Blue Lake Sprint RR
2nd AG, 5th OA Woman
This was my first outdoor sprint in a few years, and it's always a great race with a course that's been used for 20 years or so. Well organized and supported with a ton of volunteers. This year (due to our unending torrential rains!!!) the course was very muddy, and the fields where they normally park cars were so muddy that they had to change plans at the last minute and divert the athletes to a nearby boat launch parking and run shuttle buses. To the RD's credit, this went very smoothly for the most part with only a short delay in the race start.
This course also has a long grassy chute from the transition area to the bike mount area. This year it was quite slick and had some muddy spots. We were debating before the race whether or not it was best to run through the mud in bare feet with shoes clipped to pedals and try to jam muddy feet into biking shoes, or whether it was better to run in the biking shoes through T1 and risk getting mud in the cleats. I ended up deciding to run in my biking shoes. Luckily, my cleats worked fine!
The swim was very pleasant in this race. Very nice lake temperature (especially given all of the rain). I think I swam way too slow, probably because I've mostly done pool sprints for the last few sprints I've done. So all of my open-water races have been Oly or HIM distance. I think I just paced it as if that was the distance, and when I turned the last buoy and saw the arch, I knew I had way too much energy left in my arms. Damn! Still, about 11:50 for the 800m swim. Not too bad.
Transition was slow, lots of scary slippery mud leading from the lake into T1, a 3 minute T1 with the run out to the bike course, onto the bike at 14:50.
Lots and lots and lots of first-time triathletes on the bike course. I think this race was close to its 800 person capacity. I haven't been on a course this crowded in a few years, sometimes it was like playing dodge-the-mountain-bike, and there were water bottles, sunglasses, and stuff strewn all over the bike course from people dropping them. But most everyone was doing a good job of passing and being passed and trying to keep some general order on a course with lots of people. For the most part, the bike was uneventful except for some asshole roadie who wouldn't get over to the left and let me pass (he wasn't in the race, just biking along the course for some reason). I didn't want to pass on his right, since that's an automatic DQ and the race officials wouldn't know that he wasn't in the race. I asked him nicely to move over but he was being a jerk. I finally squeezed past him just a hair to the right of the centerline. I also tried an Accel Gel for the first time on the bike course and I have to say those are damn tasty gels!
My bike time was somewhere between 34:00 - 35:00 (I forgot to hit the watch) for 12.5 miles.
Another slightly long transition, and onto the run at 51:00. I was hoping to be under 50:00 at that point, but the muddy transitions added some time. I figured everyone was in the same boat though!
My run sucked. My hamstring was tight on the long drive up the day before, that's the only reason I can think of that it started locking up on me. My left leg went kind of numb which was weird. Just had to keep shuffling along. Run was 27:27, almost a 9 minute mile average, ugh! Final time somewhere around 1:18 (again, forgot the watch thing, and race results still aren't posted).
I was thinking I had kind of a slow race, especially with the run, but I thought there was only one woman in my AG ahead of me so I checked out the results tent. I could see that I was pretty close to the top of the results papers, and so I counted the females above me and was pleasantly surprised to see only four women finished ahead of me. Cool! Overall, an auspicious start to my season. With the broken arm in February, I'm starting out kind of late, so it was nice that it went pretty darned well.