Today was my first time doing a Tri race as a part of a Relay Team. When my friend, Rachel, asked if I would do the bike leg, I was more than willing. We roped our friend, Holly, into the swim. Today’s Reston Relay Tri proceeds benefited the YMCA of Reston and the programs they offer to the community.
I was really into Tri races a few years ago and did quite a few sprint races. After a few years, I was finding it hard to train for all 3 sports well and wanted to focus on running longer races. Today’s race was the same course I had done many times on my own years ago and I was excited to see if I could better my bike time.
This race has a 400 M pool swim so for Holly, who is a seasoned open water swimmer and racer, it would be a breeze. After applying our Moms Run This Town temp tattoos and doing a little body marking, Holly was ready to take on the swim.
The reason I liked this race way back when was because it was a pool swim. Open water swims scare me to death-too many Jaws movies growing up! There is something about being able to see that black line on the bottom of the pool that always gave me a sense of security. Holly was ready to go and was seeded pretty close to the beginning of the race.
As soon as she was off, I ran back to my bike to wait for her to hand me off the timing chip. Similar to a traditional Tri race, transition time does count. I would need to wait for her to arrive at my bike to hand off the chip to me.
I saw Holly running down the pavement parking lot towards me after about 7 and half minutes. She had a fast swim and we were off to a great start. Hand off complete with a pretty good transition time. I had to walk/run my bike to the mounting area. I always feel like I am going to slip on those darn bike shoe clips. And I was off. This is a 3 loop bike course on a somewhat hilly route. I was feeling really great on the first loop and my time was a little ahead of where I thought I would be. Since we were one of the first teams to get to the bike leg, there were not too many other bikes out yet.
On my second loop, I must have shifted at the wrong time or something, because my chain popped off and I almost wiped out. Ok “I can do this” . My first thought was, “I am not messing this up for the team.” I had a totally different mindset knowing I was part of a team and not just doing this for me. Of course this happened where there was no one to help me. Why didn’t I ever take that bike maintenance class I kept talking about taking??? I am ashamed to admit that the few times I’ve had a flat, I waited until some guy rode by to help me fix it. Shameless I know. If you don’t know how to put your chain back on after it pops off look here.
I pulled over to the side and tried to place it back on. What do you know? After about an minute and half I was covered with bike grease but it was back on! I was determined to make up the time. I wasn’t going to be the weak link! I passed the 2 women who had passed me while I was fixing my bike. I could tell that there were still not many women my age on the course so I felt that not too much had been lost. By the third loop, I was feeling my mojo again and looking to pick up time. The good thing about a 3 loop course is you know what to expect. I knew I had one more big hill to tackle then I was home free. I arrived back at the transition almost knocked over the guy with the flag telling me to slow down and dismount. Sorry dude! My friends are waiting for me! Despite the little mishap on the course, my bike time was better than any of my previous times. Yay!
I only had to run up a small hill to get to the transition hand off. Wow I forgot how had it is to run after biking. Passed the timer to Rachel. We had no doubt she would do amazing on the run. Rachel is a fast, seasoned runner with many 5k’s under her belt. She had never done this course, but I knew it was a pretty hilly one with an uphill finish. I hate those! She came flying through the finish with a great 5k time for our team.
First team Tri complete!
We thought we really rocked it! We waited excitedly for the official results and surprise we won 2nd place for females!
I never win anything! This was so amazing. I truly loved being part of a team. We worked so well together despite having never practiced this. It was a whole different experience compared to racing on my own. It was a comforting and exciting feeling to know that two of your friends were waiting for you at the end of your leg and that they were counting on you. I can’t wait to do another Relay Race with my friends and this makes me even more excited to be doing the Ragnar race with them in September. That team that came in ahead of us..lookout we’ll be back next year stronger than ever!
Have you ever done a Relay Race? Do you know how to fix a bike chain or a flat tire?