Written by Mas Yoshihara and Hannah Youngwirth
Tritonman, home to the first collegiate level draft-legal race, was held on chilly mornings on February 23rd and the 24th at Fiesta Island. Volunteers, which consisted of the UCSD Triathlon team members, were up by 3:30 in the morning both days to come prepare the race course. I’ve done race setup and volunteering for road races before, but nothing compared to the amount of work put in to this race. From setting up the timing equipment to setting up the transition area, a lot of preparation was required to run the races smoothly and promote sustainability. Three lessons I learned while volunteering at the transition area:
1. NEVER wear toe shoes when volunteering that early in the morning. My feet were wet and numb until about 3 PM.
2. Always monitor and stand by the transition zone, even when nature calls. USAT (and Tritonman) rules.
3. Make sure to stay on Gina’s good side!
Three men and two women from UCSD competed in the draft-legal race on Saturday. In the men’s race, team captain Bill Jones had a solid race, finishing second in the race with a time of 56:59, followed by Daniel Heineck placing nineteenth in 61:39 and Jeff Dahlen in twenty-second in 62:37. The women’s race, which started an hour after the men’s start, saw Gina Horath finishing in eighth with a time of 65:54 and Megan Cross finishing seventeenth in 77:48. They all looked strong as I watched them pass through the transition zone.
The following day, six men and four women from UCSD, including the Literally the Worst relay team, competed in the classic race. Bill came back with another strong performance, completing the race in 53:11 in second place, along with Daniel placing fifteenth in 57:11; great job to those two for racing in a triathlon race on back-to-back days. Jon Hughes, Charlie Chen, David Berry, and Daniel Gonzalez all finished within sixty six minutes for a great overall effort from the men’s team. From the women’s side, Kat Ellis came across the finish line with a solid time of 63:01 to claim third place. Mallory Pickett finished twelfth in 67:29, followed closely by Jackie Sikkema, who finished sixteenth in 67:49; Jenny Kaehms placed twenty-ninth with a time of 72:10. Congrats to all the women who raced on Sunday.
The race in retrospect was a success on both days- each and every volunteer contributed to making the race as successful and sustainable as possible. A huge thanks to all our sponsors for providing us with race equipment and lots of yummy food. And last but not least, a huge thanks to our very own Brooks Taylor; we could not have had this race without his painstaking efforts for the past few months.
Waking up at 4am on the weekends seems to have become a habit of mine. It’s not because I enjoy functioning on 5 hours of sleep—oh no, I’m working for a bigger and better purpose. I’m on the UCSD triathlon team. And although much of our life revolves around exercising (can I hear “hill sprints?”), eating, and (not) sleeping, we also make sure to contribute back to society-one of the ways we do this is by hosting our own awesome, kick-butt triathlons, known by the oh-so-clever-name of Tritonman.
What can I say about Tritonman? Even though I didn’t get to flex my muscles and swim/bike/run, I had a blast helping out-cutting tritons out of cardboard so that we could have awesome arrows, engineering ways to weave caution tape through cones in ways that are aestetically pleasing, using the same caution tape to tie our fabulous finish line sign up to freezing cold poles (at the expense of the feeling in my hands), getting picked up on a street corner at 4 in the morning by a never-before-seen team member, digging through the trash cans because SOME people don’t understand that plastic strawberry containers are recyclable and could potentially be turned into a water bottle, a new container for strawberries, or maybe even one of those things that are on the ends of your shoelaces that nobody knows the name of! *cough* aglet *cough* But, by far, the best part had to be working the food stands.
Some people think that we race for the surge of adrenaline, the rush of competition, the oh-so-good fatigue of straining muscles, the victory of achieving a personal best-and while those are all important, we all have to admit that the next best thing about triathlons is all that free food! And because we are UCSD, our free food was the creme of the crop. We had organic blood oranges, mandarin oranges, strawberries galore, bananas and various types of “breakfasts on the go” (who knew there were so many ways to get your most important meal of the day in such a convenient way?) and, thanks to Panera, tons of loaves of bread. (Somebody should have invited Katniss!) For me, the bread was a personal struggle-as a member of the gluten free club, I was experiencing inner turmoil over the temptation to risk a stomach ache and just eat the blueberry bagels, the foccacia, and the raisin cinnamon swirl—but I held strong and helped myself to another orange! It was great to see everyone’s faces light up at the mention of a free loaf, some trail mix, a pack of strawberries—some faces were sweaty and tired, others were the familiar faces of UCSD Triathlon Volunteers (hey, we need food too!).
Overall, I was thoroughly impressed by the amazing event we were able to turn out, and I had a great time helping out-and hanging out-with all of my fellow volunteers.