I was supposed to have done the Riverside Sprint on Oct. 12 as a relay with two co-workers. Runner developed some sort of upper respiratory problem on Thursday, but she assured us she would be fine by Sunday. Since she had been the impetus for forming the team, we hoped for the best and didn’t consider a back-up plan. But when she was not better by Saturday afternoon, she reluctantly withdrew from the race. I figured Biker and I could manage as a two-person team and that I would do the swim and run. When I called her Saturday evening to confirm this plan, though, she said she also wasn’t feeling well. (Did I really believe her? Well, maybe.) But now I had a problem.
Not doing the race wasn’t an option. Afterall, I’d stood in a long line at 3Sports for packet pick-up and had a half slice of pumpkin pound cake as part of my “carb loading” dinner. As I gathered my gear, I thought about what part/parts of the tri I might do – just swim, swim and bike, swim and run, or swim, bike and run. I wasn’t excited about the bike course, but I put my bike, helmet and shoes in the car anyway.
Sunday morning, after talking with the race director, I switched the entry from relay to age group. I set up my transition spot and headed to the pool, where I chatted with other TGs while waiting for my swim start.
The swim went okay. I might have shaved a few seconds off my time if I’d been able to heave myself out of the pool quicker, but I was close to my anticipated time. The lengthy run around the building from the pool to the transition area, as well as a little trouble with my bike, added to my transition time, but I was feeling strong as I began the bike leg. I fostered that feeling as long as I could because I knew the dreaded Winterfield hill loomed ahead. I passed a few riders, and was passed by a few more. (Personal pet peeve – riders who don’t bother to say “on your left.”) I survived the hill and the vehicle traffic on the course. Then it was on to the run. I felt like I was maintaining a decent pace, with minimum walking, while I was on the course, so I was surprised to discover when it was over that, in fact, this was my slowest tri run this year, and maybe slowest ever. But, no matter, I finished. The other two women who had registered in the age group didn’t show for the race, so I got a nice pint glass and a watch cap for my effort.
This was the third time I’ve done this particular sprint course. The first time, six years ago, was my first official triathlon (I’d done an unofficial one the year before somewhere else). I don’t recall my times for the event -- probably the whole thing took somewhere around 2 hours and 15-20 minutes, but I do remember having to walk my old bike up the Winterfield hill. The second time was four years ago. I was supposed to do it then as a relay, too, but my partner bowed out several weeks before the event, so I did it solo. Riding a different bike, I managed to get up the hill without walking, and I finished in 2:11:25. This year I was a few seconds faster in the swim and transitions, and about 8 minutes faster on the bike, but over 3 minutes slower on the run, for a total time of 2:06:37. Even though that’s a PR for the course, I’d liked to have had a better run time. But next year is another season, and I expect to “tri’ again.