Monday, August 11, 2008

Greater Cleveland Triathlon debacle

I am so mad that I don't even want to write about my experience of yesterdays triathlon. To get my thoughts together and to write about it is hard. But I'll do my best to put something down. Maybe I'll learn some lessons.

I get to the race, park my car and get out my racing gear. I hear a volunteer shout, "you can keep your wet suit in the car because there will be no swimming today". He said something about the coast guard not setting up buoys, because the early morning thunderstorms brought in high waves (and probably high bacteria levels, which no one ever really mentions) and made for unsafe swimming. I could see the waves crashing on the beach and the high winds blowing sand all over -not to mention the skies looking like a storm would blow in any moment. I could understand the safety concerns and wasn't bother by the swim getting canceled. The volunteer said the swim would be changed to a 1.2 mile run and then the rest of the race would be the same distance you were signed up to do.

I made it over to the registration area and asked for my race packet but the nice volunteer said, "didn't you read on line that there is NO RACE DAY REGISTRATION OR PACKET PICKUP"? My heart sank. I realized I couldn't convince her to give me my packet so I asked her where the race director was and she said "He's somewhere walking around". I found the race director and apologized for my oversight and asked if he could please help me. He told me to hang on while he resolved some other issues on hand. Eventually, he took me back to the registration table and somehow my packet envelope appeared. Thank you Mr. Race Director.

As I look over the packet I noticed they had me in for the sprint distance triathlon. Oh, boy another glitch. The kind volunteer directed me over to the timing truck to have my timing chip registered for the correct distance that I had registered for online. I was supposed to be signed up for the Olympic distance triathlon (it's a 1500 meter Swim, 40 K Bike, and a 10 K Run). I got that fixed and I was on my way to get ready for the race.

The duathlon form of the race suited me well since running is my specialty sport. The gun went off for us to start the run and sure enough I was up there in the lead with the young kids and with no other 45 or older runner around. I didn't have a watch on so I had no idea how fast I ran the 1.2 miles and I made it into T1 with a few other runners. I hopped on my bike and was off with the lead riders. It looked like we had a lead motorcycle to escort us on the course. I saw he had his flashing lights on and I was able to keep him in my sights until about 2.5 miles into the ride where he made a left hand turn at an intersection. A patrol officer was waving us bikers to make the turn. I wondered why we turned when the green arrows were clearly pointing us to go straight. Oh well, maybe something happened the last minute on the course and we had to ride the route backwards. After riding 4 miles we got stopped by a train. No problem. An official was there to record our wait time and would report it to the finish line. It didn't take long for us to figure something was wrong when no other riders were coming in our direction. Then the official tells us we are riding the course backwards and that we need to turn around. How could we turn around and restart our bike split? Some bikers turned around but I chose to continue with some others to ride the course backwards. As we continued on our way race officials told us to turn around because the patrol officers were not directing the traffic for us. What frustrations we felt. It was down to me and another guy who continued the course backwards. I don't know what happened to the rest of the riders. After getting stopped 3 or 4 times I was loosing interest in the race but continued to finish the bike portion of the race. I even considered dropping out and going home, but then I thought I'm out here why not just make the best out of the run. If anything I'd get a good workout for the day.

I started the run feeling strong but with no motive to run fast. After about 2 miles into the run and passing all kinds of people, who were mostly in the sprint distance, I began to run faster. The second half of the run went well for me and I had a strong finish.

In the end I had no heart to collect my 3rd place age group award. I went home feeling like I never want to participate in the Greater Cleveland Triathlon again. I'll see what I think a year from now.

Lessons hopefully learned:
* thou shalt read ALL the race registration info.
* thou shalt not be led astray by lead motor vehicles (yes, I was also led astray in the Cleveland Rite Aid 10k in 2007)
* thou shalt not let negative emotions frustrate a race.

Race Results


duchossois said...

That's not how its supposed to go, Lou. I think you handled it well, given the level of frustration you must have been feeling. Look on the bright side, at least you got through it without an injury. This will make you more motivated and focused for you next event.

DaisyDuc said...

Sorry to hear about your day Lou. You definitely should have been able to crush that course too. Way to get in some good miles anyways.

triguyjt said...

I had no idea that you had to go through all that to get in the race.....

E-Speed said...

Sorry the day didn't go as planned Lou. Sounds like you made the best of it. Hopefully your next event is much better!

Brian said...

Hard to imagine things got so screwed up. Your luck with anything involving a 10K is pretty crummy : )