A perfectly brisk morning, music going, and smiley volunteers.
That’s how all triathlons should start.
How they SHOULDN’T start, is by realizing you forgot your socks for the run! I was pumped to rock a friend’s tri kit, since my Moxie Multisport tri kit isn’t in yet. I love representing something, so reppin’ the local running/tri store for Pensacola was an honor. This was also the first time I got to race-test the new BlueSeventy wetsuit.
The New Orleans Olympic/Sprint (also called “Big Easy Sprint”) triathlon takes place at the same venue as the NOLA 70.3 that happens three weeks later. It’s a tight venue which means great access for spectators to see it all without having to move much. Taken from the website:
A lot of people seemed to grimace at the idea of Lake Pontchartrain, but I saw no problem! The water is brackish (meaning it’s a mix of fresh and salt water), and we lucked out. It was calm and 65 degrees (F) so wetsuit legal without being freezing. It was a time trial start with about 6 athletes going at a time. They had volunteers to help strip of your wetsuit, which was a HUGE help as I am the WORST at taking that thing off. Seriously. I have some photos to prove it.
My goggles knocked off my face about 400m in, so I got to swim most of the .93miles as a sidestroke. Turns out I can swim just under a mile in 35 minutes with the sidestroke. I’m not sure how that’s useful information, but there it is.
T1: We were well spaced on the swim so transition didn’t get backed up. I was a little disheveled with what to do with my wetsuit until I realized I just need to chuck it on the ground and get out of there. A 2 minute t1. Not great, not horrible. I need to be faster.
The bike is the same for the sprint and olympic distances, so oly racers do two laps. It was mostly flat with a few little turns and a couple “hills” in the form of bridges. This should have been a super zippy course if it weren’t for the major head wind. That’s the first time in a race I had to do a couple standing climbs on the bike.
T2: I could have shaved this time down had I not lost my bike rack! This is such a common mistake by triathletes, and I was victim to it on this race. Sockless feet slipped into the Newtons and off I went.
Also a 2 lap course for oly racers, the route is completely flat with no surprises and a couple water/Gatorade stations. This is the dream of every triathlete and should be been where I crushed it; but that wasn’t going to happen with blisters forming and my troublesome piriformis. I admit to having a couple walk breaks. Sigh.
You end with a slew of people cheering you on and volunteers quick to hand you water.
Easy access to beer, lots of pizza and fruit, and bottomless water bottles made for a nice post-race party. Our Running Wild group stayed for awards because 1. It’s polite and 2. None of us had a clue as to where we stood in our age group placements.
I just made the podium with a 3rd place, and will take it as it was by far a rough and tumble race for me. I was thankful to just get the finisher’s medal!
The Negative: The medal. While it was a great piece of bling, there was an “oopsie” that happened. The sprint/Olympic piece spins. Great in theory, except that the “Olympic” side is upside-down! We paid more and raced longer and got the messed up side! Haha. Other than that silly mistake, the race was perfect. The entire race was well-staffed with happy volunteers, well-organized so there was no confusion about any piece of it, and the post-race party was well-handled. Kudos to you, Bill Burke, and the rest of the Premier Event Management staff!