I raced the Rage Triathlon, sprint distance, on 4-18-15. It was put on by BBSC Endurance Sports at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. They offered a sprint, olympic, and half distance at this race. I have raced in several races by BBSC and really enjoy them. They always have great medals and shirts. Their races are well supported and run without any glitches. For more information on some of their races, check them out at: http://www.bbsctri.com/
Packet pick-up was available on Thursday and Friday night at a local bike shop in Henderson, NV. I drove down to pick mine up on Friday night after dinner. The process was simple and smooth. There were several of my friends working as volunteers at packet pick-up so it was nice to chat with some friendly faces while I was there. I then headed home to pack my transition bag and get all my gear together for our early morning the next day.
My husband, Wes, was volunteering as kayak support for the swim and needed to be there by 6:00 a.m. It takes us about an hour to get to the lake so we left our house at 5:00 a.m. We arrived just before 6:00 a.m. and said our goodbyes as he headed towards the water. I loaded up my gear bag, bike and bike pump and headed towards transition. I quickly found an area for my bike. They do not assign exact spots but instead have even bikes on one side and odd on the other. Then they assign a few racks for groups of about 20 bikes at a time. So as long as you are within those numbers, you find whichever spot you'd like. I unloaded my transition bag and placed my gear in the order I'd be using them. I then began walking around the transition area chatting with my several friends that were also racing.
My wave was scheduled to start at 7:40 a.m. At about 7:10 a.m., I went back up to my gear to put my wetsuit on and to grab my swim cap and goggles. I finally made my way to the water at about 7:30 a.m. I had just enough time to get in the water and meet up with a few friends before they said it was time to enter the swim chute. I made my way towards the front of the pack as we entered the water. I ended up being near the middle in the front which is where I usually like to start. The Race Director gave a quick explanation of the swim route and after a short countdown, we were off.
The swim was 750 meters and a rectangle type shape. We swam straight out from the beach and turned at the first large orange buoy. We were swimming towards the sun so it was difficult to see but there was a sailboat positioned directly in line with the buoy so it made sighting very easy. The start of the swim was congested as always but by about 100 yards, the pack had thinned out. I fell into a comfortable pace and did my thing. Swimming comes fairly easy for me and I do not suffer from any open water anxiety. As I turned to make the back straight-away before the turn back to the beach, I began to pass people from the previous waves. This happens at most of my races and I always take it as a good sign that I'm swimming well. After the final turn, I set my eyes on the arch and headed in. Once my hands started to hit the ground, I stood up and started jogging through the water towards shore. I always take my swim cap and goggles off first then get my wetsuit unzipped and pulled down to my waist before I exit the water. That allows me to hit the ground running. There is bit of a jog from the waters edge to the timing mat and the entrance into transition. To help the feet during that time, they laid down a carpet over the gravel until we met the concrete. Swim time was 14:26.
My bike was about halfway up the hill in transition. It seemed like it took forever to get to it. Once there, I worked my wetsuit off and hung it on the bike rack. I then sat down so I could dry my feet and put my socks and shoes on. I then stood up, grabbed my race belt and clipped it on, put my sunglasses on and finally put my helmet on. I then got my bike and started running up the final part of transition. Once outside the timing mat, I waved to some friends, mounted my bike and headed up the hill. T1 was 3:53.
The bike was a 12.4 miles out and back ride along Lakeshore Drive. It is a nice combination of hills, some small and some big. The turnaround was at an overlook parking lot that offered a bathroom if needed. Shortly after the turnaround, we encountered the biggest hill of the ride. It is long and about a 6% grade. Near the top of the hill, there was an aid station. Once the beach was in sight again, I knew I was almost there. After a final left hand turn off of the main road, I began the fast, fun downhill back to transition. Bike was 44:48.
I pulled into transition, passed some cheering friends, unclipped and ran for what seemed like ever to my rack. I took my helmet and bike shoes off after I racked my bike. I then had to get my shoes on. I hadn't switched my laces over to quick laces so I had to tie them. That took a few more seconds then I liked but it had to be done. I then grabbed my hat and handheld water bottle and headed to the run out of transition. I dropped my bottle as I was putting my hat on so I had to turn around for that but it was worth it. I made my to the run start and passed some friends that were cheering for me. T2 was 2:33.
The run course is a hard 5K. The first mile is trail and uphill. It's not just trail, it's loose gravel that is deep in some spots. It is not fun. After the first mile, I turned onto a paved road that was pretty flat. I tried to pick my pace up at this point to make up for the crummy performance I had on the first mile. There was a run aid station just after that turn as well. Since I was carrying my own water, I didn't need to stop at it. As I neared the turnaround, I saw my run coach on the side of the road. He cheered me on and let me know that I was almost at the turn. I made the turn and knew I was within 1.5 miles to the finish. I was hurting but it would be over in about 15 minutes. I once again passed my coach who threw out some words of encouragement. I turned onto the trail again and was able to continue my pace since it was downhill. At the final turn, I was about 3/4 of a mile to the finish. The trail was flat but filled with big rocks and gravel. My eyes had to stay glued to the ground so I wouldn't trip and twist an ankle. I wanted to speed up my pace but it wasn't possible. In fact, it slowed down some. When I was about 1/4 of a mile out, I sucked it up and pushed with all that I had left. I passed some of my cheering friends, focused on the finish line, and pushed until the end. Run was 32:43.
Overall, I am pleased with my performance. I had raced it last year but did the olympic course so I didn't have splits to compare this year's too. My overall time was 1:38:25. I ended up placing 1st out of 6 in the Athena 40 and over category.
After the race, we went over to a friend's house for brunch. It was great to relax and laugh as we talked about our races. There are so many aspects about this sport that I love. One of them is the amount of amazing friends that I have made along the way. They all get it and I am so blessed to have them in my life.
Next up, Xterra 10K Trail Race at Lake Las Vegas on April 26th.