by Jasmine Stansil and Billy Wegeng
I was up at 7 am, getting myself together so that I’d be ready to leave at 8 am with Ella and Tyler. I’d packed the night before, so no last minute packing this time! I was heading downstairs when Ella texted me that she’d be a little late, so I was like, ‘Cool. I’ve got time to pump up my tires.’ I went and did that, and then waited for Tyler and Ella to show up. Tyler beat Ella by a couple of minutes, and at 8:30 we were off!
It was a long drive, but it was really fun. Ella, Tyler, and I learned things about each other through secret-telling every half hour for a couple of hours. It was interesting and fun, and I learned some cool information. Halfway through we saw Zach and B, who had left at about the same time we had, so we ate lunch together. At lunch I learned how all objects fall at the same rate, regardless of which is heavier, after Zach explained it like 3 different times. It didn’t make sense at first. Then we were off again to go to packet pick up. We still had another 3 hours of driving ahead of us though. I took a nap at some point, and admired the prettiness of the 101 and where we were for the next couple of hours, until we finally made it to SLO. We were exactly on time to the pre-race ride, which means that the ride started at like 4 pm. But we finally finished the ride. Then Zach (who didn’t bring food), Jake (who just thought we were doing a ride of the bike course), B, Tyler, Imran, Nathan, and I (who also didn’t bring food) went to do a ride of the bike course and get dinner. Justin came along for the ride, and jumped out before we left to get dinner. Jake realized we were going to get dinner as we were leaving Lake Lopez, and decided to come along. We went to a Mexican place, that was really good, and then went to Trader Joe’s so some of us could buy breakfast for tomorrow, but Tyler and B ditched us for Food 4 Less. After Zach, Nathan, Jake, Imran, and I were done at Trader Joe’s, we attempted to find the Food 4 Less while we were chilling at B’s car, when we gave up, and I suggested that since people looked cold, we could wait for them in Nathan’s car. They showed up about 10 minutes later, and we went back to the campground.
I basically got back and went to sleep, because everyone was winding down by the time we got back. I was tired from finals week, so it wasn’t hard to fall asleep. Everyone got up around 5:20ish so that we could put our bikes in transition. Then I came back, changed and ate breakfast and went back down to transition to warm up. I found Tori, Torin, and Maggie and warmed up with them, then I went to put on my wetsuit before the prerace meeting. I learned about the swim course at the prerace meeting, and then we all got in the water. It was kinda cold, but not too bad. Before I knew it, I was freaking out because it was real, and the race was about to start. I wasn’t ready and was questioning why I decided to even do the race. Then we did our cheer (pretty well, I might add), and I felt a little better. The guys’ first wave went off, and they were so fast! They didn’t look like they were moving that fast, but there were guys that were done before wave 4 even started. Then we were off, and I lost most of wave 4 within the first couple of minutes. I could see them, but I lost any hope of staying with them. I was switching between freestyle and breaststroke a lot, but I couldn’t really move very fast while breast stroking, so I tried not to do that as much. I made a game out of each buoy and challenged myself to freestyle to each one from about halfway there. Eventually, I was turning around, then I finally made it back to the dock. I was running in, and trying to take off my wetsuit, but I couldn’t find the Velcro so I could unzip it. Finally, after 3 tries and about 2 minutes, I figured it out and was tearing off the top part of my wetsuit. I got to transition, then got stuck trying to get my wetsuit over my feet. It took me about 5 minutes, but I finally got it off and then just shoved my feet into my cycling shoes, disregarding the socks I had put in them beforehand. I was off and running to the mount line. I mounted my bike and hated the fact that we had to go up a hill out of transition because it sucked. But as I was hating it, I realized it meant we got to go downhill into transition and liked it a little more. Then I was off, racing down the hill, and it was awesome. After a while, I was waiting to see the turnaround, having seen Vivien, Imran, Ella, Maggie, B, and Tori. It took me about another 10ish minutes to reach the turnaround, which made me sad because I kept thinking it’d be like right around the corner and it wasn’t. But I made it, and I was a little nervous about this part of the course, because I don’t really do well with going uphill, but it wasn’t that bad. Then I was turning right, and off on the 2nd out-and-back. This part was nice because it was mostly flat, but after about half an hour, I was basically alone out there, having already seen Maggie and Tori and Vivien again. Except for the random person heading back the way I was going, there wasn’t anyone near me. I was kinda disheartened over this, but after a while, I saw some women by a tent, and they offered me water, which I didn’t take because I didn’t want to stop, but that made me feel a little better. Then I spent like the next 10ish minutes waiting for the big, giant hill to show up so I could turn around and be done with the bike. I was kinda over the race at this point, and just wanted to be done. Finally, I saw it, and as I starting going up it, I was wondering why I was wishing to get here in the first place. It sucked. I got up a bit of it, and when it flattened out a bit, I stopped to drink some water and get myself up the rest of the hill. Then, when I was almost there and could see the top, I stupidly stopped because even though I thought I could make it, I also thought I was going to fall over. I got mad at myself and decided, even though there was no way I was going to be able to start biking again from where I was at, I was going to try anyway. I tried, and as I had figured out, I fell over. I had a pity party for myself for a couple minutes, until I got up because I heard someone coming. It was an older couple on a golf cart. They asked me if I was okay; I said yes, and started walking up the rest of the hill. After about 20 steps, I decided I would try again. I managed to get going again and biked up the rest of the hill, which took me like a minute, and then I was turning around and racing down the hill so fast it was scary. Finally I started pedaling again, having stopped going fast enough to coast, and I made my way back to transition. It didn’t take as long as I’d thought, but going up the hill that I’d went down on the way out kinda sucked. But I made it into transition, and saw Jake, who thought I was done. I told him I still had the whole run to go, and he wished me luck. I was off!
I saw Tori running in as I was going out, and told her good job. I felt alone, except after about a mile I realize there was one person ahead of me who was going back out like I was. Everyone else was heading in. I passed him around mile 2, and tried to get him to run with me, but he wasn’t having it. I went on ahead, expecting to never see him again. I kept running at a super slow pace, knowing that at this point going any faster just wasn’t happening. Finally, I reached the turnaround point, which made me pretty happy. I saw the guy again in a couple of minutes, and told him he was almost to the turnaround point. Then began the longest slog of my life. I was going super slowly, and I felt like the run was never going to end. I finally reached the sprint turnaround point again, which meant I’d only had another mile and a half, but I was preparing myself for this mile and a half to take like a half hour. I kept going, and finally I got to the parking lot by the waterpark. At this point, I’d started walking, disheartened and seeing no end in sight. Then Torin showed up, and I was so happy. I wasn’t alone anymore! He kept me going for a while on his bike (Thanks, so much Torin!), and then he left me. But then I saw Imran and Jake, I think. That was great too. Thanks guys. They got me to make it up a hill, and then a little while after that I saw the guy I never expected to see again. He was moving faster compared to me, and he tried to get me to run with him, but I couldn’t find it in me to move that fast. I settled in a little behind him, and he told me we had like .2 miles left. I knew that wasn’t true, because we hadn’t seen the sign for mile 6 yet, but it got me to get ready to finish. Finally, I saw the sign for mile 6 and knew I was almost there. Then people were cheering for me and I looked up to see some of the team making a tunnel for me. Thanks for that guys. I was about to just keep going, not wanting to veer even the slightest bit to change direction, when Barry yelled, “Go through the tunnel!” and I decided I should do it, since they made it for me. I finally made it to the finish, and all I wanted to do was sit down and eat food.
That race took me 4 hours to complete, but I did it! I was walking to transition when Joanna told me she couldn’t drive me home because Katie was in the hospital (hope you’re okay Katie!), and she had to look after Cosmic. I said it was fine, and she told me Tori would know who could take me and my stuff home. I then went to gather my stuff from transition because it seemed like we were gonna go soon. Before I even touched my stuff, I sat on the ground and ate the half of a bagel I’d slathered in peanut butter and gathered from where they had food. Then I got my stuff together and put on socks, and proceeded to walk my stuff to the hill that I had to go up to get to the campsite. I had walked up the hill for about 5 seconds when I decided this was the worst part of the race. Everything hurt, and I was leaning over on my bike while walking because it hurt to stand up straight with my bag on my shoulders. I made it about halfway up before I decided to take a break and just stood there for a minute, leaning over my bike. After about 5 more breaks and another 8 minutes, I was most of the way up and taking a break when I heard someone ask me if I was okay. It was Ella’s mom, who’s really nice and awesome. She talked with me as we walked up the rest of the hill. Making it up that hill was so hard and took about 20 minutes, and I only did it because I had to. It was harder for me than most of the race was. Then we got everything together, took a team picture, and went to lunch at In-and-Out. Then, Ali, Vivien, Billy, and I headed back to SD, which was a fun drive, when I wasn’t sleeping. Now I’m writing this on the plane as I fly back to NorCal (I know, I could’ve just went with someone to NorCal; next year I’ll plan better). Sorry this race report is super long, but it was a long race, hence the long race report. Thanks for a great year everyone!
I had been wanting to complete a triathlon for a long time but my pure focus on running and fear of swimming due to lack of experience had kept me from doing so. That changed when I resolved myself to to race at conference. It was the last WCCTC race I could do this year so I figured what better race to get my feet wet?
The drive up to SLO wasn’t too bad considering I wasn’t the one doing the driving, so I had to help compensate by providing my driver Greg with some decent conversation. Once we got to the campsite I felt a bit stiff during the pre-race ride having raced a 1500m at a track meet the night before, but overall felt fine. We made our way to bed eventually and I hadn’t brought a sleeping bag or pillow because I didn’t want to carry it but I realized fast how useful they would’ve been. I was able to borrow a blanket from Nathan which helped a lot so I’m quite thankful for that. 5:00 am wake up time and I had to roll out as I actually missed the online registration deadline, so I had to register on race morning. This went perfectly fine because I had filled out the necessary paperwork beforehand. It was one of the few moments I was kind of prepared for something. Seeing as this was my first triathlon, all of the prep was very new to me. Luckily everybody was very helpful in answering my questions about it. Once we made our way down to the transition area I could see all of the experienced triathletes and teams getting ready and I couldn’t help but feel slightly out of place trying to learn as I went, but I had already decided to dive into this. I got in a very a short jog but the rest of the time was deciding when I should get my wetsuit on and get to the ramp. I put it on and started making my way to the start really realizing there was no turning back now.
I was placed into wave 2 so once the first men’s wave went off there was only 5 minutes until I began what was seemingly impossible for me to complete. Before this race I had never swam continuously longer than 50 meters in a pool. I was told I wouldn’t drown thanks to the wetsuit, courtesy of Dustin, so that was reassuring. I’m not sure what compelled me to believe I could do it but I thought no matter how much I was suffering I would complete it. The race started and I just had to jump right in. By the first minute I was already gapped and at about 2 minutes in I was much more tired than I thought I would be. I tried to keep the panic out of mind but I had barely started and was already quite fatigued. I just kept forging on and probably looked a bit ridiculous floundering about, improper form and all. The lifeguards asked if I was okay and I had to give them a thumbs up saying I’m not injured or anything I’m just really bad at this. One other girl told me to use a breast stroke but I just looked at her and kept going because I had no idea how to do that. The other waves that started after me were all blowing by like I was standing still but I expected that. During the latter half I kept getting knots in my calves that would lock up but go away after a few seconds. I was hoping it wouldn’t be an issue and as I made my way back to the dock without any major problems I was so happy. As I turned the corner to get on the ramp my left calf completely locked up and I couldn’t shake it away. The last few meters took me a very long time and I wondered if the people watching thought I just liked the water so much I didn’t want to get out. I complete the swim in just under 38 minutes so to say was at a deficit is an understatement. I eventually made my way out and into T1 where I had to take my wetsuit off. This proved to be a challenge to say the least. I also mounted my shoes on the bike pedals beforehand because I remember overhearing something about a flying mount. I realized I had no idea how to do that so I had to take the shoes off and put them on. I was in T1 for nearly 5 minutes and as I mounted my bike and started going I realized I forgot to put my water bottle on the cage. Before this section, I had never been on a bike ride before if you don’t count using it to get around campus. I passed a few people and probably got passed by more but the important part is I got some nice views of the landscape. It went by pretty quickly and before I knew it I was coming back into transition to start the one event I was comfortable with, the run.
I made my back to my spot and saw I had forgotten to untie my shoes but I felt at this point my transition time didn’t matter a ton. I got my stuff on and tried to burst out and get going. I had some encouragement from teammates already done with the race hanging by. I believe it was Barry, Dustin, and Tyler. I ran by and noticed numbers on them and realized I forgot to bring my bib. I forgot so many things I might as well forget that too. My body felt physically wiped out but I found solace in the familiarity of distance running pain. I had only one gear the whole time but I really just wanted to finish without worrying about the time too much. This part went by very fast and before I knew it I was crossing the finish line of my very first triathlon.
I’m a huge sucker for free stuff so I didn’t hold back in taking everything I could. Maybe that’s actually the real reason I do endurance sports, for the post-race goodies. There was some chatting and congratulations going around the team which is something I always enjoyed. I did a couple miles to cool down and eventually we packed up and made our way home.
I didn’t quite feel I was really ready to do this and to be honest I really wasn’t, but sometimes I like to force myself to jump into things and be utterly humbled like I was on Sunday to really light the fire of motivation inside me to improve. This was a great experience and I’m very glad I did it. I have a goal for next year and a lot of time to practice. Thanks to everybody else on the team being supportive and helping me out on this fool’s errand I decided to take on. Thanks for reading.