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Navigator Triathlon, Summerville, GA

October 19, 2009

The Navigator Triathlon was held on Saturday, September 12th, 2009.

Securing our drawers before the swim.

Securing our drawers before the swim.

I am pretty sure that you will only find parks called “Sloppy Floyd” in Georgia. This is where this triathlon was held. Sean (co-author) wanted to do a triathlon and this is the one he chose. I decided to come along and my friend that I did the Just Tri It with also wanted to participate.

This race was AWESOME! First, we were super excited that it wasn’t freezing cold on race morning. It had been cold the last couple of days, and since none of us have wet suits, we were terrified of the potential cold weather. So, the event started off great.

We picked up our packets the night before so we didn’t have to worry about standing in the packet pick-up line that morning. Instead, we got there super early and scored an awesome spot in the transition area (there were no assigned spots at this race).

People in the water waiting to start

People in the water waiting to start

The race started pretty close to on-time and they released us in waves based on our predicted swim time. My friend and I went in the second wave and Sean took off in the 4th wave (I think he underestimated his abilities.)

Accompanying us to this race was a friend of mine and Sean’s girlfriend. I will explain later why there presence saved my ass in this race.

The 1/4 mile swim was neat because it passed under a pedestrian bridge where your friends had a chance to get a unique photo-op. Once we passed under the bridge it was a short trip to the shore where we emerged from the water and had another 1/4 mile jaunt to the transition area through wet/slippery/slanted hill grass.

Running bike out of transition

Running bike out of transition

I got to transition and tried to wipe as much wet grass off my feet as possible before putting on my socks and bike shoes (this didn’t prove to work too well because after the race I discovered one LARGE leaf and countless blades of grass plastered to my foot).

T1 was quick and it was off on the bike ride. We drove the course the night before and were pleased that it was relatively flat. We were in the North Georgia mountains and the views on this ride were incredible. I had to be careful to pay attention to the roads instead of the views, but this helped make for a quick 12 mile ride.

T2 was also quick and it was off on the run. We started off uphill, then SURPRISE! We go into the woods. Trail running? I have never run on a trail before. I don’t even run on grass. I was totally surprised and completely frightened that I was going to roll my ankle. Some of the hills in the woods were really steep and it turned out to be a tough 3.1 miles for me. Once we emerged from the woods I thought we may be done, but little did I know they turned us back into another set of woods to run around a lake. The finish for the run was over the same bridge that we swam under and made for a fun and triumphant end to the triathlon.

I finished this race in 1:24:29 and took second place in the 25-29 age group. I was very pleased with my results, but know that I can do better on the run portion. It has motivated me to start trail running so I will be prepared for next time.

Okay, now for my story of how my friends saved my ass. We set up our transition areas early and I was busy checking Sean’s to make sure he had everything (it was his first time). Little did I know that I forgot to place my bike shoes in transition.
I remembered this important detail just after I started the swim. When I got to the bridge I yelled to Sean’s girlfriend to tell my other friend to run to the car and get my bag with the shoes and meet me at transition.
I was worried the entire time in the swim that I wouldn’t have my shoes and I didn’t like having all the extra nervousness.
It turns out that everything worked out fine. My friend met me at transition the exact time that I got there, I retrieved my shoes from my bag and went on my way.
I am soooo thankful that the two of them were there to save my day!

Sean’s take on the Race

This was my first triathlon and it will definitely not be my last. I was really nervous about the swim portion but it was over before I knew it and since it started in waves I didn’t have people climbing all over me and trying to get ahead. I actually stayed near the front of my wave and even passed a few people along the way. I think I actually could have been in a faster swim group as Tracy stated above. I felt good when I ended my swim and made up some time past the tired swimmers walking the 1/4 mile to T1.

About to start my swim

About to start my swim

I ran and passed most of my wave on the way. Getting my stuff on to ride was a breeze thanks to Tracy helping me set out my transition area, I guess she should have paid more attention to her own transitions area. The bike course had a few rolling hills and very low traffic. Cycling is definitely my strongest event so I had something to prove on this ride but was afraid of getting worn out. I finished the bike with an average speed of over 22mph. My plan was to stay above 15mph so mission accomplished. The run was fun with some trail running mixed in with the road running. I knew I was doing well when I caught up with one of the people who I came to the race with who started two swim waves ahead of me. I passed a lot of people on the run and smiled and said hello to them at first. Then when I passed an older man who was sweating and grunting his way along he just looked annoyed that I was so happy so I stopped doing that.

coming out of T1

coming out of T1

I finished and felt good and was ready to start planning my next event. I can’t really compare this to much else being my first triathlon but I really liked it and it seemed to be well organized. There were plenty of water stations on the run and the bike course was well maned at every intersection. The only thing that might be done better would be to have a way to prove how accurate your projected swim time is. There were a few people going very slow in the first two waves that obviously had no business being there. On the other hand when you’ve never done a triathlon before you have no idea what an open water swim will hold in store for you. I’d recommend this as a first triathlon to anyone who wants to give this sport a shot.

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