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Christopher’s 1st Triathlon!

We have a guest blogger today – our new mechanic, Christopher! JT convinced him to do the Tri Club of San Diego’s March club race this past weekend – as his FIRST triathlon – and with minimal training. Thanks for being a trooper, Christopher, and best of luck with your triathlon career! We are glad you can now relate!

Standing on the cold shore in the middle of the wet-suited pack, squinting as hard as my eyelids would allow, I wanted nothing more than to see the first buoy we were all aiming for in the first leg of the seven hundred meter swim. It wasn’t going to happen. Everything looked like a Monet painting to me without my trusty spectacles. So I took a deep breath, asked an extremely nice woman to point me in the direction that we sought and put confidence in my follow-the-leader ability. The horn was about to blow in what would be my first triathlon.

After the horn blew (or was it a whistle? I can’t recall), I found myself running into the water after planning to go slow and pace myself. It really didn’t matter because my swimming abilities, or lack thereof, put me in my place near the back shortly after leaving the shore. I’m sure that if someone could have seen me during the first leg of the swim, they would have compared my form to that of a wind-up scuba diver toy, exhaustingly thrashing but barely moving. I stopped to allow the wetsuit to do its job, while I collected myself just long enough to access my direction. I began again, trying to focus this time on simple, fluid movements. Slowly and surely I found a rhythm that all four of my limbs could move to without stepping on too many toes.
I arrived back at the bank feeling pretty good and began my first transition. It wasn’t nearly as difficult to peel the wetsuit off as it was to put on; thank God. I decided to keep it simple during the transitions and went barefoot. I didn’t like the idea of putting bare dirty and wet feet into my shoes, but as JT had explained, socks are one more thing to struggle with that would most likely result with even more dirt in my shoe. That was that and I was to the mount line and off for my first of five laps on the bike.

Allow me to save us both some time and just come out with what I learned during the bike and run sections because they go hand- in -hand. First, whether you are in it to win or just in it, it’s the details that make the difference — wearing the correct top and bottom, using wetsuit and anti-chafing lubricant, having a comfortable and aerodynamic position on your bike, knowing how far you still need to go and, of course, running in the best shoes for you. These are some of the things that most triathletes already know about, but some that I wanted to learn for myself. I wanted to experience the difference between the best and, in some cases, the worst. This way when someone asks me something like, “Do I really need aero bars on my bike?”, I can tell them about my first triathlon as a green human kite collecting all the wind I could as I spread my arms wide to grasp my bar ends.

Aside from my daily commute to our shop, and errands I need to run, my training for this first Tri Club race was almost obsolete. So with that, and the fact that some of my apparel and biking elements needed some real attention, I feel my first introduction to the world of Tri was a success. I never felt intimidated, with the exception of perhaps the passing of the occasional disk wheel. The people were welcoming and the breakfast hit the spot. I will continue to digest my first race and see how many improvements I can make for my next one. There is always room for improvement!
Congrats Christopher! We are all proud of you!