I guess for all those reading that race triathlon, there are those big "icon" races, CapTex, Escape from Alcatraz, IM races, ITU Worlds etc. Been there, seen them, done them. I've raced all over the over(mostly) and huge races, despite the commentator at CapTex declaring that it was one of the largest races in the world, the annual battles between Mrs T's in Chcago and the London triathlon arguing over the #1 slot , I've done a little known sprint race in Australia that had 4,000 competitors in a single race, and won a BMX X5.
Yesterday we had just 100 competitors. I parked 30-seconds from transition, it was very relaxing and very friendly. They race t-shirt was fantastic, there were no lines for anything, even the bathrooms. The start was exciting and the first time I'd ever raced like that. They lined people up from 1-100, grouped by age group. The male 50-54 were something like numbers 34-41. The first person started by jumping in the water and swimming, followed 10-seconds later by the second and so on. I was number 37.
Turns out both the guys before me jumped in and were a little disoriented when they started swimming, it was a straight 200m swim, turn and back for 400m. No wetsuits allowed. I passed a few people, some guy passed me just before the turn, I raced another guy into the end, since we all had the same colour caps it was hard to know your position.
Even by my standards, I was very fast through transition, no mistakes, straight out on the long driveway, feet into shoes and settled down for an even paced attempt to catch some of the guys in front of me.
Except, it turns out they were not in front of me. It turns out I'd passed one on the swim, and another two in transition, and was in the lead. Shame I didn't know that, otherwise I'd have gone flat out from the start on the bike. I was passed by Reyes Lopez, and then Norberto Valdes within 5-miles, I then got passed Lane Carnes after 8-miles and try as I might, couldn't pull them back in. The bike course was actually pretty tough for a sprint. A combination of long Texas country straight-aways, gradual climbs, and two short sharp uphills.
Coming into the run I was convinced I was well down, since I'd been passed by three and thought maybe another two were already ahead, I wasn't. I was 4th. I had a great T2, was out and after Lane pretty quickly, the run was a series of straight lines up alongside the 3-ski lakes, all on trails, pretty uneven in places. This was one place having the built up shoe wasn't helping.
I held my place pretty well, on the run back in it was sweltering, no shade and mid-90's. I finished in 1:21:55, 4th place in my AG. Again, not where I wanted to be, but given the mad 2-weeks of travel, less than 12-hours sleep in 3-days, pretty good.
Afterwards the race had breakfast tacos, a finishers medal, plenty of drinks, fruit etc. and again was really friendly and easy. I had all my stuff packed, had been for a refreshing swim in the lake, and when the last person left on the run, packed the bike away. I talked to all three of the guys that had beaten me. Norberto from the Woodlands was flying on the run. Even if I'd been in clear 1st going out on the run, he'd have beaten me.
There were ready with results, and before that did a draw for some door prizes. Everyones a winner - I kept up my long standing result of not winning the races, but winning door prizes. This time it was the top prize, a DeSoto Transition pack.
So, fantastic race, very relaxed, well organized for a 1st year race by Nick Seidel of Seidel Productions and The Trisitionarea.com a few things to improve on next year, but really very, very good!
I'd have like to have been a bit fitter, and more rested for the bike. I have to say, for a sprint it was easily the best bike course I've done in a long time.
Race Stats: (I didn't wear the garmin thingy... and didn't even use my watch)
Swim: 8:04 inc run into T1 4th of 6 in AG
Bike: 46:04 inc T1 and T2 3rd in AG
Run: 27:42 5th in AG
Total: 1:21:55 4th in AG, 28th out of 100 overall, 26th male.
Maybe I should just give-up this AG thing and go back to Clydesdales. Afterall I'm easily over 190lbs and usually over 200lb. This would have been my 3rd win of the year... the winning Clydesdale took 1:23:42. Nah, how much fun would it be to keep winning ;-)
Next-up: Tuesday evening its the pure Austin North Splash and Dash. If you are thinking of entering, you must do so online before the race. No race registration anymore....