Troika Olympic Triathlon Race Review

I feel like I should be in front of a group of people admitting that I’m over the age of 30 and just did my first triathlon of any distance on my own. Yup, it finally happened. Growing up, I did a relay triathlon with my parents and did the swimming portion. That’s what happens when you’re a lifeguard and grew up on swim team. Granted, I also got to swim 400 yards in the pool. Today, I made my way to the Troika Olympic Triathlon in Medical Lake, WA.

Originally, I was signed up for the Victoria (Canada) Half Iron Man, but a few weeks ago, decided to something closer to home so I didn’t have to travel and worry about bike transport. I figured I give the Olympic Tri a shot first, but had the option of doing a Sprint distance, Olympic Distance and Half Ironman Distance. Friday, I headed to Spokane Valley where packet pick up was at a local fitness store. After getting my stuff (I’ve never had so many things with my race number on it before in my life), I walked around the store and ended up finding a sleeveless wetsuit that was $70 off and actually fit (point me!). After getting home, I started to try and get myself together. Triathlon prep is so much more stressful and getting crap together than just running where I can pick my clothes, pin my bib on my shirt, throw on my clothes and see ya later.

Saturday Morning, I was up at 6 and on the road by 630. I had my bike and nearly all my stuff in the car the night before so I wouldn’t have to think about anything. I ate some breakfast before leaving and was at Medical Lake shortly after 7 AM. After parking, I made my way to the first transition area and started getting set up. With the Troika Triathlon, nothing was assigned, so you could set up where ever you wanted, which means I ended up choosing to set up by one of the nurses from the hospital who actually new what she was doing. Thinking night before prep was the only prep? Try transition set up. That was fun.

There were quite a few races (Spring/Olympic/Ironman/Aquabike/Duathlon) and my start time was 9:07 AM, the last wave with all the women in the Olympic Distance plus some relays and the Aqua Bike I think. I thought I’d do ok with the swim. Until I got in the water and was instantly cold despite the wetsuit. The type of cold where I felt like I was getting colder every time I put my head in the water cold. Cold to where I did breast stroke 90% of the race so I could keep my head above water cold and freak out less. I ended up with Kayakers by me and one kept saying it was ok to pull out if I needed to. I’d rather finish last than pull out. 56 minutes after the start I finally finished and was the last swimmer out by a good 15 minutes. I was a little discombobulated and figured out which way to get to the T1, but I’ve never been so happy to see a bike on dry land.

In just under 5 minutes, I was out of the Transition and getting on the roads of Medical Lake. The bike course was 25 miles. Some uphills, some down hills. A lot of alone time since I was so far behind, but I was able to catch up with someone. We had to keep an eye out for cars since the roads were still open to traffic and there wasn’t much of shoulder to the road. There were people at the obvious areas were we had to do something, but there weren’t mile markers or anything. The bike was at least well marked in terms of arrows of where to go and stuff, but mile/KM markers would have been nice. One aid station that was open on the way out, closed on the way back. Not a terrible bike, but I would have loved it had I been around more people and not passed by some of the half ironman people towards the end.

I made it back to the Transition area, but I feel like we had to dismount the bike awhile before the transition point. I racked my bike and was off in no time, but my legs were pretty beat. It felt like a bunch of energy had been zapped while trying to not lose my crap during the swim. The run portion was a 10k run, 2 laps around the lake essentially. I was able to get on without any issue and make it half way around before getting confused if I was going the right way. Just before mile 2 on the initial lap was an aid station, but only marked for the long course and the volunteers were kind of clueless as to whether I was going the right way. I went with it, but luckily it was the way to go.I kept chugging along, feeling all slow and just wanting to be done. I was so happy to see lap 2 because it meant I was almost done. I made it through without much issue, but finally crossed the finish in just over 4 hrs. I was convinced I finished last because of the swim issues, but ended up beating 8-9 people (happy dance!).

Post race, there were massages, but one of those 15 minutes for x amount of money. There were drinks available, but I couldn’t find the food. I saw some people with sandwiches, but have no idea where they were from. I kept moving back to my bike and started packing up my stuff. It started out so neat before being thrown all over the place. I couldn’t wait to get home and shower. It was a million dollar shower, let me tell you.

Kind of mixed feelings about this race. I wish the run portion was better marked. I was trying to separate miles for the half ironman to the other races. Something either color coded or on the mile markers themselves to give each distance a way to know who was where. Also, some sort of milage/KM markers on the bike course would have been nice. On the plus side, plenty of aid stations on the run, though not necessarily a lot on the bike. Also, no idea where the food was when I finished. I’m just glad I had some in by bag.

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