The one thing I have learned in my very short time of doing triathlon is that there is always something new to learn, and I learn something new every time I hop on my bike or jump into the pool. Putting it all together in a race is a completely unique learning experience.
The weather forecast the morning of the race called for humidity, showers and possible storms. Thankfully any heavy rain held off and all we got were showers. No storms.
We got to the race venue about 2 hours before sprint start because my niece was competing in the try a tri (she did great and finished 2nd). I had lots of time to get my gear together at transition, put my wetsuit on and get the race started.
Strangely, I wasn’t nearly as nervous about this as I was a year ago when I attempted my first. I swam in a much straighter line, sighted well and didn’t panic. I worked hard in the water, kept up a strong steady tempo and took 2.5 minutes off my swim times from last year so I was very pleased with the swim. My hard work in the pool is paying off.
I have been reading all about the famous “6th Line Hill” and it didn’t disappoint. My heart rate was 185 at the top of it and it really was a thing to conquer. A few people were even walking their bikes up. I ended up playing cat and mouse with another man much of the race, I would pass him on a hill and he would pick me off again on the flats and this continued until the end. (I ended up passing him on the run later on for good.) All in all the bike course was good. No traffic at all, nice smooth roads for the most part. It was challenging but that’s what we want in a race right?
Well, the run started off feeling very, very rough. My not drinking very much on the bike (one of those skills I still need to conquer) started to come back to bite me. I took several swigs of eload and opened a gel hoping the sugar would hit my blood stream soon. I started to feel a bit better after 2k but the run course was deceptively hilly and I never could get into a nice steady rhythm. I had to talk to myself “just get to 2k…at 3.5 you’re halfway there…..”etc. I focused on trying to pass people and just keep up a half decent pace.
I finished in 2:08:18 and 8th in my age group. The few things I learned from this race is I need to work on the bike, more hills, drink more on the bike so I feel better during the run. Fueling is extremely important and I need to remember that. So, although I am not happy with my overall place I am happy with my swim, and know what I need to work on to be more competitive.
I would recommend Milton. It was well organized, the bike course was very quiet and safe, and the venue was great. It’s a bit longer than a standard sprint given that the bike is 30k and the run is 7k but it was the perfect confidence booster to start the season!