Sunday, September 25, 2011

Beaten By the Best-Rose City Race Report

It was sort of like going on a new job: my first triathlon of the year. It didn't feel like I was prepared: no swimming in three weeks, minimal bike and run the past week, and all day, many days previous to event, working in 100 + degree heat on my tractor.

If this had not been such a top flight, quality event in the past, I might have opted out. At the end of the day, I was so glad I had not. Again, this was a quality, well-run event, that I am so glad I did not miss.

Everything went smoothly race morning. We began on top of the dam on Lake Tyler. Old friends from previous years were there to add to it all. The swim went really well. Doubtful, I could have done any better had I been swimming every day. It had been so long since I swam, it was like visiting old friends too. Reach, down, pull, follow-through, ah ! this is good stuff. Now I can see I am passing people. The swim support in kayaks were plentiful, well-placed, and competent.

Transition was good. Our places had our names on them and we didn't seem crowded at all. The bike course; oh I just love this rolling bike course. The road crew were on the job and doing it well. Coming back there is one short but steep hill. It has given me trouble in the past. The first time I did this event, it was raining, and I got caught in the wrong gear, and ended up having to walk the bike up the hill. Last year was a struggle to avoid that repeat. This year, I was on and in the right gear, yes ! As I was turning the cranks coming over the last of the incline, I thought, "you ain't so bad, you ain't so bad." Can you imagine a grown man and grandfather having these childish thoughts? But, I am not ashamed yet.

Off the bike onto the run. I do feel good. Just love this run course too. There is so many opportunities to see all the other runners. Coming into finish, there was my wife behind the tape to slap my hand. I stuck my hand out and another spectator slapped it. What a great finish!

Myself and some other finishers waited for the last bike to come to the transition area, so we could take our bike and gear to our vehicles. Here he came-running, carrying his bike on his shoulders. I don't know how far he had to carry that bike but it was a ways. Needless to say, this man got a big round of applause from all of us. What guts to do this, knowing that the best he could hope for was to finish last. Undeterred the man, transitioned and went on out to the run. That is the spirit we all admire. What we came to see. What we came to be. Finally, the man finished the 3 mile run to another round of applause. He was tired, but standing tall.

Food was plentiful for everybody and was very good. There were even volunteers there to take the dirty dishes and bring drinks. All of this was under a very large tent with a stage up front for the awards ceremony.

This was the Southwest Regional Championship and I knew there would be some of the best older guys there to give me a good whuppin. Most of these events I have gone to, I am the oldest one there and win a trophy by default. Not today. I was 4th in my age group; no trophy, no award. I had been beaten by the best and that was OK.