For those of you not completely familiar with triathlon, it starts with a swim, then you bike and finishes with a run. This particular event was a 1/3 mile swim, 14.8 mile bike and 4 mile run.
As you can see in the picture above, the swim start is utter mayhem. Last year, I was so weak in the swim that I completely avoided the main group. However, this year I decided I was going to hang with the group and see if I could actually stay with most of them. I was aware that it is not uncommon for people to kick you in the head and/or crawl over you and basically try to drown you, but I escaped without incident. My swim time was about 7 1/2 minutes and last year I think it was over 12 minutes. I swam with a wetsuit for the first time and I doubt I will go back.
Here is a picture of me coming out of the water. Note the two guys next to me who have a more typical triathlon shape (read 30-40lbs less weight than I do). I look like the Hulk next to these guys. Speaking of this, I found out that there is a "heavyweight" class for triathletes known as Clydesdales for guys and Athena for gals. The cutoff for guys is 198lbs. I'm not a small guy, but I never thought I would qualify as a heavyweight in any sport except maybe midget wrestling.
The bike portion of the event was fairly uneventful for me. I heard there was one guy that completely wiped out and a gal in front of me lost a pedal at mile 7 of 15. She finished by simply pedaling with one leg. I guess that is all you can really do at that point. I probably improved another 8 minutes on the bike this year over last year. However, to improve the bike time, I would have to invest in a new bike and I like my $60 bike. I would have to spend $500 or so to get a better bike and I have a hard time justifying that kind of cost. I saw many bikes in this event that were well over $1,000 and some that I would guess were multiples of that. I guess if that is all you do....
I'm sure I improved the run portion of the event by about 5 minutes as well. Mostly, I just didn't walk as much as I did last year. I figured I walked about a mile and a half last year and probably only walked half a mile this year. There is probably still about 4 minutes in there to shave off the run, if I don't walk and push a little harder.
I finished the event in 1:49:00 and last year my time was 2:04:58. Pretty solid improvement, I would say. If you are keeping up on the math, you may be asking yourself, "How do you improve 5 minutes in the swim 8 minutes on the bike and 5 minutes on the run and your final time is only 15 minutes better than last year? Aren't you an accountant?" The 3 minute difference is my time in the transition area. Wearing a wetsuit increases this time between the swim and bike and I never did find my original spot after the bike. So after looking for a couple of minutes, I just parked my bike and took off running. Luckily, I didn't need to change anything between the bike and run. Later, I found it and I still couldn't figure out why I missed it before.
The Clearlake Triathlon doesn't provide split times so I am not exactly sure of my improvement on each event, but it is not that important. I have two more events this summer and each of those have a chip that each participant wears to provide that sort of information. Registration for those events are also about $20 more to cover the cost of using that technology.
After the event, Buster and I went on a swim. He LOVES the water. I didn't want to let him off-leash, so I put the leash on my arm, pushed it up to my shoulder and swam around a bit. He thought that was pretty awesome. Here is a picture of him and me after our brief swim.
I do have a bit of a sunburn because I have an aversion to sunscreen, which drives Amelia crazy. It is pretty warm again today and I am still pretty tired, so I imagine we will stay fairly low key.
Stay tuned for more triathlon adventures.