The Folsom Lake International Triathlon

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.

Folsom Lake at 6am. Worth getting up for.
Folsom Lake at 6am. Worth getting up for.

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!

Packet Pick Up
Packet Pick Up
Excited before the start
Excited before the start

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.

Folsom Tri
The swim was a LONG way from Transition
Tri Folsom
Somewhere in the green hats is the Husband

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.

Tri Folsom Dude
The child of an athlete knows how to entertain himself
Tri Folsom
Coming out of the swim

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.

Setting off on the bike course
Setting off on the bike course

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.

Racing to the finish line
Racing to the finish line

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.

Tri Folsom Family

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!!

Almost as good as an ice-bath
Almost as good as an ice-bath

17 Comments Add yours

  1. gracechua31 says:

    Wow, congratulations to your husband! Was that his first tri? I’ve only done three sprint tris but I feel like I learn something with each one, and there’s so much to learn. I also have no idea how to pace and race a standard distance tri – for sprints you just go all out till the end. I have an enormous amount of respect for anyone who takes on that IM journey!

    1. Cathryn says:

      He’d done a few sprint tris about 10 years ago but this was his first ‘proper’ one. It was a really goof first step to Ironman…we only have 10 weeks left, which is a little daunting!!! Thanks for the congratulations!

  2. Congrats again to your husband. He looked as if he had a really good time. That is great ! I am also in awe at the triathletes. I love how they look so sharp. I have to tell you trying triathlon is something I seriously think about. I think I would love the fact you have 3 sports and that it is cut in 3 parts. I was actually wondering if you already did triathlons yourself as you are a runner and a cyclist too.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Nooooo…I’m one of the worst swimmers out there. I do quite like the idea of ‘changing’ sport during a race but nope, I’ll never do a triathlon.You should def consider one if you’re a strong swimmer!

      The Husband did well, thanks for your congratulations.

  3. Layla says:

    Congratulations to your husband! Documenting the lessons learned was a very good idea, and you’ll be thankful for it in July. A few random tips, in no order, from someone who’s never done a tri but sure does know a lot about them:
    1. Check out Headsweats visors; they make a one-size elastic band kind as well as an adjustable kind. If he wears a visor instead of a hat, he’ll need to add spray sunscreen to his T2 bag — and he’ll need to remember to use it! With his light hair, he’d sunburn badly on a long run.
    2. Definitely get a number belt, because Ironman requires you to have your number on your back on the bike, and on your front during the run.
    3. Walking through the transition areas ahead of time will also help you figure out if you can spectate.
    4. If you really want to know the course, try google street view. Some might say (and probably correctly so) that’s a bit too extreme. 🙂

    But overall, it sounds like your husband did really well and is well on his way to success. He’ll learn something new every time — even multiple Ironman finishers do. And that’s part of the fun!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thanks for the advice, much appreciated! Do you have any advice for spectators? What works well for helping your athlete, what should I avoid? Also, have you seen any spectacular ways to keep kids entertained during the longer stretches of triathlons? I have ideas but would welcome anything new!!

      1. Layla says:

        Honestly, the fact that you’re there supporting him is HUGE. Some people don’t have family/friends there, but you and your little boy are a rock solid goal to focus on, no matter what. Even if your husband has a bad day, even if something unexpected happens, he’ll know he will have you there, on his side and cheering for him. Just tell him, “We’ll be waiting to hug you at the finish line,” and he’ll remember that.

        In terms of an Ironman race, athletes aren’t technically allowed to take aid from outsiders, so it will be easier for both of you to not plan on that. Try to figure out where you might see him, but agree that it’s okay if you can’t get there due to traffic or small legs. If you’re out on the race course and you see a volunteer, feel free to ask them if there’s a better spectating viewpoint. If you seem to know what you’re doing but you also thank them, they’ll appreciate it and might help you out. (For instance, at Ironman Arizona, I was working crowd control with spectators who were actually cussing at me as I tried to keep them on the sidewalk out of the road because cars and athletes were sharing the roadway. I really appreciated the ones who said thanks, and when they asked, I suggested that they go further up the road about 0.1 miles where there were no crowds and they could see.)

        Hm, kids I’m not sure about, but I’ll ask the bf if he has suggestions. If you normally let him play any electronic games, bring that because it will be something he’s used to and can escape into, since kids do better with a routine. And of course take photos of him when he is cheering, because his daddy will love that!

        Whoa, this got long! Feel free to email if that’s easier — layla @ Like I said at the beginning, simply being there is a BIG part of it. And you have a big advantage over many spectators, because you’ve been on the athletes’ side of things and understand the nerves and excitement and logistics.

      2. Cathryn says:

        This is all so great, thank you so much. I may well start bombarding you with questions as the big day approaches. Thanks Layla x

  4. Brianna says:

    Big congrats to the Husband! Awesome time! Reading about your husband’s training is making me want to do another triathlon this year 🙂
    I don’t know if you’re aware of the blog Swim Bike Mom. She wrote about spectating an Ironman for the entire family in an old post that you might want to check out for some tips.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Ooooh, thank you. Yes, I DO want to check out that post, I’ll investigate now. Thanks so much.

  5. Jen says:

    Way to go, Team R – the Husband and spectators, alike! Sounds like it was a good day all around, lots of lessons learned and goals attained. Fun fact: T & I stayed at the Folsom Hilton Garden Inn before CIM 2 years ago!

  6. Cathryn says:

    Yay for excellent hotels. We really liked it!!!

  7. Angela says:

    Yay!! This is almost exciting enough to make me try a triathlon!! Well done Mr. R!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thanks! It struck me that triathlon training must be ‘healthier’ than sticking to one sport…but with my swim skills, it won’t be happening. You should try it if you’re a decent swimmer.

  8. Bean says:

    Congrats to the hubs!!!! So amazing! I am in such awe of multi-sport people! Looked like a beautiful day!

    1. Cathryn says:

      It was pretty cool, thanks for the congrats!!

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