Outloud! does an excellent job putting on a top notch race. I have worked with the directors as a race official, spectator, and participant. They value the experience of each athlete and keep safety at the top of their priority list.
I arrived at the venue about 5:45am and parked in the dirt lot at the front entrance. Definitely a hike to transition, the worst part of which is knowing that you will have to hike back after the race. Transition set up was easy and a large number of race officials were in transition.
The swim is historically wetsuit legal. I donned my gear and headed to the swim start. It is a beach entry into a protected cove before hitting the open water of the lake. Conditions were a bit windy but otherwise great racing weather. As an Aquabike, I was seeded in the last wave with the relays. My strategy was to start closer to the back half of the pack to attempt to let those fast relay swimmers get ahead. I chose a line that was closer to shore, less crowded, and what I thought was a shorter tangent to the first turn buoy. The open water was choppy with a cross-current. I was happy to have my wetsuit and worried about the weaker swimmers. Overall, had a good swim. I remained focused on my breathing and pacing, sighted the buoys well, and finished strong.
I utilized the wetsuit strippers, they are a Godsend! Entered transition one row too far but luckily, since I was in the last wave, I was able to dive under the racks to get to my gear. Did great on time and focused on getting out on the course as soon as possible.
My goal on the bike was to ride in less than 3:00 hours and push as hard as I could. I remember getting to mile 30, and thinking that it would be a great time to end my ride on a high note. I was anticipating the headwind that soon reared it’s ugly head. I know I did my best on the course, but I wished I had spent more time in specific preparation for the hills and distance.
I had a great effort on the course and in the race. I placed 4th in the women’s Aquabike, missed the mark by 3 minutes! Although I’m beating myself up for those THREE minutes, I honestly can say that I don’t think I could’ve given it more.