Bluff Creek Triathlon – Ogden, IA 8-11-13
Bluff Creek Triathlon was an event that I haven’t raced before. Many of my teammates have raced this event before and highly recommended it. They had both Olympic and sprint distances to choose from. Now that I’ve raced it, I recommend it as well. The water was clean and bordering on 78 degrees all week. The bike course was both challenging and humbling. The run course consisted of some trail running and nice paved roads through the park which made it fun and technical.
My girlfriend and I both decided to camp at Don Williams State Park , same location as the race. I recommend camping at the park as well, because this saved us a lot of time, money, headaches and it allowed us to sleep in an hour longer. Who doesn’t like that? We decided to go down Friday afternoon to get camp set up and make a weekend of it. Sometimes it’s the simplest weekends you enjoy the most. BTW, if you choose to go this route, The Lucky Pig Pub and Grill in Ogden is an excellent choice for dinner. Great food and the service was awesome.
This was my first event back from injury. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I did make the mistake of expecting my times to be pre injury times. Boy was I wrong!
The buoys were set up with bends and corners, and I wasn’t sure how to attack that. This was a new event for me, so I didn’t know how the veterans were going to attack it either. The first bend to cut was big and looked too good to be true to be legal, so I did the safe thing and swam out to the first red buoy then turned for the next. I quickly find out that I’m all alone, and that everyone did the smart thing and cut the corner. From shore, I bet I looked like a fool. I’m guessing this cost me 30-60 seconds. Once I found out how the swim was going to be, I found my path and held it to the end. I finished strong and ended up having a decent time in the swim. The swim exit was a boat ramp that was tricky to maneuver. It was covered in moss under the water and roughed up out of the water for water drainage and tire grip. The carpet they laid down and the ushers helped. I’m hoping they have the ushers out in about 4 feet of water and more carpet or pads covering the moss under the water next year.
T1 was a little out of sync for me. It felt like I was a newbie in transition or forgot what to do. I was in T1 for about a minute. Once I hit the bike mount line, I mounted the bike and quickly got up to goal pace. The road conditions were great. I felt great and was exceeding my goal pace by about a mile and a half. I figured I felt good, so I might as well keep this pace. Wrong! I came to the first river valley. It’s not called the famous twister hill for nothing. The climb out of the valley was long and grueling. I was still “ok” for the next 6 miles to the turn around, but I knew I had to climb it again on the way back. By the time I hit the valley again, I was back down to goal pace. I kept my mind right by telling myself that I’m still on target. The descents were fast…too fast for comfort. I gutted out the next climb, but cost me precious energy for the next 5 miles. I faded fast and couldn’t hold pace. The wind was only 5-10, but was a direct head wind. I was thirsty and had only one bottle with me. I knew there wasn’t going to be a bottle exchange, so I originally had two. I shared my other one with a participant who forgot theirs. I don’t think that affected me too badly though. I was happy to do it. With one mile left, I was ready to get off the bike. I forgot to pull my feet out of my shoes before the dismount line, so I had to run into T2 with my bike shoes on. My first race back felt like my first race ever. T2 was out of sync as well.
This was the portion of the race I was worried about. My foot injury kept me from running for about 6-7 weeks. I just didn’t know how my foot was going to hold up. Going into the race, I knew I wasn’t going to push the run, but rather keep a pace that was comfortable for my foot. I felt good on the run. I was concentrating more on good form and landing. Luckily there were two water stations that I could actually hit 4 times with the two loop run course. This quenched my thirst from the bike and kept me hydrated throughout the run. The course began and ended with a ¼ mile trail run that really slowed me down to focus on my footing. In all, it was a great run course.
The best part of the whole weekend was that I got to spend it with my girlfriend doing something that we both love to do. Can’t wait to do it again!
Just few mentions, first, I would like to thank Jennifer for the support, nursing me back to health the phenomenal meals she cooks and allowing me to train often. I just need to work on not getting seconds on the food she cooks. Next, I would to thank my SUX Tri Club teammates for keeping me motivated through the injury. Last, TriSports.com for the support and the awesome website and service that gets me to come back for more great gear.