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Westport Sand Lake Triathlon – 2011

This was the second year for the Sand Lake Triathlon and second year I have participated.  This small race in picturesque Westport is minutes from my cottage and is fast becoming one of my favorites. Low numbers this year dictated that it wouldn’t be chip timed, but instead the old popsicle stick timing method was used. So no splits, just overall times and ranking. No matter, as the last race of my 2011 triathlon season, this was pretty much just for fun.

The main purpose of this race, aside from having a good time, was to help raise funds for teams from Won With One, a national paratriathlon program for blind/visually impaired athletes. Racing with these individuals is both inspiring and humbling. These athletes are teamed up with a “guide”, to whom they are tethered with on the swim, ride with on a tandem bike and run with side by side.

This year, the race was an early morning start. Weather was gorgeous and the water wasn’t too choppy. Distance for this sprint race are 750 m swim, 21 km bike and 7 km run. We were warned that the swim was likely a bit short and I’m sure it was as I checked my watch upon exiting and saw 11:xx. I had a good swim and was the second female out of the water but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t quite that fast!

I was on to the bike, where I had so much fun. I have ridden this course many times while training at the cottage and I love it. Even though I hadn’t really been on my bike in almost a month, I felt strong and tried to push the pace the entire time. Nevertheless, I was passed by three women and probably a few guys but I wasn’t counting. I was also passed by one of the visually impaired teams who literally blew by me on their tandem like I was standing still. But hey, there were two of them and only one of me!

Headed out of T2 still feeling really good but not looking forward to the large hill right around the 1 km mark. The run course is an out and back, with the first half pretty much all up hill. There was also a slight head wind on the way out but I pushed on and told myself it would get easier after the turn around. However, even the big hill didn’t seem all that bad. I walked briefly at the water station just after the hill and shortly after that was passed by an older fellow who ressembled a fit and trim Santa Claus. We chatted briefly, he continued ahead about 20 m and I managed to keep him for the rest of the run. Why do I always seem to find pace bunnies belonging to the 60+ age group? Whatever works I guess. I continued on, was not passed again, completing the run in around 40 minutes, a pretty good time by my standards.

Just like last year, there was a small but rambunctious group cheering at the finish line but my family had yet to show up. I was handed my popsicle stick which I then gave to the offical time recorder. It was all very high tech. Shortly after, the family arrived. The kids had a ton of fun playing on the beach while prizes were announced. My 1:38 time was fastest in the 30-39 age group (5th female overall). I snagged a pair of Ryder sunglasses for my efforts. It was an awesome way to to finish off a less than stellar triathlon season. I will be back next year to defend my title!

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