As you may remember from last year’s race, it was a DNF due to a crash at the last turn on the course. So going into this year’s race, the priority was just to finish. To help ensure that, we did a decent amount of bike practice before the race. Also going into the race, I was still struggling with the swim tether. As I mentioned in the past, the one that worked the best was partially lost in 2021.
After doing packet pickup on Saturday, we racked Nelson’s tandem next to its twin (owned by Leti and Jaime) and figured out last-minute logistics with the RD. The night ended with simply getting inked for the morning.
On race morning, the butterflies were out in full force. Mostly out of concern about crashing again; but a little about the first outdoor race of the season. We started about 7 minutes prior to the first non-Para wave, and that gap helped a lot. I know that helped us to get some separation in the swim, even though the fastest people from the next two waves caught us at the end. There were a couple of times that I had to pause and adjust the tether, but we made it out OK.
While the bike mount wasn’t perfect, we made it out and cautiously did the bike course. As I said, the focus was to finish the race rather than trying to hit the normal 19-20 mph numbers and potentially crash again. Even given all of those proactive measures, it almost happened again..
Last year, the turn at the bottom of the hill was a sharp 90 right, so that’s what I was expecting. This year, it was a wide sweeping turn into the left lane (which is not normal). I didn’t know this, and was expecting a tighter turn. So when we went wide, I started to slow pedal, which then caused a wobble. We made it through without a 2nd crash, but it was dicey…
We made it back though with a relatively clean dismount. On the run, it was much the same from Texas runs. In that there were some stretches of strong running and other patches of having to walk / run (especially around the hills). The healthy competition among friends helped to push me though, and we finished strong. We did wait at the finish line for them to finish, and gathered with the team for post-race awards.
While there were several hiccups during the race, I was glad to finish this year. I’ll be back in Texas in about 2 weeks to give Sylvan Beach another go. Thank you to Nelson for guiding and all his help!