March 20, 2017
Total Time. 6:30.37
Travel to San Juan.
We flew direct on Southwest on Thursday evening. The airport was about 20 minutes from the host hotel, Hilton Caribe, where we stayed.
Friday morning started with a practice swim in the lagoon. The water temperature was about 78 degrees and the lagoon doubles as a manatee sanctuary (we didn't see any). There was a current and some wind but nothing that seemed too strong. We attended the athlete briefing, led by the race director and head race official. Main discussion points included course maps, aid station contents, and a review of new rules. It's always nice to hear the highlights of the athlete guide but we also learned some tidbits that were useful (ie water bottles would likely not fit in bike cages, cobblestones on the run course could become slippery if it rains, etc).
The swim start was about .5 miles from transition. It was a water start with waves separated by 4 minutes. Buoys were on the right in a saltwater lagoon. During the athlete briefing, the race director mentioned that once swimmers passed the bridge, it would feel like an endless pool. After the practice swim that morning, I thought he was exaggerating. I quickly learned that I would have to work extra hard during that last 400 yards to the swim finish!
My friend Pablo did the bike portion of the race. I ran about 1/2 mile from the swim finish to the transition to meet him. There was a tent in transition for relay teams to exchange the timing chip. The 2-loop course was windy and hot but mildly rolling hills. Pablo had a fl
at on the front wheel, near an aid station, where the mechanics quickly fixed it and he was back on the ride. He also dropped his chain, an issue that he thinks resulted from the rear derailleur getting bent during transport.
The run was a 2-loop course heading out to El Morro. The day had become hot and humid. I had been told that the run would prove to be a challenging course due to hilly terrain and cobblestones. By the start of the second loop, I had already consumed all my salt and had started using ice to cool down. I was thankful that I had decided to run with my hydration backpack, I needed every ounce of water. Although the course ran out of ice, it was replenished while I was still onsite. I was thankful for the spectators that provided hoses to help cool us down.
Transition 1. 4:44
Transition 2. 3:07