Try Tri Again
It was through the fine sport(s) of triathlon that I came to be a cyclist. I often tell people it was kind of like dating someone and asking them to hook you up with their hot friend. In my case that hot friend kind of put the boots to me last year when I crashed (see Hitting the Road), but I guess I must be the kind of girl that likes it rough, because I’ve never really looked back.
I have always been delusional about my swim in a race. I figure there are a handful of people in from of me, and that I am making spectacular time, having somehow finally found my swimming mojo over the course of an otherwise unremarkable swim leg. This race was no different, and I emerged from the water sure I was quite near the front of the pack. I think this misplaced feeling of aquatic excellence comes from how ridiculously hard I work in the water, which is in reality the telltale sign of a crap swimmer. In fact, my swim time in this particular race was three and a half minutes slower than my best. Apparently swimming three times a week all winter long has been a real detriment to my swimming. However, the worst part about the swim was the warm water temperature (about 22 degrees C) which is above the allowed temperature for wetsuits. Wetsuits offer buoyancy in the water, which is an advantage to those of us less “natural” in the water. It also has the added advantage of being a full body girdle in slimming black rubber, and makes me (in my humble opinion) look like a super hero.
Coming out of the water is always an enormous relief (compounded by the false impression of having just kicked ass). Having emerged alive, I now get to get on my bike, which is of course the best part. I have always taken some pride in my speedy transitions, so having found my bike just where I left it, complete with fancy race wheels, I exchange swim cap and goggles for helmet and sunglasses and stuff my damp and sandy feet painfully into cute ankle socks (marked left and right) and bike shoes. There is always a bit of an awkward run to the bike mount line, waddling oddly in bike shoes and dragging bike along. I guess if they allowed bikes in the fenced transition area things could get a bit chaotic, sort of like a WalMart parking lot on a Saturday.
I somehow managed to pass a girl I had been running with for much of the run, feeling good enough to sprint (ie. shuffle slightly faster) past her to the finish line. Unfortunately said girl was not who I though she was, and not even in my age group. Bummer. But nonetheless I was thrilled to be finished and even more so to find out I was second fastest girl on the bike (first fastest was Sarah Anne Brault, who I’m pretty sure is a robot and therefore does not count). I was also thrilled to see that my friends Esther and Ruth had taken top spots in our age group, respectively. Both are incredible athletes with the rare quality of talent and strength in all three disciplines.
It was awesome to see my sister not only take second in her age group in the Olympic distance (twice the length of sprint), get the third fastest overall female in the olympic distance, AND win a totally sweet Specialized Globe commuter bike as a door prize. Her new bike is a lovely shade of green, similar to the colour I turned when she won it.