Bass Lake Triathlon has made it’s way onto my top races list. The course was beautiful but challenging. Everywhere you turned there was an amazing backdrop.
Transition opened the day before the race so all Team Challenge folks made their way to the little “town” of Bass Lake to set up our bikes and get in a practice swim. I just received my wet suit and my triathlon kit the day before so I was anxious to get in the water and see how they felt. The transition was set up by bib number which I appreciated since I only needed to remember the vicinity of my bike. After getting the bike racked we headed to the lake for a short swim just to test the waters.
The lake was beautiful! The entrance was murky but at 50 yards or so from shore the waters turned clear and calm. It was warm too, which I wasn’t expecting. The wetsuit fit perfectly and felt great during the swim. It wasn’t until I got out that I realized everyone around me was feeling the effects of altitude. Coming from Denver, I had dropped about 3000 feet in elevation which made the swim feel easy for me. Thankfully that feeling would carry over for the race too.
That night was the Team Challenge pasta party. There were only 50 or so participants, mostly from California and the race was very small with only 400 or so participants total. First off, the food was delicious! Probably the best food at any pasta party I’ve been to. The guest speaker was beyond inspirational. Her battle with IBD has left many scars, both physical and emotional, but she is a warrior! A true inspiration to all of us living with one of these diseases. Sometimes it’s really easy to throw your hands up in frustration or pure exhaustion, but my fellow patients are constant reminders of why we need to fight. I also made Top Fundraiser! Pretty excited that I was able to make such a positive impact on our mission. ONE TEAM. ONE MISSION!
The wake up call came early the next morning and we made our way to the transition. Everything was set up beautifully at my bike and I was lucky that my rack only had 4 bikes so there was plenty of room to make sure everything was where it needed to be. On the beach the buoys were set up but there was some confusion about which buoys we needed to follow for the sprint. I was the third wave so I figured there wouldn’t be an issues with following the pack. At the start of the swim I decided to take it easy and make sure I didn’t get kicked. I managed to find a nice spot with lots of room and maintained that to the first buoy. At the second turn I was still feeing great and passing people, to boot! It wasn’t until I got to the final turn that the men’s olympic competitors had caught up to me. That led to a few kicks and punches for the last 50 meters or so but I left the water feeling pretty good. T1 was all uphill and I took our coaches advice and walked T1 so I would still have legs at the start of the bike.
The bike started with a 15 feet window to make sure you were geared correctly because it was straight up hill out of the transition. People were getting off their bike to walk the hill so I took my time and rode the entire way. It then turned into a long downhill and so began the long rolling hills that would be my entire ride. I loved it! I was feeling great at the turnaround which led to the longest uphill of the course. I managed the ride almost the entire course at the middle or highest gear and got a great second wind when I realized I was passing people on the bike. During my first tri, the bike had been the toughest part for me so clearly all the training with the Team Challenge coaches paid off!
T2 was relatively easy and I was feeling pretty confident with the run. After all, that’s what this half marathoner does well, right? It was going great until I hit the first hill and realized this run was going to be a doozy! The hills, in contrast, were much more steep than the bike and my legs were starting to tire. I decided on a run/walk strategy that would keep me moving through to the finish.
I finished the course in 2:05 which is one minute behind my first triathlon. That folks is a HUGE success. This course was much more challenging that my first so I’m very proud of the progress I made. The coaching plan I had also worked wonders. I can’t wait to do it again!
Because we didn’t have a triathlon team in Denver, I was part of the national team. It was a different experience than other events I’ve had in the past but still so much fun. I was there with two other amazing ladies from New York and I’m so thrilled that I got to know them. They each have such an amazing story and I hope to see them at future events! I also had a national coach who I couldn’t appreciate more. This man gives his all for a lot of events and I’m incredibly thankful he was dedicated to us as well. I loved seeing his smiling face on the course, along with the rest of the coaches. I’m sure our paths will cross again in the very near future.