothly as hoped because the Uber had trouble getting relatively close.

We were able to regroup and get transition set up just in time.  After having a few minutes to say hello to Coach Joe and friends, we headed over towards the beach to wait for the swim start.

In 2015 and for a couple years after, I was almost the first one in (after the Elites).  While this was good in theory, it also meant that those who could legitimately swim 65 second / 100s were climbing over us within the first 50m.  To try and combat this, I moved further back in 19.  Even though we were about 2/3rds of the way back, the ‘swim over’ issues still occurred.  So for this year, we decided to try being the final adult Triathletes into the water.

While this worked better than in years past, and we passed a fair number of people, there were still issues.  After all these races, I accept that there are going to be arm strikes and unintentional one-off ‘swim overs’ in every race.  It just happens as you’re going full speed. 

But what happened at about the 2nd to last turn was far beyond unacceptable.  For about 3-4 full cycles (meaning a good 20-30 seconds), someone not only was fully on top of me, but they kept going on top.  I would subtly nudge them off, and they’d be back on top of me less than 5 seconds later.

Even with those issues, we made it out of the water successfully and into T1.  I had told Todd that I needed to keep the curves a bit speed conservative given the nerves after The Woodlands. 

The bike itself was uneventful.  We passed a large number of people and got the standard smart-assed ‘that’s cheating’ responses as we passed some (to which my response always is ‘I’ll trade you the tandem for your eyes…’)  Even with keeping things conservative, we were able to take advantage of some of the ‘straighter’ downhills.

Going into the race, I had decided to try a different tact for the run.  In the past, I had started running at run out and had pushed things up the hill that goes from within the Riverwalk path up to Jefferson and over the bridge.  As that had led to me being spent by mile 1, I planned to run the flat part from run out to the base of the hill and speed walk until we were over the bridge.

This seemed to work well, and even with a run / walk due to the heat, it seemed to be better overall.

Although I was still working through the issues I mentioned in Hammond, Naperville seemed to be a solid race.  Thank you to Todd for guiding me!

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