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2019 – Tritonman Race Report

I went to bed early Saturday night, around 8pm – but not before double, triple, and quadruple checking my bag and double, triple, and quadruple checking to make sure all 15 of my alarms between 3 and 4:15am were on. Perhaps my restlessness could be explained by the fact that Tritonman was our first team race of the season and in my memory, one of the bigger and more competitive races of the season last year. It would be the first race of the season where most of the team (15 of us compared to the 8 of us who raced Coveskipper) would be competing (including many first-time racers) which is super exciting! On top of that, Tritonman brings together amazing collegiate, age-group, and pro athletes from all over (Arizona and Colorado are two places that immediately come to mind), who we normally don’t get to see. This opportunity to race amongst such a diverse and passionate field makes it that much more highly-anticipated. Personally, Tritonman also has a special place in my heart as the first real triathlon I ever raced in, last February. In fact, coming into this season, one of my biggest goals was to beat my times from last year, starting with Tritonman.

So right before bed, I’m doing a little bit of pre-race visualization, picturing myself executing the perfect race – sighting well so I don’t end up swimming in zig-zags, smooth transitions, featherweight legs on the run –  you know, the works. Because positive thoughts will give me that extra edge that practice couldn’t get me, right? Well my pre-race visualization is going buttery smoothly when I suddenly get an email saying that the swim leg tomorrow is cancelled due to questionable water quality as a result of the rain we’d been getting the past week. That changes things a little… Running is by far my weakest leg of the triathlon and now the race has been changed to a run-bike-run, with a 2.5km run replacing the swim, and the 21km and 5km run being kept the same. I do my best to keep the positive thoughts flowing and resigned to my fate, I go to bed.

The next morning, I am up by 3:00 and out the door by 4:00 to meet up with Matt, Drew, and Juhi for the drive down to San Diego. Brody and Jesse are already down there, having raced the Draft Legal race yesterday, and the rest of us are driving down the morning of. I get a little lost getting to Matt’s place, but by 4:25, we are on the road. We drive in the darkness of the early morning for about an hour, being fed multiple courses of snacks by Juhi from her backpack cornucopia, before we arrive just in time for packet pickup. Aside from the unfortunate news that Matt and Juhi won’t be able to race their relay because of registration complications, packet pickup and transition set-up go pretty smoothly. Everyone sets up their transition area and we start warming up for the race. Brody, Drew, Jesse, and Robby are in Wave 1, Chris and John are in Wave 2, Aly and I are in Wave 3, and the relays of Alexis and Fiona, and Isabelle, Brenna, and Taylor are in Wave 8. The guys’ waves go off first and soon after, the girls in Wave 3 are ushered onto the starting line. They have us line up by school which is a little awkward for Aly and I because we are the only two from UCI, so we end up just squeezing in at the back of group and before we know it, the race has started.

Everyone went out crazy fast and I found myself pushing harder than I would have liked. Coming into T1, I felt pretty good, though aware that the bulk of the race was still to come. We crossed over to Fiesta Island for our 3 laps and I pretty quickly realized that something was up. On the way out, the headwind was really strong, pushing against me as I struggled to pedal forward, and even blowing me to the side. I distinctly remember trying to convince myself that I was lucky to experience riding in a wind tunnel, though the novelty of it wore off pretty quickly. At times, I felt like I was barely moving as my thighs just got more and more fatigued. I’m super glad though that I had sunglasses because sand was being whipped up off the road and blown everywhere. Eventually, I finished my 3 laps on the island and raced back to transition, excited to get out of the headwind. Right out of T2, I immediately felt the onset of the bricks in my legs, but I was encouraged by Alexis, Brody, Jesse, Robby, Isabelle, Juhi, and Matt cheering me on as I rounded out the 3 laps of the run. As I got to the final straightaway leading up to the finish line, I hear Jesse yelling at me to “KICK! KICK! KICK!”. The energy and idea behind it was enough to push me to the finish, but as I crossed the line, I was really confused, thinking “I’m not swimming or even in the water…what do you mean kick?”. (Having now looked it up, I completely understand it and greatly appreciate the message, Jesse)

Even though I narrowly missed my goal time, I was still pretty happy with my results, having placed better than last year with improvement on my run (which I have been trying to focus on). The team as a whole performed extremely well, and I am super proud of the great work everyone put out, especially Alexis, Brenna, Taylor, and John for killing it in their first respective races! Unfortunately Drew hurt his achilles during the race and might have to take some time off to heal, but regardless, everyone seemed to be in good spirits post-race and I am excited for the upcoming races!