2012 Escape from Black Ridge Triathlon Sprint – Report by Dave Black
I’ll start off by saying that Race Tri put on an amazing event, well organized and great volunteers. I can’t imagine the stress the race director had, dealing with the fires, the water, and the possibility of the whole thing being canceled if the fire went nuts. Friday night’s rain was a godsend; clearing the air and helping the firefighters get things under control.
As far as the race for me, I was really sick on Friday, so Saturday when I woke up I was not feeling powerful, strong, and ready to say the least. I got to the reservoir and got my stuff ready at T1, then drove to T2. I’m not a huge fan of having two transition areas; I’m always afraid that I’ll leave something out and be a world of hurt. I dropped by stuff at T2 and got on the shuttle. I made some new friends- one fellow knew my brother and it was his first Tri and that was a lot of fun to chitchat. Back at the lake I wanted to warm up because the swim has always been an issue for me. I know my body can do it but my head tends to get in the way. I swam around getting used the wetsuit and the lake temp, which was fine. I was surprised at how small the lake was. The wind was making a few waves but nothing serious. I went back up and listed to Arron give his pre race prep rally, which was just awesome. Everyone was smiling and laughing at his exuberance. I loved that he just got louder and louder – until he threw his clipboard down and gave us the go. Well done Arron, well done!
At the swim start, I headed out focused on my breathing and trying not to beat up other people to bad, in the wetsuit I swim faster than without and found that I was constantly on top of one person or another. As I rounded the first turn, I had a freak out moment; the wetsuit felt like it was choking me, I couldn’t get in rhythm because I kept running into people so I had to flip over and look at the sky and relax. I told my brain to shut up and get back in the game and I flipped over and kept going. I never did get a good rhythm and felt like I was just flailing in the water. I got out and ran up the ramp trying to pull my zipper and it wouldn’t budge. I had to stop on the ramp and have a volunteer help, she said the tri-top was caught in the zipper, she tried to get it loose but it was no good. I said thanks and ran into the transition, I fought that zipper forever! Another great volunteer came over and helped. She was able to get it unzipped, but boy there went my transition time in T1. I packed all my junk into the black bag and wasn’t sure I was suppose to leave it there, though I figured I should have – while I was carrying out of the transition area. I got on the bike was off.
The bike is where I would try to make up some of the time. I was glad to be on the bike and having a nice downhill at the start allowed me to catch my breath and change energy to the legs. I knew the route from some of the rides I’d done, so I was mentally prepared for the hill and the downhill. It felt good passing folks – I saw one guy get a flat right at the start and felt bad for him, hoping I wouldn’t meet the same fate. The hill wasn’t that bad, I wish I had pushed it more, always debating how much to put in verses saving some for the run. The downhill was good, I stayed on the arrow bars the whole time while pedaling – keeping my speed around 30mph. Just before the end I got passed by a two guys, one was 59 years old, I hope I can rock it when I’m 59. Getting into T2 wasn’t that great, an RV pulled out right before the entry and I had to slow way down and make sure I didn’t get creamed. The long entry to T2 with people crossing in front of me was annoying and a little slow.
I got into T2, swapped shoes, put on the visor and was off, just after exit I realized I was still wearing my eye glasses – I need them for the bike, but not the run, so I gave them to a volunteer and told them which row I was on and color of shoes (bike color would have been better, but they were there at the end). The run is an area I’m improving, so over all I’m pleased with my pace, 9:05. The route was great until the end, when I finally was ready to push it, we had to run up a gravel section, which wasn’t my favorite, I would much rather run on grass than gravel. Running to the finish line was really great, nice and flat with a long entry. It felt great to finish and was happy that my cold didn’t slow me down to much. The post race stuff was great. I do think for the giveaways they should just take the id tag of the bib and use that instead of calling out random numbers. I dig the heavy metal finisher’s award and it’s hung proudly at work.
Post race regrets: I need faster transitions and have a lot of improvement to make with the swim. I’ll be hitting it hard this week, as I get ready for the Half Iron Man in two weeks– Gulp!
Thanks again to everyone at RaceTri and the volunteers for making Escape from Black Ridge a great experience!