I did this race like 2 months ago, but hey, better a late review than never, right?
Showman Shooter Triathlon
The first thing that really stood out about this race were the weather conditions. I don’t know about where you guys were, but in Memphis, we had a Fall weekend, which is pretty crazy considering its early August. The temp at the start of the swim was 65 and never got above 80 for the entirety of the race. I actually was looking forward to starting the swim because I was cold waiting around for it to start and I knew the water would be warmer than the air temps, and it was.
I was worried about the swim because all my gyms(plural) pools have been closed the entire month of August, so I had only swam 1200 total meters since the Music City Triathlon on July 24. And it turned out I had good reason to worry. I am way past the point where swimming a sprint distance is a challenge for me cardiovascularly, but taking basically a month off is definitely a bad idea from the muscle fitness standpoint. My shoulders were burning terribly from about the 150 meter to 400 meter marks. After 400 meters I guess I burned off all the rust(scientific term) and felt ok. Only discomfort from that point on was that the sun was right in my eyes every time I turned my head to the right, so I basically swam the last 200 meters blind and just hoping the people right in front of me were swimming to the swim exit. They were. Swim Time: 21:40
I was slow here. This offseason I am going to make a concerted effort to learn how to do the shoes mounted on bike thing. I waste entirely too much time getting my shoes on and off. T1 Time: 1:47
This was unlike any triathlon bike course I have done, with the exception of the time I did it before. It’s a 2 loop, 11-mile course. What makes it unusual is that it’s not an interstate type course, the 1st half (6.5 miles) is basically 2 long straight roads with a couple of rolling hills. But the last half (4.5 miles) is back roads with lots of curves and some serious steep climbs that can bring you to a complete stop if you are not in the right gear when you hit them. There is specifically one hill (I’m sure anyone who participated will remember) that requires you to stand and pedal for a good 3 -4 minutes even if you are in your easiest gear.
The first loop I started slow, as I always do after the swim. Got passed by a couple of guys in the 1st half mile. By about the 3rd mile I was up to speed and passing lots of people that had probably tried to kick me as they passed me on the swim. Right as we got to the hilly portion I came upon a group of 5 guys all riding together and all wearing the uniform of a well-known Memphis triathlon team. I took great pride in blowing them all away as we made away our way through the hills. Unfortunately, they were just about the last people I would catch on the bike course, as on the 2nd loop I was pretty much riding by myself much of the time. With about 5 miles to go, I did catch up with one of the guys who had passed me in the that first half mile and passed him. Then we went into a steep downhill and he passed me back(he was on a fancy bike) and then we went back and forth for the next couple of miles until my legs decided they were really not enjoying all this hill stuff and I had a mini-bonk where he got way ahead. I slowed down for about a minute, took some deep breathes and recovered enough so that I was able to catch up and be right behind him as we climbed that last, giant hill before coming to the end of the bike leg. He still got to the top before I did and got to T2 first, but I was happy that I was able to close that gap. Bike Time: 1:07:00
I would have been faster here, but I ran the wrong way coming out of transition, so I lost about 15 seconds. The only thing of note about this transition was that I decided to try running without socks again, so I probably saved more than the 15 seconds I lost being lost. T2 Time: 1:24
This is where the weather really made a difference. Last time I did this race, we ran over the levee and the sun was just beating down on us and just begging you to stop and walk. Today, while the sun was out, there was a nice breeze and no humidity, so it actually felt refreshing to run. Not to say that it was easy. As always, that 1st half mile after the bike was a challenge, but that also coincided with the run over the levee and I just kept telling myself, just make it across the levee and you can walk in the woods where no one can see (fear of public scorn is always my greatest motivator). But by the time I got to the woods my legs were feeling good again and the trails were all under deep shade, so it felt great. I passed about 15 people in the woods, and was never passed. And then on the way back across the levee I was able to sprint the last 200 yards and caught and passed a couple of guys right at the end. Run Time: 29:11
This was probably my favorite triathlon I’ve ever done. That may be because it was in such stark contrast to the Music City, which I hate everything about. But the back roads bike course is just so much more interesting than the interstate courses I usually ride and running through the woods rather than pavement is a lot less boring. And of course none of those things would have been fun at all if the weather had not been spectacular. So my closing thought, as is often the case after almost any occurrence in my life, “I really need to move to San Diego where the (weather, food, night life, fill in the blank) is always like this”.