Great Race report from Jonathan Hiott from the FT. Yargo Offroad Triathlon-
Couldn't wait for my second Triathlon and first off-road Tri . Alarm went off at 5am but snoozed until 5:30. Out the door at 6:08 and made it to race venue in Winder at 7:20. Mad dash to get bike to transition an get checked in to get my race numbers. It's amazing that I actually made it on time. Even had time to get in the water beforehand to warm up some. This race was an absolute blast and I can't wait for the next one. This despite a severe bike mechanical where my frame cracked and caused my chain to come off. I literally had to run my bike the last half-mile of the bike course.
Last summer I did a road Sprint tri and had a rough time with the swim, which was only 200 yards. Feelings of panic and total body shutdown. Since the swim cost me several minutes I decided to bolster up my swimming with training at the local aquatic center starting in January. That training paid off in Saturday's race, which was held at Ft. Yargo State Park in Winder, Ga. The biggest hurdle was just not panicking in the water. The swim was a 1/2 mile, a distance I am comfortable with. Water was 65 or so and definitely required a wetsuit. I started toward the back since I'm still a noob and getting used to the "washing machine" effect at the swim start. I passed a few people on the swim and let me tell you, the water was choppy and churning! Even several hundred yards into the swim was still chaotic with arms and legs flailing everywhere. No way to avoid contact with other people! Settled into my groove and sighted the first orange buoy. Thankfully the mist had cleared off the lake as the buoys were nearly obscured with the bright sun and mist. Finally had some room around me after the first buoy. We were going counter-clockwise and keeping buoys to the left. Reassuring to see kayakers out there keeping watch. Getting into a groove by the 2nd buoy and 1/4 mile in. Still some chop heading back to the shore and catching up with other swimmers attempting to draft off some behind and to the side slightly. Sighting was good. Finished up the 1/2 mile swim quickly and then made it ashore and began struggling with the wetsuit. I had practiced removing the wetsuit a few times but nothing can prepare for being wet and elevated heartrate, plus I couldn't find the release strap. My first transition took 3 minutes! I think next time I will try sitting down to remove the wetsuit.
Then off to the bike course. I was feeling good heading into the bike then my chain came off a mile or so in. The course is 10 miles so I was in for a long ride. My chain proceeded to come off another dozen times or so. Turns out my bike frame had cracked where the dropout bolts attach. This is the 2nd frame that I've cracked on this bike. I really must be a patient or determined person because for some reason I finished the bike course. I estimate that the bike issues added 6 or 7 minutes to my time due to all the stops. What's even more frustrating is that I kept passing the same racers and getting passed by them repeatedly due to having to stop for my bike!
Back to the transition area after an hour of fighting with the bike. Put on my run shoes then took off.
Run felt a little heavy and not so springy. There were several peeps in front that I eventually caught. It's nice to see fellow racers smiling in such misery and there were a few out there still cracking smiles. Also nice to give encouragement to each other usually happens when running and can't be underestimated. Grunted through the last few miles and finished up strongly. I feel like I left a lot out on the race course due to my bike but that's how it goes sometimes.
Overall I had a great experience and a really fun time. Triathlon is such a challenge, unlike any other sport I participate in including mountain biking, road cycling, and trail running. I can't wait for the next one!
Swim : 19:37 (Including 3 minute transition)
Bike (Mechanical): 64:51
Run: 42:41 (including transition)
71 out of 140
-Race Report by Jonathan Hiott