This year I was hoping to do the Olympic tri, but registered for the Sprint instead due to my lack of time on the bike this year. Last year I did the Olympic Aquabike and had fun but couldn’t help feeling like something was missing! My SwimRun partner also did this race, and we drove down together. We arrived and I was on the lookout for b70 kits as this was my first tri as part of the team. We got there “not early” so I missed the team photo but was thrilled to meet Cammie, Katelyn, and Jenifer briefly before the race. It was a scramble to get organized and down to the water and then they delayed the race by a few minutes. That was annoying and doesn’t help the pre-race jitters at all. I’ve gotten better at calming myself but UGH. Finally we lined up and were able to do a warmup “swim”. This was comical as the Oly distance swimmers had already started so all of us were confined to a tiny, murky, churned up area. I didn’t even put my head in since it was so gross. But at least I felt the water temp and that was reassuringly warm since the air was a little chilly. Once we started I felt better. I am terrible at judging where I am when it is a time trial start so while I was passing a lot of swimmers, I had no idea if they were in my wave or not, and I can barely even remember what color cap *I* am wearing? The swim exits to a massive hill which you have to run up to transition. I ran most of the way up and had a pretty good transition out. The bike course at this race is an absolute dream. Rolling hills, almost zero traffic, super smooth pavement, enthusiastic spectators, and beautiful farm and woods views. I was really just focused on enjoying the course and not crashing since it was only about my 5th road ride for the year. There is a punchy short climb near the end of the loop which slows a lot of people down but I am a strong climber, so powered right up it on both loops. I was not thrilled with my transition time to the run. I had put lock laces into my Enda Iten shoes (made in Kenya-check them out, awesome!) and quickly realized that lock laces don’t work well with these shoes. I also didn’t put on socks which was a bad choice since there was so much junk on my feet from the murky swim exit and hill. I finally headed out on the run, felt fantastic (other than a couple minor blisters and irritation from the laces-lesson learned for the millionth time-don’t change anything on race day!!!) and enjoyed the views of farms and rolling hills. Because we had gotten there “not early” haha, and didn’t do the run last year, I wasn’t exactly sure where the finish was. I knew the general area but hadn’t actually seen it. So of course it was about 1/3 mile farther than I’d thought. But downhill! Woohoo! I finished to the sound of teammates yelling “Go Blueseventy” which was fun to hear. I met up with my SwimRun partner and compared notes. We went over to the computers and printed out our times. We finished within 4 minutes of each other. I then noticed that I was 1st in my age group which I was convinced was an error. So a few minutes later I looked at it again and I still was. Once I was sure everyone in my age group had finished I looked again and I was 1/20 which I couldn’t believe. My time was not particularly fast, mostly because of the bike and that second transition. But I was first out of the water and shockingly the first runner in my age group, and was 5th on the bike. So this was the first time I ever placed in my age group on a regular triathlon despite having a lot of room for improvement, and I am super proud of this accomplishment.
This race is one of my absolute favorites. It's very well organized, the swag is awesome, and the food? It's like a wedding. I wish I had taken a picture. Best post race food ever. Everything is pumpkin themed, there is a coffee bar, and even a whole breakfast! And there is great camaraderie. The food tent has long tables (again-like a wedding!) and you just sit with total strangers and talk about the race. It's a friendly crowd!