*This recap/review of the Tri the Rez is coming fully from my viewpoint as a spectator. I have done triathlons so I know a little bit about what I’m talking about but I did not actually do this race.
Saturday morning started very early, and very cold. When the alarms went off between 4:30 and 5:00 am the temperature outside was in the 30s. With all the moisture in the air in Florida and Georgia, when the temp is in the 30s it is COLD. We all got up, got ready, loaded the bikes on the car and headed down to the race. We weren’t too sure what parking was going to be like because the email that was sent out said if you planned to leave before everyone was finished, you had to park off the reserve. When we got to the gate the girls working said packet pickup was “all the way at the end” so we thought okay we’ll drive up there, get the stuff then go park. Turns out “all the way at the end” was bout 30 yards from the gate. The boys go their packets and unloaded the bikes and tri bags and put them in transition. We then went and parked and the boys walked back up to transition (can’t remember what for) but Brice and I hung out in the car so we didn’t freeze. It was now only about 7:00 so we had over an hour to just hang out before the race started.The four of us just hung out in the car and the guys had many conversations that went like this “dude, are we really going to do this?” by ‘this’ they mean swim in 55 degree water then get out and get on their bikes to air temperature now in the 40s. There was some more “You know, if you don’t want to do this I’m cool with not doing it.” I, however, was in the back seat calling them thing such as wimps, sissies and telling them I did not travel all that way and wake up at 5am for them to not do it. 🙂 I had yet to get out of the car at this point and feel what it really felt like outside.
The time finally came for us to get out of the car and head up to the race so that the boys could make any final arrangements to their gear, get their wetsuits on and try to get warmed up before doing their polar plunge. Brice and I got all bundled up and he was excited to be able to run around! Brice REALLY likes bikes and tries his hardest to get to Colin’s bike whenever he sees an opportunity. So being in transition was a mini piece of heaven to him. (We didn’t let him down in there because we didn’t want to have to pay thousands of dollars for Brice knocking all the bikes over!)
It was not long before we took these pictures that I told Colin, “I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t want to do it” because at this point my toes were rather number even though I had on socks and running shoes. Brice had on 3 layers but I still insisted on trying to keep that sweatshirt around him.
There were two groups that started ahead of the boys (handicapped and males over 40) and there were 3 minutes between each wave so they had plenty of time to change their minds! At about 8:36 the horn sounded and in they went for their 1/3 mile swim! Colin said the first couple of minutes it was so hard to keep his face in the water because of how cold it was. Matt said the same thing and he swears he had to doggie paddle the first couple hundred yards just to keep from freezing. Normally at a race it just looks like a whole bunch of different colored things floating in the water, but this was the first race I had ever been to where you would see heads/faces popping up the whole way.
Colin finished his swim in 10:29 but that included the run up to the transition site where they had the timing mat. I heard some people say that in previous years the transition was in a different area and you finished the swim where you started. They liked the new transition area because you ran on leaves and dirt instead of over some rocks.
Matt finished up 1 minutes behind Colin and then off they went on their bikes! The bike course was approximately 14 miles so I knew this meant I had about 40 minutes before Colin would be back. (going 20 mph = 3 minutes/mile and knowing Colin I knocked a couple of minutes off the calculation)
My calculation was pretty spot on because Colin finished the bike in 39:41! Things were pretty open so, with Brice on my hip, I ran up to transition to tell Colin that he was looking great and to go run fast! The bike course was an out and back which for a cyclist is fun because you get to see the other racers after you turn around, but is no fun because you have to slow down and lose your momentum when you turn around. Overall, the bike course was pretty flat with what the race website describes as “a few short, gentle hills.”
I then had to run back to my spot to be able to get a picture of Matt coming in on the bike. I told Matt that he picked a good top to wear because with the neon stripes I was able to tell that it was him. For Colin I look for the white helmet and by now I can tell his cycling form so I know it’s him.
Once Matt was off on his run Brice and I made the short walk down to the finish line. After the race I had someone compliment me on my baby holding/photographing/running around skill. Essentially, I did a triathlon myself. 🙂 I’m normally not taking pictures at the races because that is Kathryn‘s job, but she had a photo shoot to do so she wasn’t able to come with us.
Finished up with a 21:23 5k.
And in came Matt with a 23:13 5k. ::sigh:: One day I will be able to run a 5k as fast as these two but I doubt there will be swimming and cycling beforehand. The run course, like the bike, was also an out and back being described as “flat and fast”
Had to end it all with a little free post race massage!
When all was said and done, they were still smiling!! It turned out to be an absolutely beautiful day and these guys did so great on their first race of the season!! Colin finished with an overall time of 1:13:07 (2nd in their age group/15th overall) and Matt came in at 1:20:44 (4th in their age group/30th overall). The guy that won their age group finished in 1:10:33 and he ran a 16:39 5k which is insanely speedy!!! The overall male winner finished in 1:05:22 with the overall female winner only a minute and a half behind him at 1:06:54. I believe this is the first year this event is being held as a series. Normally this race is held in October and draws in 250-300+ athletes. I’m not sure if the cold scared some racers away or just how early on in the season this one was held, but this particular race had about 90 athletes. From what I saw this race was well-coordinated and the setup was great! I always like to be able to see Colin more than just starting/finishing the different events but with a sprint distance race, out and backs are pretty standard. There will be another sprint distance race on Saturday, July 19th, and then a sprint and olympic distance race on Sunday, October 12th; so if you’re in the area and want a good race add the Tri the Rez to your schedule!