So it has been a little time since I last logged about my foray into triathlon and adventure racing and I felt it was worth noting how we’re always learning.
“Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly at first.”Ray Congdon
So last I left off, I was doing ok at biking and running and being terrible at swimming freestyle. Since then I’ve been trying to keep working on those things, my swimming is still meh time-wise cause I’m still needing to take breaks to catch breath, but I’m feeling better in the water, a little more comfortable. But its not all been training, I’ve been continuing to learn many a thing 🙂
Well needless to say, for this race I found myself waking up at 4am to load the bike and hit the road for a 2 hour trip down to Charlottesville for a 6 am check-in/setup (7am start). After staying up way too late for this, I somehow got through the drive, arriving in the beautiful Charlottesville rolling hills and only to arrive at an empty parking lot…
This race was supposed to start at the local YMCA pool and that travel around the beautiful area hillsides… but I saw nothing, no other cars, no people, no transition areas, no banners or music and I freaked out, did I get the date or time wrong!?
In early July I was scheduled to take on my 3rd sprint-triathlon, this one a bit further away from home by about a 2 hour drive. 350m swim (outside pool), 11.5 mile bike, 3.1 mile run, perfect distances for me to not die during a swim 🙂
At this point I’m really getting used to the new road bike and starting to push it on the cadence/speed in training, I was so ready to see what I could do. This is where I learned (again) a valuable lesson in doing races. Not all races are created equal. Some groups are real organized, some have many details pre-race, and all have varying level of execution.
Turns out, no, thankfully at least for my mental state it wasn’t my fault… I soon noticed one-by-one cars showing up with bikes and looking as confused as me. There thankfully was a gentleman from the YMCA there going through the parking lot talking to each car and got to me and said what I feared: ‘The race is cancelled.”
Unfortunately he was from the YMCA and not the race organization, just there to unlock and give the racers access so he didn’t know if the race was being rescheduled, people getting refunds, or what happened, why wasn’t anyone informed etc. All that said, thank god he was there to at least let us know definitively the race was not happening so we all didn’t go crazy guessing. He unlocked the YMCA so some of us could use the restrooms, but now what???
Most folks just turned around and went home, one trio from one car decided to take their bikes down and went for a ride; in retrospect I wish I did this to at least go take in some of that countryside, but I think I was just so tired from the whole ordeal and it was so early that nothing was open to even take in some of Charlottesville so I hopped back in the car and just drove back home… so I worked up my training for a month after the last sprint-tri and then did 4 hours of round trip driving… to not do a race…
As a race director myself, I completely understand that most race organizations in reality are just 1 person doing 90% of the work, so whatever personal emergency that person had took out an entire event, which is why I’m happy for my own event I have a Plan B and am not a single point of failure and this just enforced that. I don’t ever want my racers to have that feeling of showing up to nothing.
It is always interesting to see the varying different levels races operate at, some don’t send info out ahead, some do detailed video walkthroughs for rules, some just take screenshots off Google Maps and park them up in paint, some don’t even do that, it really all comes down to how you want your customer/attendee to feel about it and if they will come back. The only thing I will say is that somehow this race org did manage to post a cancellation notice on their Facebook group the day before yet somehow didn’t send an email to all the participants? But alas they gave everyone refunds so I was out 4 hours of driving but fine nonetheless.
The second thing I learned is that I can’t half-ass this triathlon thing, even with sprints. I was soooo tired in those 4 hours of driving that I doing the actively trying to keep myself awake thing. I could use a partner in crime not just for sharing driving but cause having someone to do races with is always better. But also I just need to pay attention on my nights before and get to sleep at a good time. This is a dumb lesson to re-learn as I know this from doing bigger events like the Army 10-Miler etc., but I can’t treat sprint-tris like a local “just show up” 5k fundraiser.
Had this race gone on as planned, I have no doubt it would have been my worst time and my worst felt race I’d done this year/in a while because I just wasn’t set properly on the body-clock, so no more dumb late nights.
Next sprint-tri in late July, then another in September and then capping off this season with a 8-hour adventure race at the end of September, then time for me to put on my own race in October, much to do, fun times…