Sylvania Triathlon

[A little belated, but like my actual participation in this event, better now than never.]

In the past, I’ve not been much of a short course racer. I’m kind of a long distance guy by nature and it shows in my race history: I’ve done over twice as many long course races. So the Sylvania Triathlon was not what I’m used to in many ways. But it was tons of fun.

The swim was warm, officially 80 degrees F. The air was cool and a light drizzle kept it chilly while waiting for my wave to start, but finally jumping into Olander Lake for a few strokes before my 8am start time felt balmy. Men ages 39 and under made up the last wave. The canon fired and we were off, chasing the rest of the racers on the course. The swim was fast and smooth with no waves on the small lake. I made quick progress jumping from group to group as I passed the other racers by the dozen. First the yellow caps of the women, then some gold caps of the 40 and older men, and finally started catching some collegiate racers in blue. On the long run on the beach to T1, I passed my Aunt Amanda. I didn’t know what my swim time was yet, but I felt like I’d done well and she must have too if I hadn’t passed her in the water. I was right on both accounts. My official time was 24:01, but with the long run to the transition entrance and timing mat, my actually in-water time had to be about 30 seconds less. I’d have been happy with the 24:01 and I’m VERY happy that I was solidly under it for the actual time in-water.

In T1 I forgot to take off my swim skin and didn’t realize it until nearly the exit, then had to double back and and drop it at my station. Oops. Still came through in 1:26. Not too bad but maybe otherwise would have been sub-1?

Leaving transition it was starting to rain harder and the first half of the bike was right into the oncoming storm. I quickly settled in to my target watts and tried to enjoy the warm rain. The roads were full of racers and for the first two thirds, I was passing people every few seconds. This was not fun. Many riders weren’t following the rules of racing: stay right except for passing. It’s not legal to pass on the right or cross the yellow center line, so I found myself shouting at folks to move over as I approached from behind. On the long stretch back toward town, the rain was really hard. Between the rain and having the wind at my back it was hard to keep the watts up, but the pace was certainly ok. Off the bike in 1:05:41, a minute or two slower than I’d hoped, but I’ll take it given the conditions.

Hopping off the bike I quickly re-racked and pulled on my shoes and socks, grabbed my watch and race number and took off. Nearing the exit my salt dispenser fell off my belt and I had to double back and grab it, then crossed the exit mat in 1:13. Ugh, problems in both transitions.

The run was mostly uneventful. I put in a solid effort but the roads were slick from the rain. I could feel some slipping on every step and it’s possible that I just didn’t have the right shoes for the conditions. I was still passing people basically the whole time, weaving through the crowds in places and was never passed myself. Despite the slower conditions I still managed to run under 40 minutes, clocking a 39:54 10k.

Overall the day was a success. My top level goals were to run under 40 minutes and qualify for USAT Nationals. Both of those have been accomplished. My next goal was to swim under 24 minutes. I’m calling that one a success too. I didn’t make my final goal, which was to finish in under 2:10, but I’ll take the 2:12:13 given the conditions, both weather and racing traffic.

Given that my family lives so close by, it’s a reasonable bet that I’ll be racing there again sometime soon.

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