Michelle, Roch and Colin before the race.
Degree's Everyman takes on his first Tri.My long awaited and much anticipated first triathlon is finally under my belt! I participated in the Solana Beach Triathlon on August 1…and it was AWESOME! The race was a great first experience that I will now remember for the rest of my life.
I didn’t dwell on thoughts about the race before it actually occurred, and I think that was probably a good thing. Roch had stressed I should go out there and have fun with it; just see how it goes. Paula had warned that a lot of people would go out too hard at the beginning of each leg, and then end up faltering. I just kept reminding myself to run my own race and to use this as a stepping stone in my training.
The anticipation started to grow as soon as I arrived that morning at the transition area. Just seeing so many people get their equipment set up and preparing for this race was enough to get me excited. I was in the 2nd Wave, which was the first wave of Triathlon (the Duathlon had been Wave 1), so I donned my wetsuit and headed down to the beach around 7. This would be my first experience ocean swimming with more than just a couple of people. There were so many people in wetsuits on the beach, talking or just looking toward the water. It was “the calm before the storm”.
One of the race organizers warned that the time to swim was nearing, so we all moved toward the starting line. With about 5 minutes until the start, he began announcing as each minute passed. When he said, “one minute,” everyone starting cheering. TALK ABOUT GREAT ENERGY!!! The cheering got even louder when he announced “10 seconds, 9, 8…” People were still clapping and yelling even after we’d started!!
We made it to the water quickly, but it was a little while before we actually started swimming. Everyone’s progress was impeded by both the waves and more so by all the people around, but I was completely comfortable. I was thankful that Bob Babbitt and Steve Katai had taken me body surfing at this exact beach so many times. Even after we started swimming, it seemed like people were taking up every square inch of the water’s surface. I alternated between swimming and waiting and swimming, but eventually made it around both buoys. After the second buoy, the swim back to the beach seemed to be much less crowded and fast. I loved the feeling of coming out of the water and hearing all the people lining the course screaming for all the athletes.
I don’t remember much about changing into the bike gear…only that I was smiling. With my first official transition successful, I headed out onto the course and again loved all the spectators rooting us on. The 2 loops seemed to go relatively quickly, and I kept the pace steady. The only time that I picked it up was on the slight hill down toward “restaurant row” on the 101. Of course, going back up that hill I did slow down a bit. I felt like I was going in for the second transition only a few minutes after coming out of the water. This race was flying by!
It took a minute for my legs to get used to running after being on the bike, but I settled in quickly. Roch jumped in the race and ran along with me for a while. I passed some people and some people passed me…I ran my own race. Those two loops also seemed to go by very quickly. Near the end, Roch jumped back out of the race and I finished it on my own. Sprinting down the center of the road with people yelling and clapping and whistling on both sides was so cool! When I crossed that finish line, I was so proud to have become a triathlete!!! I can’t wait for the next one!
-Colin Barr, August 5