This race is held in mid-May and for the last two years, the weather has been cold to challenging. The 2016 edition was sunny but had a cold, stiff wind. The 2017 edition continued the wet New England Spring ’17 Spring theme. Race day dawned with driving rain at 42F with wind chill at 35F. Needless to say, the swim was cancelled and the race was turned into a duathlon format.
The Endurance Drive was at the race in dual roles, one to race and two to support our U23 Dartmouth Triathlon Club athletes. While we coached up our U23 athletes for weeks on open water swim technique in the pool (it was too cold to get into open water in the Upper Valley proceeding the race), many were relieved to not swim in those conditions. And a few of the swimmers were not happy about the change!
Another principle we instill in our athletes is being flexible and rolling with whatever race day brings, be prepared for everything and nothing will surprise you. There are two types of variables: Variable A’s, ones we control such as training, our reaction to circumstances and effort. Variable B’s are ones we can’t control: weather, who shows up to race, water temperature, etc. There are a lot more Variable B’s than A’s.
The race started with a 2 mile run, transitioning to an abbreviated bike of 7.5 miles (reduced from 10 miles as parts of the course were flooded) followed by the standard 5K run. In the freezing rain, I got away well at the start and was able to run away from my starting group over the first two miles.
Both of my transitions were sloppy and showed a lack of practice in the early season. Note to self: more work on transitions as Sprint Triathlons are all about the seconds gained or lost in the small details.
Despite the rain I really enjoyed the bike. It had been a very long winter off season and it was good to finally just push as hard as I could for a few minutes. I have never worn as much clothing as I did during this race but the bike was very cold, even for someone who normally runs very hot.
The final 5K run leg was decent but felt the effects of the first run and hard bike so had noticeably less pop than the first segment. In the end, I finished 3rd overall. A solid start to the season, a numbers of lessons learned and re-learned and more work to be done for the longer races to come this season.
For the Dartmouth Tri Club recap of this race, check out their blog post