Monday, June 9, 2014

Binbrook Try a Tri

A few months ago I asked my friend Mari who I've been tagging along and swimming with most of the winter if she thought that I'd be able to pull off the swim in a try a tri. Mari said definitely. I then asked about the sprint distance, but she told me not to bother with the bike that I had. So for a couple of months I went back and forth back and forth about whether or not I actually wanted to do a try a tri event. I didn't really tell anyone that I was thinking about it just so I wouldn't have any issues with backing out....which I tried to do 1000 times but a certain someone wouldn't let me. Out of the 1000 things that Mari said to me every time I tried to get out of it the one thing that really stuck was "You've put all this time into swimming this winter, use it for something' . I did put all this time into swimming so I may as well use it.....

It was the Wednesday before the Binbrook Triathlon that I finally bit the bullet and registered. Nothing like leaving it to the last minute. On Friday I made my way to Foot Tools and picked up the wet suit that I was renting and got a quick tutorial on how to put it on  take it off. Apparently the wet suits that you get on Barrier Reef tours are not the same as the wet suits that you wear for a triathlon. It's probably a good thing because people on an Aussie booze cruise would not be hooking up after watching each other try to grease their way into one of these tri suits. I brought my suit home and tried it on in the privacy of my bedroom. It took two attempts because on the first one I put it on backwards. Taking this thing on and off twice was a serious workout. Probably I should have logged it on Daily Mile. 

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and made my way over to Mari's house so that I could follow her & Kerry in to the race site. My race didn't start until noon but I wanted to cheer Mari on at her race and also watch how things were done. I don't think that what the elites do on the tri's that I watch on tv is the exact same as what the weekend warrior does. I was literally Mari's shadow while she set up (once we finally got to the venue after some terrible website directions) and listened intently to everything that she was telling me. We bumped into Phaedra who asked me what I was doing here(?!?!) and between her, Mari & Kerry I was feeling a bit better about the scary dark water swim ahead that was weighing on me. Soon enough Mari had her wet suit on and we were down at the beach waiting for her race to start.
Mari with her friends Kerry, Janet and Anna. I'm pissed that they got pink caps!
It was really cool to watch the swim, the leaders opened up such a huge distance on everyone behind them it was going to be a lonely race for them up at the front. Eventually Mari's wave started and we cheered them on. In what seemed like no time she was out of the water and running up to the transition area and then off again on her bike. Shortly after the male winners made their way in from the run we went over to watch Mari come back from her bike ride and cheer her on once again when she started the run. It's great that your spectators can cheer you on at every station! Finally Mari was finished and I listened with great interest to all of the stories that she & her friends told of the race. Someone got their goggles punched off their head?! People were grabbing ankles in the swim and not allowing them to pass on the bike?! What the hell had I gotten myself into?! 

Once we chatted with Phaedra once more and Mari collected her gear and packed it back into her car it was my turn to get set up.  I lugged the ol' Supercycle out of my car and brought it to the transition area where they gave you two numbered bands. One for your wrist and one for your bike which they would check after the race to make sure that you weren't leaving with a bike that wasn't yours. Hear that people?! Don't try to steal my bike because you're gonna get caught!! I was honestly surprised to see that all of the bikes over in this area were road bikes. Why the hell did these people not have Supercycles like me?! I had secretly thought that I might be able to AG place here but upon seeing these bikes I knew that wasn't going to happen. Then Mari took me down to the body marking area where I got my bib number written on my arm and my age written on my calf. These triathletes are nothing if not competitive!
According to my son Noah you're not old until you're 50 so I've got some time to go

Now it was time to collect my swim stuff and make my way down to the beach where I would shimmy myself into the wet suit. As I was struggling to get into this damn thing I heard Mari take a picture. "I love Tri Newbies' she said. Har har. Just as I was about to pull the wetsuit over my hips Mari asked "Are you putting that thing on backwards again?!?!". DOH! 
Shit. Backwards again?!

If this sexiness doesn't make you want to do a triathlon!

Finally I got the wet suit on and I went down to the beach to get into the water and see how this was going to go with a warm up swim. Swimming in the wet suit wasn't so bad. Trying to watch out for people around me in the murky water was not good. My swimming history goes like this. Gun goes off, dive into the clear water, swim in a straight line until you come to a wall, flip, swim in a straight line until you come to a wall, flip, lather rinse repeat. This was way out of my comfort zone just like I knew it would be. Just take it nice and easy Mari said. Do the swim on your terms Phaedra said. Use the swim as a warm up Kerry said. Ok, I could do this. The gun went off for the old peoples wave and I was swimming! Shit I'm swimming on top of someone. Stop swimming. Start swimming. Shit I'm swimming into someone. Stop swimming. Start swimming. Ok no one is around me now phew. Where am I on course? Am I going off course? Crap I'm way over to the side. How do you turn and swim? I only know straight line swimming. Ok I'm on course. Shit, this guy is swimming on me now. Oh there's the green buoy, turn. How do you turn? This turning is weird? I don't like this. What am I doing out here. Am I off course? No but that guy is still here. Swim away old man, swim away. Ok, turning again. Don't go off course now, the finish line is right there. Ack, there are so many people ahead of me, am I last?! WTF?! I can't be last. I made it to provincials for swimming dammit. Don't go off course. Get me the f**k out of this water. I don't want to be here anymore. Ok the end is getting closer. I can stand up. Probably I could swim faster than wading to the finish line but I need to get out of here! Finally the panic in my mind subsided as I was emerging from the water. "Yay, Sam!!" I heard Mari cheer. "I didn't like that!" I yelled to her. "Is there anyone even behind me?!"I asked. Yes she assured me but I wasn't sure I believed her. I ripped the top of the wet suit off and ran past Moses' two brothers. How did they finish before me?! I made it to provincials!!!!! 
SWIM TIME 10:51 
AG place 3/12
Finally finished!

I didn't like that at all! 
The run back to transition was a long one but I finally got there. I grabbed a drink of water and ran to my bike where I unceremoniously tried to get out of my wet suit. Mari was yelling at me over the fence to step on it but the leg was caught on the timing chip. I finally got it off the way you do on a Friday night after a lot of drinks and threw on my shoes and helmet and tore out of there with my bike. "Go Sam!" Mari yelled "Wooohooo" I laughed and yelled back. I tore down the driveway and passed (!!) two girls. Yeah! I friggin rock with this bike. Woohoo. One minute later the two girls that I passed passed me back. No worries, I got this I thought as my legs turned a million miles an hour. The rolling hills came and went so I was constantly shifting gears. Clunkclunkcluck the gears went. "On your left" the people passing me would say. Clunkclunkclunk. On your left. A few people would say encouraging things to me as I peddled like crazy. Maybe they started out on piece of crap bikes too. I thanked the people for their encouragement, thanked the police officers, even thanked the people who took the time to tell me that they were passing. Whatever, I got your numbers people. I'll remember you on the run. Clunkclunkclunk. On your left. The freedom that you feel out on your bike fed my soul,  even the lady in my AG who passed me on the fixie couldn't bring me down. I was having fun even though these people were kicking my ass. Finally I was turning back down the driveway and I could see Mari beside the dismount area. "Yay Sam!" she cheered. "People were picking me off like crazy" I laughed to her. "Now it's time for you to pick them off" she said. Yep! I ran my bike back into the transition area where I saw a photographer and pulled on my inner Nicole. I racked my bike, ripped off my helmet, threw on my hat and took off. And then stopped again at the water table to rinse my mouth out because the Super Cycle doesn't come with a drink holder.
BIKE TIME 24:31 
AG place 10/12
No need to unclip from the Super Cycle!

Dadadada Super Cycle Power!!
I've never before done a brick run before. After only 10k on the bike it wasn't too bad but I didn't really like running on the uneven grassy terrain and it took me awhile to get my breathing comfortable so I kept the girl in front of me with a 41 written on her calf in my sights. Once my lungs were fairly normal I overtook her. Sorry sister, read my 43 and weep. Then I came upon a girl with a 40. See ya. Another 41? Bye bye. The hot sun was beating down on me so I took a quick drink at the water station and set my sights on the others in my path. I wasn't really giving it much effort and was surprised that no one had passed me. Up ahead I could see a lady who had passed me on the bike. I remembered noticing that she was in my AG so I passed her. Then a guy who didn't even say on your left when he went by me on the bike came into view. "Go on" he said. If you say so. And then in the blink of an eye I was turning the corner and coming to the finish line. "Way to finish strong" someone from the sidelines yelled to me. I crossed the finish line and saw Mari holding a medal up for me. The lack of hardware at the race was a sore spot for me so Mari went through her old medals and brought me one. Just like I always say. Running friends are the best! 
RUN TIME 13:23
AG place 1/12

AG place 3/12

I laughed at the folly of my first triathlon with Mari and then collected my stuff and left. "I'm sure that I didn't place so let's get out of here" I said and we were off. It wasn't until Nicole texted me when I got home that I learned that I had finished third in my AG! That's ok though. The medal that Mari gave me was all the prize I needed from this day. Would I do another tri? Yes, but not on my bike. Irina has since offered to lend me her old bike whenever I want so I now have another option which is amazing. I'd also need to learn my happy place in the swim and work on my sighting. All in all I had a really fun time and am glad that Mari wouldn't let me back out of it. Go me. 


  1. You are going to have to learn to ride clipped in, too :) Awesome race report, Sam, and congrats! The swimming sounds hellish. You got passed by someone on a fixie?? lol. Awesome.

  2. Crying with laughter! Moses's Brothers. HAHAHAHA!!!! See you in Kona!

  3. I loved reading this race report...wish I knew you were doing this I would have come out and watched/cheered for you all.. Nice work girlfriend. You are a rockstar in my book, supercycle and all. Finishing 3 in AG is incredible...

  4. Holy crap, I can't stop laughin. Moses' brothers, ha ha ha ha ha ha. Oh man. I loved everything about this Sam, SO good! Take Irina's bike for your next one FOR SURE. You will KILL everyone. No doubts about that. Congrats on the podium in your first outing!! WOOHOO!

  5. Once you start running it's only a matter before you tri. Your report brings back memories of my first race. Although I had just completed the Vancouver Sun Run (10K), I signed up for a sprint tri 7 weeks out, I didn't even have a bike when I signed up, my cousin later offered her mountain bike, and I used a couch to tri program on the internet to train. It was great fun, except that I started running with my bike helmet still on AND went in the wrong direction. Great finish Sam! Can't wait to hear about your next race. Tracy Baisley

  6. Nice job Sam, tx for sharing :) Moses brothers, sheesh. We'll chat again when you're 80 ok?

  7. You did amazing, Sam, congratulations!

  8. Way to pull a Nicole for the photographers!

    And this is a surprisingly fantastic and inspiring story. Thank you for sharing it Sam!