Since my only real exposure to triathlons has been at the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon, I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to the this one. For spectators though, it was nice that you were able to see the start and exit for the swim, the transition area, and the finish area. And the run portion passed the transition area an extra time before circling back to the finish.
When I got to the park I was able to find Mel easily because she showed me her new tri suit a few weeks ago. We hung out until it was time for her to go line up. There weren’t that many racer relative to the run events I have done in the past. This race had probably about as many people as the Run for Clean Air that I did in Philly back around Earth Day (I know – I failed to give a race report). Mel was in wave 4 and I think there was one more wave after her. According to the website, there were 100 women per wave.
The race started in the water with the racers starting in about calf-deep water. There was a woman in the water getting the racers pumped up. Each wave started about five minutes after the last wave and each wave had “Swim Angels” that went out with them. They swam with noodles so that the racers could take a break if they needed to. I think this is a great idea. This was in addition to the lifeguards that were along the course in the kayaks.
The exit from the water was maybe 100 yards down the beach from the start so after Mel started I went over there and cheered for the people getting out of the water. Once Mel got out of the water I ran with her over to the transition area and cheered her on as she hopped on her bike.
I did come to the conclusion that if I were to ever do a race in Clermont, I will definitely get a few training runs/rides in before the race. The hills there are ridiculous!
I cheered on all of the women who were coming back in. One observation I made was that the earlier (ie, faster) women who used clipless pedals would take off their shoes and leave them in the pedals instead of running in them. Heck, I don’t even have toe clips on my bike yet.
I had about an hour before Mel would come back but after about 30 minutes of wandering around, I decided to hang out near the bike finish area. I kept trying to guess if I could see her from where I was standing, but I wasn’t spotting her. Finally I saw a woman that I was pretty sure was her. When she made the final turn, she said something to the volunteer and I could hear it all the way at the transition area. Yup, that was her!
Once Mel made it through the transition area, she went out for the 5K along the lake trail and I joined an adorable family while they waited to cheer on their mom. Not long after Mel went out for the run, her husband showed up with the rest of the cheering crew and we waited near the finish line for her to come in. She finished strong after stealing a kiss from her little girl.
One thing that was great about the race was how supportive everyone was. There was an announcer for everyone and they even invited all finishers and spectators into the finisher’s chute to create ‘tunnel of love’ for the last finisher who was racing in her first triathlon.
I do hope to do this race next year. It was really exciting to see everything and even though the race wasn’t very big, there was lots of support for all the athletes.
I do have some exciting news about some new races I’ve registered for, but I’m going to save that for another post.