I finished my second triathlon and qualified for national age group championships by winning my age group last saturday. M. was a stellar support crew, making sure I got to the race with plenty of time to set up and warm up this time. We did manage to take a wrong turn on the way there, but that seems to be normal for us now. Although in her defense there are about twenty roads named “Lake Samish” in the area.

I managed to register and get a good spot in transition with all of my stuff set up to what I thought would be a good order. After that we just milled around while most of the other racers showed up. Everyone seemed to know each other and they all had very expensive bikes. But what they seem to forget is that this is a TRIathlon. You do have to swim in order to do well.

The scenery was beautiful, a mountain lake basin surrounded by douglas fir lines slopes. The water was a comfortable 72, with no milfoil! Warmed up with a bit of swimming and came in to shore after missing the bike directions. Oh well, I wasn’t going to win anyway so I figured I’d just follow someone. The swim started well, I got out fast and was in 2nd or 3rd at the first of two buoys. After rounding the second buoy the lack of swimming in the few days prior started to catch up to me and my arms blew up. I got dropped by the lead group but managed to come out of the water in 5th or 6th.

Had a good transition except for my shirt getting bunched up while trying to put it on, just like it did at Seafair. There was about a 50 yd. run with the bikes over rocks and gravel to the mount line. All the people who thought they were being slick by leaving their shoes clipped in and running barefoot were in for a pleasant surprise.

I started the bike right behind someone who looked like they knew what they were doing, but quickly fell behind as my quads and gluts started burning as if I were lying on a bed of hot coals. There was no one behind me for a while and the guy in front of me was starting to dissappear behind some turns in the road. I managed to watch him take an unmarked turn that I would have missed otherwise. I was alone for the next few miles until the cyclists started passing me like I was sitting still. A group of four or five went by on their titanium and carbon bikes in a flash of inappropriately tight spandex. I had to guess where the next turn was at a fork in the road and guessed correctly. Three or four more people passed me on the second lap. At this point I was starting to pass the people on their first lap, so this was nice.

The bike to run transition also went smoothly. I passed a guy running barefoot carrying his bike from the dismount line across the rocks. He had just passed me on the road. I managed to get my shoes on with little difficulty and the number belt that M. whipped up the night before worked like a charm.

There was a big hill right at the start of the run, but was relatively flat after that. I started passing people immediately. I haven’t been running that much in the previous weeks due to some IT band trouble, only once or twice a week for no more than 20 min. at a time, so I was surprised at this. These guys can ride a bike like crazy, but can’t swim and can barely run. It was an out and back so I started counting people ahead of me on their way back. I think I started the run in 18th or so, but finished in 15th, 3 minutes ahead of the next person in my age group. Afterwards I took a nice cool down float in the lake.

The person in charge of entering day of race registrants into the database managed to get everyone in there but me. I found this out at the awards ceremony when I didn’t get my ribbon. I managed to confirm with the race director that my overall time would be reported with the final results, so that I could qualify for nationals, but my splits were lost in the aether. Oh well.

Overall I’m pleased with my performance given my drastically reduced training in the few weeks leading up to the race. Now I start training in earnest for september and hope my knees hold out.