Race Report: Tri 4 Fun, Pleasanton, CA 6/21/97

The first day of summer is my favorite day of the year. I celebrated the solstice by completing my first-ever triathlon. Let me tell you, it was fantastic!

The tri fell into the “sprint” classification: 400m swim (in a lake), 10.5 mile bike, 3 mile run.

The promo literature said that the first wave would leave the shore at 7:00 sharp. Unfortunately, the City of Pleasanton had changed its rules regarding bike-course volunteers, which left the RD scrambling for a few more over-18 course volunteers. The airhorn finally blew at 7:40 a.m.

I was in the middle of the pack. The open-water start was one of my two biggest fears about the race — I’ve read stories on the net about getting kicked in the face by vigorous swimmers. All went well, though, and even though my goggles weren’t prescription I was able to see both orange buoys. The water was really warm — no wetsuit required (good thing since I don’t have one :-).

I should have warmed up with a few laps first, because by the time I was warmed up, I only had 100m left to swim! Finished the swim, grabbed my glasses from Kevin (who got up at 4:30 that morning *and* timed all my splits for me, what a guy) and ran to my bike.

My transition was slow — 10 minutes! Wet sunglasses were the culprit. They’re Bolle shades with a prescription insert — two sets of glasses to wipe down! By the time I dried them, washed my feet and got set for the bike leg, my heart rate had dropped a bit. I climbed up the hill out of the park and thanked an encouraging volunteer.

Alex, my roommate, had swapped the knobby tires on my hybrid with some new road tires, and inflated them to 90 p.s.i. My other fear about the race was that I’d get a flat — I don’t think I’ve changed a flat tire more than once in my life. My tires were just fine, though. The ride felt really short — the promo literature billed it as a 12 mile bike but a friend’s computer clocked it at 10.5. Anyway, without the knobby tires to slow me down, it felt more like six miles, tops. Alex had also lent me his toe cages and they helped considerably.

At the end of the bike I rode back down to the park, got my feet out of my toe cages and promptly fell over. No blood, OK I’m fine, ran to rack my bike and don my singlet (with my race number, which happened to be 13, great…).

I’d stayed really well-hydrated on the bike so I passed the first aid station. The run course was a modified figure-eight. We ran up a hill to get to the center of the “8”, then made 3 “S” loops and ran down the hill, through the park to get to the finish line. I stopped at the aid station twice (it was in the center of the 8), and the second time I stopped some speed demon was right on my tail so I tried to dodge between two signs to get out of his way, slamming my chest into the corner of a sign in the process. Jeez…

The run was harder than my workout trials had been — probably because it was fairly hilly (my neighborhood is rather flat). I was pleased to run down the final hill, and kicked it into gear to sprint to a 1:27:27 finish.

Things that weren’t so great:

* Someone stole the high-end raffle prizes from the transition area the night before the race. 🙁

* The guy who barreled nearly into me at the aid station

* My 10 minute swim-to-bike transition time

Things that were great:

* The volunteers!

* The non-competitive aspect — it was a great choice for a first tri

* My road tires

* Coming in under my goal time

There are two more Tri For Fun races this summer, and then in September they hold a “Tri For Real”.

Four minutes after crossing the finish line, I looked at Kevin and happily exclaimed “I want to do it *again*!”

Here are my split times:

Start of swim: 0:00

End of swim: 7:42

Start of bike race: 7:52

End of bike race: 54:15

Start of run: 55:30

End of run: 1:27:27

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