Picked the Racing for Recovery Sprint tri for my return to triathlon after a 16 year lay off from racing. Couldn't have asked for better weather, the morning started out clear with temps in the upper 50's with temps rising to around 80 in the afternoon. The race was held at Sterling State Park, near Monroe, Michigan.
The swim was in Lake Erie the half IM's went first, I was a little worried about the swim but things went fine. I forgot how crazy the swim start can be, but things got spread out as usual and got into a decent stroke. I was thinking I was in the back of the pack as I looked over my right shoulder to see another dozen or so swimmers coming by the last buoy, as I approached the beach I saw my wife and daughter and my wife was obviously excited and told me with a big smile I was in the top third of swimmers, thats when I got geeked. My ultimate goal was 20 minutes with a 25 minute goal as something I would've been happy with , I did it in 21 and change for the 1000 meters.
The first transition was a little slow, but I was still shaking the cobwebs out of my competitive side. Took off on the bike and felt good. The only negative thing I can say about the entire event was the roads were quite rough, not sure I'd want to do a 1/2 IM here due to the roads. The Softride helped but it was still to rough, some of the 1/2 was on roads I didn't visit so maybe those sections were better, but there was mention of another rough section the 1/2 folks had to contend with. I rode strong and averaged 20 mph, which was my ultimate goal. I need to work on getting the bike shoes on and off better.
Now to my weak run. The course was within the state park for both courses, with a real nice wide paved trail I rode my mountain bike on it the day before to get a look at it, which helped. Aid stations were plenty and were stocked well, mainly for the 1/2 IMers, but at least the water was cold when I stopped for a drink. My goal here was 9 to 9:30 miles, I did 8:30 pace which was another thing that made me happy.
The bike and run course couldn't have been much flatter.
Overall couldn't have asked for a better return to tri's. My ultimate goal was 1:45 with anything over 2 hours being a worse case scenerio, I was around 1:40 and placed in my age group. I never got a little trophy for a race in the past, so that was kinda of nice to show off to my wife and kids who think I'm nuts with getting up early before work to hit the pool etc. Now my 10 year old daughter want's to learn how to swim better and join the old guy.
Things seemed well run and stocked, I would highly recommend it for sprint racers, but of course if the weather was worse with easterly winds on Lake Erie would've been a lot worse. If the roads were in better shape this would be a really great event, but until that time it's just a real good tri close enough to home to keep travel cost down.
Train safe, stay safe.