Monday, September 1, 2014

First Triathlete in the Family

As of last weekend, we officially have a triathlete in the family.  Zach decided that he wanted to give it a go at the triathlon because the Cub Scouts were holding a  mini tri at our local Scout camp.  It was a 25 meter pool swim, 1 mile bike ride on dirt/packed gravel trail, and 1 mile trail run.  He was really nervous about the swim despite having practiced a bunch this summer and being fine to handle well over 25 meters in the pool.  He isn't a fast swimmer or a super strong swimmer, but he can get it done.  We got some great transition advice from my friend, Kelli, at Destination Awesome so we practiced our transitions in the driveway so that he felt OK with them.
Hanging out waiting to start

The day of the triathlon arrived, and we got him signed up and marked with his number and got his gear staged.  This was a free event and designed to promote Scouts to try something new and get active so there was a wide range of kids from more serious athlete to complete beginner with no clue about tris. This made for some amusing set ups in the staging area including Camelbaks, huge jugs of Gatorade, and full changes of clothing (all not really needed for a mini tri).
Zach's transition area
Can you tell how nervous he is?

He headed over to the pool and got wet and then lined up for the swim.  It was a mass start, and he was really nervous. 

Getting lined up for the swim
The pool swim was also a little strange because they had to swim diagonal to get out of the water at the beach type exit the organizers wanted them to use. 
Mid Swim
Pool exit

This meant that the kids who lined up on the far side of the pool actually had to swim a little further.  It wasn't a huge deal because the swim was so short, but it was weird.  Zach did fine on the swim.  He made it out with no problems, but he was near the back where we anticipated him to be.  He did great in the first transition.  I completely forgot to hit the lap button on my watch so I have no idea what his swim, T1, bike, and T2 times were.


 Most parents were helping their kids in some manner in transition (not normally allowed in sanctioned tris).  The help varied from completely putting on socks, shoes, etc to just verbal coaching.  We tried to stay back and let him do most of it, but we offered some reminders.  He got out on the bike somewhere in the middle of the pack.  He didn't have a great ride because he wasn't too used to riding on gravel, and he has a basic mountain bike with no gears. Some of the older kids with bikes with gears had an easier time. 

Out on the bike course

T2 from bike to run was a hot mess because the organizers didn't make the kids safely park their bikes and hop off before entering transition.  Kids were flying in and just tossing their bikes and helmets every which way.  It was really rather unsafe, and they are lucky no one got hurt.  We actually grabbed Zach's bike when he hit transition so he could get his helmet off and take off running.  He was near mid to back at this point, but we knew the run was his strong point.  We noticed that a lot of parents had paced their kids on both the bike and went out on the run (again not allowed in sanctioned tris), but we opted to let him handle it on his own.

He really took off on the run.  He made up a ton of spots.  He said that a lot of kids started walking about a 1/4 mile into the run so he just started powering past all of them.  We were shocked as we saw him finishing in the top 10 and out sprinting two other kids to the finish line.  We had no clue how he had done with respect to his age group (top 3 awards for each Scout rank) so we hung around for awards.  He ended up with 2nd place for Webelos which he was really excited about.
Sprint to the finish

Finish line

We are really proud of him for trying something new and doing something that was hard for him.  I timed his run at 6:45 so I'm pretty sure the run was short because even though he ran hard there was no way he ran a sub-7 mile on the trails.  Overall it was an OK event, but it could use some more structure and organization.  We'll give it another try next year.

2nd Place Webelo

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a first experience! Congrats to Zach and kudos to you guys for hanging back and letting him figure it out, bumps and all. What a great confidence builder!!