2009 Niles Triathlon

The family was in Northern Indiana visiting my in-laws for Labor Day Weekend. Me, being the opportunist that I am, scoped out a triathlon about 45 minutes from Elkhart in Niles, Michigan.  !Que Suerte!  After driving 6 hours and getting to Indiana at 23:00 (EST) I immediately went to bed as I was going to have to wake up at 05:00 the next morning.

The Niles Triathlon is an Olympic Distance event and wetsuits were allowed.  This was my first opportunity to wear my new wetsuit…..while swimming.  I noticed during the registration process that no swim caps were distributed  At the beach they announced that swim caps were on the way and everyone needed to step behind a fence and wait for the caps.  All 200 of us lumbered our way behind the fence and I began to wait in line with everyone else…..I thought.  In the mayhem I overheard 60 seconds to start.  I panicked because I didn’t have a swim cap and I was in the first wave.  I pushed my way to the front utilizing my moshing skills honed back in the 1990’s at NIL8 concerts.  I got to the front of the line and saw that my wave was wearing swim caps and already in the water.  “30 seconds to start” I overheard.  Panicked, I grabbed a swim cap from the teenager in charge of the fiasco and ran to the beach, ala David Hasselhoff (Mitch Buchannon) on Baywatch.

Mitch BuchannonAs I entered the water the race was on.  Being at the back was actually where I wanted to be so it turned out fine.  The first 50 yards of the swim were so shallow you had to run.  I still haven’t mastered running in knee deep water.  I guess I’ll have to work on that in the winter.  I felt good once I started to swim.  However, because it was so shallow with every stroke came a handfull of seaweed.  After establishing a rhythm I actually began to pass some people…..woohoo.  Toward the end of the swim my arms got tired and I began to fade.  I’m not sure what my time was but I think it was respectable.  I had the honor of exiting the water with the first girl.  I think she started 6 minutes behind me.

The transition area was about a 15 second jog from the beach.  I purposefully took my time as I am trying to recover, instead of race, in the transition areas.

The bike portion was mainly rolling with a couple of small chain ring hills.  For the most part it was scenic and smooth.  A couple of sections almost knocked me off the bike but that’s standard on country roads.  I tried to ride within myself but unfortunately I only managed to post a miserable 20 mph average speed (according to the official results).  I’m still not sure what happened.  I passed riders (and got passed) and felt decent.  I guess that’s why I was so slow.

Again, during T2, I paced myself and took a couple of swigs of Mt. Dew (who needs Amp?).  Immediately during the run I felt good and began to stretch my legs.  The course was mostly flat and on neighborhood streets.  I was only passed by 3 runners and passed maybe 6.  My average pace ended up being 08:01 which I was ecstatic about.

The event was very fun and I was glad to get in some good training while away from home.  It’s important in this stage of my training to maintain a regular schedule.  This is tough to do when you travel a lot.  My only complaint about the race was that it did not have chip timing.  That is why I am somewhat skeptical of my pathetic 2:41 finishing time.  I felt way better that in Springfield and Petersburg so theoretically my times should have been faster.  Oh well, I was only in it for training.