Tuesday, June 15, 2010

King Pine 2010

Last year's experiences with triathlons were not just a fluke for Hilary and I. We have in fact doubled down this year by purchasing wetsuits and joining the local tri club. More on those in a few minutes. Last weekend was our first race of the season, and a reprise of our first triathlon ever: the King Pine Tri in Madison, NH. It's a great course and we benefited from being familiar with it. We're both really pleased with our results, too: be both managed to be faster than last year. I shaved off about three minutes, and Hilary a solid ten, out of about an hour and a half. Read on for more details:

First off: the swim. Last year Hilary couldn't get into a good rhythm because of the shock of the cold water. This year a combination more experience and confidence and warmer water (68 Fahrenheit vs 62) made the swim much better - she shaved some five minutes off her time. Our main complaint was that, for whatever reason, the race directors sent off waves of swimmers from oldest to youngest. Last year it was reversed: we were the first swimmers to head out. This year we had to stand around for twenty chilly minutes before our start.

For myself, how could I possible top my water exit from last year:

photo credit: Kimberly Keyes

Well, it was easy with my brand new Xterra Vortex 3 wetsuit:

Ok, ok, maybe it didn't quite look like that. It was overcast, but it wasn't the apocalypse. One thing that surely made my exit a little less cool was that, due to a mixup during registration, I was wearing the hot pink swim cap of the 30-39 female division. That's OK, I'm clear with my identity.

On the 12-mile bike segment, Hilary and I both knocked about two minutes off our times. I averaged a shade under 20 mph! However, I only had a rough guess about that at the pace, because I recently replaced the battery in my bike computer, and its calibration was way off. It said that I was managing only about 7 mph. Thankfully, after a few hundred miles in the saddle over the last year, Hilary and I have a decent sense of pace.

One positive that came from being released in the penultimate wave was that we had nearly the whole field of other racers ahead of us, which meant that we had ample opportunity to chase down and pass other competitors. That is not to say that we were total speed demons - we lack the rigor and athleticism to be true hunter-killers. Still, it does help urge you on to see someone and dust 'em!

The first mile of the run is always tough. After pushing hard on the bike for miles and miles your legs need a little coaxing to switch gears. But behold my secret weapon: the banana! I gradually mashed my way through it by mile two, though it took a concerted act of will.

Definitely the highlight of this year's race was the fact that we were a part of a team! Sure, the team has some material benefits - like the 60% off deal I got for my wetsuit, or the training schedules and swim clinics. But, really, the best part was having teammates. Teammates to help push you along, familiar faces out on the course, and people to root for in turn. Plus the team director has a VW van that they set up as party central.

And, of course, we had our devoted teammate Brynna to help us along with cries of "hooway mama!"

And a buddy to stretch out with after the race:

Next up: the Black Fly Tri in mid July for me...Hilary is on call the night before, so she's giving that one a pass. The big question: can we figure out how hard-core triathletes manage to put on their bike shoes while pedaling along...without falling over?

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