by Ron Patrissi
“Nothing is work unless you would rather be doing something else.” – George Halas
It was my last triathlon of 2013 and it was a beautiful day for racing. I picked up my friend Katie, who would be competing in her first triathlon, and we headed down to Newport. The morning was a bit hectic as there were two lines at the packet pick up location and no signs or volunteers letting us know who should be in which line. Also, there were many of us, including me, who signed up using Groupon who were not officially registered in the race. Apparently, we needed to fill out another form before showing up and this created a lot of confusion. After about a half hour at the registration tent, things were sorted out and it was time to set up for the race.
The Newport 19.7 has two transition locations. Parking and check-in was at T2. After picking up my race packet, I then grabbed my stuff and went to set up at T2. I was none too pleased to see that I was racer number 406 and the bike racks only went up to 399. Feeling a bit frustrated and pressed for time, I set up my T2 area along the fence near the 399 bike rack spot and then it was off to T1 (about a 1/2 mile walk) and a look at the swim course. At T1 there were volunteers setting up extra bike racks which made me feel a little better. I was very happy to have an actual spot to put my bike. It did make me think about T1 and I hoped my sneakers would be where I left them when I got there….
It was great to see so many Fuel Belt team members at the race. As we gathered for the swim start I really enjoyed the joking around. It felt more like a party than a race. Everyone was in good spirits. I was a black cap, a wave that was added, I believe, because of the increase in participants. This made things a little confusing, because there were people in my age group in the wave behind me. Therefore, if I saw someone in my age group next to me on the course, I didn’t know if we were tied, or if they were 3 minutes ahead???
There must have been about 100 people in my wave, the second wave. I started at the far left, waited for the gun to go off, and then just hit my rhythm. Being a sprint tri, my game plan was, if at any point in the race I didn’t hurt, then I was trying hard enough. Actually, I had three goals; the first was to race well, the second was place in my age group and the third was to beat Trent.
The swim course was great. The water was flat and cool. Visibility was also great. There was no current and no waves and it was easy to get into a steady grove. As I exited the water it was great to Trent right next to me, shoulder to shoulder as we ran toward T1. Since Trent is frequently the fastest swimmer of the day, I was thrilled that we exited the water at the exact same time. Let’s not dwell on the fact that he started in the wave 3 minutes behind mine…
Swim time: 13:16
For this race, no headband or gloves or manicure nor shower. I was in and out in respectable time. (-;
T1 time: 1:34
There were a lot of twists and turns and many of them were quite sharp. A fellow racer told me he actually counted 28 turns on this 16 mile course! The first half of this course was a steady, but not steep, climb from sea level to about 300 feet. Not a ton of elevation gain, but it was noticeable. As I pressed along I thought I was racing rather well. It was incredible to see all the FBRT members out on the course. At one point we had a convoy of at least 4 riders in row, all in Fuel Belt gear. I was also pleased that it took Todd about 13 miles into the bike course to pass me. Again, let’s not dwell on the fact that he also started in the wave behind me….All in all, it was fun ride and the volunteers were great!
Bike time: 44:16
Still improving, but again, I should really work to get this under 1 minute. Todd entered T2 only a few seconds ahead of me, and my heart sank some when I noticed him heading out on the run while I was still tying my shoes. )-:
T2 time: 1:14
The run course was great. An easy out and back with one climb on the way out. The climb was not huge but it was noticeable. There was one aid station where you could pick up water at the .5 mile mark going out and the 2.5 mile mark coming back. It was on the run when I started to wonder where I was in the rankings, and more importantly, I wondered where Trent was? I hadn’t seen him since T1 and if I was to beat him, knowing he was in the wave behind me, I needed to be more than 3 minutes ahead. I did my best to push hard. I could see Todd, about 20 seconds ahead of me and I did my best to try and keep him in my sights. Right before the first mile I was passed by two people in my age group and I knew right away, I was not going to place this day. Yet, maybe, just maybe, I could still beat Trent. I hit the turnaround and then started looking for him. I knew it wasn’t going to be long. About a ¼ mile past the turnaround I saw him and started doing math….”let’s see, ¼ mile plus a ¼ mile means he’s a half mile back and if he’s running close to 6:45 pace and I’m a half mile ahead and I need 3 minutes….oh crap!” I did my best to push even harder.
Run time: 21:42
In the end, it was a great day. I really enjoyed seeing so many fantastic people. We all raced very well. My friend and fellow Ronald McDonald Running club member Katie did an awesome job, coming in 2nd for her age group in her first tri (she ran like the wind). Also, Ronald McDonald Running Club member, Jeremy Crisp, had a fantastic race coming in 10th overall and 2nd in his age group. For me, I came in 5th in my age group and 29th overall, but more importantly, I did finally beat Trent, if only by 37 seconds. And please, let’s not dwell on the fact that he was racing with the flu. And yes, Trent, the first beer at the Ivy Tavern will be on me! (-: