Saturday morning marked the first event of the August Adventure Weekend – the Folsom Sprint Triathlon. I have not participated in a sprint distance race since 2007. After many long, slow, endurance events, I wasn’t even sure I would be able to turn on any speed. But, it didn’t matter…I just felt pretty certain I needed to race at least once this season to still call myself a triathlete. And, what better reason to organize a camping, kayaking, and rafting trip than around a race?
My friend Julia and I arrived Nimbus Flat Park in Folsom with some other things on our minds than the race – when we saw how cars were being boxed in, we couldn’t help but worry – “Would we be able to get out in time to get to our kayaking class?” Our swim starts were slated for 8 am and our kayaking lesson would begin at 10 am. With an hour and a half race time and 30 minutes of driving, we had just enough time…as long as we could get the car out!
Luckily, the park was small and the race area was set up well. I have to say USA Productions does a great job with their events. Everything was clearly marked, Mike’s Bikes was on hand to provide last minute service, Cytomax was giving out water and electrolytes, and there was even free coffee. The transition area was a little bit of free for all – and I missed the GGTC club rack, but squeezed in elsewhere.
Besides getting out of the race in time, I was only worried about one other thing – getting my wetsuit off! I have never worn a wetsuit in a sprint. And, I couldn’t even recall the last time I put my wetsuit on.
It was an in-water race start – my favorite! The water felt great, I had plenty of time to tread water and get the right position. It was the most gentle swim I’ve had in ages! I took it easy and just enjoyed the water. Made it out in about 15 minutes. A little slower than some of my past swims, but ok. Of course, the wetsuit got the best of me at transition. I could not get it over the timing chip for the life of me, my leg even started shaking. Three minutes later – it was off! By the run, I realized the wetsuit got the better of me in one other way – a nice bit of chaffing under my arm (a sleeveless suit).
This was my kind of bike course! Flat, fast and just a few rolling hills. I felt like I was flying! I was easily clocking speeds of 18-24 mph. I almost dropped my chain on one little climb, but remembered to be patient and not push through it (I did that last week and twisted the chain into a pretzel…one mile walk to the bike shop and $100 later to be riding again). And, most exciting, for the first time I can recall, I felt a little of that competitive spirit. In the last few miles, a woman tried to pass me on a left hand turn. No way was I letting this lady in her fancy Facebook racing kit take me! I hammered it out on the last main stretch of road, took the lead, and hogged the little bike lane back into the transition to ensure she could not pass me. I knew she would likely get me on the run, but the bike was mine! Time: 48 minutes
To be honest, I just wasn’t feeling it. I wanted to push harder and I knew I usually could, but my legs felt heavy and my right hip hurt a little. I consoled myself by thinking, “you’re just out for a morning jog on Chrissy Field,” enjoy it. But, the ladies in my age group started passing me and my friend Julia caught me (having started from the wave after me). I trudged on through, and finally felt like my legs were waking up in the last half mile. Maybe I am meant for Olympic distance after all? Time: 27 minutes
It was a great race – nice size, well run. I’ll definitely do another USA Productions race in the future. It was great to see my teammates John, Natalie, and Geoff there. And, I have to say I’m pleased with finishing 10th in my age group and 31st of all 168 women. My final time was 1:37. I think I could have gone faster on the swim and run. I haven’t been training too much (or consistently for that matter), so it’s good to know I’ve got strength and am building my competitive spirit.
Oh, and we got the car out just fine, in case you were wondering. Made it to kayaking at Current Adventures only about 20 minutes late. And, I nailed my first roll of the day!