So, it finally happened. The family TRIed together. Did we win together? I say yes, even if the chip timing says we came in 6th (sorry, no bling this time). Here's how it all went down .....
The Classic Rock Sprint Triathlon is the first of 3 annual triathlons in our hometown of Rockwall. The course is familiar with the swim at the fabulous Rockwall Aquatic Center and the bike route along a road I ride multiple times a week. It's one of the few stretches of concrete in Rockwall and is fast but with a few 5% grades that can sneak up on those unfamiliar with it. The run route was new to Julian but his Aunt Lesley took him out on it a couple days prior. All in all, we were primed and ready for this event.
This is as easy-going as heading out the door to a triathlon can be. The relay removes a lot of the challenges in transition. Our clothing could be sport-specific which was a bonus for me. While others were coming out of the pool into temps in the low 50s, I was ready to go in cycling gear with a base layer on! Most of pre-race was about saying hello to everyone we knew. The thing about a local race is friendly faces are everywhere. Just to clarify, by local I mean that transition is a whopping 3mi from our house. We did have a non-Rockwall friend participate as well. Jessica, a fellow Cheesy Rider, came down to compete and unwittingly be the carrot for Team Tri4Success to chase. She would get about a 6 minute head start in the pool but we knew if I could close the gap enough on the bike that Julian would be driven by the desire to pass her before the finish. It was an extra little incentive on top of everything else.
|Angelia in the top lane.|
The swim would be 300m in an olympic pool and would normally be no problem whatsoever for Angelia. Of course, if you've been following this blog then you know there was a recent health scare. While she's up and walking around, one leg is still a bit sluggish. On top of that, she got bronchitis a few days earlier. That ended up having the largest impact on her swim as she had to pause midway to catch her breath as well as include some backstroke. There was an error with the timing chip so no idea what the official split was, but it was no more than a minute off of her original target - a valiant effort indeed! She did a great job (read "better than I can do when completely healthy") and got us off to a solid start (read "within the gameplan for catching Jessica").
|Jet fuel for athletes.|
Truth be told, I had my sights set high on the bike. Anything less than my best ever bike split was going to be a disappointment. The results of my training have really been showing lately (thanks Joey!) and on a familiar course there were no excuses to be had. I primed myself for a high-intensity effort with a Blackberry Jet GU 45 minutes before my projected bike start time and another 15 minutes before. Angelia came running out of the natatorium, moved the chip to my ankle, and I was off. I arrived to the mount line right behind cycling buddy Keith (on his new Cervelo P2!), clipped in, and began ramping up the speed. There were a lot of overly cautious riders through that first stretch and Keith and I were zipping right by them. Before long we were on familiar roads and I wished him luck as I passed. Apparently the difference between a road bike and tri bike is equivalent to the difference between fresh legs and post-swim legs as we were within sight of each other for the duration.
Once on the concrete bypass, I settled in. I was pushing it while maintaining heartrate and cadence in the right zones. Usually at this point a number of tri bikes will occasionally pass but that wasn't happening today. There were no riders coming by on my left with one exception - Keith, who passed me twice for two brief stretches. Later, Keith said that passing me got him thinking he was going too hard. After all, he had to run a 5k after this and I had nothing to save myself for. Other than our back-and-forth that played out over a 3mi stretch, I was passing riders constantly .... and some rather swiftly. It felt great and I may have gotten a little too comfortable for a bit but I definitely got the laser focus back for the last few miles. Official split was 36:40 for an avg. speed of 20.6mph, a personal best. Apparently that speed was too fast for me to be spotted by my father, Connor, or the official photographer. Along with forgetting to take a family photo pre or post race (blogger fail!) there is no photographic evidence I was at this event.
Only 1/4mi before the turnaround point on the bike I had spotted Jessica so I knew that the gap had been closed to where Julian could succeed in the one thing he set out to do this day ..... beat her to the finish. He took off out of transition as a man on a mission. This was a very good thing. Julian is only at his best with an outside source of motivation and Jessica, whom he finds "amusing", fit the bill perfectly. The plan worked and Julian delivered a 24:24 with an avg. pace of 8:00min/mi! Overall official relay time: 1:10:22. I could say more but I think the photos tell the tale better.
So many friends, so little time (or attention span apparently). There was a lot of conversation to be had and everyone had a great event. Somehow I completely missed Jessica and Keith crossing the line but witnessed many other familiar faces finishing (Lexi, Kelly, Tim, and more). The atmosphere was very upbeat afterwards and I really don't remember hearing any competitors with a complaint. It truly seems everyone enjoyed a great race. That's good seeing as we plan on returning to this venue in August for Angelia's first sprint triathlon!
Oh, and about that Amusing Athena ....... she took 1st in her division by nearly 9 minutes! Congrats Jessica!