Image courtesy of Paul Lathrop. Used with Permission.
The Paratriathlete wave kicked things off at 6:45am. Other than a passing thought of “Cool”, my attention was given over to nervous anticipation for wave 5. The wave that, in my imagination, I was winning. I came back to reality when glanced at the swim exit and saw what I thought was an athlete picking himself up off of the grass and continuing while reaching for the shoulder of another in front. It took a second to process what I thought was witnessed. Here it is. While being guided, a blind triathlete tripped and fell on the small transition between sidewalk and grass on his way to T1. He rolled. He got up and continued.
There was no sound. No theatrics. No hesitation. No pause for aid. There was no pity. He kept going.
Inspired. I smiled and was ready to race.
Tecolote Shores was the place to be during the early hours of February 16th. Filled with bustle of clanking gears, dropped allen wrenches, and nervous energy, UCSD Triathlon hosted its 14th annual sprint triathlon. It wasn’t warm. The air temperature was 46º. The water temperature was 61º. I am 41 years old. I have never been in a situation where I’ve looked forward to an early morning swim for warmth. This was going to be a great day!
The event was well organized. Packet pick-up the day prior from Moment Bicycles eased pre-race jitters. Volunteers with flashlights and clear audible directions, directed participants into and out of transition for set-up.
The real competitive types, the ones you see warming up hours before their heat and intimidate you, that make you feel as though you’re doing something wrong for warming up differently; from a sample size coffee cup’s steam, and not yet braving the cold in short shorts and little shirts, zigged and zagged all over the park. Runners. Cyclists. Stretchers. I happened to be one of those still in jeans, jacket, and beanie. And steam face.
Blast Radius Coffee provided the godly nectar to warm the soul. Awesome. Many small roasters fall victim to watered down, flavorless coffee or something acidic and tart. Blast Radius got this one right. I didn’t bother to inquire about the roast, but it was delicious.
This was a tune-up on my way to my first olympic distance triathlon. I did better than expected. I’m shooting for an April or May race. I’ll do a couple more before then. Of the 80 age groupers, I was in the middle.
I had a pulled muscle in my lower back and was fighting a cold. I’m curious to see how the next race plays out when healthy. The last mile of my run was the fastest. It took the first two to get my legs and lungs working right. Perhaps I’m better suited for longer distance. I’ll find out soon enough.
I didn’t win one.
I ride an All-City Macho Man Disc. It’s not light. I’ve written about this previously. It’s steel and has skinny tubes. I’m also a bit of snob and think myself cooler because I don’t ride a carbon tri-bike and stand out from the crowd. Also, I am cooler.
I’m a fan of what All-City Cycles makes. QBP too, for that matter. The bikes are fun. They look good. They ride good. Awesome previous sentence, by the way. I’m not going to win any races riding this thing. I am going to look good losing though.
I’ll take it.