On Saturday, the Dude and I spectated the Folsom Lake International Triathlon – the Husband’s first step on the path to Ironman. There are a number of triathlons at Folsom Lake and in the Foothills area in the next few weeks – THIS one is the one I’m talking about. The Husband raced the following: 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10k run. The main objective was not so much the race itself as practicing race day for the Ironman. Whilst it was going to be a physical challenge, the Husband knew he could cover the distance. What he wanted to test was race day set-up, transition between the different disciplines, clothing, fuel…that kind of thing. Next month, he’ll be doing a Half IronMan in the same place and then July? The big day.
We drove up from SF to Folsom on Friday night and stayed overnight at the very nice Hilton Garden Inn which is only 20 minutes from Granite Bay where the triathlon started. The staging area opened at 6.30am on Saturday and we were there! Just as well – for some reason, the queue got increasingly long and organisers scrambled to get everyone ready for the 8am start time. They managed it, but we were hugely relieved that we weren’t queueing and frantic at the Husband’s first race!
Due to the drought, the water levels in the lake are pretty low, so getting to the water’s edge involved a bit of a walk. Everyone (wet)suited up and headed off for the start of the swim. The Husband was in the second wave and seemed pretty calm about the whole thing although he admitted to sky-high adrenaline levels. The klaxon sounded and off he went.
One of the nice things about this race was the friendliness of the other tri-spouses. We soon made friends with a couple of other ladies whose husbands were racing. We chatted away, the Dude splashed in the water and surprisingly soon, the Husband was back. He got out the water at 37 mins, compared to his estimate of 45…and he was grinning.
Transition 1 included a bit of a run up the beach and by the time I coaxed small legs up to the top, the Husband was setting out on his bike. He was very excited about this and set off, still grinning. Thus began about 90 mins of waiting which was a little dull. More chatting with our new friends and some ‘golf’ for the Dude…and then there the Husband was, sailing in with a massive smile on his face. One of the last in his division out the water, he’d spent most of the bike ride reeling people in and he was buzzing.
Off he set on the run, leaving us to entertain ourselves again. We were entertained by the leaders soon coming back to win. I have to say…triathletes are incredible. The top triathletes had utterly amazing bodies, and I mean that genuinely. Multi-discipline training leads to rock-hard bodies with chiselled muscles, the men and women alike. I was in awe of them…and I shall be doing some crunches and planking before we head to Canada in July. So impressed.
The Husband hoped to do the run in an hour but lost a little time, doing it in about 1.04. But soon enough, he was heading towards us – still grinning as he ran past and he crossed the line in 3.21. His goal time had been 3.15 – 3.30 so he was delighted with his performance.
There were some good lessons we took out of today. Apart from beginning to understand how triathlons work, how the logistics happen and the transition process, we learned:
- Get there early, as soon as the race opens. Don’t rush race morning.
- You need ID for packet pick-up!
- Think about shoes for T1 if it involves a long run on sand.
- Know the course well. The run was on trails, which the Husband wasn’t aware of. He would have worn different shoes, had he known. (It was on the website.)
- Walk through T1 and T2 before the race start so you know where to go when you’re racing.
- All his kit worked out well but we need a number belt, rather than sticking safety pins through his tri-suit.
- His cap for running made him too hot. We’re on the search for a visor.
- Take warm layers (including leg covers) for the morning. It was surprisingly chilly in the early hours.
All in all, a pretty great morning. It showed areas where the Husband needs to train harder, reassured him in other areas…we’re now pretty excited for his Half Ironman in June!!