Saturday, June 15, 2013

Big Bear Lake Sprint Triathlon 2013

My first out of state race has come and gone it was one I was so excited about!  But, like always, there is good and bad to every race, so it is best to start at the beginning.

We arrived in Big Bear on Thursday night.  I was so excited to get there and see what it all looked like as I have never been here before.  I started wondering which parts of the area were in the race and we even drove the bike course and I have to admit, I was scared!  It was a pretty technical course with a lot of up and down hills and many curves, many of which were sharp ones.  There was also little or no shoulder, so most of these factors had me scared, but more on the bike stuff later.

Pre-race feeling great!
I went and picked up my packet on Friday night at Nottingham's, a restaurant located in the Village at Big Bear.  It was a breeze, just in and out and no waiting or any hang ups.  I grabbed my t-shirt, my timing chip, and race numbers and was on my way.  Nothing more to it than that.  I went back to the condo and Ken made me a spaghetti carb loading dinner, that was awesome!  Then it was early to bed since I wanted to be the transition early to get a good racking spot and get my stuff set up.
We arrived at the race location at 6:15.  I was able to get a good spot like I wanted.  I quickly set up my transition area and visited with people around my area.  Most were from Orange County, and were worried about the elevation as they were coming from sea level and Big Bear sits at 6750 ft.  I then realized that training and living in SLC might actually serve to my advantage here!  I was in a great mood and just excited to race, though I did have some pre-race jitters both the morning of and the day before.  Not too typical for me, but nothing major, thank heavens.


The swim was 800 yards or a half mile.  I haven't been in open water at all this year, so I was a little worried about that.  I know it is like riding a bike but it does take some getting used to.  I made sure I could see exactly from shore where I was going to turn around.  I made sure to seed myself up in the front of my age group.  I hate being caught up behind other swimmers, so I knew I could probably do fine up front.  When the gun went off, it was a beach start, so I just charged into the water.  I immediately noticed the plethora of lake weed.  I have been fortunate enough in all my open water swims to swim in pretty clear water that way. It was disgusting!  It wasn't like the slimy sea weed you might think of, but more like piney weed.  It was like  pine trees in the bottom of the lake.  They warned that there was a lot of it and they had the clearing boat (whatever you call that thing that sweeps lake weed out) come through, but it wasn't near enough in my opinion.  I was grateful that I was in a full wetsuit that  kept me from feeling it all over my body, or I would have gone crazy.  It was bad enough I was spitting the crap out of my mouth when I was breathing.  I was able to stay pretty much on course, though there was a few times I got disoriented and lost track of what I was sighting, so I would have to pause and look around to get back on track.  Again, this is where getting into the water sooner than race day would have paid off.  The whole swim I was just thinking GET ME THE HECK OUT OF HERE.  Maybe that is what made for my best swim time in a tri to date.  Total swim time was 17:14 for the half mile.

Geez this felt slow, and it was apparently.  I was messing with my new wetsuit and struggled to get it off.  Once it was off, I was able to get my bike stuff on quickly and get the heck out of there.  But, like I said, T1 was very slow with a final time of 2:56


 Like I said, I was glad to get on my bike after that swim.  I was nervous about the bike course, but also, I have done some great bike training lately with the prep for my Century Ride, so I was excited to see how this transferred over into a race.  I was able to get on my bike quickly and we headed out of the marina area and headed out onto Big Bear Blvd in order to make our 17 mile loop around the lake.  I took off and felt immediately like I was flying.  The road was smooth, and there wasn't many people around me (this was a fairly small race) and I was able to drop into aero and stay there the majority of this ride.  Like I mentioned before, I was nervous about this course for the lack of shoulder, the technicality of the course, and the rolling hills and winding road the whole time.  What I didn't anticipate was how much fun this course was!  It wasn't a course that you could just coast in, it required constant shifting, getting into and out of aero, but it was so fun!  There was one good climb right before the dam, but other than that, the hills were such that the momentum coming off one hill was enough to throw you up the next one.  It was so much fun.

I also noticed on this course that for the first time in any race ever, it was just me and the guys on the course!  I knew that I had a great swim and I was doing well on the bike, but the only women I saw on the course were women that were doing the Olympic distance and when the sprint bike course broke off from the Oly course, I only saw two other females, one of which I passed and one other that passed me.  It was a huge ego boost to realize I was up with the boys and passing many of them!

I felt great the whole time, but did take a few moments on the bike to drink my water so I would be set up well for the run.  I loved the whole thing.  I took the time to look around me and see how gorgeous this course was and felt like I was in Heaven.  Best. Bike. Course.. Ever.  Apparently, my time agreed with me because I had a bike split of 58:40 averaging 18 mph.  Sweet!


Thank heaven T2 went faster than T1!  I had a great transition with a time of 1:08.  It was pretty uneventful, but that is what you want, ditch the bike stuff, switch shoes and go!


I felt amazing coming off the bike.  I felt awesome heading into this run and noticed that like the bike course, it was again just me and the guys!  I only saw one other female the entire run course of 3.4 miles and she passed me on the last  half mile (more on that later).  Anyhow, this course ran through a quiet neighborhood there on the side of the lake.  There were many of the residents that were out and cheering and kids with hoses and cowbells cheering us on.  It was awesome.  I noticed that my legs didn't feel like lead like they tend to do coming off the bike, and I was grateful for that.  There were several hills in this run course, but also a good fair of down hill as well.  I was able to pass  other men, and one of which yelled at me "Go get it girl!"  That is always awesome to hear from other people on the course.  The run flew by and before I knew it I was in the final mile of the run.  I was feeling pretty good about my chances of placing in my age group, as I knew that there weren't a ton of women ahead of me.  Then. on the downhill in the final half mile of the run another girl my age (I checked her age on her calf muscle) few past me.  Dangit!  I hated that feeling.  As much as I tried to catch her, it wasn't going to happen.  This chick was FLYING!  Oh well, maybe I could still place?  All I knew was that I had to finish strong and if I puked at the end, so be it :)

I crossed the finish line feeling great, with a smile on my face, knowing I had a great race.  Final run time was 31:02 for an average pace of 8:58/m.  I'll take it!


Upon completing the race, I was handed a finisher's metal, a can of juice and a Cliff bar (full size too!) and there was a tent with the unofficial times.  I went over and was able to see my final time for the entire race was 1:51:02.  I found out that I had gotten 2nd in my age group and 6th Overall Female!  Are you kidding me?  I was so happy with that!  I have never done that well and was thrilled!  I would have taken my age group all together if that other girl hadn't passed me in the final half mile!   But, good for her, she deserved it.  I was disappointed to hear though, that they were not doing age group awards for this race.  I must be honest, I was really disappointed by that, as for the first time ever placing in my age group, and they weren't doing any awards for it.  This was a first year event, and I understand that they have budget considerations, etc, but I was disappointed.  

But, I knew I had a great race.  There is nothing I could have done better, I honestly gave 110% and it went very well.  I am happy to see my training paying off, and I am excited to see what other races this season bring!

Overall, I think that this race was really well done, especially for it being put on by the local tri club and a first year event.  The best thing they have going for them is location, as it is gorgeous up there and a good course.  I was disappointed that it took a week to get the final results with split times included (hence why this report took so long for me to do) and I was disappointed in the lack of AG awards.  But, they had great volunteers, a good course, and the best race photos ever.  I was very impressed by the photographer.  I would do it again if I was closer to it, but I doubt I will go back for a sprint tri.

Short course is the bomb.  I know I haven't done much else, but as I look at going longer, I really think that I could really get into training specifically for short distances with a higher intensity, etc.  Anyhow, it was a lot of fun.  

Rock Cliff Olympic Tri is in two weeks.  

In the meantime, Happy training/racing all!

Post race feeling good!  All smiles!


  1. Congrats on placing in your age group! Too bad they didn't have awards.