Race Report – Rocky Mountain Triathlon at 8,730 feet

The drive to Silverthorne, Colorado took one hour and was quite relaxing since the sun was coming up and no one else was on the roads. Parking was at the Elementary School; simple and close to the venue. The race started at North Pond Park just four miles north of the exit off I-70 so access was easy.

I had posted a question to the race Facebook page asking what the water temp was currently. They responded with “usually it’s in the low 70’s and that a wetsuit wasn’t necessary” so I decided to wear my sleeveless wetsuit because I’m certainly not going without. I set up my transition area, got my wetsuit on and headed down to the water. The water was much colder than I had expected. My arms had goosebumps and I was visibly shivering. I was starting to get a bad feeling about the swim portion of the race. I had my long sleeve wetsuit in the car but I didn’t have the time to go get it. The announcer stated that the water temp was 65 degrees. Wish I would’ve known this ahead of time.

Apparently the singer for the National Anthem that they hired got sick so they asked for a volunteer from the crowd to sing it. A triathlete from Hawaii that was set up in the first wave said that he would do it. The crowd sung along with him and somehow this was one of the best National Anthems that I’ve heard. Not that he had perfect pitch but I admired his ability to be able to get up there and lay it all on the line like that. It was a special start to the race.

When my wave was ready and the gun went off I started swimming and telling myself that I wasn’t cold. This was working for the first 75 meters. Then my chest got tight and I was having a hard time getting air in. I started to do breaststroke so that I could breathe easier but it wasn’t getting any better. I tried calming myself down and that wasn’t working either. I chalked it up to a few different things: my sleeveless wetsuit is tighter in the chest than my full sleeve, the cold water temp can make your lungs compress, and the big kicker was that I was swimming at 8,730 feet elevation which is much harder than swimming at 5,430 ft. Regardless of the reasons, I was having a hard time doing freestyle. I threw in some backstroke too just to round out my swim training for the day. Lol. As I was exiting the swim, I stepped on several rocks under the water that ended up bruising my heels. They did have wetsuit strippers which was great! You pull down your wetsuit to your waist and they do the rest. So nice not to struggle with the suit.

In transition, I was getting on my cycling gear when I realized my cycling helmet was not fitting properly. I couldn’t tighten it down enough and it was wiggling around on my head. I announced out loud “Oh no, I have my husband’s helmet!” One of the girls around me wished me luck and said not to crash. As I was riding off, I could see that the helmet was slanted off to one side and I imagined that I must look ridiculous. Oh well, no other choice. The ride was a fairly flat and easy out and back. The altitude did not affect me as much on the bike and the run since I do both disciplines at 9,000 feet a fair amount.

Transitioning to the run was uneventful. In fact, it’s what I’m best at in a race. Seriously, out of the 5 disciplines (Swim, T1, Bike, T2, Run) my best ranking is always in T2. I guess that’s just kinda sad.

The run was along the river and was very beautiful. The trees provided a good amount of shade which I was appreciative of. I felt good on the run. I passed several people and felt strong. My only complaint with the run was that the website said they’d be providing Gatorade at the aide stations and they did not. Now, Gatorade is not my electrolyte drink of choice but in order to simplify things I had decided that it would be my only nutrition on the run so I was counting on it. My time for the run was 29:09. They said it was a 5k which would mean that my pace was 9:23 per mile but they reported on my results that it was 10:24 so I’m not sure whether they reported it wrong or they shortened the course and didn’t tell us. Oh well, I felt good on it regardless.

After finishing the race, all they had available was water containers with little cups. There was no food and no venders. No post-race goodies like Muscle Milk, Recoverite, or energy drinks. Not even Gatorade. Ha ha. They did have a roped off section with Michelob Ultra. Um, being the beer snob that I am there was no way I was drinking that.

I tried to leave and was told that we weren’t allowed to get our bikes or leave until the last bike was in. There was also an Olympic distance race so the last bike wouldn’t be in for quite a while. I explained that there wasn’t any food or anything to do. Needless to say I wasn’t thrilled. Other racers were not happy either. They just started “stealing” their own bikes out of transition. I watched at least 15 people do this until I finally caved and stole my own bike. I would not do this race again just based on this aspect. I don’t have friends or family at races and if there’s no food or entertainment then I don’t want to be forced to stick around. The other reason that I wouldn’t do this race again is that it took me almost 3 hours to get home even though it only took 1 hour to get there. Sunday traffic on I-70 is a nightmare with all the outdoorsy/athletic types all heading back to the front range after playing in the back-country for the weekend.

After feeling like I jumped the wall and broke out of triathlon prison, I went to The Baker’s Brewery. I had a breakfast burrito and the French Silk Stout. I felt accomplished and it was a good way to start the day.



~ by willtriforbeer on August 16, 2015.

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