It's generally a bad sign when you are on your way to an early-season triathlon and you get stuck behind a snowplow. I don't know why the snowplow was there, the weather wasn't that bad. Occasional thunderstorms, heavy hail for brief periods, but nothing that would cancel a Monday Night Misery Run... Still, though, a snowplow does make one pause for thought under such circumstances.
But Saturday morning dawned bright and clear and beautiful. The sky was blue, the hills were green, the lake was 53 degrees... Kristi and I were racing the International/Olympic length, which started at 7:30 am. The sprint race started at 7:00 am, so we got to stand around and watch the Sheriffs make multiple trips on their Jetskis to haul people out who suddenly found that they were so cold they couldn't swim any more. There were a surprising number of these; one made it less than a hundred yards. Inspirational, in a snowplow sort of way.
We were not so inspired that we went to a nice restaurant to get breakfast, though, so we just swam. It was cold.
The bike leg was entirely long rollers for the first half. And... it was an out-and-back course. I like long rollers! I catch people at the top, they pull away on the downhill, then I catch them about halfway up the next one, then they catch me on the downhill, then I catch them early on the third hill and never see them again. I gained about 6-8 places this way.
The run was rollers for the first half, too. Also an out-and-back... I didn't do anything spectacular on the run; just maintained what I'd gained on the bike. Got caught by the 4th-place woman with about 2 miles to go and we pushed each other in.
The bad news: The Pac-West team showed up in force, including a dozen pro/elite sponsored riders. Many of them were in the "guys old enough to know better" age group with me; I got slaughtered on the overall (32nd) and in my age group (6th).
The good news: Chasing all those matching Blue bikes and Pac-West kits paid off: I PR'd for this distance! 2:33:17. I was a minute behind PR on my swim split, and three minutes behind on the bike split, but I knocked almost 6 minutes off my previous best olympic-tri run split. Kristi PR'd also, so it was a good start to the season.
It's a good course (especially if you like rollers) and an extremely well-run well-organized race. One particularly nice touch is they provide stools at each place the transition area. The disadvantage is the timing ---it overlapped this year with the Chico Stage Race, obviously--- and of course the rather cold water. I'd do it again, though.