There’s rarely a trip out of town when the bikes aren’t in tow. Mine’s traveled to the rusty red roads of western North Dakota, my hometown in northwestern Minnesota, scorching Oklahoma, and later this year, to sunny Panama City for Ironman Florida. So when we went to Cross Lake last weekend, our bikes were secured to the bike rack, obviously.
Bright and early Saturday morning, Nick and I headed into Pine City for its Freedom Fest sprint triathlon. We arrived around 8a for the 9a race, and after filling out our race entries – no pre-registration required – we set up our gear.
Our transition area.
You know you’re at a small town tri when your transition area involves leaning your bike up against a power pole.
We milled around while participants arrived, most with mountain bikes in tow (Nick had the only tri bike), and checked out the swimming beach.
Five minutes before the start, everyone gathered on the beach for race instructions and bike and run directions.
And, before I even had my swim cap and goggles on, we were off. I scrambled to get mine on and entered the swimming pond in the middle of the pack. Three-hundred meters didn’t take long to swim – maybe 6-7 minutes? – and I was out and on my bike for a pretty uneventful, solo ride. One newbie female triathlete wasn’t too far behind, however, which was all I needed to push a little harder.
Thanks to biking in running shoes, she cruised through T2 ahead of me. The chase lasted about three blocks, and after a wrong turn, I met up with the highway (the route went here anyway). At about the halfway point, Nick and I crossed paths on the out-and-back route, and being the awesome boyfriend he is, he turned around and ran with me the rest of the race. We finished 1-2 with high-fives from our friends cheering at the finish line.
I’m not sure I’d call last week’s triathlon a race, but nonetheless, it was excellent transition practice, and overall, just a fun experience.
Our time for the 300-meter swim + 12-mile bike + 2-mile run: about 1:03. The race wasn’t officially timed (told you it was a small town!), but Nick timed us using his watch.
A few things I learned:
- Be prepared at swim start. You never know when the whistle will signal go.
- My SOAS Racing kit is really comfortable to swim, bike AND run in.
- Setting out your gear in T1 + T2 order is helpful. So is having a full water bottle already in your cage.
- My Garmin Edge 500 is really slow at finding the satellites when biking.
- If you’re used to wearing socks while running, wear them. I didn’t, and even though it was only two miles, it was enough to give me some serious blisters.
- Having an enthusiastic cheering section rocks.
- And, perhaps most importantly, triathlon IS fun!