by Justin Runac and Tyler Bailey
I took the early lead in the WCCTC a couple of weeks ago and the swim at Aggieathlon was short, I decided I had to keep getting points for myself and the team early in the season
I was a little concerned about racing so many weekends in a row since I’ve been doing cross country running along with triathlon this fall, but since I took the early lead in the WCCTC a couple of weeks ago and the swim at Aggieathlon was short, I decided I had to keep getting points for myself and the team early in the season while they were easy to come by. I didn’t have any good races last season due to fluke circumstances, so I am trying to race as much as I can in my last year at school to help forget about last season. The air temp at UC Davis was pretty chilly with the start in the 40s, so I knew I could give a solid effort without any concern of overheating. The pool swim went as expected with me being one of the slowest swimmers in the field, but fortunately the bike course was perfect for me. About 1/3 of the course was on rough roads, and there were a bunch of tight turns, so it definitely favored me as someone who has been bike racing for a couple of years. I managed to get the 6th fastest bike split while saving up plenty of energy for the run, so everything seemed to be going great until I realized I forgot to take my feet out of my cycling shoes at the end of the bike leg. Since I was having a good race, I decided to just unclip and run full speed into T2 wearing my cycling shoes. I got a lot of strange looks, but made it without slipping. Once I regained my composure from this mistake, I decided to put it behind me and just think about having a solid run leg. As I started to run, I realized my legs had become frozen due to the continuing cold temps. Every stride felt like I was just jamming my feet into the ground since I have no flexibility in my legs, but I knew I had a good place in the race and had to just keep going and ignore the awkward striding. It never got comfortable since my legs didn’t thaw out, but I went just fast enough to secure 13th place out of 77, so I had no regrets on how I handled the race. I had a bit of good luck in that 2 of my competitors lost track of their lap counts, which is a critical mistake in WCCTC races. One of the fastest guys went one lap short on the 3 lap run and was disqualified, and another guy that would have finished near my time took an extra lap on the run to drop himself out of contention. I made this mistake last year at UCLA, and the lesson learned is to make sure to pay close attention to lap counts and do a good course preview, especially near transition areas and the finish line. Even though none of my races this season have gone perfectly, I am pretty happy to have 3 solid results out of 3 races and can hopefully keep on improving as the season goes on.
once my legs hit the ground they felt like jello
So I was a swimmer through high school and the start of college, but now as a fourth year college student this was my first time doing a triathlon, and despite it being classified as a sprint, this was way longer than any race I had done before. Coming into this race I was seeded pretty high up based on my swim times, so jumping in I started second. My first thought was that the start of the event seemed pretty sudden. I jumped into the pool and then was told to go. It caught me a little off guard not having some type of lead up like “Take your marks” or “Attention” before heading out, but once I got going I felt like I had a pretty strong pace. Then, after a couple lengths I felt that my timing chip had fallen off my ankle. That was really frustrating. I had done my best to make sure it was tight before the race because when I was warming up that morning it had fallen off as well. But there was nothing to be done, so I continued on. The one thing I found interesting about the swim was how up close and personal everyone got. I passed one guy, but two more passed me in the next length and for the rest of the swim we were fairly close, which made hitting the walls an experience. At the end of the pool I hopped out of the water third which I was pretty happy with. Going into the first transition my main thought was making sure I got my helmet on before anything else, I knew that was important. After that I tossed on socks and grabbed my shoes and bike and ran out of transition. It wasn’t until I was almost at the mount line that I realized I hadn’t put on my shoes, so I ducked down and tossed them on before continuing. I felt pretty solid on the bike portion. I got passed by a few people, but I felt like I attacked it pretty well, so I was happy with how I did there (even though with no timing chip I have no clue how I compared to the rest of the field). Finishing up I came into the second transition and did a flying dismount which I was proud of getting down. But once my legs hit the ground they felt like jello beneath me. I somehow stayed on my feet and ran into transition, popped on my shoes (before leaving this time!) and made my way into the run. I was pretty wiped out at this point and running is by far my weakest skill currently, but I just put one foot in front of the other and made my way around the course as best as I could. Finishing felt fantastic, and even though I don’t know any of my splits, I feel pretty happy with how I did overall and look forward to more races in the future.