Race The River Race Review

This summer has been the summer of triathlons. I haven’t written on quite a few of them, I blame mostly work. This weekend, I went over to Coeur d’Alene for the Race the River Sprint Triathlon: 1/2 mile swim, 16 miles on the bike and a 3.2 mile run. I decided to stay in Coeur D’Alene for the night since it was a 7 AM race and you had to be done with set up in transition by 630/645.

Saturday, I picked up my gear around 1 pm. It was quick and easy at Northern Idaho University. There was no wait and it was a quick in and out. I went and checked into the hotel and went to Main Street and walked around some. I also sat by the Lake a little bit, a first since the attempted CdA Half Ironman that I pulled out of because I was freezing. I ended up getting a drink before heading to church and then to get a quick bite to eat for dinner and calling it a night.

Race day, I was up bright and early (gotta love 5 AM wake up calls on days you’re not working…) and got changed. After making sure I had all my stuff, which included going back to the room after getting to my car, I was off to the start, about 10 minutes away. After getting parked and unloaded, I found a spot in the transition area (we were set up by color of our swim caps). As I was getting my stuff set up, someone else started getting set up next to me and we started chatting. It was her first triathlon and she was asking questions, which I tried to answer. Apparently by triathlon number 4, you’re a pro. What was odd about this tri is that the number for the bike wasn’t two sided and didn’t stick together. There was a ticket that you tore off your bib and had to pin or tape to your bike. Thank goodness for electrical tape. I ended up sharing with the lady next to me because she was scratching her head too. One thing I was a fan of though was the timing chip. Normally these suckers have to be returned or you get charged anywhere between $100-200. The chips were foam and wrapped around your ankle before sticking one end to the other (yes I taped my on for security). After the race, you threw it away and were done with it. Score!

Around 630, I headed to the start. There was a pre race meeting before the elites started at 6:59. The red corral followed at 7 AM and we were off without a hitch. The first half of the swim was in the lake before we turned onto the river. The lake was choppy and I was trying to not get kicked in the face (or the gut). I ended up swimming the best 1/2 mile of the year (bonus!). It was actually a bit of a hike from the river to the transition (1/4 mile might be overly dramatic). I got out of my wetsuit and changed and got out to the mounting part of the bike course, where there were two people arguing about having not turned on headphones in.

The bike course was out and bake. The first few miles were flat and nothing to worry about. After mile 5, we hit some hills which were not fun. You could see people coming back and you’re realizing you’re having to do the hills on the way back. After 8 miles, you hit the turn around and came back. More hills but you hit flatness the last part of the course. Had it been a 12 mile course, I would have probably pulled my best bike of the year. When I was getting back to the transition, I nearly went the wrong way around the round about, but avoided it. When I was running my bike in a little kid nearly ran in front of me (face palm).

The run was on the Centennial Trail and the first 2/3 of it were out and back on part of the course you had to get from the swim to bike. After you doubled back, and you went out along the lake. It was fairly flat, some minimal hills if anything. What I’ve liked about triathlons is that you (most of the time) have your age on your left calf, so you know if someone ahead of you is in your age group. I was able to pass at least one person in the 30-34 yo women’s age group and an additional 5-10 people, so I knew I wasn’t finishing last. I actually held a decent pace and picked up the pace the last mile. The last .2 miles, you had to go up a little bit of an incline. There was an older guy in his 70s ahead of me that I ended up passing because I’m not competitive at all.

Overall, I finished in 2:12:40. I was 10/10 in my age group coming out of the swim, but by the end of the run, I was 8/10. Overall, I was 147/217 (which is nowhere near last!). Fun race, didn’t finish last and didn’t get hypothermic or penalties!


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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