by Kaitlyn Van Fancy Name
This is me:
- Freshman undergrad
- 1st year on the triathlon team
- Completed only 1 triathlon ever in my life
- No clip-ins
My thoughts when I discovered I would be one of the few selected to Tritonman Draft Legal:
Why is my name on this list? Next to Gina and Gretchen…2 of the fastest girls on the team. This must be a mistake!What the heck does draft-legal mean? Uhm what is drafting?! Well lets be straight, I had no idea what the term “draft-legal” meant. Little did I know that it was a high level, super competitive, penalty earning race which needed four whole pages just to explain the rules.
Racing along side two of the fastest girls on the team, 4th year Gina Horath, and grad student Gretchen S, I guess you could say that I was just a little bit intimidated. But above all the nerves I was feeling, I felt honored that someone somewhere had seen a little sense of potential in that new freshman girl on the team. The fact that I had my team standing behind me the whole time made all the difference. They believed in me, and wanted me to have fun with it at the very least. And with that, how could I not?
Seeing as we were the team hosting this race, we were required to be at the race site at 4:45am. My ride was picking me up at 4:20. I woke up at 4:19am… I’m still not quite sure what happened, I slept past my alarm. Waking up in a rush, good thing I had all my gear packed up so that all I had to do was slip on my suit and rush downstairs. Let it be known that the night before the race, it took me straight up a good 20 minutes of struggling, pulling and jumping around my room to actually get my suit completely on, so this was a miracle in of itself. We were on the road. Arriving at Mission Bay, I guess I missed the memo of exactly HOW cold it was going to be. Wearing nothing more than a t-shirt and a windbreaker, I was furthest thing from prepared for the biting ice cold air of the morning. If it wasn’t for the donated extra articles of clothing of Bryce I would have surely frozen. I did my job body marking and when the Men’s wave was started, Gina, Gretchen and I started running around as a part of our warm up. We made sure to watch the boys as they got out of the water. Watching them just got me more excited and nervous to be racing in less than an hour. They were SO FAST, like there’s literally no way I can convey it on paper the speed at which they were on there bikes and GONE. It was some of their second laps and several guys were already getting lapped out. My biggest fear. It was soon time for the girl’s wave to be sent off. Jellyfish were everywhere, harmless of course but the water felt so nice. In the water was probably the one place where I actually felt comfortable and confident, so I let that be my drive. The bouys for the swim were a little difficult to see with the sun shining down, but we all go through it. I finished the swim right behind Gretchen, quickly made my way out of the water and up the hill.
Once I got into transition, I took over a minute tying the shoelaces of my shoes and then hoped on my bike. (Don’t worry everyone, right after this race I went to UCC and finally bought clip-in shoes, I think it was about time) The first lap of the bike, I tried to stick with a group of about six girls, but then got dropped. I ended up working with a girl from Cal and we stayed together for the remainder of the race. I definitely wouldn’t have gone as fast without her. The run was probably my weakest for this particular race. For some reason I was exhausted and felt like I was dying but what helped was that at every corner I turned, there was always someone cheering me on and urging me forward. It has been a kind of support system that I have never experienced before. On my third lap, I realized that I had to take my 10 second penalty because I hadn’t put my helmet in the bin..whoops. I was kinda thankful for it, giving me a slight moment to catch my breath. It was rough but crossing the finish line with a time of 1:12.52 and getting some hugs from my teammates helped me realize my accomplishment. I was just thankful that I didn’t get lapped and didn’t finish last!
I have learned quickly what it means to be a part of this team and I am so grateful to have raced in the Tritonman 2014 draft legal race on part of my team and to have put everything I have out there.
-Kaitlyn Van Peursem